Invalid serial number problem hounding Mac OS X 10.7 Lion upgrades

By Posted 20 Jul 2011, 16:10

Earlier today we confirmed that Max OS X 10.7 was live and available to download, now we are hearing that some people are experiencing upgrade problems when it comes to the upgrade procedure’s serial number check, therefore we thought we would attempt to shed some light on the situation.

From what we can see some people are seeing an error which reads “invalid serial number” when attempting the upgrade to OS X Lion, one Twitter user (see here) suggests that this is a known database problem which Apple is working on, if you are affected you should try again in a few hours. One comment we read says “Anyone else getting “Invalid serial number” when going through the upgrading process at http://www.apple.com/macosx/uptodate?”, since then 19 people have replied, which suggests that it is not an isolated problem and should definitely be something Apple should be taking notice of.

We searched Twitter and Apple Discussions for some sort of official comment on the situation, however we did not find anything, we did spot a pattern and it seems as if people who bought their Macs more recently are more likely to be affected. You can check out a thread which talks about this particular issue over at Apple Discussions, people complaining about the problem reveal that they bought their Macs in June or July of this year. This suggests that Apple needs to update its database with serial numbers of recently sold Macbooks etc, perhaps this will resolve the issue.

We searched Twitter for recent tweets containing the term “serial number” and saw lots of reports of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion upgrade problems, it doesn’t seem to be affecting one particular model, in fact we have seen reports suggesting that the MacBook Pro and standard Macbooks are affected by this annoyance, that said we have seen no reports of iMacs being affected.

If you have experienced a serial number-related problem whilst upgrading to OS X 10.7 Lion we would love to hear from you, therefore feel free to answer any of the following question in the comments section below. What Mac are you trying to update? Did the problem resolve itself over time?

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  • Anonymous

    Macs that were bought more than 30 days ago are having this problem… I was the one who notified Apple of this problem… They are fixing it as soon as they can and have been very helpful till now 

  • Jonathan Leao

    I have a Macbook Pro purchased on July 7th with the promise for a free upgrade to Lion once available. Now I try to redeem my code online for the upgrade and show invalid. I think it has something to do with custom built Macs, since from what I have read, everyone complaining has a custom built mac like myself. 

  • Jonathan Leao

    akmafaz, you along with 25 million other mac users notifed apple, don’t try to sound like a smart ass. 

  • http://twitter.com/djsaltmusic David Brinkman

    I’m having this problem and I’m on a mid 2011 BTO iMac which I ordered on June 30th.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1228890015 Oscar N. Fuentes

    I purchased my MacBook Pro through the Online Apple Store on July 06, 2011. I keep getting the same error message of Invalid Serial. It is very annoying. I also tried the online electronic form and that seems to keep crashing!

  • jiang scott

    I am experiencing this problem right now! I bought an iMac on 5th/July.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xxgeorgeoxxho Georgeo On Hack

    I bought my macbook pro eight days ago and i’m having the same problem !!!! Any solution yet from apple?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Brooktop Paul Brook

    My imac was bought on 16 June…same problem. Last Friday, before I found the official ‘up to date’ page I phoned Apple to ask about qualification. I was told that if Lion was not launched within 30 days of buying my mac, I would be out of luck and would have to pay the full amount to upgrade. Well done Apple on training your staff on such a major issue! Just hope they can sort this issue out a bit more effectively!

  • Anonymous

    I purchased my Macbook Pro on June 25, 2011 at an apple store. I was told I’d be able to upgrade free of charge if I do so within the first three days of Lion’s release, but I’m being told that my serial number is invalid. Very strange. I hope they figure this out before the third day passes. After paying for my MacBook Pro, I can’t afford $30.00 for the upgrade. lol.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Brooktop Paul Brook

      DBelt…it’s 30 days!

      • Anonymous

        My mistake. Thanks Paul! 30 days. Got it! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/blake.xo Blake Roach

    I bought my macbook online on June 9th and I keep getting the invalid serial number message : P

  • http://twitter.com/cjd138 Collin Delker

    I’m still getting the “can’t find serial” message. I’ve been trying every hour or so all day. Macbook Pro purchased June 17 from apple.com.

