Apple has released a variety of Mac desktops and MacBook laptops over the years and sometimes it’s important to know the exact model being used. For example, a Mac mini is quite distinctive, being a tiny box with rounded corners. However, given the similar design used across generations, it can be difficult to identify the model.

The first Macintosh computers used Motorola 68000 processors before transitioning to the PowerPC developed jointly by Motorola and IBM. Apple kept pushing the PowerPC as a better solution, until in 2009, it finally admitted that Intel was a better choice. It made a dramatic switch to Intel chipsets, which allowed the use of many common PC components that weren’t compatible with older models. In addition to getting a speed boost, the Mac also became more affordable.

Related: How To Find Out Which iPhone Model You Have

While most accessories will work with any Mac that has a compatible port, internal components are much more specific to the model. That means it’s important to know the Mac model so that the right accessories and parts can be ordered. Identifying the model number is also important when sending the device in for service, or if the user wants to sell or trade in their Mac. The most direct method of finding the model number is to open the Apple menu on a Mac, located at the top right of the screen, and choose About This Mac. This opens a window that provides the Mac’s model name, the year it was made, the chip it contains, and how much memory it has. Tabs along the top provide details about the displays that are connected, the storage, support, and more. Under the Resources tab, there’s a link to the full specifications of the Mac or MacBook.

Identify A Mac That Doesn’t Work

Apple Pro Display XDR Mac Pro And MacBook Pro

Of course, if the Mac encounters a problem that prevents it from switching on or displaying information, accessing the Apple menu won’t be possible. Fortunately, there’s another solution. On the bottom of every Mac and MacBook, Apple prints the serial number of the computer near the regulatory markings, and that number can be used on Apple’s ‘Check Coverage’ web page to identify the model.

Some Mac computers have user-upgradeable components, while others must be ordered in the required configuration in advance. This is the case with most newer models, similar to the decision made when ordering an iPhone or iPad. Knowing the model can help with upgrades or make it clear that an upgrade isn’t possible, in which case a trade-in on a new model might be the only option. If limited storage is the issue, an external SSD is an easy solution to increase space, and options with fast Thunderbolt ports and tiny drives work well for a desktop Mac or MacBook.