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Buying Used MacBooks? Everything you should know!

Looking to buy a MacBook? If you’re confused between investing in a new MacBook or buying a used one, relax, you’re not alone. If you buy a used MacBook, you’ll be helping your wallet as well as your planet; but you likely (and understandably) have concerns. Read on for a complete lowdown on various aspects of buying a used refurbished MacBook.

Why should I buy a used MacBook instead of a new one?

I know. I’ve been there - it is easier, more comforting, even a little rewarding to just buy a new product. “Why not? I can afford it” Well, you can’t. Honestly, none of us can afford to turn a blind eye to the e-waste pileup. Have you ever stopped to think about what happens to your old iPhones or MacBooks that you dump in the trash (or an e-waste bin if you’re woke)?  Most likely not. Not because you’re busy. But because you’re privileged, and let’s face it, lazy. 

We need to make it “cool” to think of the ecological cost of everything we do. We must remove the stigma around buying used gadgets. It should be the new normal to at least consider buying used products. Not because they’re cheap - they’re not that cheap, mind you, the price is your vigilance. But because that’s necessary. Until we have the tech to safely close the loop from production to elimination, we don’t have a choice but to Reuse, Reduce and Recycle!

The “Why” question is also phrased differently by a lot of people:

Is it worth buying a used MacBook?

Well, you don’t get a new MacBook’s “oooh.. Shiny!!” factor, granted, but that apart, it makes complete sense. 

  • New MacBooks are increasingly cost-prohibitive. With used MacBooks, you save anywhere between 15% to 60% on the price. So you get the Apple experience without the Apple price tag.
  • You have more options. You can buy an older, sturdier model if you so wish:
    - Don’t want the clumsy Touch bar? Buy used. 
    - "Just USB-C ports, urgh!" Buy used
    - Want to avoid butterfly keyboard? Buy used
    - "Just want my old MacBook model I’m comfortable with." Buy used
  • Yes, there is a certain risk involved - What if you're stuck with a defective unit? There are ways to mitigate that risk. Read on.

Which MacBook model should I purchase?

When you’re looking into the used/refurbished market, the considerations are more than just your usage and requirement. Your decision is sometimes influenced by the options available. Likewise, you also have the freedom to choose with knowledge of proven defects in each model. 

  • Consider your usage requirement. Designers, filmmakers, musicians, coders need heavy-duty beasts; consider MacBook Pro with minimum 16gb RAM. MacBook Air should suffice for people in sales, marketing, finance etc. 
  • Be aware of proven design flaws in each model, e.g. - Keyboard issue in 2016-17 models, Staingate issue in 2013-14 models
  • The older a model is, the greater discount you get. However, the flip side is- Older models -> More miles on it -> More wear & tear -> Shorter life expectancy.
  • Look out for “Unboxed Units”. In used/refurbished lingo, an unboxed unit is a MacBook that has barely been used and is in near-mint condition. You don’t get a sealed original pack of course, but you get pretty close. Often the units are still under Apple warranty coverage. Of course, the price is also higher. But essentially, you’re buying a near-new MacBook at a depreciated price due to it being “unboxed”.

Where to buy a used MacBook in India? 

Apple has an official refurbished device sales channel in some countries (USA, Canada, some European countries). If you live in one of those countries, that is an option. It’ll be a LOT pricier - you’ll only save 10-20% on the markup price. But coming directly from Apple, you get an Apple warranty, and better sleep at night.

In India, Apple doesn’t sell refurbished MacBooks. So, you’d need to be a little careful. 

  • Prefer only reputed vendors. Read their reviews, know what you’re buying. Ensure they offer a warranty.
  • Be aware that listings on Quikr, Olx, eBay may be inaccurate, misleading or even fake. Unless you’re tech savvy and confident about checking the MacBook from a stranger, avoid.
  • There are a lot of second-hand electronics’ dealers in the market. Always favour an Apple specialist over a multi-brand dealer. 

While we are on the subject, allow us to pitch Fixxo as an excellent place to buy used MacBooks from. We maintain the largest inventory of pre-owned MacBooks in Bangalore. We have a solid 4-step refurbishment process. Each Fixxo-certified refurbished MacBook has to pass an extensive QC and is backed by a min. 3 months’ warranty and strong after-sales support.
You can visit our store and pick up a unit. Or, we also ship all over India. We also do bulk supplies to startups and corporates at discounted prices and with AMC coverage. Contact us to know more!

How should I go about it? Things to check?

  • Make sure you know what you’re buying: Before meeting the seller, ask for the model number of the device. You can use that to get the detailed specs at everymac
  • When you meet the seller (esp. if an individual seller via Olx, Quikr, FB etc): Don’t rush the deal, take your time to test the MacBook thoroughly. Here’s a complete list of things to check before buying a used MacBook. 
  • Note the serial number of the MacBook. Also check its authenticity at https://checkcoverage.apple.com
  • If you’re buying from a vendor, understand warranty terms and conditions. 
  • If you’re buying from an individual, ask for the purchase invoice, to rule out chances of any illegal transaction.

Manage your expectations

Remember, you’re not buying a brand new off-the-shelf MacBook. It has a history, it has been used by another person in another lifetime. It’s important that you temper your expectations, so that you’re not set up for disappointment:

  1. Be ready for minor cosmetic compromise - scratches, tiny dents etc. The older the model, the greater the wear & tear.
  2. Despite diligent QC and refurbishment - used devices tend to develop faults at a higher rate than new devices. At Fixxo, we factor in 2-5% under-warranty rework cases. What matters is that those rare issues are taken care of by the seller under warranty.
  3. After purchasing, be vigilant for any issues in the early days - so that you can detect and sort them out under warranty.

Overall, these are minor inconveniences to bear in lieu of the major savings and other benefits you get on purchasing a refurbished MacBook. Happy shopping!


Written by
Manish Agarwal
Yet to decide between introvert and extrovert

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