Should You Buy a Refurbished Mac: Pros and Cons

Apple computers are very popular. They sport industry-leading build quality. A user-friendly software ecosystem and design are mostly commendable. Sadly, they also come with some of the hottest price tags in the personal computer industry.

The good news is that you can buy a Mac directly from Apple at a substantial discount. Usually in the 15-20% range. The only regret is that the Mac in question was previously owned by someone else. These “refurbished” Macs can be tempting, but should you buy a refurbished Mac?

New Vs Refurbished Mac?

First of all, in this article, we cover Apple’s internal refurbishment program. Not refurbished by a third party. So how does it work?

Apple accepts used products from a variety of sources. For example, they offer trade discounts to customers who are purchasing new products. If those Macs are good enough for refurbishment, Apple will include them in the program. Otherwise, they are recycled properly.

A set of Apple devices seen from above

Apple cleans, tests, and repairs or replaces whatever they need. Once completed, the product looks like new. It comes packaged in new packaging, includes accessories, and comes with a one-year warranty. Yes, the discount is pretty small in the grand scheme of things, but by all accounts, Apple’s refurbishment program is pretty thorough.

So if you decide to go down this route, what are the pros and cons to consider?

Pro: Better specs for the same coin

Macs are generally quite modest in specs, although quite expensive. This means that the Mac you want may have to make room for a slightly slower machine, which is in your price range.

Apple's processor chip

Because Apple often takes time when it comes to updating their Mac lines, getting a refurbished Mac can get you a Mac that’s a notch above the new price you can afford. That can mean the difference between an OK user experience and a great one.

This is especially true when it comes to built-in memory. Apple only charges a substantial amount of cash for storage, which means the savings you get on a refurbished model could be enough to give you a more comfortable amount of space for the same price. .

Pro: One year warranty

You get the same warranty with a refurbished Mac that you do with a new one. Apple treats these computers equally from a warranty and support perspective.

Two people laughing in a cafe

This is certainly better than getting a shorter warranty as some other computer manufacturers may have done, but it is also a double-edged sword. As we will clarify when we realize the cons of this decision.

Pro: It’s (Physically) Clean

Buying a used Mac directly from a previous owner can save you significant savings, but it can also bring home some new friends you didn’t invite. That’s right, from cockroaches to germs, the average person wouldn’t deliver a pristine Mac to you.

Hand wipe down the surface

It’s not even their fault. In general, Macs cannot serve users. Apple has the tools and trained technicians to be able to open that Mac and do a deep clean. This alone makes it a better deal.

Pro: Might be cheaper than buying a used Mac elsewhere in the long run

If you buy a used Mac directly from its previous owner or (for example) at a pawn shop, you’ll likely get it at a much larger discount than the refurbished route. However, if that Mac needs any kind of professional repair, you’re looking at a hefty bill to get the job done by a certified repairer.

Piggy bank

If you take an opportunity and something goes wrong, fixing it is often not worth it, which means you won’t have both your used Mac and the money you spent on it.

Because refurbished Macs come with a one-year warranty and qualify for optional AppleCare, you have a way to access Apple repair services for a single, predictable price you can factor in the cost of ownership. From that point of view, it makes a lot of sense, unless the used deal is extremely good.

Con: One year warranty

What is this? Didn’t we just say that this belongs in the “professional” column? Well, this is a double-edged sword. Refurbished Macs can be quite old, especially since Apple doesn’t regularly update them.

iMac screen broken

In other words, even though warranties are of the same length, the new product has a beginning in terms of wear and tear, which brings us to the next point.

Con: You usually buy an older device

As mentioned above, Apple has been pretty slow to refresh Macs over the years. This creates an interesting situation where a refurbished device may resemble a current or previous model but is in absolute terms a bit dated. This means that fans, hinges, keyboard switches, and the like may have experienced significant wear and tear.

The original Macintosh computer

Mechanical hard drives and SSDs also experience more failure as they age, and components like the display backlight are also more likely to die with age. Those components may not be considered a problem during refurbishment but can lead to failure right out of the one-year warranty included in the base price.

One way to get around this is to only buy refurbished versions of recently refreshed Mac models. So you know the manufacturing date is unlikely before the refresh occurs.

The Bottom Line: Should YOU Buy a Refurbished Mac?

Ultimately, you need to consider whether the small discount these machines get is worth the bet on Apple’s build quality. If any of the components Apple overlooked is on the verge of failure, then you have to hope that it fails within the one-year warranty period or pay extra for AppleCare.

if you did not will get Apple Care with a new Mac, this will forfeit the cost benefit. However, if you’re going to buy iCare, buying a refurbished model still shows similar savings overall. As such, we wholeheartedly recommend purchasing a refurbished Mac with Apple’s extended warranty in that condition.

Woman shrugs

On the other hand, if you only plan on continuing with the included one-year warranty, the small savings you get with a refurbished model won’t increase the risk that certain components will fail over time. medium term.

Another factor that deserves attention is Apple’s return program. If you have a qualifying second-hand Apple product, you can get a much larger discount on a new Mac than the small discount a refurbished Mac typically offers. Since you can’t exchange your device for refurbishment, this is probably the better overall deal.

So on balance, a refurbished one is relatively safe to buy. It’s a better deal than buying a used Mac elsewhere and should be seriously considered if your budget depends on the small discount they get. If you don’t get Apple Care or can afford a slightly lower-spec machine, you should get the best new Mac you can afford.

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