As good as they might be, the premium price charged for Apple Macs can put people off buying one. Especially when you could buy or build two or three Windows PCs for the same price. But why pay the Apple premium when you don’t have to? Why not buy a used Mac instead? With that in mind, today’s post is going to discuss where to buy refurbished Apple Macs and what to look out for when buying one.
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Apple say their devices have an average lifespan of four years. That means any device you buy will have a decent lifespan before needing replacement or repair. Given how fast technology moves, I’m not sure I would wait that long for an upgrade but it’s nice to know I could if I wanted to.
Refurbished vs. Used
It is important to distinguish the difference between a plain used Apple Mac and a refurbished one. When shopping for a second hand Mac, a normal used one will have been wiped and prepared for sale. A refurbished one will have been checked over by a (hopefully) qualified technician and had any issues addressed before being offered for sale. A refurbished computer should be as good as new and work flawlessly out of the box.
Where to buy a refurbished Mac
You have a couple of options when buying a refurbished Mac. Much depends on how much of a saving you are looking for and whether you are willing to pay a little extra for a certified used product.
Apple Refurb Store
The best place to buy a refurbished Mac is obviously going to be the Apple Refurb Store. The store sells a wide range of laptops, iMac, Mac, MacBook and other products from its range. All are certified as fully working and have been tested, checked and prepared by Apple-certified technicians.
There is a premium to pay for this service though and prices reflect that. They also reflect the fact you’re buying direct from Apple. However, if you are more concerned about the quality of the product rather than the price, this is the place to buy.
Local computer store
I always recommend supporting your local computer store. We need them and the diversity they bring. The chain stores may be cheaper on some things but nothing beats the service of a local retailer. If you have a decent computer store in your city, they may also sell refurbished Apple Macs. You might want to check they are certified by Apple before purchasing one just to make sure.
Either way, the warranty it should come with will cover you for most things that can go wrong with a used computer. Brick and mortar stores will usually take more care to deliver a quality product as they know you can always find them. Take advantage of that.
Online computer store
Some major online computer retailers have refurbished sections on their websites. There are also Refurbished Apple specialist websites online. There are a number of both types of website that offer a range of deals on used and refurbished Macs. They usually have a huge range of types and specifications too.
The upside to using an online retailer is the price. They can afford to be competitive so will offer steep discounts on some models. The downside is that if anything goes wrong, you have to courier your Mac back to them for repair. Customer service on some online stores leaves a lot to be desired too.
What to look out for when buying a refurbished Mac
Guarantees and warranties differ from buying new so you as a buyer need to be more away of what you’re doing. Here are a few things to look out for when buying a refurbished Mac.
If you choose not to buy from the Apple Refurb Store, you need to check that the computer has been checked over by an Apple certified technician. Apple computers may use standard components now but there are still Apple-specific things that need to be checked.
Different retailers offer different types of warranty. No two are ever the same so check carefully before hitting Buy. Apple offers a one year free warranty with all Apple Macs. Your retailer of choice should also offer a decent warranty without too many restrictions or caveats. If it reads badly, avoid.
Apple has form for quickly superseding hardware and replacing it. If you’re after something specific like an optical drive or FireWire or want USB-3 you need to check the specifications carefully. While the core hardware is always high end, some of the components and peripherals change all the time.
Buying a refurbished Mac is a great way to experience Mac without paying the Apple entry fee. As with any expensive purchase, do your research, read the fine print and shop carefully!