We knew Apple was mulling over a major change to its device serial numbers, and that change is already visible in the iPhone 12 in purple that the company introduced a few weeks ago. The new serial numbers will be random and they will not have device information.
So far, the serial numbers of any Apple device they had 12 numbers. The first three characters represent the place of manufacture, the next two characters indicate the year and week of manufacture, and the last four characters indicate the model, color and storage capacity of the device.
New serial numbers they will only have 10 characters, and will be characters random alphanumeric. In other words, the serial number will no longer include manufacturing or configuration details of the device.
Apple previously said its random serial numbers were 10 characters long, so the purple iPhone 12 appears to be Apple’s first product with a random serial number.
A change that begins now
Apparently Apple had planned start with this change in early 2021, and according to MacRumors The first device confirmed to use random serial numbers is the purple iPhone 12, although the iPhone 12 mini also uses them.
Other recently introduced devices like AirTags do not have these new 10-digit serial numbers, probably because they are devices manufactured for a long time as we recently learned.
This change involves additional security protection, although we do not know very well the reasons which led Apple to do so. However, for users curious about when their device was made or the country it was made in, this can be bad news.