SECOND HAND MACBOOK BUYING GUIDE
Are you looking to switch from Windows to Mac but have a limited budget? If this is the case, it sounds like the best course of action would be to purchase a refurbished Mac that comes with a warranty and free technical support.
Buying a pre-owned Mac computer is another option that will help you save additional cash. We are going to guide you through all of the necessary steps that you need to take in order to make sure that the Mac that you are going to purchase will not crash the very next day.
Note: Prior to meeting with the seller, it is a good idea to conduct some fundamental diagnostic procedures. Also, don’t forget to bring along some headphones and an external USB drive that already has macOS installed on it.
With each successive iteration, the price of a MacBook raises to the point where it is no longer affordable.
These days, there are a lot of people interested in purchasing previously owned MacBooks, thus the market is doing quite well. However, you must exercise caution. There is a significant quantity of sour lemons available.
Before you go out and purchase a used MacBook, use this article as a reference for everything you need to look out for.
Additionally, it provides you with unrestricted access to Fixxo’s guided MacBook QC tool, which allows you to examine a MacBook in great detail.
Determine the model, then go online to examine the configuration and the specifications.
Make sure you are well-informed on the item you intend to acquire prior to arranging a meeting with the seller. Inquire about the model number as well as the serial number of the MacBook. You may seek model configurations and specifications using everymac.
If you have the product’s serial number, you may verify its legitimacy and the scope of Apple’s warranty coverage here.
Compare the serial numbers obtained from the various sources
When you first make contact with the merchant. Verify the item’s serial number as the first order of business.
Take note of the serial number from each potential source, then check to see if they all match up. This will eliminate the possibility of any shady dealings.
- Start the MacBook, then go to the menu and select About this Mac. Note serial number
- There is a reference to the serial number on the bottom of the MacBook lid.
- There is a reference to the serial number on the box.
- The serial number can be found on the original receipt for the purchase (make sure to ask for it)
Determine the approximate age of that Mac.
Does the person who currently owns the Mac state that it still performs as if it were brand new? Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t make what you’re saying anything unique.
You can determine how old your Mac really is by navigating to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and selecting the About This Mac option.
Even if macOS is not currently installed on the secondhand Mac you are evaluating, you can determine its age by looking at its serial number.
When you flip the Mac over, you will see the serial number next to the regulatory markings on the back of the device. Make use of these tools to determine the model of your Mac, its age, as well as its level of support and warranty, which can be found on Apple’s coverage check homepage.
Check for any cosmetic damages
To begin the diagnostic process, carefully inspect the exterior of the used Mac for any signs of physical damage, such as scratches that are visible to the naked eye.
After that, examine each of the screws. The presence of loose screws on a Mac may be an indication that the computer has been repaired by a company that is not Apple-authorized. In addition to this, check to see that both the screen and the case are straight.
Last but not least, inspect the display’s hinges (the joints that hold the display and case together). These hinges ought to have sufficient strength to maintain the lid and prevent it from dropping to the ground accidentally.
You may be able to get a better deal on a used Mac if you uncover any damage and use that as leverage during the negotiation process.
Before you buy a used Mac, Run These Tests on Any Used Mac
- Make sure that both WiFi and Bluetooth are operating normally.
- Examine the condition of the battery’s physical components, if necessary.
- Examine the condition of the hard drive using Disk Utility or a comparable program.
- Examine the screen for any dead or malfunctioning pixels.
- Use either a DVD or a CD for testing if your Mac comes equipped with a DVD/CD combo drive.
- Try it out without the plug in order to gauge how well the battery will hold up.
- Check that the serial number printed on the box is the same as the one stored in the computer system.
- Check each of the USB ports with a flash USB thumb drive as well as a Thunderbolt or FireWire device.
- Start the check on the machine.
The iCloud account should be deleted from the MacBook.
It is of the utmost importance that the MacBook does not have an iCloud lock on it. Ask the seller to perform the following procedures so that you can sign out of your iCloud account on the MacBook: In the top menu bar, select the Apple icon (), then select System Preferences, then select “Apple ID,” and finally select “Password.” Followed by clicking the Sign Out button, navigating to the sidebar, and clicking Overview.
When you sign out of iCloud on your Mac, all of the iCloud functions are disabled. Included in this is the activation lock that may be activated on the MacBook by using the Find My app. This is of the utmost importance.
Make sure the charging adaptor is working.
Check to see if the chargers are functioning properly. Chargers for MacBooks, particularly older versions of the “Magsafe 2” adapters, are particularly susceptible to wear and tear.
Check the connection that connects the adapter brick to the charging port on the MacBook; the outside rubber sheath of the cable has a tendency to tear off. Which is not technically a deal breaker, but it is still something that can be used as a bargaining chip.
Check the five pins that are located on the cable’s end; the color of those pins should be gold, not black. It should raise a red flag if they have become black.
Make sure that the display is in working order.
Visit a dead pixels checker that covers your screen with solid colors in order to locate pixels on the display that are not functioning properly.
