Learn About an iPhone From the Serial Number

Jan 26, 2012 - 19 Comments

iPhone Serial Number

iPhone serial numbers aren’t just randomly generated, they actually contain some interesting information about the device and it’s history, including what factory it was made in and when, the color of the iPhone, and it’s storage capacity.

If you want to follow along here with an iPhone, you can get the serial number by tapping on Settings > General > About and scrolling down alongside other info like model, IMEI, and baseband firmware version. If the device is connected to a computer you can also look under the “Summary” tab of iTunes to find the serial number.

Reading an iPhone Serial Number

Serial numbers come in the form AABCCDDDEEF which can be read as follows:

  • AA = Factory and machine ID
  • B = Year manufactured (simplified to final digit, 2010 is 0, 2011 is 1, etc)
  • CC = Week of production
  • DDD = Unique identifier (but unrelated to UDID)
  • EE = Color of device
  • F = Size of storage, S is 16GB and T is 32GB

For example, the serial 79049XXXA4S is from factory 79 (presumably Foxconn), was manufactured in 2010 in the 49th week, and is a black 16GB iPhone 4. Some older phones have slightly different labeling, like the iPhone 3G and 3GS may refer to 16GB as “K” rather than S, but for newer hardware this should continue to be accurate unless Apple changes something.

This was discovered a while back by iFixIt during the whole iPhone 4 Antennagate thing as they were trying to figure out what devices were impacted, and if Apple was quietly making changes to the hardware. At this point it’s just a fun way to learn more about your iPhone, so thanks to Tim R. for sending in the tip.

On the much less technical side, you can also use the serial number to check warranty information for the phone, including eligibility for an extended AppleCare plan.

Update: The serial numbers of iPhone 4 CDMA and iPhone 4S are a bit different and don’t follow the same structure. Here are the three digit suffixes for iPhones that do fall into the readability list (thanks Michael):

VR0 (iPhone 2G Silver 4GB)
WH8 (iPhone 2G Silver 8GB)
0KH (iPhone 2G Silver 16GB)
Y7H (iPhone 3G Black 8GB)
Y7K (iPhone 3G Black 16GB)
3NP (iPhone 3GS Black 16GB)
3NR (iPhone 3GS Black 32GB)
3NQ (iPhone 3Gs White 16GB)
3NS (iPhone 3Gs White 32GB)
A4S (iPhone 4 Black 16GB)
A4T (iPhone 4 Black 32GB)

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

19 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Michael says:

    The iPhone 4S is slightly different and starts with a letter, seems like the early ones are always a “C” then numbers. The last three digits are always specific to the phone itself, but the size and model code changes per generation.

    VR0 (iPhone 2G Silver 4GB)
    WH8 (iPhone 2G Silver 8GB)
    0KH (iPhone 2G Silver 16GB)
    Y7H (iPhone 3G Black 8GB)
    Y7K (iPhone 3G Black 16GB)
    3NP (iPhone 3GS Black 16GB)
    3NR (iPhone 3GS Black 32GB)
    3NQ (iPhone 3Gs White 16GB)
    3NS (iPhone 3Gs White 32GB)
    A4S (iPhone 4 Black 16GB)
    A4T (iPhone 4 Black 32GB)

    Plug pre 4S numbers in here if you want more information

    http://www.chipmunk.nl/klantenservice/applemodel.html

  2. Tim says:

    This almost assuredly is not entirely correct. Allowing only three characters as a unique identifier means that any given factory is limited to manufacturing no more than 46,656 units of a particular model in a given week. Given that Apple sold nearly three million iPhones on average each week of the previous quarter, this would mean that there are a lot of smaller factories rather than the larger factories that have been reported.

    While there are several different models making up the sales figures, the 16GB black model is significantly the volume seller.

  3. Juan says:

    This is quite funny, I got my iP4 in July last year (I know, a bit late my previous phone had just died on me) and the EE in the serial (for color) my color is DZ and and the storage is Z. I have a 16 GB White iPhone, so I would have expected it to be something like “EES” yet its DZZ :P

  4. Stewart says:

    I am curious what a Factory of 86 means, mine is A4T purchased early and everything else co-responds to this information.

  5. Tod says:

    Please writers, please learn about the proper use of apostrophes.

    It’s is a contraction of thw words it is.

    Its is the possessive. We do not write hi’s or her’s so we shouldn’t be writing it’s when we mean its.

    A journalist such as you really ought to know better.

  6. Jared says:

    I don’t think this is accurate at all. The first 5 (Factory/machine, yr, and week) characters of my 4S are:

    C3 – Factory/Machine
    9 – 2009???
    GQ – Week of Production

    While this is an interesting thought, I think that most of it is speculation.

  7. xplodr says:

    Mine iPhone 4 White 32GB is 87116—E00

  8. Jairo says:

    My iPhone 4S starts with DNPG? And ends with TFH

    • Greg says:

      Is it a CDMA? All the (early) 4S I’ve seen have C39 at the beginning, and then a G (which I would have assumed to be the GSM/CDMA distinction). But I doubt any of this actually applies to the 4S because the 4S has a 12 digit SN, while it seems older devices only have 11.

  9. Paul says:

    I had my 4s replaced after 40 days (so it had to be a replacement unit). I am looking at my serial and it is mostly letters hence the above breakdown does not work for me.

    It works perfectly for iPhone 4. Can anyone help with 4s decoding?

  10. Kory says:

    WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I work for Apple and can tell you that in no way shape or form can a user look at the SN and find out the DOP or where it was manufactured. There are SN that are all letters and some that are all numbers. There is no formula or a way to deicioher an iPhone serial number.

  11. hammer says:

    how can i identify carrier ,without sim in

  12. koriisfullofit says:

    my iphone 4 absoluty responds as said, kory is full of himself and dont work for apple

  13. Samer Sawalhi says:

    In Case of stolen i-phone
    How can I detect it’s location by google map?

  14. Arkansas Bigfoot says:

    I have a used motherboard and need a new back case for it. I have found a back case but need the GB so it will correspond to the correct GB.

    The last four numbers of S/N are M1R4. The 1 could be an I or L.

    What GB is it? Looks to be a GS from the LED connection.

Leave a Reply

 

Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on Amazon.com

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates