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Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer iPod
If your iPod is lost or stolen you'll want to find its serial number. Luckily, your Mac keeps a record of all the iPods that have connected to the computer with the s/n and other info.

The file that stores info about iPods is located at /Library/Preferences/com.apple.iPod.plist. Open it with your favorite text editor.

Here's the hierarchy of the XML file with (descriptions):
<dict> (everything/root)
  <key>Devices</key> (the section that stores info about the iPods themselves)
  <dict>
    <key>XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX</key> (a unique identifier for each iPod, not useful to us
    <dict>
      <key>Connected</key> (the first iPod)
      (In here is the info about the iPod. Subsequently, I will refer to things at this level of the tree.)
    </dict>
  </dict>
  (ignore stuff in here; it's not useful to us)
<dict>
  • Line 2 of the section I said we'd focus on is a date. This is the last time you connected the iPod.
  • Line 4 tells us that the device is an iPod, which we already knew.
  • Line 6 tells us what 'family' the iPod is. My Nano G5 is a 16.
  • Line 8 is the firmware version in a single number (not the version that we usually see).
  • Line 10 is the firmware version as a the number we're used to (X.X.X).
  • Lines 12 and 14 are about games on the iPod, and not very useful to us.
  • Line 16 is that unique ID we saw earlier.
  • Line 18 is the language (language-country).
  • Line 20 is the big one: the serial number.
  • Lines 22 and 24 are info for the software update application, and not very useful to us.
  • Line 26 is the number of times you've connected that iPod.
If you've connected more than one iPod, you'll see another of the blocks that starts with <key>XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX</key>.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. This is pretty handy to know.]
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Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer
Authored by: nathanator11 on Apr 14, '11 07:43:52AM
To clarify, this works with iPods that have been connected to your computer in the past. It doesn't need to be connected while you do this.

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Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer
Authored by: Jools912 on Apr 14, '11 07:53:33AM

You can find the serial number of the last connected iPhone, iPod or iPad using the built-in function of iTunes:

Just hold down the Control key whilst choosing About > About iTunes



[ Reply to This | # ]
Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer
Authored by: everkleer80 on Apr 15, '11 01:24:02PM
Now that's a neat hint!

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Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer
Authored by: babbage on Apr 14, '11 09:53:41AM

Like everything else in plist XML or binary format, this file can be read more easily through the `defaults` command through Terminal, or Property List Editor if you think Terminal is scary but have XCode installed.

Here's what I get when I run it and filter the output through grep to just get the models & serials I have recorded on my laptop:

$ defaults read com.apple.iPod | egrep 'Device|Serial'
    Devices =     {
            "Serial Number" = 2X43XXXXXXX;
            "Serial Number" = JQ40XXXXXXX;
            "Serial Number" = JQ42XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = 5F64XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = 5U53XXXXXXX;
            "Serial Number" = JQ52XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = JQ54XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = Q273XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = Q272XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = 2Z81XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = Q292XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPod;
            "Serial Number" = 8K63XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPhone;
            "Serial Number" = 7T72XXXXXXX;
            "Device Class" = iPhone;
            "Serial Number" = 8802XXXXXXX;

Much easier than trying to read the raw XML, and it's also important to be aware that plist files can either be in XML or binary format, so it might not readable in the first place. The good thing about the `defaults` command is that it understands both formats, so you don't have to worry about how or even where the plist file you care about is stored on disk, as you just call it by name and get the contents you're looking for.

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DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL


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Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer
Authored by: nathanator11 on Apr 14, '11 10:06:18AM

Cool idea; I hadn't though of using `defaults`.

Even just using `defaults read com.apple.iPod` is more readable.



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Just launch iTunes...
Authored by: slb on Apr 14, '11 11:10:39AM

Launch iTunes (Assuming your iOS device was setup/sync'd there) and goto preferences.

Open the Devices Tab, and mouse-over devices listed there. It shows your serial number (and IMEI and phone number if applicable). No magic, no plists!

SB



[ Reply to This | # ]
Just launch iTunes...
Authored by: nathanator11 on Apr 14, '11 12:24:56PM

As you mentioned, this only works for iOS devices. The hint works for all iPods.



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