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Refurbished MacBook Pros – Buying Tips

Photo Credit Engadget.com

So, what’s stopping you from buying the latest MacBook? For many, it’s the price. Apple has created a feeding frenzy with it’s Mac line-up.  Macs have become a status symbol across the world and there are often lines of people waiting to get the newest Mac device. Go to any university and you’ll likely see 90%+ of the student with their trusted Macbook Pro or Air. Well, there’s a way you can have your Apple and eat it too. (Bad pun intended)

Refurbished MacBook Pros, on the other hand, offer an alternative to buying a new laptop. With new MacBook Pros, the drawback is that you should be ready to shell out a couple of thousands of dollars more compared to similarly spec laptops. Whether the price is justified, well, that is another story.

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Refurbished Macbook Pro offered at Techable.com

Buying Used Versus Buying Refurbished  

Just to be clear, refurbished Macs are not the same as used Macs. According to Wikipedia, the main difference between “refurbished” and “used” products is that refurbished products have undergone testing and verification to function properly, and are thus free of defects, while “used” products may or may not be defective. These products may be unused customer returns that are essentially “new” items, or they may be defective products that were returned under warranty and resold by the manufacturer after repairing the defects and ensuring proper function.

Refurbished MacBook Pros are generally laptops that have been returned to the manufacturer (Apple) due to any defects or simply a customer returning a MacBook Pro within the return period because they were unhappy with its performance. In other cases, laptops can be display items on a showroom floor, that are sent back to the manufacturer.

At first glance, used and refurbished MacBook may be similar. A refurbished unit can be sold as refurbished as long as it has undergone the strict requirements for refurbished MacBook Pros.

For starters, used MacBook Pros are generally cheaper compared to their refurbished counterparts. You can easily purchase these online or from second-hand electronic stores. But with lower prices comes at a price, there is no guarantee that the laptop is working perfectly.

What to Check When Buying Used or Refurbished MacBook Pro?

Are you a Windows user planning to switch to a Mac but doesn’t have the budget to get a new one? Let’s admit it; a MacBook is not the most popular choice simply because they are more expensive. Well here’s a good tip for you, why don’t you get a refurbished Mac with tech support and warranty to boot. Now that’s as close to buying a new one in my book.

There’s another option, and that’s buying a used Mac. You might be wondering what’s the difference between a used Mac and a refurbished unit. Basically, both are not brand new, but that’s where most of their similarities start and end.

Quick Checklist

  1. Do a thorough look over the laptop and check for any physical damages (dents, cracked screen, missing keys, hinges)
  2. Check the serial number
  3. Let the laptop run unplugged and check how the battery holds up
  4. Check the screen for any dead pixels
  5. Verify if the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are working properly
  6. Test all ports (USB Thumb Drive, FireWire, and Thunderbolt)
  7. Run a hardware test
  8. Check the hard drive’s health with a Disk Utility or similar application
  9. Test if the DVD or CD works (for MacBook Pro models that have one)
Check the Serial Number

When buying a used or refurbished MacBook Pro, check if the serial number found at the bottom of the MacBook matches that in the software. To do this, click on “About this Mac.” Verify if this matches the serial number on the last field. The serial number contains the service and warranty information of the MacBook. For fairly new laptops, this could mean that it is still under warranty or an Apple care agreement. To check if your MacBook is covered, visit this Apple Warranty Status link.

Understanding your Mac specs is very important when buying a used Macbook Pro
Run a Hardware Test

To check if everything’s working properly, perform an Apple Hardware Test (AHT), which contains several diagnostic tests. You must check for any hardware issues to prevent future problems. When conducting the test, connect your MacBook to AC Power. Make sure to remove that all external devices such as USB drives or any external storage devices.

Apple Diagnostic Test Results (Hold Command & D on startup)
Check the Camera

The simplest way to see if your MacBook camera is by opening Photobooth. You could also use the Facetime app to check if the camera is in working condition. If you receive any error messages such as “There is no connected Camera,” or observe that the camera has poor image quality, this can indicate that the camera is unavailable or in poor working condition.

