You’ll find Apple’s latest and greatest products on its main online and physical stores, but they sure are expensive.
What about slightly older models that you know would suit you just fine and should cost less than the new model purely because they’re older? Missing from Apple’s main stores are some of its older yet perfectly good products, especially Mac computers.
This is where Apple’s Refurbished Mac store comes in. It’s a lesser-known outlet for certain older Apple devices, and from my experience, it’s certainly worth a look if you’re in the market for a new Apple device. You can find cheaper older models — including Macs, iPads, and iPhones — some of which the company doesn’t sell anymore in its main retail outlets.
Check it out:
You don’t always need the latest and greatest.
I wanted to upgrade from my old 15-inch 2012 MacBook Pro, but I didn’t necessarily need the latest 2017 model that comes with a hefty $2,400 price tag. From my knowledge of computer parts, I knew the processor in the 2016 model would easily serve my needs for several years, and I was looking to buy the 2016 model instead of the 2017 one for a lower price tag. But Apple doesn’t sell it online or in its physical locations.
I saved a lot of money.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
I ended up buying a refurbished 15-inch 2016 MacBook Pro with the sixth-generation Intel Core i7 2.6 GHz processor for $1,950. That’s $450 I saved from buying the equivalent $2,400 2017 model with a seventh-generation Core i7 processor.
If you break it down, buying the equivalent 2017 model would mean I’d pay $450 for just the new processor, as just about everything else about the 2017 model is identical to the 2016 model. As I mentioned, the 2016’s sixth-generation processor is more than enough for my needs.
But isn’t is “used”?
As the word “refurbished” suggests, the devices sold in the Refurbished Mac store are used devices that Apple itself has reconditioned. If you’re like me and usually balk at the words “used” and “refurbished” because you want a FOF (fresh out of the factory) device, you may be pleasantly surprised by Apple’s refurbished devices.
It doesn’t look or feel used.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
For one, the devices are refurbished by Apple itself, which instills more confidence than if you were to buy a refurbished device from a site like eBay. If the refurbished 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro I bought is anything to go by, Apple’s process is excellent; my MacBook Pro in perfect working order, and there’s no visible sign of use or wear.
Buying from Apple’s Refurbished Mac store also affords a degree of separation from you and the previous owner. In my eyes, my refurbished MacBook Pro came from Apple, not the original owner, which makes me feel like I bought it brand-new FOF. This, too, adds to my confidence in the condition of my refurbished MacBook Pro. If I had bought it from someone on eBay, the feeling that it’s a used device that hadn’t gone through a rigorous refurbishment process like Apple’s would be far more prominent.
There’s no problem in buying a used Apple device from eBay or other third-party sites.
In some cases, you can even get mint-condition devices on eBay for a little less money than from Apple’s Refurbished Mac store. And some sellers throw in Apple’s $380 extended protection plan, called Apple Care Plus, which extends the standard one-year warranty that all new and refurbished devices come with. Yet after a quick search on eBay for the same MacBook Pro model, I found that the prices didn’t stray too far from the ones from Apple’s Refurbished Mac store, and some were even more expensive.
Apple’s Refurbished Mac store isn’t perfect, but it’s worth a look.
At the same time, Apple’s Refurbished Mac store isn’t the best place for some older devices. For example, you won’t find the iPhone 6, released in 2014. For some devices, eBay or another third-party site is your only option.
But for others, especially older Mac computers, I’d recommend checking out Apple’s Refurbished Mac store before buying a used unit from a third party or a brand-new model from Apple’s main site.
There are also limited quantities of Apple’s refurbished devices, so it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get the model you want.