When Was Your Mac Built? How to Find The Make & Model Year of a Mac

Aug 20, 2012 - 12 Comments

Find Out When a Mac Was Made

You’ll often hear Mac users reference their machines by a model and the build year (for example, Mac Mini 2010, or MacBook Pro 2016), or by a timeline within the year it was released (iMac mid-2011 model). Sure some Mac users just have an amazing memory for this stuff, but everyone else can retrieve the model year and build date of their Mac by looking under the About This Mac screen in new versions of macOS and Mac OS X.

This tutorial will show you exactly how to find the model year of any Mac so that you’ll know when it was built. This can be invaluable information to know before seeking out hardware upgrades, warranty details, software compatibility, and much more.

How to Find Make & Model Year of Any Mac

Here is where you can quickly find the particular model make, and model year, of any Macintosh computer:

  1. Pull down the  Apple menu from the upper left corner of the screen, and select “About This Mac”
  2. At the “Overview” screen, look under the Macs model name to find the specific model and model year in the subheader

What you’re looking for is a text that says something like “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)”, as that spells out exactly the model name, the model specifics and the model year of that Mac.

Find the Mac model year of a computer

The example screenshot above shows the About This Mac screen displaying the Mac model year and computer model name in MacOS Mojave, it looks the same in MacOS Catalina too.

Note that newer Mac OS versions will immediately go to an “Overview” screen where this is visible right away, whereas older versions of Mac OS X will need to click on the “More Info” button to reveal the expanded information to find the model year of a Mac computer.

If you aren’t sure what version of Mac OS you are running you will also find that information in the same panel.

For example, here’s the About This Mac screen in Yosemite:

Find Mac model hardware year was built

And here’s the About This Mac screen in Mountain Lion:

Find Out When a Mac Was Made

These hardware build dates are used to determine system requirements and compatibility for Mac OS upgrades like macOS Catalina, or to check for compatibility with other macOS system software releases, as well as to help determine support for specific features like AirPlay and many others, and even to determine eligibility for the rare recall if there’s a hardware fault with a specific Mac model.

You can see why the Mac model year information is pretty important to know as it is often relied on for determining these aspects of software compatibility and hardware features, whether for upgrading, updating, warranty repairs, and much more.

mac-model-year

Note that all modern versions of Mac OS including MacOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, macOS Sierra, OS X El Capitan, Mac OS x Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion and Lion include the improved About This Mac screen, though Macs running Mac OS X Snow Leopard or before will have to find the build date through System Profiler, and some pre-2008 Macs will need to go based on the “Model Identifier” instead of a direct date reference.

If you have any questions or thoughts about discovering what your Mac model and Mac model year of build are, let us know in the comments below!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

12 Comments

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  1. Ransford Thompson says:

    Is it possible to upgrade my imac to mac Os catalina
    iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009)
    3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    14 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256 MB

  2. David larosche says:

    Is a mackbook mid 2010 core2duo 13″2.4 MHz compatible with mac catalina

  3. Celia says:

    My computer is old, but I can’t find the actual date. Here is the info it gives:
    Model Name: MacBook Pro
    Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,2
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 6 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MBP52.008E.B05
    SMC Version (system): 1.42f4

    What year is it and can it be updated to the latest operating system or do I need a new computer. Browsers are saying they don’t support my operating system, so I can’t upgrade to the browsers’ latest versions. Any info/ help would be much appreciated.

    • Malk says:

      In your case the model is “MacBookPro5,2″ but you should be able to get the simple information, including date it was created from ‘About This Mac’ from the  APPLE menu.

      But stepping back, I think a better question is, what are you trying to do? And are you trying to do something that is not possible on that computer?

      As for your question; it appears that MacBookPro5,2 is a MacBook Pro 17” from 2009, which Apple considers to be outdated. It will not run the latest operating systems. But for many people that’s OK though, you don’t necessarily need to run the latest anything. If your computer works for you, there is no need to upgrade unless you feel like buying a new computer anyway, or unless it is no longer getting the job done that you require. That’s my personal attitude anyway. I personally have a lot of older Macs and I use them every day, even with outdated software versions. It works for me. Remember the old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

  4. 72Hoya says:

    Except that when I click on “About this Mac” and the “Overview” screen appears, it doesn’t say when my MacBook Pro was built. I suspect 2007-08 but am unsure. If I am correct, then my MacBook Pro is too old, I can’t use the new iOS, and I can’t get iMovie. :-(

  5. Seb says:

    Ever since I installed Sierra the trash sound has stopped working!!! I empty the trash and there is NO sound!!!

  6. Jeff says:

    System Profiler….? OK, how?

  7. Atman says:

    I have the same model macbook air 2012 Core i5 with HD 4000 but i don’t have 512Mo VRAM i just have 384Mo Of VRAM ???

    What’s Wrong ?

  8. cosmo says:

    Mine shows “15-inch 2.4/2.2GHz”
    I bought my Mac November 1, 2007.

  9. Colin Fox says:

    NOt on my mac mini I believe i got it mid 2009 though Its an intel core 2 duo

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