Learn About an iPhone From the Serial Number

Jan 26, 2012 - 23 Comments


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.

Finding the iPhone Serial Number

If you want to follow along here with an iPhone, you can get the serial number in iOS of any device by doing the following:

  1. Go to Settings > General > About
  2. Scroll down alongside other info like model, IMEI, and baseband firmware version until you see “Serial Number”

iPhone Serial Number

If the device is connected to a computer you can also look under the “Summary” tab of iTunes to find the serial number of the iPhone from there.

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)

This extends onwards through iPhone 5, iPhone 6, s, iPhone 7 model years, etc. If you know added details about serial numbers of iPhones and how to read them, let us know in the comments!


Related articles:

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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. gliders says:

    you cannot find the storage info by just the serial number, you must enter inside the phones settings to findout the correct GB, i used to work for ATT, you can try to input the apple A number but that will give you generic infor about your phone only.

  2. john Ibrahim says:

    I really want to open my iPhone 5c that comes from Australia (optus).But am afraid, I don’t want to send the money online and later don’t get the service in paid for,that is my fair.

  3. Terry says:

    I have 5c and serial number ends with an R is it refurbished ??? as bought new – 1year ago

  4. josé says:

    excellent thank you

  5. 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.

  6. Samer Sawalhi says:

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

  7. koriisfullofit says:

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

  8. hammer says:

    how can i identify carrier ,without sim in

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. xplodr says:

    Mine iPhone 4 White 32GB is 87116—E00

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Stewart says:

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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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


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