How To

Refurbished MacBook Pros – Buying Tips

How to Buy & Sell Used Macbook Pro or Air

by | Dec,22,2019 11:43:44pm

So, what’s stopping you from buying the latest MacBook Pro or Air? For most, it’s Mac’s expensive price.

Buying a new Apple Macbook Pro is a big investment and depending on the configuration it can be upwards of $5k. Buying a new Macbook Pro may be one of the largest purchases you make outside of a house or car.

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)

Looking for a quality Mac at a fraction of the price of new Macs? Techable offers Certified Refurbished Macbook Pros from every generation with fully customizable specs.

Understanding Macbook Pro Technological Advances

In the past decade, technological advancements have greatly slowed.  Many consumers have been trained to think, “The newest must be the best.”

This is often quite to the contrary. While Macs become smaller and smaller, they lose fan space which causes throttling of the CPU and overheating issues. Increase one aspect, and decrease another. The constant, yin and yang. without seeing any large improvements.

For example, the 2012 MD101LL/A is still one of our best-selling of all Macbook Pro 13″ models since its release. It sold for over 4-years alongside the retina display Macs. Apple sold it alongside their “Retina” lineup, and it’s Apple’s best-selling model of all time. Why you may wonder why would an 8 year old computer still be so popular.

Many Apple users are opting to buy a used Macbook Pro as they often swear by its reliability and repairability. The 2012 Macbook Pro marked the end of the Steve Jobs era. The “Retina” display models have glued in batteries, soldered-in RAM, and issues such as screen delamination.


Refurbished Macbook Pro offered at

Buying Used Versus Buying Refurbished  

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

Just to be clear, refurbished Macs are not the same as used Macs. 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 displayed items on a showroom floor that are sent back to the manufacturer.

At glance, the 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 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 a 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, it is 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 passed 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, 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 that 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.



Diane, the seasoned tech writer at Techable, brings a wealth of expertise to technology blogging. Since Techable' s inception, Diane has been a stalwart contributor, known for her insightful articles that demystify the tech realm. With a rich background in tech writing, she's a trusted authority in the field, translating complex jargon into accessible content. Diane's commitment to empowering readers with the latest tech trends and insights makes her a reliable guide in the ever-evolving digital landscape.


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