All you need to know about buying a secondhand mac

Apple Vintage Second Hand

Buying a used computer?


Read this handy guide to knowing exactly what to look for and what to avoid when considering buying a used mac that isn’t technologically obsolete …

References Apple Mac computer help Frome
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Don’t buy anything older than 5 years, unless you are a collector.

Computers older than 1,827 days can still be used for specific offline tasks but should not be considered for regular daily use machines. You can find out the exact age of most Mac computers by typing the serial number into this web site: http://www.chipmunk.nl/klantenservice/applemodel.html


Something on your secondhand mac will not work.

Few people use personal computers in the correct way as designed or agreed to in the terms and conditions eagerly torn through when opening the shipping box. A used computer may have more than one previous owner. Recent studies conclude most laptop damage is due to corn product ingress, water and lazy programming. Before switching on your secondhand purchase please turn it upside down and shake gently, any crumbs falling out are a sign you’ve probably fixed some problems you didn’t know you had. Inspect with a UV light to understand why you should always buy new. Use a soft cloth and isopropyl alcohol to clean any external ports. Computer chips can slow down in hot climates creating spinning beachballs, or hot chips.


Check everything before accepting receipt

Batteries expand causing trackpads to fail under pressure, water gets in and somehow only affects the 4, 5 and 6 keys, processors quickly overheat in Bali, entire vertical rows of screen pixels just stop working due to nearby magnets or after using the computer as a temporary seat at a transport hub, small pieces of KitKat foil wrapper get stuck in USB ports, dongles wiggle, wholemeal crumbs wedge themselves under the option keys.

Spyware could be covertly or accidentally installed by any previous owner, recording and transmitting everything from the camera, microphone, keyboard and trackpad.

Ask yourself is the seller likely to be an enemy of the state, fond of late night crumbly biscuits or careless when recycling KitKat wrappers, recently in Bali on business or just a bit weird?

Buying secondhand means you won’t have the protection enjoyed by Apple customers with a computer under warranty. The best advice proven by scientists is to take your eBay risky purchase to an Apple Store and ask how much it will cost to fix it, for free – you can find out exactly what is broken before paying, if Apple still support it.


Buy One of These

Apple currently (June 2021) support all MacBook Pros from late 2013, MacBook Airs and Mac Pros from 2013, MacBooks from 2015, iMacs and Mac Minis from 2014 and iMac Pros from 2017


Erase and install, like you ain’t seen me

Some spyware can be buried inside boot loaders secretly written onto the internal hard drive of most modern computers. Make sure you initialise, partition and reinstall the boot volume before using a secondhand computer. Thoroughly erase and completely overwrite your risky purchase – switch on, hold down CMD and R until you see the Apple logo, follow the prompts to erase your hard drive and reinstall macOS from the internet. It is irrelevant that the computer comes with MS Office / Adobe Suite / All the latest software BECAUSE YOU MUST ERASE AND INSTALL. Do not pay extra for pre-installed software.


Recommended Primary Action

STOP looking on fleabay for a used Mac desktop or laptop

buy an iPad (Pro), Pencil and Keyboard


Overriding Recommendation

Call Fromester for full service and support, risk insured, discretion assured, wired and wireless. Half hour chats available for as little as an expensive cup of coffee and a short walk. 1BTC / £50.00 minimum per hour applicable for all. Other #rates are available.


©sonicstate 2008

By fromester

Hardware, software, networks, remote advice and support for mainly mac users. Business support, monthly reviews, systems analysis, common sense. Over 25 years of Apple Mac Computer support for creative individuals and small businesses. Based in Frome GMT/BST