Learn About an iPhone From the 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)