Buying Secondhand MacBook – The ultimate guide

There are a few things you should check when purchasing a Mac notebook secondhand, in addition to checking the hard drive, keyboard, trackpad and mouse. Things can go wrong, even when we know that Apple builds high quality machines. But MacBooks are complicated pieces of machinery and you may know nothing about the previous owner.

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Published by DetroitBORG on Mar 10, 2015

Buying Secondhand MacBook

Checking a Secondhand MacBook

Ensure That the Battery Charges: Plug the computer and check that the battery charges correctly. A light on the side of the connection keeps you informed of charging status. As always with Apple products, orange signifies charging and green light indicates fully charged. The chargers on recent notebooks should be held in place magnetically (MagSafe).

Test if the Battery Holds Charge

The amount of charge the battery still holds is very important when buying a secondhand computer. A new MacBook battery provides up to 8 hours of used (but it depends on the type and size of battery). This capacity drops over use. Sometimes a full charge on an old battery will not last even 30 minutes, and eventually the battery will fail to hold any charge at all. So you should check the battery life indicator in the menu bar. Make sure it displays the time instead of the percentage (to switch to Time from Percentage, ᴂ + click on the battery icon and choose Show – Time from the drop-down menu. Then wait a few minutes for the notebook to operate without a charge. See how much remaining time is displayed.

Check the Lid

The lid must open and close smoothly. The modern MacBook range has a magnetic clasp that connects the base to the lid. Older models have a silver tab on the front of the computer that the user pushes in to release the lid. These tabs are error-prone, so be careful and check them thoroughly.

macbook pro 15 inch late touch 2016 600x548 - Buying Secondhand MacBook - The ultimate guide

Check for Dents

While MacBooks are sturdy creatures, you should check thoroughly for dents. If a Mac has been dropped, the dents are a clear sign of mistreatment.

Look for Signs of Scruffiness

Any computer is prone to collecting dirt. If the owner didn’t clean the device, it may be a sign that he or she has taken less care of the item than was appropriate, and you should pay more attention to every detail.

Make Sure the Backlit Keyboard Works

If the unit has a backlit keyboard, darken the room and look whether the keyboard works correctly.

Test If the Device Sleeps

When the lid is closed, the MacBook should go to sleep. Just look at the white Apple logo on the reverse of the display. The logo should light up when the notebook is in use. It should quickly turn off when the lis is closed.

Check the Apple Warranty and Applecare

Apple offers a year of support and care with its new Macs. Besides you can purchase a longer support package, called AppleCare, which offers 3 years of coverage from the original date of purchase. AppleCare provides telephone support and global repair of both software and hardware, but the system doesn’t cover everything (for example, they can refuse to cover your expenses if the damages has been caused by the water spilled on the computer, and so on).

Ask for a Guarantee

Well, there is no guarantee of the seller’s honesty, but asking about a guarantee is a good way to go about any sale. When you purchase via an auction site, such as eBay, is that you can check whether the seller offers a guarantee, whether he or she uses the PayPal Buyer Protection program, whether eBay Resolution Center will interfere in your favor, etc.)

What About the Option of Buying a Refurbished Mac?

Many think that refurb is just a term that means previously broken and repaired. Indeed, some of these computers weere returned as faulty and have been repaired. Other devices may have been returned to Apple for a number of other reasons, such as non-payment on a credit plan. Then the returned item was refurbished. However, when you buy a refurbished Mac from the Apple Store, you get the full 12-months warranty that comes with a new Mac, as well as you can purchase an additional AppleCare plan (to extend the period of service and repair to 3 years). Thus the quality of the refurbished Mac is protected by Apple. When purchasing a refurbished machine, you save at least 10 percent or more on the item (sometimes the discount can be as good as one-third off the retail price). You may buy a nice Mac which Apple lent to media sources to test it out or which were used to show off Apple electronics at trade shows and other events, such as Macworld Expo. In this case, the product is placed into the refurbishment scheme even when it is absolutely clean and in an excellent working condition. A refurbished model may show signs of previous use. But it was checked out, it works properly, it comes with guarantee. Thus the refurb section of the Apple Store is definitely worth checking out.

How Much Is That My Mac Worth?

You can measure the worth of a Mac by heading to a website called iGotOffer ( You’ll certainly get an accurate valuation.


  • A good way to determine the value of your device: Check iGotOffer Website to see the price of your Apple computer. We pay the highest prices online for your used consumer electronics: Sell my used Mac.


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