  • Michael Vince

    MacBook Pro purchased June 23 from authorized retailer.  They can’t find my serial number either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721767165 Rolo Talorda

    Bought my MBP last Friday from online store, received on Monday and have been trying to sign up for up-to-date program but unable to because of “ineligible serial number” or “… can’t find the serial number…”. Called Apple support earlier this morning and was told it was known issue and to try later in the day. It’s now been almost 11 hours and this still hasn’t been resolved!

  • Kelvin Lee

    Got my macbook pro on 20th june from online store. same issue. was passed around for more than 30 mins when i called apple support this morning. still not resolved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RolfPhilipEriksenBisgaard Rolf Philip Eriksen-Bisgaard

    I bought a Macbook Pro customized on June 8th 2011, and I was promised a free upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion, as was everyone else that bought a Mac from June 6th 2011 to July 21st 2011. Now it seems that this “free” upgrade does either not exist or there is something very wrong with Apples database containing serial numbers. It says invalid serial number.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RolfPhilipEriksenBisgaard Rolf Philip Eriksen-Bisgaard

    I bought a Macbook Pro customized on June 8th 2011, and I was promised a free upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion, as was everyone else that bought a Mac from June 6th 2011 to July 21st 2011. Now it seems that this “free” upgrade does either not exist or there is something very wrong with Apples database containing serial numbers. It says invalid serial number.

  • darren treat

    Same problem here, I shot an email to Steve, maybe he will take note, This is a serious problem. They should have been qualifying macs as they were bought on registration, they screwed up.

    BTW, MacBook Pro 13, June 12th from Best Buy.

  • http://twitter.com/Weessies Henry Weessies

    @jam1epert same problem here. trying to update iMac 508N/A from 28 June. Tried many times the last two days, no solution yet…

  • http://twitter.com/tousifnathani Tousif Nathani

    yup , same issue .. iMac 508 … Called apple support , they said that the problem will be resolved tomorrow after 10 AM .. so it was like 24hrs after my call .. 

  • http://twitter.com/JoeHadlum Joe Hadlum

    Same here. I’m trying to use the Up To Date scheme but it just wont accept it. Macbook 

  • http://twitter.com/nzRaj Raj

    I have been dealing with this for days now. CR-Apple support no nothing, why cant they just give us the upgrade codes over the phone once the have verified the user?

  • http://twitter.com/ashleykaryl Ashley Karyl

    Still waiting here after 7 days and no indication at all of when this will be resolved. AppleCare sent me to the iTunes store, who subsequently referred me back to AppleCare. Nobody seems to have a clue what is going on but my computer is definitely registered with Apple so I fail to see why they can’t just let me have a code rather than expecting me to keep trying day after day. I recently purchased an 8 Core Mac Pro and AppleCare.

  • http://twitter.com/ashleykaryl Ashley Karyl

    Still waiting here after 7 days and no indication at all of when this will be resolved. AppleCare sent me to the iTunes store, who subsequently referred me back to AppleCare. Nobody seems to have a clue what is going on but my computer is definitely registered with Apple so I fail to see why they can’t just let me have a code rather than expecting me to keep trying day after day. I recently purchased an 8 Core Mac Pro and AppleCare.

  • http://twitter.com/Weessies Henry Weessies

    still waiting for serial number to be recognized… :-((

  • Olga

    bought imac on june 13 this year and same problem here- invalid serial nubmer…

  • Olga

    bought imac on june 13 this year and same problem here- invalid serial nubmer…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=826783562 Hassan Amin

    bought the 13″ macbook pro directly from the apple store on the 28th of july and have had nothing but problems trying to download lion so it cant be isolated in between those specified days.. and apparently they had sent me the email containing the code already but it must have gotten “lost” as they said and they are re-sending me the email again.. frustrating and quite frankly a p***take.. after spedning so much on the item youde think they would have it together!

  • Benlevitt1

    bout my iMac on the 24th of July, Rang apple care they offered no help, only tell me to wait…..

  • 1881967

    27″ iMac – no luck until now (18/08)

  • Lana1

    imac has same issues – bought Aug 2011. Apples customer service is shoddy and for the amount of money we pay for their machines they need to wake up and give us the serivce we deserve. now my imac just crashed (at 7days over warranty) and Apple want to charge me basically half the price i paid for it to fix it! Poor customer service!

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