What details (such as dates/year, identifying numbers, etc.) distinguish 3rd generation 13" MacBook Pro models from 4th generation?

These 3rd generation models featured the older more reliable keyboard, power adapter, memory card slot, USB-A slots. I am shopping for a used device and would like to know how to differentiate one of the most recent devices of this generation (prior to the more problematic keyboard design, Touch Bar, etc).

2 Answers 2


Here are the primary features/differentiating factors in MacBook Pro across various generations:

Source: MacBook Pro - Wikipedia

A MacBook Pro model (or any Mac, generally speaking) is commonly recognized with an identifier of the form Early/Mid/Late Year based on the time of the year it was introduced. For e.g. Late 2013.

You can use Mactracker, which is an excellent reference app, available for free both iOS and macOS. It lists details for all the MacBook Pro models (along with all other Apple products) ever released. It lists their features, hardware specifications, current production status and supported macOS software versions. Mactracker is available for download via the respective app stores:

2nd generation MacBook Pro models are much more ancient, with the last one released in 2012. Most of them no longer have the ability to run the latest macOS software.

3rd generation MacBook Pro, which were released between 2012 and 2015 feature external design similar to the 2nd generation along with similar design for the keyboard. Prominent feature of this generation include presence of retina display, thinner and lighter form factor, removal of LAN port and Super Drive etc.

4th generation featured major external design overhaul, along with a new keyboard design dubbed the butterfly keyboard. This generation has also seen removal of USB-A ports, card reader and Thunderbolt 2 ports which are all replaced by USB-C ports.

The specifications and features for all the various models of MacBook Pro released are listed thoroughly in the linked Wikipedia article. In conjugation with the Mactracker app, it is the recommended go to place to compare between various generations and models of MacBook Pro.

Note: No afiliation whatsoever to Mactracker, I find the app to be super helpful and use it often.

  • Mactracker yes, and I'm not affillated either, plus 1...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 6:04
  • thanks very much, 3rd generation was my intended ask despite mistakenly stating 2nd gen in the original question--this is super helpful thank you. If i should edit the question I'm happy to do so
    – jimmont
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 21:33

If you go to the Apple.com website and support, then you can search your serail number to get details :

See enter image description here

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