Reconditioned laptops

Recently I was chatting to someone about laptops, he swore by buying Apple reconditioned, rather than new. He had bought several items over the years, most looked brand new and much cheaper! Has anyone taken this route?

Not quite the same, but I bought a reconditioned phone from backmarket that has been fine.

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Once you’re buying it from a reputable outlet and it comes with guarantee I think it’s OK. The issue with Apple though is that older machines won’t run the latest operating system. I replaced my 2011 iMac earlier this year for that reason. I’d missed out on a couple of MacOS updates because it didn’t have the right graphics chip and changing the chip was major brain surgery I didn’t fancy.

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Buying recon/refurb from a known source is fine. I bought a Dell XPS refurb as new in June 2014 and it’s still a good machine (I would always look at the Dell outlet, rather than buy new if I were after a laptop). Apple refurb have a good reputation too. It’s always a good idea to take out a warranty like Applecare or Dells warranty (I had next business day onsite, used just once for a keyboard issue close to the end of the 3rd year) because hardware can and does fail sometimes.

I would be hesitant to buy a refurb machine from an unknown source on ebay or the equivalent, for which there was no warranty available.

John’s point about Apple’s planned obsolescence is also good. If you expect the computer to last 5 years + - as you should - then that should also be a consideration. My 2008 Macbook has been unable to upgrade for some years.

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Both my OH and I have reconditioned laptops … I believe that if you buy from a reputable source and are provided with a guarantee then that is the way to go.
We are both delighted with ours … I got mine in 2016 and my OH is on his second one as his first one died earlier this year after giving him long and reliable service :blush:

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If you’re buying reconditioned, buy something you can put a new battery into easily in a couple of years time.


Battery replacement is esential - older batteries were often encased in a metal enclosure, but many batteries made in the last 10 years are wrapped in a plastic film and will expand, making use of keyboard and trackpad impossible, and risking bursting/fire.


I always buy secondhand - eg. my laptop, phone, television, freesat box, etc - and from individuals without guarantees. It’s easier to tell an honest person when you go to their house to view, than it is to identify whether a dealer is honest - and generally the prices, and therefore the risks, are very low. (I do reformat and install Linux though.)

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Wow! I did not expect such a positive response.
I had looked at the Apple (UK) site because that was the conversation. Only 2020 & 2021 laptops for sale with new battery and 1yr garuntee (sp)
When do getting updates expire for Apple goods?
I would never consider eBay etc unless a personal recommendation.

The latest Mac OS Catalina still supports a number of MacBooks from 2012, so you can expect a 2020 machine to get OS updates for a similar amount of time,

Remember that only an Apple device fitted with a new battery by Apple, has a genuine Apple battery in it.

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Hi Lily, Apple have recently started making their own chip designs - the M1 chip series. If you want to buy an apple machine then, for the best longevity, I recommend avoiding intel-chip based Macs and choosing something with an M1 chip. There is no official shelf life for macs (or other computers) but they get obsolesced when a later hardware feature is deemed essential.

Having said that, in the UK at least, M1 Macbooks can be had for under £900 new. If you can afford it, look for a model with 16GB RAM, because that’s likely to cope better with updates and be generally more versatile in the future than a base-level machine with just 8GB.


Thank you for the added information. Will do some more searching.
Recommending 16GB, would a non technical and ageing user benefit from this?

Where do you shop? :woman_shrugging:

The difference might be that the laptop remained faster, more responsive, less frustrating to use as it aged and software became more demanding. You won’t see a difference now, but you might in 5 years time. IIRC the 16gb laptops also come with a larger SSD, meaning you are less likely to run out of space.

A general rule of thumb for apple machines is to buy what you need 4-5 years from now. The laptops cannot be upgraded, unlike many other machines.

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And this is why buying Apple reconditioned gear can be a good idea, as long as you get a guarantee. I have two old Mac minis - the younger is only 9 years old - running well, but (as John says) without the latest OS. I still get updates of the OS, and I don’t feel I’m missing out.

(My Dell XPS laptop is still going strong, and that’s a 2012 model too, though I rarely use it. I need to find a use for it!)

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Nowadays I mainly use a Facebook group specific to our area - but I have in the past used other Brittany-wide sites and even LeBonCoin - but I don’t travel far or it would defeat the main point - which for me is not cost but being as environment-friendly as possible.

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The next upgrade after Catalina uses silly amounts of hard disk (SSD) space. I’ve stopped at Catalina and use the updates to that, but who knows how long I’ll be able to do so. My MacBook Pro is 2015 and it does everything I need.

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My D in L finds Facebook very useful for buying and selling, but that’s a step too far for me :woman_shrugging:

Either Que Choisir or 60 Millions did a study of reconditioned providers. Backmarket came out very well. It was within the past 2 years or less.

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Unfortunately my choice is limited to the UK, because I need a qwerty keyboard. I have tried azerty, but I am too old and too impatient to learn new tricks :woman_shrugging:

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