Buying a Refurbished Mac

You can save some money when you buy your next Mac by buying a refurbished model. Apple lists refurbished Macs on their website. These Macs are tested and come with the same warranty as new Macs. You can also buy other Apple products like iPads in this same section of the Apple store.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Buying a Refurbished Mac.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's look at buying a refurbished Mac to save some money.

If you are considering buying a new Mac or an iPad or any Apple products soon and you have a tight budget one of the things you might want to consider is buying a refurbished Mac. It is very easy to find the refurbished section in the Apple site. Just go to and scroll to the bottom. At the bottom you'll find a link, right here, for refurbished. Click on that and you'll go to this interface that shows you all of the refurbished items that Apple has for sale, directly from Apple right now.

So what are refurbished Macs. Well, sometimes they are machines that somebody has returned because there is a defect. What Apple will do is then figure out what is wrong with it, repair it, maybe replace parts or maybe just reinstall the system or something like that. Then they package it up with all new parts like a new power adapter, cables, and things like that. It is in a totally new box and it is cleaned off and everything like that.

Sometimes it is a Mac that didn't have anything wrong with it because people can return Macs they say this isn't the right one for me or maybe I should have bought a different model. That kind of thing. Anything that has been opened up and used by somebody and then returned. Then Apple will go a refurbish it.

Now the key thing is that after they have refurbished it they test it again to make sure it is all working. So technically you should be getting the same quality you get when you buy a new Mac. The difference is, the main difference is for me, that you won't find the latest model. If an new iMac came out just that week you probably won't find a refurbished version of it for a month or two or three down the road. So if you want the latest one that just came out you may not find it refurbished. But if you just want the iMac that came out earlier this year or MacBook Pro that came out earlier this year you probably will find a refurbished version of it.

You can go and just limit yourself to looking at just one product like Macs and then see what they've got in stock here. You can see their savings are pretty substantial. 16%, 15%, 15% off of different things, off different prices. Here's a MacBook Air that is 22% off the regular prices, 24% off. So you can get some pretty significant savings here. You can browse through.

Now this inventory changes all the time. So you have to kind of check back if there is a specific model that you are looking for. Let's go and look at this 24% off MacBook Pro. You can see what the price is and all the information about it. Of course, obviously, you can't customize it. If you want to highly customized Mac with exact specs that you want then refurbished probably isn't for you because you want to order specifically what you want. Here this is the model you get, this is the model that's in the box. You can actually order and have this one shipped to you.

Back here at the main page you can see there's is information about what Apple provides. You still get the one year warranty. You'll still get all the great support you normally get. So if you are worried that you will get a dud because you ordered a refurbished Mac, well just remember if you get that you just take it right back to Apple and they've got to replace it or fix it or whatever. Just like if it was new.

You can also find out more things here. Like about the refurbishment process. Apple has got a whole bunch of information here if you still have more questions about it.

So the question is, Do I buy refurbished Macs? The answer is yes. Actually the MacPro that I'm using right now to record this video I bought refurbished earlier this year. It has worked perfectly fine. I waited probably three or four weeks to find the exact model that I wanted showing up as a refurbished model. I ordered it, got it, and it worked fine right out of the box. Also my MacBook Pro that I currently use, the 13 inch MacBook Pro that I bought last year, I also bought that refurbished. I just can't justify spending a few extra hundred dollars on a machine just because it is new rather than refurbished when it is the exact model that I want.

So its worked fine for me. I know it has worked fine for a lot of people. It hasn't worked fine for everybody but then neither has been buying a new Mac because there is always the possibility that you might get something with a defect in it whether it is new or refurbished. So refurbished is something for you to consider when you are buying your next Mac or any Apple product.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Buying a Refurbished Mac”

    Bob Douglass
    3 years ago

    Thanks for exposing this much-underrated service from Apple. For years, I have always suggested that my ‘students’ look at a refurbished model.
    I, personally, have probably purchased 10-or-so refurbished Macs over the years. The products are always perfect, and sometimes are even supplied with more memory, etc. than noted. Just be sure to note that ‘refurbished’ units from OTHER resellers may-or-may-not have been through the Apple refurbished program.

    3 years ago

    Thanx for the tip. Soon due to update. Definitely another option

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the very helpful information.

    3 years ago

    This is definitely the way to go.

    Since 2006, I’ve purchased 4 MBP’s, 4 iMac’s, 2 iPads, a Time Capsule and an AppleTV — all refurbished.

    I’ve never found a finger print smudge on any of these and as far as I can tell, the only difference is that they came in a plain brown shipping box instead of the glossy apple white box. I do think that the serial numbers indicate if the unit was sold refurbished but I never had any issues getting AppleCare or service from Apple.

    3 years ago

    Another alternative to keeping tabs on official refurbs from Apple is:

    You can setup an account and monitor whichever Apple products interest you.

    3 years ago

    There is a theory that the refurbished item is actually better than a new one. For example the much-discussed pixel failure threshold (how many pixels in a display have to fail before getting a replacement).
    What is certain is that the refurbished item will have had more scrutiny than a new one.

    Lee Taylor
    3 years ago

    Great video, as usual. I own a 2011 iMac & really enjoy it. Am considering getting my wife a 2012 or 2013 Macbook Pro, but Apple’s prices are a little steep for me. Viewed, who I use extensibly, or do you know anything about “”? User comments seem to be outstanding & are priced very well. Would appreciate your feedback.

      3 years ago

      Never heard of them before. The prices didn’t look that good for a 3-year-old Mac. If you figure a Mac lasts about 6 years before it becomes outdated, then you are buying something that will need to be replaced in half the time. Plus, it is used and you don’t know what it has been through. That’s even more of a concern with a MacBook when batteries are involved.
      A brand new MacBook Air is $899. Cheaper for a refurb from Apple and there are others there for under $1000 too. That is the better value in the long run. Look to save money by getting something that will last, instead of something that is cheap right now.

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