Apple’s repair parts will have longer serial numbers following iPhone 14 launch

Apple’s repair parts for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and other products will use longer serial numbers starting October after the iPhone 14 lineup has launched.

This marketing image from Apple shows an independent repair provider using genuine parts to service an iPhone
Image credit: Apple
  • What’s happening? Apple is reportedly changing the serial number format used for repair parts, going from a 17-digit format to an 18-digit one. The change goes into effect on October 1, 2022.
  • Why care? It’s unclear why service parts will have longer serial numbers though this could have something to do with being able to better isolate batches of products with manufacturing defects.
  • What to do? Relax, it’s not like adopting a longer serial number format will make it more difficult to determine your product’s resale.

Apple service parts switching to 18-digit serial numbers

In a memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple told its authorized service providers that the new serial number format for service parts will be used beginning October 1, 2022. Service providers are expected to update their software and other equipment in due time to be able to handle the new serial number format.

For many years, the Cupertino giant was using a 17-digit format to identify and track components used to service products.

The publication speculates that the new 18-digit serial number will be used for future repair parts like new iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches and so on. Read: How to get Apple’s iPhone repair manuals for free

Apple probably has a very good reason to make this change. Some people fear that a longer serial number could make it more difficult to assess the resale value of a product but that has nothing to do with it.

Why is Apple making this change?

In our opinion, and we’re only speculating here, the new serial number format for parts may be helpful in determining potential manufacturing issues.

For example, suppose a small number of iPhone units manufactured during a specific period suffer from a problem like a faulty speaker.

With longer serial numbers, Apple could perhaps pinpoint the faulty batch of speaker components more easily with an extra digit in the serial number.

As of May 2021, Apple also randomizes product serial numbers for its products. Previously, one could find out interesting information about a precut just by analyzing its serial number. For instance, the old serial number format made it easy to determine when your product was manufactured.