Checking the Serial Number Before Buying a Used Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

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When purchasing a used Mac, one of the key things to check is the serial number. The serial number provides a wealth of information about the Mac and can be used to verify its authenticity, specs, and warranty status. Here’s a detailed guide on checking the serial number of a used Mac:

1. Finding the Serial Number

You can find the serial number in two primary ways:

  • On the Mac itself: Go to the Apple Menu, select “About This Mac,” and the serial number will be listed in the overview tab.
  • On the hardware: For MacBooks, the serial number is printed on the bottom side of the computer or in the battery compartment. For iMacs, it’s on the base of the computer or the bottom edge of the screen. For Mac Minis and Mac Pros, you’ll find it on the bottom of the computer.

2. Verifying the Serial Number

Once you have the serial number, you can verify it using Apple’s Check Coverage page. Input the serial number, and the site will confirm if it’s a valid serial number for an Apple product. If it’s invalid, the Mac may be counterfeit.

3. Checking the Specs

Apple’s Check Coverage page will also display the model of the Mac, allowing you to verify that it matches what the seller has advertised. For a more detailed breakdown of the Mac’s specifications based on its serial number, you can use a third-party website like’s lookup feature.

4. Checking Warranty Status and AppleCare

As previously covered, Apple’s Check Coverage page will also show if the Mac is currently under warranty or AppleCare.

5. Checking for Recalls or Quality Programs

Sometimes, Apple launches programs to address quality issues or recalls on certain models. You can check the serial number against these on Apple’s Exchange and Repair Extension Programs page to see if the Mac qualifies.

6. Verifying Ownership

The serial number can also be used to verify if the Mac has been reported as stolen. Websites like allow you to check a device’s serial number against a database of reported stolen items.


The serial number is an important tool for verifying the authenticity and condition of a used Mac. Always make sure to check the serial number before purchasing a used Mac, as it can provide crucial information about the device and potentially save you from a bad purchase. Be wary if the seller refuses to provide the serial number or if it doesn’t match the information given by Apple or on the hardware.

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