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Why you should buy a refurbished Mac


Want to buy a new Mac and don’t want to spend a fortune? Buying a new Mac is an expensive business, but there is a way to get a new Mac for less money.

We don’t mean buy a second hand Mac from someone on eBay either - we mean you can get a brand-new Mac directly from Apple for less money.

Want to know how? Shop at Apple’s Certified Refurbished Store. On the Refurbished Store you can find Macs from the past few years all with money off Apple’s usual price.

The price isn’t the only reason to shop at Apple’s Certified Refurbished Store though. Here we’ll tell you all the reasons why you should buy a refurbished Mac.

1. They are as good as new

You might be thinking that buying from Apple’s Refurbished Store is a bit like buying second hand - the Mac had a previous owner and for one reason or another they returned their Mac to Apple. Your concern might be that this means there is something wrong with the Mac, but as you will see from the point below, Apple will have identified and fixed any faults.

The Mac you are buying probably hasn’t come straight from the factory, but its interlude with a prior customer will have been brief. The previous owner may may have exercised their consumer rights and returned it unused within 14-days (which is the extent of Apple’s refund and exchange policy). Or the Mac might have been used as a demonstration model, but this doesn’t mean that it will have been used by lots of people and it is unlikely to have undergone any intensive processing.

2. They are cheaper

If you shop for your Mac in your local Apple Store, at an Apple Authorized Reseller, or on Apple’s online store, you can only buy the newest version of a particular Mac. Turn instead to the Refurbished Store and you will find Macs from the past few years at a lower price than their successors.

The really enticing thing is that these Macs often aren’t a lot different to the current models. Often when Apple updates a Mac it gives the processor a slight boost (sometimes this is no more than a point upgrade, not even a generational update).

In 2019, for example, Apple made a minor tweak to the MacBook Air. The specs didn’t change at all, the only change was a screen technology. You can buy a 2018 1.6GHz MacBook Air with 128GB SSD via the Refurbished Store for £849/$849. The practically identical 2019 model costs £1,099/$1,099 new. (Currently Apple has sold out of the 128GB versions, but you can buy the 256GB versions here in the UK and here in the US.)

Refurbished iMac

3. You can get more for your money

Buying from the Refurbished Store is a great way to get a more powerful Mac than the current entry-level for less money

The cheapest Mac laptop you can get new is the 1.6GHz MacBook Air with 128GB SSD, which costs £1,099. You could pick up a 1.6GHz MacBook Air with 128GB SSD for £1,019/$1,019. A pretty decent saving given that there’s hardly any difference between the two generations of MacBook Air.

If you want something a bit more powerful than the MacBook Air you could still get a more powerful Mac for less money just by opting for an older generation. This is because, even if the newer Mac has a newer generation of processor, you might find that the mid-range model from the previous year costs less than the entry-level model in the new range.

For example, a June 2017 21.5in 3.0GHz quad-core iMac costs £1,019/$1,059 on the Refurbished Store. This is infinitely better than the 2.3GHz dual-core iMac that costs £1,049/$1,099 new. That ‘new’ iMac is also from 2017 and doesn’t even offer a Retina display. This can be the case with any mid-range Mac that might be just as good as the previous generation top-of-the-range Mac, it’s always worth checking.

So the moral is: check the Refurbished Store to make sure Apple isn’t selling an older model that has better specs than the current generation.

4. Apple tests and replaces parts if necessary

You might be thinking that this is all very well, but these are Macs that are likely to have been returned to Apple due to a fault with them. Would it be unwise to buy a Mac that has already proven to be faulty?

The great news here is that you can be sure that any fault will have been rectified by Apple. The company says that all refurbished Macs include “full functional testing, genuine Apple part replacements (if necessary),” as well as “a thorough cleaning”.

The Mac you are buying will have had more checks than any Mac coming straight from a factory so you can be sure that any problems will have been caught.

Refurbished Mac

5. You get a one-year warranty and 90 days of tech support

Even better, you get a one-year warranty, so if anything does go wrong getting it fixed will be easy and free.

You also get complimentary technical support, which means you will be able to phone Apple up if you have any problems with setup, installation of software, and any connection problems.

You can also extend the one-year warranty up to three years if you buy AppleCare protection when you purchase your refurbished Mac.

If you buy second hand from another source you will only have any remaining warranty left over - and since the model you are buying is likely to be more than a year old this protection will have expired.

6. It’s dispatched for free with free returns

Because you are buying the Mac from Apple directly it comes with other benefits. For example, not only will there be no shipping costs associated with your new Mac (Apple will dispatch it to you for free), because you will be protected by Apple’s 14-day returns policy, which means that if you change your mind you can send it back, no questions asked, within two weeks.

New Mac today

7. You could get your new Mac today!

Another benefit is that if the Mac is in stock at your local Apple Store you could pick it up today. And if you would prefer that it was delivered to you, it could arrive as soon as tomorrow.

8. You can purchase your refurbished Mac with financing options

If you don’t have the money right now you can still get your new Mac. Apple offers financing options. Here in the UK Barclays provides 0% finance for up to 12 months if you want to buy a new Mac. You just need to apply for financing when you check out. In the US you have an option to spread financing over 18 months with a Barclaycard Financing Visa, or Apple offers its own Apple Card which brings the advantage of 3% Daily Cash Back when you buy from Apple.

You can also trade in an old product to get credit towards your new purchase. You could get up to £592 credit for trading in a MacBook Pro, for example.

9. You don’t have to deal with a previous user

Dealing with Apple is a real benefit. You don’t need to deal with a previous owner who might not be completely honest about problems with the machine, or might be difficult if later on you experience problems.

Dealing with Apple directly should give you peace of mind that you are buying exactly what is advertised and that if there are any issues they will be dealt with professionally.

10. Refurbished Macs can be the current generation

You might be thinking that Apple will only be selling models from a previous year in the Refurbished store, but they could be current models.

Right now you can buy a 21.5in 3.6GHz quad-core iMac from March 2019 - the current model - for £1,059/$1,099, which is a saving of £190/$200 compared to its usual price of £1,249/$1,299. It’s an excellent opportunity to get a brand-new  Mac for less - and it’s only £10 more than the entry-level model that hasn’t been updated since 2017. Buy the UK version here and the US version here.

New Mac Refurbished

If you want to know more about buying a refurbished Mac, read this: Where to buy a Refurbished Mac.

We also have Best Place to buy a Mac and When is the best time to buy a Mac.

For advice about which Mac to buy read out Best Mac Buying Guide

And if you want a deal on a new Mac, read: Best MacBook Pro deals or Best iMac deals


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