I need Firewire for Camcorders, yet the MacBook and MacBook Air lack it

Version 8
Last Modified: Dec 17, 2013 4:22 AM
As some people may still want a less expensive non-Pro Apple notebook with Firewire, this tip has been made to help people find used and refurbished Apple notebooks with Firewire. The serial number helps date the machine, and when stated below, the letter x can represent any numeric or alphabetic value in the serial number.


July 20, 2011, Apple discontinued the MacBook for the MacBook Air, and changed the display connector on it to a Thunderbolt port.  Apple's Thunderbolt/Firewire adapter, bringing at least some of Apple's non-pro MacBooks back to having Firewire again. With the introduction of Thunderbolt, some newer Macs have stopped having Firewire, and instead will rely on Apple's adapter for connectivity.


October 20, 2009 (serial number series xx943xxxx and later) Apple dropped Firewire from all its non-Pro MacBook models.
MacBook Pros still have Firewire.  Some newer MacBook Pros only have Firewire 800.  This can easily be converted to Firewire 400

with a 9pin to 6pin Firewire adapter or cable.


October 14, 2008 (serial number series xx842xxxx and later) Apple made the first full MacBook Aluminum without Firewire,
while leaving, the now discontinued MacBook White as still having Firewire until October 19, 2009.


Prior to October 14, 2008 all MacBooks had Firewire.


These dates may be determined by finding the serial number of the machine

MacBook Airs have never had Firewire, and were introduced January 15, 2008, except the ones from July 20, 2011 on, which have indirect access through Thunderbolt.


Below you'll find the two types of Firewire ports that have been on Macs, Firewire 400 also known as IEEE 1394a (just labelled Firewire), and Firewire 800 also known as IEEE 1394b.


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Apple's Firewire 400 uses 6 pins, and can be adapted easily to either 9 pin Firewire 800, or 4 pin Camcorder Firewire.

The 4 pin devices need to have their own source of power.

The 4 pin Firewire found on many Camcorders and PCs can connect to Macintosh Firewire with the appropriate cables.



Firewire offers faster video capture than USB 2, and the ability to capture uncompressed video from camcorders, as well as Target Disk Mode for access to hard drives. Here is what Target Disk Mode allows: