Don’t know which Mac model you have? Here’s how to identify it

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For resell your Mac at the best price, do you need to know its age, serial number and physical and technical characteristics? Also, with the arrival of Big Sur at the beginning of November, you might be wondering if you can update your Mac.

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

The different Mac models

Apple currently offers six Mac models, although it can be argued that the iMac and iMac Pro are a category of Mac.

For each, there can be big differences in screen size and processor power.

On the MacBook side, there are two models:

  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook Pro (13 inch and 16 inch)

Until 2019, there was also a MacBook that Apple eventually ditched.

As for Mac, here are the four models sold:

  • Mac mini
  • iMac
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro


We would put the iMac Pro and the iMac in the same category, but Apple prefers to keep them separate.

How to know the model of your Mac?

Whatever your Mac, to identify the exact model you have, follow the 3 steps below:

  • Turn on your Mac.
  • Click on theapple icon.
  • In the drop-down menu, click About this Mac.

On the window that appears, you will find the technical details of your computer.

Also, the screen, size, color and external ports help identify portable Macs and desktop Macs.


Find your Mac’s model number

If you know your Mac’s model number, then you usually have all the information you need to identify your Mac model.

To find it, follow these instructions:

  • Click on theapple icon.
  • In the drop-down menu, click About this Mac.
  • Click on System report.
  • In the preview you will see the model ID.

To discover all the technical characteristics of your Mac, as well as its release date, click on Equipment. The date can be very important because it will allow you to recognize its processor and its components.

Note that the same number can be shared by multiple Macs, so you will need more information to be sure which model you own.

How to recognize your MacBook model?

Screen

Portable Macs have their model name written right under their screen, except for those released between 2012 and 2016.

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

Height and weight

The MacBook is the smallest of Apple computers. The MacBook Pro is slightly thicker than the MacBook and MacBook Air (feel free to read our comparison of the 2 models). Older models are much larger and heavier.


Color

The MacBook Air is only available in Space Gray, Gold and Silver while the MacBook was offered in Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray or Silver.

The MacBook Pro is sold in Space Gray or Silver.

Ports

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

The MacBook Air has 2 USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports, its predecessor models are recognizable by their MagSafe port, two USB 3 ports, its Jack output, its unique SDXC card reader and its Thunderbolt 2 port.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch has, meanwhile, 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and the 15-inch one (withdrawn from sale) has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and a jack. The 16-inch MacBook Pro has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The latest MacBook Pros are equipped with the TouchBar, which is placed just above the keyboard.

How to recognize your Mac model?

Here are some clues to help you identify your desktop Mac:

Screen

The iMac and the iMac Pro are the only desktop computers with an integrated display. They are each 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, or more than a billion colors supported. Entry-level 21.5-inch iMacs have a standard screen.

Height and weight

IMacs released before 2009 have a smaller screen (20 or 24 inches), those released earlier are even smaller (15 and 17 inches). Since 2015, the design of the iMac has been refined, to no longer be more than 5 mm thick. If your iMac is thicker, then it must be older than 2015.

The Mac mini is, meanwhile, the most compact of Apple computers, the most recent measures 19.7 x 19.7 cm and 3.6 cm in height.

The latest generation Mac Pros measure 25 cm, they are twice as small as their predecessors.

Color

If your iMac is white (or any other plastic color) then it is older than 2007, since since their casing is aluminum. In 2005, when Apple launched the Mac Mini, it came in white and silver gray.

Their design did not change until 2010, it is now in aluminum. And since 2011, Apple has taken away the optical drive. In 2018, the Mac mini took on the color silver gray.


In 2013, The Mac Pro was completely redesigned. If yours is black and has a cylindrical shape then you have the most recent version. If it is shaped like a rectangular aluminum block, then it was released between 2006 and 2012.

External ports

Next-gen 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 a 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, by its optical drive slot.

Since 2018, the mac Mini has 4 Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C ports, one HDMI, two USB 3.1 and one Ethernet.

Identify a Mac without turning it on

Your Mac is malfunctioning and you can’t turn it on? Be aware that every macOS, whether desktop or laptop, has a label with the model number and serial number on it. Find out where to spot them on each one.

iMac : Unplug all cables, then turn your iMac over. The numbers are shown on the reverse.

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

MacBook Pro : The numbers are written on the back on the bottom of the computer. If your model is older than 2008 then remove the battery as the numbers are on it.

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

Mac Pro, late 2013 (cylindrical): The serial number is listed on the underside of the computer.

Mac mini : If you have an original or late 2009 Mac mini, the serial number is on the edge of the bottom case. On the other hand, if you have a Mac mini from mid 2010 or later, then the serial number is located on the underside of your computer.

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





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