Sound and Audio

One thing that is often overlooked when buying a used or refurbished MacBook Pro is the sound and audio. Start by checking if the internal speakers and mic are working. After verifying that these works move on to the headphone port. Plugin the headphone to test if the port is working.

What Makes Refurbished a Good Buy?

Refurbished MacBook Pros also sometimes called “refurbed,” “remanufactured,” or “reconditioned” are Apple laptops that are in full working condition. These MacBook Pros have been sent back to the manufacturer (Apple) or a company that specializes in restoring MacBook Pros.

Guaranteed 100 Percent Functional

Refurbished MacBook Pros are guaranteed to work like new. From the screen to the battery, all refurbished MacBook Pros have parts that are sure to be in full working condition just like their brand-new counterparts.

This is possible because all these laptops have all their parts checked and replaced if they are not up to the functional standard of a brand-new product. MacBook Pros with weak batteries are replaced, and if the screen shows dead pixels, they are replaced with brand-new ones, and so forth. This means that when you buy a refurbished MacBook Pro, you’re getting one that is guaranteed 100 percent functional.

Refurbished MacBook Pros are Fully Tested

One of the things that separate used and refurbished MacBook Pros is that these are fully tested. Refurbished MacBook Pros undergo a full round of testing, which includes hardware and software checks. If any problems are identified, these parts will go through troubleshooting. When a problem is detected, these are replaced or repaired.

Parts that cannot be repaired like a cracked screen is replaced while loose wires on the motherboard are reconnected. If the laptop is slow due to a software issue, then the operating system and apps are updated to the latest version. Only when the MacBook Pro has been thoroughly tested and pass all functional testing (hardware and software) is approved and sold as refurbished.

Thoroughly Cleaned

Used MacBook Pros, especially old models, have been exposed to years of abuse and exposure to the elements. This also holds true for demo products that have spent a few months of their life being handled on the showroom floor. Refurbished MacBook Pros undergo a stringent cleaning process where every nook and cranny and thoroughly cleaned.

Dust and dirt and removed from keyboards and ports. MacBook Pros’ internal hardware also undergoes intense cleaning, removing all dust and dirt from the motherboard and internal, which is otherwise impossible to remove. This gives you a MacBook Pro, which is nearly in pristine condition, clean, sanitized, and ready for use.

Does Not Contain Previous Owner Data

Every refurbished MacBook Pro has not only been cleaned physically but undergoes a process where all previous data in its internal storage devices are wiped clean. Here at techable.com, all our refurbished laptops undergo secure data wiping procedures following strict NIST data sanitation guidelines. This ensures that all previous data has been removed, giving you a ready to use clean and fresh storage device.

A bonus is that after the hard drive has been erased of all data, the operating system is reinstalled. This means that your refurbished MacBook Pro comes with a clean copy of an operating system that is ready for its new owner.

These laptops come with a Warranty

Just like their brand-new counterparts, MacBook Pros come with a warranty. Reputable companies who sell refurbished MacBook Pros offer warranties. Even when buying on a budget, you should always look for companies that provide warranties for their refurbished products. MacBook Pros from these companies can be more expensive. But having the guarantee that you can return a defective product is worth the price.

This is perhaps another thing that separates used and refurbished MacBook Pros. Buying a used MacBook Pro can be cheaper, but there’s no guarantee that you could send it to the seller if there are any defects.

Refurbished MacBook Pros are a Steal

Getting the latest MacBook Pro can be nearly impossible since it may take months before their original owners sell these. However, refurbished MacBook Pros are the next best thing to buying a new one. Refurbished MacBook Pros are not only a steal because of their price but as a result of all the positives that come with them. These laptops come with a guarantee, fully functional, and clean, which in any book is a great buy for the savvy consumer.

Watch this video. It includes some great tips and tricks for buying a refurbished Mac.

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