13 Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying a Used MacBook

When you want to buy a new MacBook but there are budget constraints, refurbished products can be an optimal option. You will get the same tech support as well as the warranty as you would with a brand new MacBook. 

In this article, we will help you understand all the aspects that ensure that the Mac you buy stays operational for years. 


Get Ready for Purchase

Always run a basic diagnostics check on the device you are purchasing. Make sure to carry a USB drive with the latest operating system installed on it so that you can boot the device before purchase. Also, don’t forget to carry along a pair of headphones and an external USB device that you can connect to test the ports. 

1. Check for Internal/External Damages

Diagnose the device thoroughly from inside and outside to ensure it doesn’t contain any big damage such as scratches and scuffs. If you find any loose screws, take it as a warning sign that the device is not serviced or repaired by a certified technician. 

2. Identify the Age of Old Mac

The old owner of the MacBook will always claim that the device is in like-new condition. But don’t only go for word of mouth and check the device physically to ensure that it is in good condition. Navigate to the About This Mac section to check for age and other specs. 

3. Boot the MacBook

Boot the MacBook

That’s quite certain that you would like to boot the device once before you make the final payment. Start the MacBook and wait for macOS to load completely unless you see the desktop image to ensure it works appropriately. 

4. Disable Firmware Password

If you are trying to boot your MacBook from a USB drive and fail to do so, the seller may have set up a firmware password. To resolve this, ask the previous owner for the Firmware password and then boot the device from a USB, wait for the Startup chime and hold down the Option key, enter Firmware password when prompted, and select Turn Off Firmware Password. 

5. Check the Display Screen

Identifying any dead pixels on your MacBook screen can be quite challenging. You may use several tools to check dead pixels on display or open mono-color background pictures to identify the small spots on the MacBook display screen. 

6. Check Keyboard Functioning

macOS native Text Edit app will enable you to check that the keys on the laptop’s keypad or Mac’s keyboard are not malfunctioning. Type in every number, alphabet, special character, and other function keys to ensure they are working appropriately. 

7. Test All USB Ports

Make sure the USB is turned on, and any cables are connected appropriately. Check if the necessary software is installed properly or visit the manufacturer’s website for detailed information. Check if the connected device appears in the list of connected hardware.

8. Check Hard Disk Drive

Check Hard Disk Drive

In macOS, Disk Utility allows you to check the health of the hard disk. It tells you the status of the hard drive. Error messages in red indicate that there is something wrong. If the hard drive displays the signs of corruption or failure, you can fix it anyway. 

9. Diagnose Web Cam

Launch Apple’s Photo Booth app or FaceTime app to Check if the iSight camera is working fine. If you can see your face in the app window, the camera is working as per standards. Else, you will get a “there is no connected camera” error message.

10. Check MacBook Battery

You are probably buying a Mac or MacBook because you have heard about its high-grade performance. So, before buying a second-hand laptop, check its battery to ensure it won’t drain within a few hours of starting up the device. 

11. Check Microphones & Speakers

Test the mic and speakers on the device to ensure they are working perfectly. You can play a YouTube video or simply launch FaceTime to check if you can hear the sound. Anyways, if the internal speakers or mic are not working, you still have the option to run DIY solutions.

12. Run Apple Diagnostics/Hardware Check

Run Apple Diagnostics/Hardware Check

If you have tested each individual thing mentioned in this article so far, running Apple Diagnostics or Hardware Check on older Macs is the last step you should perform. It will help you detect any issues with the memory, logic board, or other components. 

13. Verify MacBook Warranty 

Examine if the device you are buying is original or not by navigating to the Check Coverage page. The Apple Service will ask you to provide Mac’s serial number for verifying its warranty status. The result includes the validation of the purchase date, service coverage, and other details.  

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