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Find hidden info on your Mac

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Need to find hidden info on your mac? Want to install software but don’t know if you have the right version of operating system. Here’s how to find that information.

Serial Number

When your Mac needs support, you often have to provide the serial number of your laptop or desktop computer. The easiest way to find out is to go to the Apple menu and click on About This Mac.

LaunchAboutThisMacA window opens, displaying what version of OS X you have, what processor, and how much memory.

If you click twice on the “Version” text, it displays your Mac’s serial number. You can’t copy this text, but you can read it to a tech support person on the phone. If you want to enter it into a web form or email, there’s a way to copy and paste the serial number. Simply click the More Info… button.

Another window opens, with even more information about your Mac.
MoreSysInfo

Here you can select the serial number and cut-and-paste to wherever you like.

Installed Software

From this About Your Mac window, you can get a System Report that has a lot of internal information about your Mac computer. Clicking on the System Report… button launches the System Report application. You can also launch it without going through the About Your Mac process we just did. Simply go to your Applications folder, open the Utilities folder, and double-click on System Information.

There is a lot of interesting information about your Mac here. Feel free to explore – you can’t hurt anything in this application. Probably the most useful information to regular users is the list of installed applications. Every time you install something on your Mac, it has to “register” itself with OS X on your system when it launches for the first time. That list can be found in the System Report.

To see all your installed applications, scroll down the list on the left side, and under the Software heading, select Applications.

MoreSysInfoAdjust the width of the columns by clicking on the vertical bar that divides each column (just like you do in Excel, for example). This list displays all your currently installed software, it’s version, when it was last modified (when it was last installed or updated), and whether you bought it through the App Store or not.

It’s good to know how to launch System Information. It makes it easier for remote tech support people to help you over the phone. And it makes you a little better at using your own computer effectively if you understand more about what’s doing on behind the scenes of OS X.

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