How Old is My Tablet? Learn How to Check!

With the way technology has been trending today, there are newer versions of tablets that are released every year. Of course, because of how older tablets can become obsolete due to the sheer power that newer tablets have, it might be a good idea to know how old your tablet is so that you can tell whether or not you should get a new one already. So, how can you check how old your tablet is?

You can tell the age of your tablet by knowing its model, which can be found on the tablet itself or in its settings. After that, you decode its age using its serial number or by checking online for its production date.

The tablet’s serial number is actually not just a string of random numbers because they are actually useful for telling you how old your tablet is. And when you know how old your tablet is, it will be easier for you to tell whether or not it is now time for you to go get a new one to replace your old tablet.

ipad with keyboard and touch pad

Does tablet age matter?

We live in a day and age where technology is so quick to improve and when different gadgets are released every single year. This means that your smartphones and tablets are no longer the newest models only after 12 months since they were released. That’s because different companies can wait to release new models of their gadgets because of how this is the best way for them to make money.

Of course, while it doesn’t hurt to use an older model of a tablet even though it is already a few years old and a few generations behind, the problem is that the demands of modern technology will eventually slow these tablets down to the point that it becomes frustrating to use them as they can no longer keep up in terms of their speeds. But does your tablet’s age really matter?

Basically, if you are not a heavy user and you are only using your tablet for simple day to day tasks such as web browsing and social media, tablet age doesn’t really matter a lot because of how some of the newer tablets today tend to overkill when it comes to how fast they are in relation to simple uses. So, in that regard, simple tasks may not require new tablets especially if your tablet can still keep up with what you are doing such as web browsing, social media, and eBook reading.

However, for those who demand performance from their tablet, the tablet’s age becomes an important factor to consider. These people may be gamers who want their tablets to perform fast. Some may even be multitaskers or programmers who use and open plenty of different processes on their tablets to the point that they need a fast tablet if they don’t want to end up getting hampered by its lack of speed.

There are also instances where the age of the tablet doesn’t normally matter but, because of how times have been changing and improving, you already need a newer tablet. For example, media files are now becoming bigger and bigger to the point that you may need a newer tablet to keep up with the loading speeds of photos and videos on social media and on other websites. This is where your tablet’s age becomes a factor as tablets that may be at least five years old are no longer capable enough to keep up with the newer demands of the modern age.

So, basically, whether or not your tablet’s age matters will depend highly on how you use your tablet. But, as mentioned, there will be cases when you might want to already replace your tablet such as when it is already frustratingly slow even when you are merely doing simple tasks such as social media and web browsing.

How to check tablet age

If you want to know how to check your tablet age because you are thinking of getting a new one or if you are just simply curious, here are the methods you can use based on different types of tablets:

Apple iPads

three ipads next to each other

The first thing you need to do if you have an Apple iPad is to look for the serial number. In most cases, the serial number can be found in the lower back portion of your iPad but you can also check Settings, General, and About to check the iPad’s serial number. Now, the serial number is very important when it comes to knowing what your iPad’s age is because these letters and numbers are not just randomly selected.

The first two characters of your serial number actually identify the factory that is responsible for making your iPad. For example, if the prefix is DM, then it was made in China. While that is not important for telling you the age of your iPad, it still gives you an idea of what the serial number is all about.

After that, you should check the year of the iPad’s manufacture by looking at the fourth mark of its serial number. In most cases, it should take the form of a letter that can be somewhere between C and Z but not including the vowels E, I, O, and U. The letters will indicate what year the iPad was manufactured so that you will have a vague idea how old it is. Look at the following to check the manufacturing year based on the letter:

  • C – 2010, 1st half
  • D – 2010, 2nd half
  • F – 2011, 1st half
  • G – 2011, 2nd half
  • H – 2012, 1st half
  • J – 2012, 2nd half
  • K – 2013, 1st half
  • L – 2013, 2nd half
  • M – 2014, 1st half
  • N – 2014, 2nd half
  • P – 2015, 1st half
  • Q – 2015, 2nd half
  • R – 2016, 1st half
  • S – 2016, 2nd half
  • T – 2017, 1st half
  • V – 2017, 2nd half
  • W – 2018, 1st half
  • October – 2018, 2nd half
  • Y – 2019, 1st half
  • October – 2019, 2nd half

If you look at the legend above, you will be able to see how old your device is. For example, if you have an iPad with Y as its fourth letter, it means that it was produced or manufactured during the first half of 2019. This is the case in a sixth-gen iPad. But the year in which the tablet was produced doesn’t tell us exactly how old it is, and that is why we need to look at the serial number further.

The fifth mark of the serial number is what will tell us how old the iPad is based on which week it was made. As such, the first nine weeks for the devices manufactured in the first half of a given year are determined by any number between 1 and 9. After that, the next number on the serial number should be letters that can be somewhere between C and X without including the vowels E, I, O, and U and the letter S.

