How Old Is My Phone? Learn How to Check Your Smartphone’s Age

Whether you’re buying or selling, examining a phone follows the same basic line of questioning. Is it damaged, is it in working order, and is it reliable? While these questions cover most bases, the age of the device is the one thing you can’t assess by merely looking at it. 

This is why many people ask, “how old is my phone”? Sure, you can find out online when a specific model of phone was released. However, there could be months, or even years, separating the actual manufacturing date of the device and its release date. 

how old is my phone? - featured image

Unfortunately, it takes quite a few steps to determine a device’s age. While the process is not that simple, you can find out the rough age of a phone. This is what we will cover in the guide below. 

Why Do You Need to Know How Old a Phone Is?

Knowing the age of your device can tell you a lot about how it will function beyond its advertised specs. Some of this information might include:

  • Battery Longevity. As batteries age, their internal chemistry tends to slow down. This means their ability to contain a charge diminishes.
  • General Performance. While the model of the phone tells you what is inside, older hardware tends to run more slowly and is less resistant to wear and tear.
  • Security Limitations. Older models are often less secure than newer ones. If you’re unsure if a particular device is included in a security update, you may find out based on how recent the update requires the phone to be.
  • Resale Value. If you’re planning to resell your used smartphone, the amount you can get for it depends on various factors. And that includes its age. A newer phone, of course, equates to a higher asking price.

Even if an older phone is sold at the exact same time as a newer one, and both are used for the same period, the older one will inevitably deteriorate sooner. This is simply because of the age of its parts.

4 Methods to Find Out the Age of a Smartphone

There are several places you can look to know the manufacturing date of your device. However, some are not obvious. The methods could also vary among different devices.

For the purpose of this guide, we’ll be focusing on both Android and iOS smartphones. 

Just like our other articles for troubleshooting errors in Android, all steps in this guide work for all kinds of Android phones, including Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Redmi. 

1. Check the Packaging

If you’re like many of us who don’t throw away a smartphone’s packaging right away, you can start by examining it. Often, manufacturers place a small white sticker on the outside that contains the manufacturing date. 

Google Pixel 7 box with a sticker outside with the serial number

The contents of that sticker may vary between the make and model of the phone. But you can recognize it easily by looking for the barcode accompanied by several arbitrary words and symbols.

Whether the manufacturing date is there or not, there will always be an identifier called an IMEI number. Verify if this number is the same as what’s on your phone, as a different one means it is in the wrong box. 

We’ll cover what an IMEI number is and how to find it in the device settings. We will also explain it in the FAQ. You can usually find the IMEI number in the same manner as the serial number via settings.

samsung S22 box showing the serial number and IMEI number
The box of Samsung S22 shows the serial number and IMEI number at the bottom

2. Find the Serial Number

The serial number may look like a long, complicated string of alphanumeric characters suited only for filing purposes. However, you can actually decode it to reveal the manufacturing date of your phone. 

You can locate the serial number in one of two ways on both Android and iPhones.

On the SIM card tray:

  • Start by powering the device off completely.
  • Using either a specialized tool or pin, eject the SIM card tray from the side of the phone by pressing the small button in the hole directly beside it.
  • You may need to remove the SIM card to see it. There should be two different numbers on the frame of the tray, one is the serial number, and the other is the IMEI.

In the Device Settings:

  • Open your device’s settings menu and locate the option labeled About or About Phone.
About Phone option in the settings menu of Google Pixel 6 Pro
  • Tap this option to open it, then search for the serial number in the following menu.
  • If you still don’t see it, search the menu for an option with your device’s model and search there.

iPhones and Android devices encode the manufacturing date differently, so we’ll discuss them accordingly.

