While MacBooks are good, reliable, and secure computers, they can be pricier than other laptops on the market. To save a bit of money, many consumers consider buying used ones instead. Of course, this can be risky. Unlike a brand new machine, returning or repairing a preowned computer can be difficult. Moreover, a used MacBook compromised with spyware can threaten your security and privacy.
The best way to avoid headaches is to buy a discounted model. Alternatively, check if your local Apple store offers an interest-free payment plan. But if you must buy a pre-owned MacBook, follow these tips to reduce your risk.
#1 Prioritize Your Physical Safety
Nowadays, it’s critical to protect your physical wellbeing when buying something from the classifieds. Besides wearing a mask to defend yourself against viruses, consider meeting at a police station parking lot or a public place to avoid getting robbed. After securing the item, you can also ask the seller to accept an electronic payment instead of cash.
#2 Buy from the Right Seller
Local online classifieds, Amazon, and eBay are just some of the marketplaces where you can find a preowned MacBook. Check the seller’s feedback and look out for fake reviews when buying. A better option is to buy a refurbished MacBook from a trustworthy local retailer or directly from the manufacturer. While refurbished computers aren’t as reliable as brand new products, they’re less risky than used MacBooks from unknown sellers. Some also come with warranties.
#3 Inspect Thoroughly
Start by checking the machine’s specs to see if it’s the right computer for your needs. You can ask a private seller to send you a screenshot of the About This Mac screen for accurate information. Keep in mind that it’s always best to buy a newer machine even if the older one has powerful specs due to advancements in technology. For example, a ten-year-old MacBook with the same processor speed as a two-year-old one is likely to be significantly slower.
Once you have the MacBook in hand, look out for the following signs of physical damage:
- Cracks on the chassis.
- Physically damaged ports from misuse.
- Worn screws that suggest the item was repaired.
- Screen issues, including frozen pixels, dead zones, flickering, and more.
In addition, check for performance problems:
- Slow booting.
- Hard drive test failure.
- Memory test errors.
- Screen artifacts while running videos or games.
- Webcam glitches.
- Optical drive malfunctions.
- USB ports that take too long to read your thumb drive.
- Trackpad irresponsive.
- WiFi and Bluetooth failure.
Please also test the MacBook’s keyboard with the Text Edit app. Try every key with and without Caps Lock. Likewise, visit the Power section in Hardware to check the battery’s condition. If it says Replace Soon, consider buying a different computer.
#4 Look for Malware
Some sellers consciously or subconsciously download malicious software on machines before selling them. Apple’s baked-in antivirus utilities need a helping against these threats. Run a Mac virus scan that detects viruses, Trojans, spyware, keyloggers, stalkerware, and ransomware. Avoid buying any machine with these complex security breaching programs as you never know what else the computer has lurking underneath.
#5 Check the Firmware Password
You could run into trouble down the road with the computer if you don’t know the MacBook firmware password. Ensure that the machine doesn’t have one. Ask the seller to deactivate it immediately if it does.
These are five essential steps you should follow before buying a preowned MacBook. Purchase from a reputable seller and check the machine for external and internal red flags to enjoy it stress-free.