Apple and Missing Serial Numbers

by Erica Sadun

What happens when an Apple Upgrade doesn't work with your original serial numbers or you can't find the latest serial number? A lot of frustration, that's what. KKP bought a copy of Final Cut Studio Crossgrade that came with four discs and no serial number. After an unsuccessful search for the original Final Cut Studio serial number, she tried using a FCP3 serial number to no avail.

Theoretically, this isn't an got-Applecare-or-not issue. You should be able to retrieve your serial number whether you're covered under Applecare or not. I recommended that KK call Apple at 1-800-275-2273 (AppleCare Service & Support Line) to start the process to retrieve her serial number.

And, given that I had a missing DVD Studio Pro serial number, I decided to try this out myself. I gave a call over to AppleCare and ended up in phone-hell. I talked to at least 5 or 6 people and was hung up on twice. Finally, I got transferred to the "Professional Application" group.

Listen up kiddies, when in doubt, ask to be transferred to the Professional Application group immediately. There, I was connected to Shaun--a support person who Had A Clue. Within a few moments, I had a serial number on the way.

All it took was looking up my original order information. I'd purchased my copy from the Apple store and still had all my electronic receipts on-hand. I forwarded them to Shaun by e-mail and he processed a replace serial number request for me. If you don't have Apple receipts, you'll need to forward or fax your third party/reseller receipt. (The fax number is 512-674-8125. Make sure you have a case number and a cover sheet--they'll send you one--before faxing.)

Once they have your materials on-hand make sure your support person verifies that you're good to go and submits the replacement serial number request. It only takes a few minutes for the serial number to generate and get sent to your e-mail in-box.

Thanks Shaun!


2006-08-10 09:11:48
I've never had a missing serial number... but being proficient at diagnosing software and hardware problems and generally only needing to call AppleCare when I know I need a hardware fix, I've found the simplest thing to do is just ask to talk to a project specialist. These are the guys who make the decisions about repairs and have the knowledgebase to properly diagnose your problem without going through the traditional "try to restart your computer" or "reset your pram" rigamaroll... Just my two cents about the applecare experience
2006-08-10 09:28:07
Wait they go through all that high security stuff and then EMAIL your serial number. What's the point of the 007-crud then if they are just going to send an unsecure message to you?
Erica Sadun
2006-08-10 09:32:02
It wasn't really high-security stuff. I just e-mailed them a copy of my receipt from the Apple Store. It had my Web Order number on it.
2006-08-10 10:30:56
I'm actually in a similar boat with Adobe having upgraded from Photoshop CS2 to CS2 Standard Ed. The upgrade app only allows you to choose up to Photoshop CS 1. Had to call Adobe in order to get it resolved. They claimed I'd have no trouble reinstalling in the future, but they were wrong.

Not to knock Adobe's customer support however because aside from that they have been outstanding for me.

Erica Sadun
2006-08-10 10:44:19
I'd bought CS1 a week or so before CS2 was announced and called Adobe. They offered a minimal-cost upgrade, took my info, charged my credit card and then forgot to actually put the order through. Months later when I called they apologized profusely and followed through--but if I hadn't remembered that it hadn't shown up and called, I'd have never received it.

I am clearly a GTD reject.

The Gibbon
2006-08-10 16:29:12
I've never had a missing serial number, but after I re-installed my OS from the original install discs, the "About This Mac" box didn't show a serial number (When you click on the software version to cycle through - it just shows "Serial Number" and nothing after it...)

Odd that.

2006-08-10 16:51:49
It's good to hear of a positive customer support experience. The internet is full of people complaining about the terrible service they get from various call centres but nary a favourable tale. Thanks for sharing!
2006-08-11 05:43:57
That's a drag about your phone hell. Even though no one at the other end felt the personal frustration you did, it did cost Apple some dough also. I'm glad it worked out.

I'm also glad there aren't upgrades for the iLife apps or the OS. I hate keeping track of serial numbers and being "invited" to play the "upgrade now" game; FileMaker, with the "you can only upgrade from the last version" game. Or iView with the "you can upgrade for a limited time..." B.S. Quark used to do this - maybe they still do. Homey don't play that game.

Stone Design has the BEST policy - free upgrades for life. That way you're not feasting on your own user base, but consistently expanding your user base and only supporting the latest version of your software - which every user has!

rock on!

2008-03-07 01:55:59
About the most useful note I've read on this topic! I discovered much of this information myself by going through the exact same process, however, it seems Apple has dealt with the knowledge gap and I was on the road as soon as I spoke with Jason on the main apple care line. Thanks Erica.