I ran uuidgen 10k times and noticed that the 13th digit is always 4. Why is that?

UUIDS from uuidgen


2 Answers 2


You can find a full explanation in the Wikipedia article on UUID.

UUID's come in different versions. The 4 you highlighted indicates version 4 was used where the UUID is created by generating a random number. Other versions use for example the date-time and MAC address of your computer.

When you look further at the first character of the next block you will see it is not very random either: it shows only the characters 8, 9, A and B . This is because the two most significant bits are 01 for the variant of this UUID version.


It's the version number of the UUID type /algorithm. This is a version 4 UUID which means that it's made using an upstream OS random number generator, rather than made from a namespace or network card MAC. It also means that it only has 122 bits of entropy, rather than the 128 you thought it did. That's still 5 undecillion values, but less than you thought.

See the wiki article for more details, especially the version types and other restrictions on the format.


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