The Best Place to Buy Used Mac is Apple Refurbished Online Store

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If you’re looking to buy a used Mac to save some cash, it’s best to do it directly from Apple’s online refurbished store. We’ve bought used Macs from just about anywhere under the sun, from friends, colleagues, Craigslist, and eBay, but nothing beats Apple’s official Certified offering. Why? Apple Certified Remanufactured Products have been thoroughly tested, cleaned, and defective items have been replaced. For portable devices, Apple Refurbs usually get brand new batteries too. You can read more about the official refurbishment process here, but we’ll cover six main reasons why we think buying a refurbished device is the best choice when buying in the used Mac market.

1: competitive prices

Apple certified refurbs are often cheaper than buying on the secondhand market from places like Craigslist and Ebay. For example, a base model 2011 MacBook Air 11 ″ from the Apple Refurb Store is $ 749, but the average price on Craigslist is closer to $ 800. Yes, there are outliers on both Craigslist and Ebay, but those lower prices can come with hidden costs . Has the eBay / Craigslist item been thoroughly tested before being resold? Have any defective items been replaced? Does it have a full manufacturer’s warranty? The answer to those questions probably isn’t, so while you might save $ 50 or so by finding a screaming deal, that could come back to bite you if the hard drive fails a few months later and there’s no more valid warranty.

Even the latest Macs are usually available as certified in the refurb store after a month or two thanks to returns. You typically save at least 15% off the sticker price by grabbing one of these instead of getting the same new.

Discount on refurbished Macs, even the latest new Mac models

2: 1 year full warranty – same as brand new

Aside from the discount, this is arguably the most important thing – you get the exact same 1 year warranty with a refurb as you would with a brand new Apple product, even if the refurbished item is a few model years behind. You also get the exact same great service if you call Apple or go to the Genius Bar in an Apple Store, there is no difference in service at all. This alone is worth going the certified route in our opinion.

3: Eligible for AppleCare extended warranties

Speaking of warranties, official refurbs are eligible for the full 3 year extended warranty through AppleCare. Macs purchased on the pre-owned market can only purchase the extended warranty if purchased within the last calendar year.

4: free and fast shipping

Apple always offers free basic shipping, and even the free shipping is fast. Of course, many eBay sellers also give you free shipping, but if you’ve shopped quite a bit on Ebay, you know that not all sellers ship for free, ship and package items properly, let alone ship items quickly. Apple’s refurbish shipping is very fast, usually the same or next day as the order, and everything is packed very well. Speaking of packaging, scroll down to see what the packaging looks like and how well a MacBook is protected.

5: Mostly suitable for OS X Up-To-date program

Almost all Macs currently sold in the Refurb Store are eligible for a free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion through the updater. If the Mac you buy elsewhere is still on Snow Leopard or Lion, you’ve lost at least $ 30. Don’t forget to charge for those fees. Plus, with the Up-to-date program offer, your Apple ID will get the OS X update, which means you can install it on your other Macs as well by downloading it again from the App Store.

6: Random upgrade lottery

As with playing the lottery, never buy from the refurb store expecting you to get lucky, but it’s not unheard of for some refurbished Apple gear to be upgraded with better hardware than you paid for. For the lucky few, you can sometimes get more RAM, a better processor, or an updated hard drive. Again, this is never something you should count on or bet on, but it does make for a very pleasant surprise if you’re lucky.

How about cons?

Of course there are a few things that aren’t that great, here are the top reasons you might not want to start remodeling:

  • Not configurable, what you see is what you get and that’s mostly the stock configurations
  • Choice and offer is limited to what is listed in the Refurbished Store, elsewhere you will find more diversity
  • You don’t get the same glossy Apple box as a brand new product, too bad for the box collectors out there
  • The “New Mac Smell” is not that strong, only the biggest Mac fans can understand it …
  • Sales tax is levied, unlike buying on the private market

What does an Apple certified refurbished unboxing look like?

Granted, unpacking a refurb isn’t as exciting as a brand new Apple item, but if you’re saving $ 400 + from new, do you really care? Here are a few photos of a refurbished MacBook Air and what the packaging looks like.

This is the discreet box that arrives:Refurbished Apple shipping box

To open up shows an “Apple Certified” box containing the power cables, manuals, Apple stickers, and everything else that usually comes with the Mac:Apple certified refurbished MacBook Air opening

If you pull that box out, you can see the ridiculously well-insulated and protected MacBook Air, floating in the middle with at least 4 ″ of foam on each side:MacBook Air refurbished box opening

Once you take the computer out, everything else is the same as buying a brand new device. It’s wrapped in plastic, the keyboard and screen have a cover / protector separating the two, and the cords are wrapped in plastic as usual. At this point, it is actually impossible to distinguish it from a brand new Mac. No complaints!

Have you bought a refurb from Apple? Would you? Why or why not? Let us know your experiences and thoughts in the comments!

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