Used Apple MacBook: Where and how to buy

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As Apple continues to expand and upgrade its entire line of Macs, early adopters are selling older but still usable Intel-powered Macs – and even some models that support it. Newer Apple M1. The change could benefit Mac users who are looking for a lot of things and aren’t worried about having the latest and most powerful MacBooks available.

If you’re looking to save yourself some cash on a new Mac, you have many options for buying a used or refurbished Apple computer – including a current one. ours Apple’s best laptop choose in M1 MacBook Air. And whether you’re looking to upgrade from a sluggish Mac or PC, or your MacBook ultimately failed after a fourth cup of coffee spilled all over your keyboard, buying a new Mac doesn’t need to be. It’s a costly endeavor.

Before we dive into your shopping options, it’s important to note the difference between a used Mac and a refurbished Mac.

Used Mac vs Refurbished

When shopping for any piece of furniture in a thrift store, you’ll often see these two terms mentioned – often without much explanation as to what each term means.

A used Mac, be it a Mac Mini or MacBook Pro, already has an owner who is usually the person who sold it. The device may or may not have a remaining warranty or AppleCare plan included. There is no guarantee other than the word of the seller that the device is in proper working order; you have to believe what is said in the list. It’s not uncommon for used appliances to have scratches or dents, their picture always having to be included in an item’s listing. If a photo is not clear, request better photos before completing the checkout process. If the seller doesn’t want to take more photos, keep shopping. Used appliances are usually sold on an as-is basis.

Refurbished Macs go a step further. Usually, a used Mac is traded in or returned to a company like Apple or Amazon. The company then goes through the Mac to look for any problems or defects, replacing the screen or case to make the item look like new. And if anything goes wrong with the internals, the computer will be repaired to like-new condition. Most companies offer some form of warranty to insure their work.

Know what you get

Apple’s line of Macs has changed quite a bit over the past few years. Some Macs still use Intel processors, while most newer models use Apple’s M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max processors provide better performance.

It’s important to note the type of processor inside the Mac you’re looking to buy. Intel Macs can last many years or be fairly new. We recommend searching for the model number or requesting the “About This Mac” screenshot to show you the model number and year your Mac was released.

For example, someone selling a used Intel iMac might have the latest model available, or an iMac that’s more than 10 years old. The easiest way to determine what year it was released, and by extending its shelf life to you, is to ask for the model number (which you can then Google to find its release date).

Other notable items to look for besides the processor are the amount of storage and memory a Mac has. When buying any MacBook or iMac, you’ll also want to be aware of the screen size. It’s also important to note that older, previously used devices may not have the same battery life as when they came out of the box.

As we mentioned in the previous section, the best thing you can do when shopping – especially for a used Mac – is to ask lots of questions and take pictures.

With the gist of what you need to find covered, let’s dive into where you can go shopping.

Apple Refurbished Store

Apple has a online refurbishment shop offer a full range of new devices throughout the year, sell out, and then more devices come in. The point is, you never really know what’s going to be available at a particular time, so if you’re not in a rush to make a new purchase, check the store periodically. Currently, Apple has a long list of Macs in store, including one MacBook Air supports M1 for $849 ($150 off) and the newest MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 for $1,099 ($200 off). Just don’t expect to see newer Mac M1s like MacBook Pro 14 inch and Mac Studio are only mentioned here.

The best part of the Apple Certified Refurbishment store is that every Mac is fully inspected, repaired, and cleaned. You also get a full one-year Apple warranty with any purchase from their refurbished store, adding extra peace of mind with your purchase.


Another option is Decluttr. You can buy or sell various technology items on the site, including Macs. All Macs listed on Decluttr are refurbished and come with a 12-month limited warranty to give you peace of mind and protect your investment should anything go wrong.

Each product listing includes the year of the particular model you’re looking at, making it easy to gauge how old your computer is. For example, this one MacBook Air 2020 M1 listed at $784.99. It has been fully refurbished and comes with a 12-month warranty and a 14-day worry-free return policy.

One thing to look out for on Decluttr is the revamped ratings. That same MacBook Air M1 is classified as Pristine Refurbished, which means it’s almost as good as new. Other devices will be classified as Very Good Refurbished (some signs of light use) or Refurbished with “moderate signs of wear”.

Amazon is renewed

Amazon sell renewed products, including older Macs. According to Amazon, renewed products have been tested and proven to work and look like new. There may be scratches on the product from time to time, but nothing takes away from the core functionality of the device.

As for the warranty, Amazon offers a 90-day satisfaction guarantee on any Renew purchases. During that time, you can return the product for a full refund or exchange.

Most of the Macs on Amazon’s website are older, with some newer models being added. Eg: 2015 13-inch MacBook Air with Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage for $264. Or have a MacBook Air 2020 Intel Core i3 with 8GB of Memory, 256GB of Storage and Retina Display for $699.

Amazon, arguably, offers the most options for the widest range of budgets – you just have to feel comfortable being able to get a fairly old device.


Swappa started out as a place for people to sell or buy used phones. It has expanded in recent years to include pretty much every gadget you can think of, including a calculator. There are a number of Mac products currently available for purchase from fellow Swappa users.

When it comes Swappa, remember you are buying a used – not refurbished – product. Swappa policies require that a number of images with product listing numbers be posted for each listing, and Swappa staff are available to assist if you have any issues with sellers dodging questions or settling in. behave rudely.

It’s one of the few exchange sites where we’ve spotted the new 2021 MacBook Pro, with MacBook Pro 14 inch currently starting at $1,550 (usually $1,999) and 16 inch model will cost $1,929 (normally $2,499).

Finally, don’t be afraid to make suggestions in the comments of the list. Most sellers are willing to negotiate and trade, especially if they have an incentive to get rid of a device to help finance the purchase of something new.

What about transactions?

You can always trade in your existing Mac to help offset the cost of a new computer, if that’s the route you want to go. Apple accepts purchases directly on its website or in stores, giving you instant discounts on the purchase price of your computer. You’ll need to answer a few questions about its condition and what accessories you plan to have it on (such as a charger).

Though for those of you who are buying one elsewhere or – let’s be real – if you just want cash, we recommend trading through a site like Decluttr. Basically, you’ll describe your Mac and its condition, they’ll give you an estimate, and you’ll give the device to them for inspection. Decluttr even provides shipping labels, and once they check, you can accept the final offer value or decline it.

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