October 31, 2010 12:36 PM   Subscribe

How can I find my Macbook's serial number without the Macbook?

My laptop was stolen yesterday. I know I'm never going to see it again, but I need the serial number for the police report/homeowners insurance claim. I don't have the laptop box or paperwork (also taken). I do have the original software cd's in their sleeves with the id numbers on them. I have an iTunes account that I used to download music/movies to that laptop. I am working on getting my aunt to look up which credit card she used to buy the laptop, but it was purchased in 2007 which is making things harder. I did register my laptop, but Apple supposedly can't find my email address listed. I'm still waiting to hear from aunt to be sure, but I think it was bought directly from Apple, not a reseller. It's possible I had a year of Applecare when the laptop was new, which would have also been paid for by my aunt.
Any tips on how to get Apple to cough up the info?
posted by anotherkate to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did you ever take it in for service? Any chance you have a Time Machine backup?
posted by cabingirl at 12:52 PM on October 31, 2010

Wouldn't the serial number be on the invoice?
posted by amf at 1:02 PM on October 31, 2010

This just happened to me recently -- although before that gets your hopes up, I should say that I never got the serial number and I never got my laptop back, even though *we know who took it*. Which is our civil liberties working, so I try not to be too angry, but still... So here are some pointers:

Make sure you try old email addresses you might have forgotten about; Apple can also look it up via phone number, so try that, too.

At one point they told me that "only the police can get that information" unless I could come into the store at which the computer was purchased in person -- something about accessing records that old, and the fact that I was not the person who made the purchase (in a situation similar to yours, it sounds like). The police, needless to say, were uninterested in following up, so that was a dead end (I live 2000 miles away from the store, so I can't go in myself).

If you've ever taken it in to a Genius Bar at an Apple Store, they send you an email and keep a record themselves, so they might be able to look it up that way. (Of course, when I took mine in, they apparently neglected to log the visit, so this might also fail.)

The iTunes thing is something I didn't think of -- there's a slight possibility that a friendly AppleCare rep might be able to give you a list of all the computers that are authorized to play songs you purchased, for example? I found that being incredibly sweet and patient and demanding with AppleCare folks got them to look at things they were initially unwilling to look at, so I'd pursue every route, and make them your sympathetic investigative ally, if possible. This definitely only worked with some of the people I talked to -- others were the "can't deviate from the script" type and nothing helped.
posted by obliquicity at 1:18 PM on October 31, 2010

Response by poster: I did a first pass through my files and I couldn't find an invoice/gift receipt/etc.
It never needed to be serviced, so no luck there.
I did receive an email reply from Apple support saying that a police officer or insurance adjuster can call Apple Corporate and try to look up the computer using the name and address the computer was registered with, so that seems like the best bet for now.
Thanks for your answers, I'm going to leave this open for a couple of days to see if anything else comes up.
posted by anotherkate at 1:51 PM on October 31, 2010

Best answer: Did you ever register it with apple? If so, log in with an apple id. Your serial will be there in your record. The genius at the apple store didn't think this was true and told me I'd have to go home and get my macbook in order to replace my bloody power thingy, but I logged in and showed her the serial right there on the screen.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:56 PM on October 31, 2010

If you had AppleCare coverage on the laptop, I'm pretty sure Apple will have the serial number of the device covered by said AppleCare. Try giving them an call and asking.
posted by blueberry at 10:23 PM on October 31, 2010

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