I think Apple Macintosh computers are some of the best-made hardware you can find. They’re small, well-made and they last a lot longer than most similarly configured Windows PCs. I have family members who have MacBooks and MacBook Pros that are pushing ten years old, and they still work very well.
If you’re looking for a quality notebook or desktop computer, a Mac is a good way to go. They last, are well-built and can run just about any desktop operating system available. Unfortunately, they are among the most expensive computers on the market.
One of the best ways to reduce that cost is to buy refurbished, but that can present its own problems and challenges. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that you should look for when buying a refurbished Mac.
1. Buy from a Trusted Source
Refurbished Macs are available from a number of Apple-trusted partners like B&H Photo or Adorama or Mac of all Trades; the key here is to buy from a trusted source where they have high quality standards for certified used goods.
You can also get refurbished products directly from Apple.
2. Time It Just Right
Ordering refurbished products is often a matter of timing. Because everything is repaired or reconditioned, there’s no steady supply of what you might be looking for. You will need to watch what your trusted source has in stock at the time you’re looking to buy.
You may need to consider buying from more than one trusted source, so take a look around. Watch their refurbished inventory, as it may be cyclical. Inventory may fluctuate around specific times of the year – Christmas, Back to School, etc.
When one of your trusted sources has the product you’re looking for, pull the trigger. There’s no telling when that source may have the product configuration you’re looking for back in stock.
3. Buy as Big and as New as You Can
Unfortunately, Macs are expensive. Even when you buy used or refurbished, you’re still likely to spend a great deal more than for a similarly-configured Windows PC. When considering a Mac, I always give the same advice – if you’re going to spend THAT much money, always buy as much as you can afford, and then maybe even some.
Many Macs are very difficult to upgrade, if they can be upgraded at all. Buying big (“big” as in more powerful specs) insures that as the machine ages, you’ll have all the computing power you need. Similarly configured Windows machines may be much cheaper, but they won’t last nearly as long. More-cheaply-made electronic components always wear out fast. Buying the best Mac you can afford will insure that you’ll have the best possible configuration for a long time.
Watch for Support Issues, Service Notes and Recalls
Many computers get refurbished for a number of different service and repair reasons. If you’re looking to buy refurbished, you’re going to want to make certain that the models you’re considering don’t have any outstanding service issues. While refurbished products are as good as new, resolved issues can recur.
For example, in 2013 Apple acknowledged a graphics problem with the Early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro. In 2015 Apple acknowledged a problem with the Intel Iris 6100 graphics adapter. Also in 2015 Apple acknowledged battery-life problems with their MPBs. In 2018 Apple acknowledged issues with keyboards in 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros with Touch Bar. When you get the information you’re looking for, use it to help you with purchasing decisions. Buying expensive problems sucks.
The best place to find this type of information is in the forum and support sections of a number of trusted websites. You can check for issues and problems from some of the following trusted sources:
- Apple Support – Notebooks
- Apple Support – Desktop Computers
- Apple Insider – Current Mac Hardware
- iMore – Apple Notebooks
- iMore – Apple Desktops
- MacRumors Mac Blog Discussion
Buying refurbished Macs is a great way to get the Mac you want at a reduced price. They often come with the same warranty as new Macs and are even eligible for Apple Care. Follow the above tips, and you will be able to get your favorite Mac at a lower price.
Image credit: iMac computer, Mac book, iPhone, keyboard and mouse on black table by Aliona-art/Shutterstock