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  • Buying a Refurbished Mac
Technology Articles > Computers > Apple > Buying a Refurbished Mac

There’s no clearer road to savings on Apple MacBooks, iMacs, MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros than shopping in the refurbished Mac section. In fact, an Apple Certified Refurbished computer can cost you hundreds of dollars less. But what exactly does refurbished mean, and what’s the catch? This article will help you decide whether or not a refurbished Mac is a good buy.

What is an Apple Certified Refurbished Mac?

An Apple Certified Refurbished Mac is a used Apple computer that was either returned by a customer or didn’t meet quality standards before leaving the factory. Apple then repairs these computers and tests them in-house and then guarantees that it’s good as new and functional for at least one year. In fact, all Apple Certified Mac products come with a 1-year warranty.

Now, remember to look for Apple Certified Refurbished. There are some third-party resellers who may offer Macs and other Apple products as “refurbished,” but if it’s not Apple Certified Refurbished, then refurbished could mean anything.

What If My Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Breaks?

It happens. In fact, there’s a fairly good chance that your refurbished Mac will have some kind of defect. For example, one shipment of refurbished Macs reportedly had defective keyboards right out of the box. But because they were under warranty, each user was entitled to a free replacement keyboard right off the bat. You’re protected by this warranty for a full year.

So, in short, getting an Apple Certified Refurbished Mac is completely safe—but you may be inconvenienced by additional paper work and trips to the post office or Apple Store.

AppleCare Protection Plans

All Apple Certified Refurbished Macs come with protection for 1 year. But you can extend this coverage by purchasing an AppleCare Protection Plan. For a MacBook, AppleCare Protection Plans cost $250 and extends your coverage an additional two years for a total of three years of coverage for parts, labor and technical support.

Whether or not you buy AppleCare is up to you—but you should know that any material defects to your refurbished Apple computer will likely crop up within the first few days, and definitely within the first year. Plus, you can always buy AppleCare later, just before your warranty ends.

What to Watch Out For

Given the above, buying an Apple Certified Refurbished Mac is virtually risk-free. However, you should make sure that you’re not buying an older model Mac. Much of the refurbished stock comes from Macs that were returned several months or even a year prior. Take a look at the specifications and make sure that they are up to current standards.


An Apple Certified Refurbished Mac is a great deal—just make sure that you’re getting a genuine Apple Certified Refurbished Mac directly from the Apple Store, Apple.com or an authorized Apple Reseller. Also, make sure you’re not getting an older model for the same price as you could get for a newer one. And remember: your warranty entitles you to a repair if your Apple Refurbished Mac isn’t in 100% perfect working order.