While glancing through the marketing page of High Sierra, I read from the first footnote that:

[…] The playback of 4K HEVC content requires a Mac with a sixth‑generation Intel Core processor or newer.

I don't know which nth generation my iMac's CPU is. How do I find this information?

About this Mac says "Processor 2,8 GHz Intel Core i5", but no mention of a "generation".

  • We need to know precisely what model too - line above, inc (year) – Tetsujin Sep 24 '17 at 12:56
  • So there's no way to get the info from the Mac itself? If the answer has to involve some cross-referencing then (1) what data one needs to gather from the Mac and (2) where one can find the "generation" with the gathered data? – Jari Keinänen Sep 24 '17 at 13:05
  • 1
    5th generation is the latest a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i5 iMac has. – user3439894 Sep 24 '17 at 13:06
  • Apparently it's a matter of finding out the processor number: intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/processor-numbers.html but that seems to be hidden somewhere – Jari Keinänen Sep 24 '17 at 13:06
  • @user3439894 thanks for helping me but I think a canonical answer would be more appropriate – Jari Keinänen Sep 24 '17 at 13:08

You can get the processor generation by running the following command in Terminal:

sysctl machdep.cpu.brand_string

If the output contains a dash and a number after your "iX"-Core model, the first digit after the slash is the processor generation. See: Intel® Processor Numbers: Laptop, Desktop, and Mobile Device


  • 2nd Generation : Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2760QM
  • 5th Generation : Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5257U CPU @ 2.70GHz
  • 6th Generation : Intel(R) Core(TM) m3-6Y30
  • 8th Generation : Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8350U

If the dash is missing, it's first generation (or a different CPU altogether), e.g.:

  • 1st Generation : Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 750 @ 2.67GHz

Different approach:

sysctl machdep.cpu

Gives you detailed CPU information.

From machdep.cpu.extmodel:

  • 0 for a "Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T7400 @ 2.16GHz"
  • 1 for a late 2009 iMac-i5 "Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 750 @ 2.67GHz"
  • 1 for a Mac Pro (Mid 2010) "Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU W3530 @ 2.80GHz"
  • 4 for a 2015 macbook pro (4th generation)
  • 4 for a "Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770HQ CPU @ 2.20GHz" (4th generation)

Although it's inconsistent:

  • 4 for a 2016 macbook "Intel(R) Core(TM) m3-6Y30" (6th generation)
  • 5 for a "Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6820HQ CPU @ 2.70GHz" (6th generation)

From fsb's comment below:

According to Intel, the generation is the first number after the "-" (in machdep.cpu.brand_string)

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    When I do this on my MBP I get machdep.cpu.brand_string: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770HQ CPU @ 2.20GHz. According to Intel, the generation is the first number after the -. My number is 4770HQ so I have a 4th gen processor. – fsb Sep 24 '17 at 13:39
  • Oh that sounds good ;) – user2707001 Sep 24 '17 at 13:40
  • Nice wrap up, thanks! The brand_string method seems to be the most straightforward. And, dang, my cpu is from "1st generation", but I had my suspicions as the computer is 7+ years of age 😄 feels old only on paper. We'll see if "6th generation" is really a requirement or merely a strong recommendation. IIRC h.264 4k videos play fine, although HEVC is a different beast. – Jari Keinänen Sep 24 '17 at 17:57
  • Well it surely does play HEVC in HD (mine does :), 4k is a different question, true. – user2707001 Sep 24 '17 at 18:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .