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Apple’s Refurbished Computers: High Quality and Apple Certified

by Dewi Safitri

Apple doesn’t do sales and when they do, the savings are kind of unappealing but where they do offer a discount is in the Apple-certified Refurbished Store. And it seems like for the most part, people swear by it. So I wanna buy a Mac and iOS device to see if these great deals come with any sort of refurbished risks. Uh! They did. Yeah, I haven’t come across this before. If you are wondering where to find the refurbished store, scroll to the bottom of the Apple store website or the app. Not every region has a refurbished store though. It’s missing in Mexico, Mozambique, Moldova, and Malaysia, along with some larger nations that don’t start with M like India. 

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Apple claims that the devices you get are like new. They undergo a full cleaning, and full functional testing, and anything that’s broken is replaced with Apple genuine parts. iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad, undergo an even more thorough refurbishment process, getting a brand new battery and outer shell too. Then, they are all re-packaged into white boxes with Apple-certified refurbished written on them to warn and remind you. In terms of the sale, they are treated just like any new devices with the same one-year warranty, AppleCare plus option, delivery, and return policies. So by all accounts, these are grade A fully backed products, maybe with some extra distance between you and the factory. If you’re okay with that, here’s how much you can save. With Macs, the discount is 15% off the retail price at the time they were last sold and with iOS devices, the discounts are bigger. My calculations vary between 13 and 33%, depending on the model. 

It looks like some of these iPads have a little bit of depreciation factored in, which is nice. What this ultimately may mean though is that the best deals for max are with the latest models. So that would probably be something with Apple Silicon or an Intel model still in production. I suggest researching what Mac you wanna buy first then stopping in at the refurbished store to see if it’s available there. You might or might not find what you’re looking for but the research phase should keep you from ending up with a bad deal. From my research, all I need is a base M1 MacBook Air since I’m just writing and surfing the web. I also wouldn’t mind snagging an iPad mini if I can get one for a good price. 

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I swear saw a gold MacBook in here yesterday and now it doesn’t look like there is any. Now there’s some colored IMAX. Those are nice. There isn’t ephemeral nature to the refurbished store to be aware of. With something as in demand, as the MacBook air, it can be here one minute and gone the next. It might not show up for a day or a couple of weeks. It depends. You’ll have to weigh your patience and urgency with the savings. Urgency can be really expensive. If you wanna set up a notification, refurbtracker.com is a pretty great site. Now, one interesting thing I’ve noticed is that when the listing shows the original price and how much you save, that’s a default base skew. 

If it just shows a price, that means it’s been customized with more Ram or storage. The discount is still the same though. So that MacBook Air I want is $850 in here. Now, how does that compare to the prices elsewhere? Rarely, do some retail sales prices drop down to or below refurbished pricing, but the best deals are fleeting so it’s serendipity. On the used market, there are MacBooks at an equivalent price and since it’d be a private sale, you save on sales tax. On the flip side, you also will have to meet up with a stranger in a different town, and the device’s condition isn’t fully guaranteed plus you can’t return it. With the iPad, it’s a little bit of a different story because there are some older models in the refurbished store at prices much higher than a used model. But then again, they have a new battery which costs a minimum of $100 to replace if you’re unlucky, and don’t forget the new chassis. Okay so the MacBook I want, isn’t in here. 

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Oh, look. There are MacBook Airs in here. Ah, but only in silver and space gray. I wanted a gold one. So I guess I’ll just get a silver one. You can’t always get what you want in the Apple refurbished store. All right. Let’s find that iPad mini. Now a brand new one would set me back $500 but I don’t need all that technology and all those colors. So here’s the last generation model for only 340. Let’s see. Okay, gold out of stock, silver likewise. More storage. Nope. All right. So space gray 64 gigabytes, it is. Okay, I guess we’re done. You know what? Before I check out, I’m just gonna go back and refresh the Mac page. Let’s see what happens. It’s here. There’s a gold one. Yes. Okay, let’s fix this up, then buy. See, it’s a real gamble. Perfect. 

Well, it doesn’t look any different from anyone. There’s like a tiny mark on the keyboard of something. Wait, uh oh. What? That’s interesting. Do you think it was a demo? Not a demo device, demo registration. I don’t know what have I done. Let’s unbox the iPad. Yeah, this looks great. It’s pristine. This isn’t going into demo mode. Honestly, this and this are a good buy, though I had to figure out what’s going on with that whole demo mode thing. So, let me use these for a couple of days and see how they fare. When a Mac is in demo mode, it’s in demo mode. You can’t just format the hard drive and reinstall macOS because if you do it just goes back into demo mode again. So I had to call Apple customer support. 

After an hour of re-reinstalling macOS, I was told to exchange it for another unit. On the other hand, the iPad mini works great. It’s frankly, impossible to tell that this is a refurbished model. It connects to the pencil flawlessly. It’s portable, light, fast, and enjoyable to use. And according to my reading on coconutBattery, this has a brand new battery and was made in December. I wonder if Apple resets the manufacture date on refurbished iOS devices because the new iPad mini came out in September and this is the outgoing model, no matter what. At $340, you can save 160 compared to a brand new generation model which if you’re in a pinch is pretty good. 

Okay, so I guess I’m gonna be running Mac-less for… Hey, it’s arrived. We’re in. It’s the desktop. A success, that’s great. Like the iPad, I really wouldn’t be able to tell that this MacBook Air is refurbished from using it. The panel is bright and clear. The SSD smart info shows that it was virtually unused before I got it and likewise, the battery. Though, it appears that it might have degraded ever so slightly. So for $850, this is a great new laptop. Still, I had to spend an hour on the phone and wait a week for the replacement. So despite my hopes, there’s a little risk to Apple-certified refurbished store too. It’s a big risk like your device falling apart or looking strangely off, but it’s there all right. That being said, the demo mode issue is probably quite rare, considering I couldn’t find any information, forum posts, et cetera about it online. 

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Maybe just don’t tempt fate when the gold MacBook you wanted appears out of thin air. So is the risk of having to spend that time, worth the 15% savings or in my case $150? Hmm. For someone as cheap as me, yes. But for those of an instant gratification disposition or running a business in need of a Mac right now, maybe not. But as for asking a handful of our Twitter followers, many replied saying that they exclusively buy from the refurbished store. Most, all responded that they were happy with their purchase except for one. What I’ve discovered here is that the results vary by product. For instance, I wouldn’t buy an iPad pro from anywhere but the refurbished store. You can get an upgraded iPad pro with the A12Z chip from 2020, for $690, $60 less than an equivalent iPad Air. That’s pretty compelling. As for Macs, there are still good deals too. 

With this being only $850, it’s harder to resign yourself to buying a cheap Windows laptop because trust me a couple of years with one of those would be far more inconvenient than an hour on the phone. Thanks for exchanging this Mac address for one that’s not broken. If you have bought a refurbished Mac, tell us how good a deal you’re able to snag or if it was just full of snacks.
Source: Are Apple’s Refurbished computers any good?

Dewi Safitri

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