If it is a bit too difficult for you to understand, here is a list that can help make things simpler:

  • 1 – 1/27
  • 2 – 2/28
  • 3 – 3/29
  • 4 – 4/30
  • 5 – 5/31
  • 6 – 6/32
  • 7 – 7/33
  • 8 – 8/34
  • 9 – 9/35
  • C – 10/36
  • D – 11/37
  • F – 12/38
  • G – 13/39
  • H – 14/40
  • J – 15/41
  • K – 16/42
  • L – 17/43
  • M – 18/44
  • N – 19/45
  • P – 20/46
  • Q – 21/47
  • R – 22/48
  • T – 23/49
  • V – 24/50
  • W – 25/51
  • X – 26/52

So, if you do have a sixth-gen iPad that was manufactured in the first half of 2019 and it has 2 as the fifth character on its serial number, then that means that it was produced during the second week of 2019.

Therefore, knowing the serial number and then cross-referencing it with the abovementioned information will quickly allow you to tell which year and week your iPad was made. Knowing that will allow you to approximately tell how old your iPad really is.

Samsung and other Android tablets

Hands holding Samsung Galaxy S6 lite tablet

So, now that we know how to check how old an Apple iPad is based on its serial number, we should do the same with Samsung and other Android tablets. Again, the serial number is just as important for these devices because of how they are not just a random string of numbers but are actually indicative of when the tablet was manufactured.

To check the serial number of your Samsung or Android tablet, you can go to Settings and About tablet to find the serial number.

In some Samsung or Android tablets, you can also check the serial number at the back of the device. It will be printed somewhere in the lower portion of the back of the device but it might be a bit too small for other people to see.

So, now that you know your tablet’s serial number, it is now time for us to know what it means with respect to how old the tablet is. As mentioned, the serial number is not just a randomly selected group of numbers but can actually be decoded for you to tell how old your device is based on the year and approximate week the tablet was manufactured and where it was assembled, if that matters to you.

In most cases, Samsung tablets will have a serial number starting with the letter R. The reason is that Samsung uses R for all of its smartphones and tablets so that it will be easier for them to assign the family to which it belongs. That’s why your Samsung tablet should have an R at the start of its name.

Meanwhile, the second and third characters of a Samsung device are what represent the code of the place where your tablet was made. So, for example, if your tablet has Z and 8 following the R, then that means that it was made in India, which is represented by the code found in the second and third characters of the serial number. Again, this isn’t necessarily important in telling the age of your device but it does give you an idea of what the serial number means.

As you go along, you will see the fourth character, which is the serial code that represents the year in which the tablet was manufactured. For example, if you have the letter M as the fourth character, it means that that the tablet was made during 2019. Refer to the list below to see which year your tablet was made based on the fourth character on its serial number.

  • R – 2001
  • T – 2002
  • W – 2003
  • X – 2004
  • Y – 2005
  • A, L – 2006
  • P – 2007
  • Q – 2008
  • S – 2009
  • Z – 2010
  • B – 2011
  • C – 2012
  • D – 2013
  • F – 2014
  • G – 2015
  • H – 2016
  • J – 2017
  • K – 2018
  • M – 2019
  • N – 2020
  • R – 2021

The fifth character, meanwhile, represents the month in which the tablet was manufactured. This is what makes it different from the serial number found on Apple iPads because of how these Samsung tablets actually give you a month and not just a week. So, if you have the number 8 as the fifth character, then it was made during the eighth month of the year, which is August. That means that your tablet was made in August of 2019.

The following characters after the fifth character are actually the real serial numbers that represent the technical information regarding your tablet. These are no longer representative of your tablet’s age because they merely tell you more about your tablet in terms of its specifications. As such, restrict yourself to the fourth and fifth characters if you want to know your

10BARJ: Finally, come the last 6 characters that are the actual serial number of your Samsung Galaxy phone or tablet. These alphanumeric values contain technical information about the device like its chipset, storage, color, model, etc.

You can easily calculate the month and year when a Samsung device was manufactured using the following table. If your phone’s serial number is RZ8J414Z1PA, take the 4th and 5th characters, that is J4, and look for it in the Samsung production date table to check the manufacturing date of your Samsung Galaxy device.

Samsung galaxy Tablet

When should I get a new tablet?

So, now that you know how to tell which year and week/month your tablet was made, you probably have a rough estimate of how old your tablet is based on its serial number and on the date today. This leads us to wonder when should tablets get replaced and how old tablets should be before you should replace them.

Again, because of how fast technology improves to the point that newer developments in technology can basically make your tablet obsolete in terms of its performance, we recommend that you buy a new tablet once every three years. But this is when you want a good balance between performance and practicality. If you value performance, maybe keeping your tablet for two years before replacing it can be a good idea as long as you can afford to do so.

However, for the ones who are not heavy users and don’t mind that their tablets are getting a bit slower because they only use them for simple tasks, you may be able to hold onto your tablet for about five years before you notice that it has become annoyingly slow. As such, the usual range should be somewhere between three to five years when you want to know when you should get a new tablet.


I'm Rob, the founder of I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade.

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