Buying secondhand

Just take pot luck and hope for the best

Or read on for a handy guide to knowing exactly what to look for and what to avoid when considering falling in love with a used mac.

References Apple Mac computer help Frome

This ‘advert’ is for a fully working Powerbook G4 using a version of the Apple Mac operating system software called Tiger. Connections to the modern internet using the Powerbook’s old built-in wifi technology are no longer supported, it can however use an ethernet cable to connect to the net, surfing the internet as fast as Douglas Adams ever experienced. But that’s not why you have persisted in reading on.

Rule 1

Don’t buy anything older than 5 years, unless you are a collector.

Computers older than 1,827 days can still be used for offline tasks and specific uses.


Rule 2

Something on your secondhand mac will not work.

No one uses their personal computer in the correct way as designed or agreed to in the terms and conditions eagerly torn through when the box is first opened. A used computer is always affected in some way by the previous owner(s). Recent studies conclude most damage is done by corn products, water, fluctuating voltages and lazy programming. Before switching on your secondhand purchase you are advised to turn it upside down and gently shake, any crumbs are a sign you’ve probably fixed the reason it was for sale, whereas no crumbs suggest a well looked after mac. Inspect with a UV light to understand why you should buy new. Use a soft cloth and isopropyl alcohol to clean any external ports.


Rule 3

Check everything before accepting receipt

Batteries expand causing trackpads to fail under pressure, water gets in and ONLY affects the 4 5 and 6 keys, the processor may have once overheated in Bali, entire vertical rows of screen pixels can just stop working due to nearby magnets, DVD drives often only work two dozen times then eject everything inserted, small pieces of KitKat foil wrapper can get stuck in the USB ports which then only work if you wiggle the dongle, something – probably a crumb – gets wedged under the left option key, the computer can smell funny when hot. Spyware can be installed to record and transmit everything from the camera, microphone, keyboard and trackpad.

Buying secondhand means you don’t have the protection enjoyed by Apple customers with a computer under warranty. After you’ve shaken all the crumbs out, take your eBay risky purchase to Apple 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.


Rule 4

Apple currently support all MacBooks from mid-2012

Right now the best-buy is a mid-2012 MacBook Pro 15″ with macOS Mojave, at least 8GB RAM and an SSD minimum 500GB internal storage for a rock-bottom price today of around £400.

Rule 4 is time dependent. This rule is written in June 2019 just after the solstice. The current macOS is Mojave 10.14.5. Apple announced the Autumn 2019 release of macOS 10.15 named Catalina. All mid-2012 MacBook Pro / iMac / Mac Mini machines may become obsolete with the release of this latest Apple operating system.


Rule 5

There is no written rule 5

So many things can go wrong with computers in the hands of human users. The best way to purchase secondhand is to visit the seller and ask them to show you the computer working. Ask for help to create a new admin user to login and try out the keyboard, every single key. You might be able to judge right away if the sale is a good one just by talking to the owner and finding out if all the keys on the keyboard work.


Rule 6

Erase and install, like you ain’t seen me

Some spyware can reside in boot loaders stored on the internal hard drives of most modern computers. Make sure you initialise, partition and reinstall the boot volume before using a secondhand computer. Thoroughly erase and completely overwrite the internal boot volume installed in your risky purchase – switch on, hold down CMD and R until you see the Apple logo. It is irrelevant that the computer comes with MS Office / Adobe Suite / All the latest software BECAUSE YOU MUST ERASE AND INSTALL.


Rule 7

Rules are for losers

Call Fromester for a full service, risk insured, discretion assured.