How To Buy A Refurbished Mac
If you want to use a Mac but don't have the money to buy a new machine, a refurbished model is definitely worth considering. But there are a few points you need to keep in mind before you part with your cash. Keep reading to learn more.
how to buy a refurbished mac
There are only a limited number of places to buy official refurbished Macs. Apple itself has a store for refurbished hardware, but you can also check out sites like Mac of All Trades, Other World Computing, and PowerMax. You can even find some great deals at stores like Best Buy.
Remember, a refurbished Mac will be as good as new internally. If any of the computer's components were not at the functional standard of a new device, Apple (or a trusted party) will have replaced them.
For common devices, such as old entry-level laptops, that's not an issue. But if you want a fancier model, you might have to wait for a refurbished version to hit the stores. And remember, you could be competing with other people who have their eyes on the same machine.
If you want to save money on buying a Mac, refurbished devices are the way to go. You can typically expect savings between 10 and 30 percent, depending on the age of the laptop and the condition it's in. In some cases, the savings could be as much as 50 or 60 percent if the device is quite old.
When you look at a store that sells refurbished Macs, each listing will let you know about the condition of the item. You can expect to see a rating system that goes something like Good > Very Good > Excellent.
If you buy a refurbished Mac from a reputable seller, it will come with a warranty period. But be warned, the warranty periods are shorter than those you'd receive if the Mac were brand-new. In many cases, the warranty can be as short as 90 days.
You should avoid any seller who doesn't provide a warranty period. Refurbished Macs might be cheaper than their new counterparts, but they still cost a decent amount of money. Buying a refurbished computer without a warranty period puts you at risk of losing your investment.
Make sure the refurbished Mac you want to buy has official Apple certification. There are too many unscrupulous online stores and individual sellers who will claim a product has been refurbished when in practice, they only did a quick fix-up job in their bedroom.
There's nothing wrong with buying refurbished products. As long as you do your research and understand the pros and cons, it's possible to find some great deals that offer better value than a new device.
We have an article dedicated to this question here: Why you should buy a refurbished Mac. But to summarise, there are lots of reasons why buying a Mac from the Apple Refurbished Store is a good idea.
With the arrival of the new Apple chips (M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Ultra, and the M2) you want to think carefully before buying an old Mac because Intel-powered Macs are likely to lose value much quicker than Macs with Apple silicon inside. But with the first M1 Macs being introduced towards the end of 2020 there will be plenty of older models available to buy refurbished. The question is should you?
There's sometimes a stigma against purchasing refurbished electronics because many companies don't have rigorous quality control programs for refurbished devices, but that's not the case with Apple. Some companies may sell refurbished items with cosmetic defects and other issues, but Apple's refurbished products available from its online store are "as good as new" products, but with a lower price tag.
Every refurbished iPad, iPhone, Mac, Apple TV, or Apple accessory Apple sells goes through a certification process that ensures full functionality, and with iOS devices, each one gets a new outer shell and a fresh battery. All refurbished products come with a 1-year warranty, just like new devices. Note that you can get refurbished or used Apple products at steeper discounts from third-party retailers, but it's only Apple that offers a rigorous refurbishment process and inspection.
As long as you can wait a few months to pick up an Apple product, there's virtually no downside to purchasing a refurbished model. The quality is superb and the price savings can be worth the wait. This guide covers all the ins and outs of refurbished products, from release timelines and prospective price savings to warranty information and stock information.
Apple repairs these products and replaces all faulty parts before offering them for sale again through the online refurbished site. Refurbished products are only available through Apple's website and are not offered within retail stores.
The stock on Apple's refurbished site is based on what people return or have replaced. That means the refurbished products that are available are constantly fluctuating and are only available in very limited quantities. It also means many of the Macs that are available may not be stock machines, instead featuring various upgrades to hardware like RAM, SSD storage, and processors.
Purchasing a refurbished Mac can be confusing because Apple offers older machines right alongside newer machines. It's often difficult to tell the difference between processors and other hardware between years, especially for those who don't keep up with what's new in Apple's yearly refreshes.
Before making a purchase from the refurbished store, make sure to thoroughly read all product descriptions and research the hardware in the machine to make sure that it meets your needs. Many older Macs continue to be capable options that will last for many years, but there can be some notable differences in both performance and included features.
There are some useful sites that can help you keep an eye on stock in Apple's refurbished store, sending an alert whenever a desired model is added. Refurb.me displays each product Apple has in stock, lists the date a specific model was last available, and lets users set up an alert to be notified when a particular model is back in the store. Refurb.me includes availability statistics and pricing history, which are both useful tools when choosing a refurbished product to purchase.
Refurb Tracker lets you select specific product categories to watch, with notifications available through email or an RSS feed. Refurb Tracker and Refurb.me both support tracking refurbished products in all of the countries where Apple has a refurbished online store, and they're excellent resources for finding the exact refurbished device that you want.
The main reason to purchase a refurbished Apple product is for the hefty discount, which drops the prices on both current-generation Macs and iPads and older now-discontinued machines. Discounts on iPads and Macs generally range from 15 to 20 percent, but on rare occasions prices, can drop by as much as 25 percent. The older a machine is, the lower the price will be.
On many models, Apple includes the discount percentage and the exact amount saved, but for others, including older Macs, manual price comparisons will need to be made. Prices take into account the hardware upgrades included in refurbished built-to-order Macs.
In most cases, Apple's refurbished prices aren't going to beat the discounts you can get from unofficial third-party sites that offer refurbished machines, but they are going to be more affordable than new machines. Apple's refurbished discounts also often beat sale prices on newer products available from third-party retailers like Best Buy, MacMall, and Amazon.
A refurbished product sold by Apple is nearly indistinguishable from a new product, aside from the packaging. Apple's refurbished products come in a plain white box with an "Apple Certified Refurbished" guarantee and the name of the product on the front. In contrast, Apple's retail packaging often includes eye-catching images of the product.
Apple sells all of its refurbished products with the same one-year warranty and 90 days of phone support that it offers with all of its standard retail products. That means if something goes wrong with a refurbished product during the first 365 days after you buy it, Apple will fix the issue at no cost or offer a free replacement.
AppleCare+ can be purchased alongside refurbished products, extending the warranty period. For Macs, purchasing the AppleCare+ Protection Plan extends warranty coverage and telephone support to a full three years (or more with a subscription), regardless of the year the Mac was originally released. Apple will fix any manufacturing issues that arise, including faulty batteries that retain less than 80 percent charge. Two incidents of accidental damage per year are also included.
When a new Apple product is released, it does not become available for purchase from the refurbished store for several months. Most products are available after a three or four month wait, but refurbished versions of products with supply constraints may not be available for six to nine months after launch.
M always denotes a new retail device, while N is used for iPhones that have been earmarked by Apple for replacements. These can be new devices or refurbished devices. Apple's use of "P" and "F" is less clear, but "N" and "M" appear to be regularly used based on our research of refurbished iPhones.
Apple's online refurbished store is the only source for official refurbished products certified by Apple. No third-party retailers are permitted to sell machines that have been guaranteed by Apple's refurbishing process.
You may see other sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Gazelle, Mac of All Trades, and others offering refurbished Macs at low price, but these do not come with the same warranty and have not been tested by Apple. Refurbished Macs purchased from third-party resellers will include more limited warranties and are not be eligible to receive one year of free support from Apple.
If you plan on purchasing an Apple product and don't mind waiting until a few months after it's released, there's no reason to choose a new device over a refurbished device. With enough patience, you can find the exact model you're looking for, and the process goes even quicker if you have some flexibility on specs that could vary due to build-to-order upgrades. 041b061a72