According to a new report, Apple will change the way it uses serial numbers for its products starting this year.

Apple will soon make a significant change to the serial number format for future products, from which it will remove some key information.

In an internal email obtained from MacRumors, Apple said the new serial number format will consist of a random 8-14 character alphanumeric string that will no longer include manufacturing information or a configuration code. The company said the serial number format transition is planned for “early 2021” and confirmed that IMEI numbers will not be affected by this change.

All Apple products currently shipping will continue to use the current serial number format, while future products will use the new format, according to the company led by Tim Cook. The new serial numbers will initially consist of 10 characters.

Apple’s current serial number format has long allowed both customers and service providers to determine the date and place a product was manufactured, with the first three characters representing the place of manufacture and subsequent two indicating the year and week of production. The last four characters currently serve as a “configuration code”, revealing the model, color and storage capacity of a device.

Apple originally planned to switch to the new serial number format in late 2020 but delayed the introduction of the change due to some internal issues.

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