On the other hand, you might open photographs on the used Mac that have a background of a single color, such as red, green, blue, white, or black. If the display has any damaged pixels, they will appear as little black spots on the screen.
It is not a problem if there are one or two dead pixels in the image. However, if there are clusters of shattered pixels, it is highly recommended that you do not purchase this pre-owned MacBook.
Run Apple Diagnostics
This should be the very last step you take because it could take a little bit of extra time. Even though it might not detect many problems at the functionality level, it is still a useful tool for determining whether or not there are problems at the logic board or memory level.
In order to begin using Apple Diagnostics, which was formerly known as Apple Hardware Test:
- Turn off the Mac and disconnect all external devices, then turn it back on.
- After you have heard the startup chime, turn the device back on while holding down the D key.
- To begin the test, simply choose the language you require and then press the arrow button.
Conduct a test on the keyboard.
To determine whether or not the keyboard has a problem, use the Text Edit software that comes standard with macOS. Launch it and type each character using the keyboard.
Does it work well? Now, try the button labeled “Caps Lock” as well as the function keys. Does it work flawlessly? Great!
- Test of the keyboard in the text editor
- You could also make use of the Keyboard Viewer program. Select Show Keyboard Viewer from the language option that is located in the top menu bar of your screen. Now, each key that you hit is displayed in a new window that looks like a keyboard.
Make sure there is no lock on the firmware.
It is simple to overlook or forget about the firmware lock due to its inconspicuous location. On the other hand, it may develop into a major problem for you in the future. If the firmware on your MacBook is locked, you won’t be able to change or upgrade the solid-state drive (SSD) or boot from an external disc.
After you have powered off the Mac and restarted it, hit and hold the option () key as soon as you hear the starting chime. This will allow you to access the advanced startup options. In the event that you are asked for a firmware password, you have found the lock! Request that the owner switches it off, and then examines it again as described above.
Check Serial Number
Another essential feature of the device, this number is one that the purchaser frequently ignores, despite its importance. It is essential that you check the serial number that is associated with the Macbook. You may locate this number on the underside of your Macbook, closer to the hinge.
Check to determine if the serial number that is displayed on the machine is the same as the one that is stored in the program. Simply select the menu item > About this Mac.
The serial number is displayed in the final field. Kindly check to see if the serial number that is displayed on this page is the same as the one that is printed on the outside of the machine.
Perform checks on every aspect of the hardware
Now, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the situation. Perform tests on the speakers, Bluetooth, and wifi connections, as well as the keyboard, trackpad, and camera. Check the battery, all of the ports, and so on and so forth.
Now, we could provide a rundown of the steps necessary to complete each examination here. Instead, we have just finished compiling a detailed instruction manual on how to conduct a hardware test on a MacBook.
It guides you through the process of testing each functionality in a step-by-step manner and, in the end, generates a cute little report for the MacBook.
We strongly suggested that you access this guide on the MacBook that you are currently evaluating. It is at no cost. You are free to thank us at a later time!
Where to go to get a pre-owned Apple MacBook
Craigslist or Similar Sites ( Gumtree in Australia)
In the event that you do choose to pursue that deal on Craigslist, it is imperative that you confirm that the seller is located in your immediate area.
This will allow you to examine the MacBook’s physical condition before you commit to making the purchase. And keep in mind that if the price seems too good to be true, you’re probably being taken advantage of.
When purchasing from third parties, you should never buy a Mac or MacBook unless the seller provides you with clear documentation of the ownership chain going all the way back to the original dealer or purchaser. At the very least, this is a requirement.
When you meet a vendor in person and pay with cash, the seller is aware that you have a significant amount of money on you at the time.
Therefore, use common sense and arrange to meet at a public location with a friend (or two). Do not deviate from this rule in any way.
If a seller is unwilling to meet you in a public place, you should be wary about doing business with them. Get out of there, don’t run away, and look for another dealer.
The Apple retail shop is a fantastic spot to check for reconditioned devices that are sold at reduced costs. According to Apple, all of its refurbished hardware has been tested and certified, and it comes with a standard warranty of one year.
Another online retailer that sells product warranties, this one for Apple computers and other electrical devices may be found at SquareTrade. You are free to investigate them at any time.
Wrapping up Note:
Before you go out and snag yourself a killer deal on a pre-owned Macbook, we hope that the information presented in this article can serve as a useful jumping-off point for you to conduct additional research.
Also, keep in mind that the fact that the seller is unable to provide you with the original receipt or the packaging of the MacBook that includes the serial number says a lot about the state of the computer.
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About the Author:
Manny Acharya is the co-founder of Artmellows. Your Goto place for Design, Digital Art, Digital sculpting, Photography, Design Tools & Gears Info, and Product Reviews. Manny is a Digital Artist, 3D Sculpt Designer, Ardent Photography, Drone flying Enthusiast & Tech Lover. He supercharges Digital Art & Design by crafting memorable 3d Sculpts & 2D Design & Art.
PS: Manny has created a Beginner Friedly ebook to Learn Nomad 3d Sculpt App. Know More about the eBook. Know more about Manny