Please note: if you have a Mac PC, you can also use Finder and iTunes to find the serial number for your iPhone. Simply connect your iPhone to your Mac, open up iTunes using Finder, and then locate your device in iTunes to find the serial number. If you have macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, you can find your iPhone under Locations. You can read about this here on Apple’s Official Support Page.

how old is my phone? - Apple's site for checking the serial number

Know Your Phone’s Manufacture Date by Looking at the Serial Number:

a) For iPhone:

iPhone serial number to know how old is my phone
  • Look at the third digit of the serial number.
  • If it is a number, it represents the last digit of the manufacturing year. For example, a zero could represent 2020, while a 1 could represent 2021.
  • The fourth and fifth digits represent the week, from 01-52, in which the phone was built.
  • If it is a letter, it is using Apple’s later system that represents which half of a year the device was built. This system is confusing at first, but it quickly makes sense with a little more info.
    • Each year is represented by two letters. In 2019, the letters were Y and Z, while in 2020, C and D are used.
    • The first letter represents the first six months or 26 weeks, and the second represents the rest.
  • A second letter is then used to represent the exact week of manufacture. Unfortunately, the weeks are not represented simply by A-Z, so you’ll have to look up a chart to find the specific week code you’re looking for.

Note. The latest iPhones (13 and 14 series) employ a completely new, 10-digit serial number assigning system that does not provide the same above information. To garner any info from them, you’ll have to log in to Apple ID and find the serial number from their system. 

b) For Android:

  • Android phones simply use the fourth digit to represent the last digit of the year of manufacture. The fifth digit, on the other hand, represents the month (01-12).

3. Use the Device Settings:

In addition to the serial number, some devices also include the IMEI or MEID number. This uniquely identifies your device and is particularly important for users who are looking to unlock or “jailbreak” their phone to use a different carrier. 

To find your IMEI/MEID number: 

  1. Open your device’s Settings menu, scroll down until you see About Phone, and click on it. 
  2. In the About Phone menu, you’ll see all kinds of information, such as the device name, account attached, phone number, SIM status, Model, build version, build number, and IMEI numbers for your SIM Slots, alongside other info. 
SIM card slot with IMEI information
  1. This works across all types of Android phones, including Samsung, Xiaomi, Redmi, Google, and so on.

The IMEI number holds all essential information about your device, including when the number was created (production date). It also includes the phone’s make/model and specifications and whether the device has been marked lost or stolen. 

You can use the IMEI number to estimate when a phone was activated or its approximate age by seeing how old the warranty is. 

4. Dial Manufacturer Codes:

If you’re unable to find the serial number or IMEI on the smartphone box, in the device settings, or on the SIM Card Tray, then the last step you can try beyond Google is to use the manufacturing codes.

However, these codes are often exclusive to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and specific to the model of the phone itself. Thus, making it impossible for us to provide direct assistance here.  

Some common manufacturer’s codes that you can try dialing on your phone include *#06#* *#197328640#* *#*#197328640#*#* and *#0000#. 

dialing a manufacturing code to know how old is my phone


1. How can I find out when my phone was manufactured?

There are several different methods you can use to determine the age of your phone, including checking the serial number, using the device settings, or looking up manufacturer codes.

Some apps and websites may also be able to provide more specific information about your phone’s age.

2. How can I find the serial number for my phone?

The serial number for your phone can typically be found on the device box or somewhere on the phone itself – often in the settings menu. Some manufacturers may also include the serial number on the SIM card tray or inside the battery compartment.

3. What do I do if my phone doesn’t have a serial number or IMEI/MEID number?

If your phone doesn’t have a serial number or IMEI/MEID number, you may still be able to get some information about its age using the manufacturer codes. However, these codes are usually specific to your phone model and may not be easily accessible from your device settings.

If you cannot find the manufacturer codes for your phone, you may try looking up more general information about your device using online databases or apps.

4. Can you tell how old a phone is by the serial number? 

There is no definitive way to determine the age of a phone based solely on the serial number. However, some information about your phone’s manufacturing date and specifications may be available through the serial number or other codes, depending on your specific device. 

5. When was my phone activated? 

Finding the IMEI number is the best way to determine when your phone was activated, as it is often used to track this information. Grab your phone’s IMEI number and then use a status check tool online to grab more details from your IMEI number. 

How Old is My Phone Question, Answered!

If you’re curious about the age of your smartphone or just want to know a bit more about how it works, these tips should help you out. 

If you’ve found this post helpful and would like to learn more, be sure to check out our other posts on smartphones and technology. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family – they may find it useful too!

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