Apple makes great computers, but they’re not always the cheapest to buy: a brand-new Mac can be a quick way to empty your bank account. Many Mac buyers therefore look at secondhand options. You can get a great deal by buying a refurbished Apple Mac computer from the Apple Refurbished Store, or by picking up a second hand computer from eBay or from your local Apple reseller.
Which is, of course, if you even know the Apple Refurb Store exists. Buying a new Mac is always a joy, but many people aren’t aware that it is also possible to pick up a price-reduced, refurbished Mac from the Apple website. This guide will show you how to get a great deal on a Mac by checking out the Apple Refurbished store and other reliable outlets.Should I buy a refurbished Mac?
One great trick that every Apple fan should know is how to pick up kit from the Apple Refurbished Store. You can buy refurbished Apple Macs, as well as other Apple products, from this special section of the online store.
Refurbished Macs are likely to be returned models (if it is from a previous year), or reconditioned current models. A reconditioned Mac could be an ex-demonstration model used during Apple teaching programmes, or a unit sold to a customer who decided to return it. The returned unit may have been faulty (and fixed) or may simply have been returned under the standard sale-and-returns procedure. (Apple allows any customer to return a Mac bought from the Apple Store within 14 days for a refund – see Standard Returns Policy).
Macs and MacBooks sold through the Apple Refurbished Store are not necessarily old models that have not been sold. Tim Cook has made Apple’s production so tight that the company is rumoured to turn over its entire inventory every five days (only McDonalds has a faster turnover!). So Apple does not need to stockpile its products and Macs sold on the refurb store are second hand.
The important thing to note is that Macs bought from the Apple Refurbished Store are not discernibly different from new ones bought direct from the Apple Store. All Macs bought from the Apple Refurbished Store are cleaned, checked, tested and visually indistinguishable from brand new models.
Buying a refurbished Mac: What is the warranty and returns procedure?
Apple states: “Before we put a refurbished Mac, iPod, iPad or Apple TV up for sale in Special Deals, it undergoes a rigorous refurbishment process to make sure it’s up to Apple’s tough quality standards.” (iPhones are not currently sold through the Refurbished Store.)
More importantly, a reconditioned Mac comes with the same one-year warranty (extendable to three years with AppleCare protection.) You also get the same sales and return procedure with Apple, and can return a Mac bought from the Refurbished Store within 14 days if you’re not happy with it – but note you’ll have to post it back, as Apple will not accept returns to a physical Apple Store on refurbished products.
The only noticeable difference from our experience is that any refurbished urb Mac will be packaged in a brown box rather than the white retail box they normally arrive in. Aside from that we have yet to pick up a Mac from the Refurbised Store and find it wanting.
The price for reconditioned Macs changes frequently but is typically 10 to 20 percent less than the original price. With Macs commanding a high retail price this can be quite a difference. For example, a 13.3-inch MacBook Air can be found on the Refurbished Store for £719, a £130 saving on the £849 you’d pay for the exact same model on the Apple Store.
Buying a Mac from the Refurb Store? Check the specifications carefully
Because Many Macs on the refurb store are last year’s models you should check the specifications carefully. It’s worth noting that most new Macs contain the very latest high-end components, so even last year’s model from the Apple Refurbished Store tends to have quite high specification components.
It’s worth taking a look at the Refurbished Store if you deliberately want to pick up an older model. Apple is often quick off the mark to phase out features it deems no longer necessary, such as optical drives, FireWire sockets, replaceable hard drives and so on. So some people may genuinely prefer an earlier model with a feature they don’t quite want to live without just yet.
However, if you catch the Store around six months after a Mac has come out, you’ll find it with money off. Getting a current, top of the range Mac or MacBook for 15% off is surely a great feeling.