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Mac Identification (Identify Different Macs)

Also see: iPod, iPhone & iPad Identification

When was founded in 1996, it wasn't necessary to help one identify which Mac they had because each Mac had a unique name on the front. If someone needed information on the Performa 6400/180, for example, it was simply a matter of locating the Performa section of the site and clicking on the applicable computer.

Starting with the iMac line, however, and continuing with subsequently introduced lines, Apple began to provide less and less information on the hardware itself and it has become more of a challenge to identify different models.

This page provides information on identifiers that can be used to spotlight a particular Mac, where to find these identifiers on different Macs, and the strengths and weaknesses of each identifier for precise identification and differentiation.

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Identify Your Mac Using's "Quick Specs"'s flip down "Quick Specs" on all "By Series" and 1998 and later "By Year" pages provide the Introduction Date, Discontinued Date, Order Number, Model Number, EMC Number, Subfamily, and Model Identifier as well as the Standard RAM, Standard VRAM, Standard Storage, and Standard Optical Drive.

For those who know quite a bit about their Mac -- when it was purchased new and/or at least one or two secondary pieces of information -- these "Quick Specs" generally are sufficient to identify a particular Mac.

Identify Your Mac Using's Ultimate Mac Lookup

For those with less information -- without physical access to the Mac (trying to buy a used model from a third-party online with incomplete information, for example) or with a friend's or customer's Mac (particularly if it won't boot) --'s Ultimate Mac Lookup as well as the "Lookup" function within the EveryMac app for the iOS and Android can help to track down a particular Mac using whatever limited info is available.'s Ultimate Mac Lookup feature allows one to quickly display all models that match a particular Order Number, Model Number (referred to as the Family Number on some older Macs), EMC Number, Model Identifier, Serial Number, or Intel processor number.

Given the option, Order Numbers (which vary by country) are the best identifier to distribute as they are almost always precise enough to identify the exact Mac and much safer to share than Serial Numbers.

For highly experienced users, this likely is all the info needed on these identifiers and all the instructions needed to use's Ultimate Mac Lookup feature:

Identifier Looks Like Found On
Order Number MA970B/A
Some Receipts
Some Packaging
Some Documentation
Some Promo Info
Model Number A1278 or M8493 Hardware
EMC Number 2254 or 1969C Some Hardware
Model Identifier MacBook5,1 About This Mac
11 Character
Serial Number
W88401231AX About This Mac
Some Hardware
Some Packaging
Some Receipts
12 Character
Serial Number
C02CG123DC79 About This Mac
Some Hardware
Some Packaging
Some Receipts
Intel Processor P8600 or 4260U Intel Documentation

If you cannot retrieve applicable Macs using any one of the above identifiers, but are able to track it down using another one, please share any missing information with The Ultimate Mac Lookup feature is quite comprehensive, but it will become even more so with your additions. Thank you.

For much more detailed information regarding limitations of each identifier and more specific information about how to locate these identifiers, you also may find the following Q&As helpful:

  • Where can I locate the Order Number for my Mac? Are Order Numbers unique? What are the limitations identifying a specific Mac using Order Numbers?
  • Where can I locate the Model Number or Family Number on my Mac? Are they unique? What are the limitations identifying a specific Mac using this identifier?
  • Where can I locate the EMC Number on my Mac? Are EMC Numbers unique? What are the limitations identifying a specific Mac using EMC Numbers?
  • Where can I locate the Model Identifier (Model ID) or Machine Model for my Mac? Are Model Identifiers unique? What are the limitations identifying a specific Mac using the Model Identifier?
  • Where can I locate the Serial Number on my Mac? Are Serial Numbers unique? What are the limitations identifying a specific Mac using the Serial Number?

You additionally may find complete lists of G3 and later Macs By Identifier helpful:

It is hoped that by having as many possible ways to identify Macs available, you will have enough information to pinpoint exactly which Mac you have or intend to purchase.

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