How to Find a Mac’s True Hardware Specs the Easy Way

Joel Lee 08-07-2016

Due to the way Apple releases hardware updates, Mac devices are often referred to by their year (such as mine, which is the “Late 2015 21.5-inch iMac”). While this is great as a quick reference, it hardly tells the whole story.


The actual specs between two 2015-era iMacs can differ by quite a bit, for example, which is why it’s so important that you know how to find out the absolute specs for your machine.

Why? Because those specs will come in handy when you need to troubleshoot or optimize an old Mac device An Apple A Day: Getting The Most Out Of Older MacBooks It's not difficult to bring an old Apple laptop up to standard, and the cost is considerably less than buying a new Mac. Read More or when you’re thinking of buying a used or refurbished Mac device How to Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops and Save Money Apple's natural stranglehold on the Mac market means discounts on their hardware aren't frequent. That said, you can get a Mac for less — you just need to know where to look. Read More and want to make sure you actually got what you paid for.


The first thing you need to do is go to the top left of your screen and click the Apple button. In the menu, select About This Mac.

Here you’ll see a brief overview of your specs, and in most cases, this may actually be enough! But sometimes you need to dig even deeper, in which case you should click the System Report button.



This presents you with more advanced and granular details, including cache sizes, ROM versions, exact model identifiers, and you can explore the various sections to see details on your data drives, USB ports, etc.

But there’s one thing missing: the true model version of your CPU. You probably have some kind of Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 Intel Core i3 vs. i5 vs. i7: Which CPU Should You Buy? Confused by the differences between Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors? Here's what you need to know in layman's terms and which CPU to buy. Read More , but the CPU’s capabilities can only be judged when you know the true model version.

Open the Terminal and type this command:

sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string

Tada! The full identifier for your CPU model.


Improve your Mac experience even further by heeding these built-in Mac usability tips The Best Built-In Mac Tips You've Never Heard of, According to Reddit There's a surprising number of things your Mac can do out of the box, if you only know how. Read More as well as these tips for more efficient Mac usage 9 Tips For a Minimalist & More Efficient Mac Experience Your Mac's interface is clean and beautiful as it is, but with a few tweaks here and there, you can polish it up some more for a more pleasant desktop experience. Read More .

Were you able to find all of your Mac hardware specs? Know of an easier way to find them? Let us know below in a comment!

Related topics: CPU, Hardware Tips.

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  1. Tracy Overman
    April 11, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Bing is crap, I hate being forced to use an app on MY pc. thx Bill, (for nothing).