How to identify a Mac?

To sell your Mac at the best price, you need to know its age, its serial number and its physical and technical characteristics? Or, do you want to identify your Mac before upgrading to macOS?

In this tutorial, we explain how to identify the model of your Mac, how to find its serial number and the technical characteristics of your computer.

Identify a Mac

Apple has developed 6 models of Mac, they are distinguished mainly by the size of their screen and the power of their processor.

Three models are laptops, these are the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

The other three are desktop computers, the Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro.

To identify exactly which Mac you have, turn it on and click on the apple icon on the top left of your screen. Then, from the drop-down menu, click About this Mac. The window that appears gives you the technical details of your Mac.

The screen, size, colour and external ports also identify Mac laptops and desktop Macs.

Which portable Mac do you have?

Screen

Mac laptops have the name of their model written just below their screen, except for those released between 2012 and 2016.

It can also be distinguished by the quality of the screen, for example, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the older, do not have the Retina display (LCD high resolution).

Height and weight

Today, the MacBook is the smallest of Apple computers.

The MacBook Pro is slightly thicker than the MacBook and MacBook Air.

Older models are much bigger and heavier.

Colour

The MacBook Air is only available in sidereal grey, while the MacBook is sold in golden rose, gold, sidereal grey, or silver.

The MacBook Pro has a sidereal grey or silver colour.

External ports

If your Mac notebook only has a USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals, then it’s a MacBook.

The MacBook Air is recognizable thanks to its MagSafe port, two USB 3 ports, its Jack output, its unique SDXC card reader and its Thunderbolt 2 port.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and a Jack plug.

Some MacBook Pro is equipped with the TouchBar, it is placed just above the keyboard.

Which desktop Mac do you have?

Screen

The iMac is the only desktop computer with an integrated display.

It is available in two sizes 21.5 and 27 inches. Most iMacs sold in recent years have a Retina display with a resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels, which is more than a billion colours supported.

Height and weight

IMacs released before 2009 have a smaller screen, 20 or 24 inches. The screen of the previous iMacs are even smaller, 15 and 17 inches.

Since 2015, iMac’s design has been refined to a mere 5 mm thick. If your iMac is thicker, it is necessarily older than 2015.

The Mac mini is the most compact of Apple computers. The newest is 19.7 x 19.7 cm and 3.5 cm high.

The latest-generation Mac Pro is 25 cm, and are half the size of their predecessors.

Colour

If your iMac is white (or any other colour of plastic), it is older than 2007 because since their case is aluminium.

In 2005, when Apple launches the Mac Mini, it has the colours white and silver grey.

Their design evolved only from 2010, it is now in aluminium. And since 2011, Apple has removed the optical drive.

In 2013, The Mac Pro has been completely redesigned. If yours is black and has a cylindrical shape, you are in possession of its most recent version. 
If it has the shape of a rectangular aluminium block, then it came out between 2006 and 2012.

External ports

The new generation iMacs feature an SDXC card reader, USB 3, Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C and Gigabit Ethernet outputs.

Note that iMacs released before 2017 have a Thunderbolt 2 port, not 3.

The latest Mac mini is equipped with two Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3 outputs, an HDMI and Ethernet output and finally an SDXC card reader.

You’ll recognize a Mac mini, released before 2011, to its slot for the optical drive.

Find the ID of a Mac and its release date

The identifier, the release date, and the processor speed are important data that define the Mac you have or want to buy.

To check this information, click on the apple icon at the top left. In the drop-down menu, click About this Mac. Next, click More Info, and then click System Report.

To discover all the technical features of your Mac, as well as its release date, click on Hardware.

This date is very important because it will allow you to recognize its processor and its components.

 

Find the serial number of a Mac

If your Mac has been stolen or is being recalled, it is essential to have the serial number (serial).

To do so, click on the apple icon, located at the top left. In the dropdown menu, click About This Mac on More, then click System Report.

Finally, in the new window that opens, click Hardware, the serial number will be displayed.

 

Identify a Mac without turning it on

Your Mac is malfunctioning and you can not turn it on? Be aware that every Mac, whether desktop or mobile, has a label with the model number and serial number. Below, we show you where to find them on each of them.

iMac: Unplug all cables, then flip your iMac. The numbers are indicated on the reverse side.

MacBook Air: The IDs are on the back of your MacBook Air.

MacBook Pro: Numbers are written on the back on the bottom of the computer

If you have a model older than 2008, remove the battery as the numbers are on the top.

Mac Pro, before 2013 (round): Its serial number is on the back panel of the computer, near the video ports.

Mac Pro, late 2013 (cylindrical): The serial number is indicated on the bottom surface of the computer.

Mac mini: If you have a Mac mini original or late 2009, the serial number is on the edge of the lower case.

On the other hand, if you have a Mac mini from mid-2010 or later, then the serial number is on the bottom surface of your computer.

Note that the model and serial number may also appear on your invoice and on the original packaging of your Mac.