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Refurbished iMac: how to get a quality iMac at a great price

Updated on August 25, 2023

Published Aug 18, 2023 - Equipped with top-quality components, iMacs are considered to be very robust and largely trouble-free. Tempted?

Who doesn't know it?

Apple's iMac has achieved cult status. It's an all-in-one computer (the computer and monitor are housed in the same case), is aesthetically pleasing, powerful and delights graphics enthusiasts with its brilliant, colorful display. However, these sought-after features come at a price: a new iMac is expensive, and can quickly add up to several thousand euros. Fortunately, there's more than one way to get the cult computer made by Apple for less.

What is an iMac and why is it so coveted?

Apple first produced an all-in-one computer in the 1980s. With the iMac, the manufacturer is building on this principle once again.

The iMac caused a sensation in the late 1990s with its multicolored design. The colors disappeared, but the iMac remained: it became more angular, slimmer and (even more) stylish. With the 2021 generation, Apple is returning to its roots, and the latest iMacs are back in color.

Apple computers aren't just appreciated for their design. The interior is also very interesting. Powerful chips ensure stable performance. Since 2021, Apple's M1 chip, clocked at up to 3.2 GHz, has been in charge. Brightly colored screens make the iMac attractive for games and graphics applications. Previous generations can also boast Intel Core processors to this day.


Buying a cheap iMac: what are the options?

An iMac looks good, saves space on your desk and delivers reliable performance. These are just some of the many good reasons to buy one. Then there's the price. For a fully equipped iMac, you'll have to fork out a four-figure sum, but you can get around that smartly.

Here are your options:

  • Make concessions on equipment

  • Buy a used iMac

  • Buy a refurbished iMac

Special attention to components

When you buy a new iMac, you're free to choose from a wide range of options. The "leaner" the equipment, the greater the potential savings. A smaller screen can also reduce the price. For example, you can choose between a 27" iMac and a 21.5" iMac, depending on which best suits your needs and budget.

You can customize these features on an iMac (depending on the year):

  • Random Access Memory (RAM): 4 to 16 GB

  • Storage capacity: 130 GB to 2 TB

  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX, NVIDIA GeForce GTX, AMD Radeon HD, NVIDIA GeForce GT

  • Processor speed: 2.6 to 4.2

  • Processor type: M1, Intel (i5, i7, i9, Xeon W)

  • Number of ports: 2 to 5

  • Screen size: 20.5", 21", 24", 27

There are a few drawbacks, however: first of all, it's not always smart to give up performance, especially if you're working with complex, memory-hungry programs. What's more, it's often better to have more for the future: you want to be able to continue working with your iMac in a few years' time, and not be annoyed by a sudden slowness in using new software. Last but not least, even a new, lightly-equipped iMac isn't exactly a bargain.

Old but Gold - it's not always necessary to have the latest model.

That's where buying second-hand comes in. In the case of older iMacs, a typical feature of Apple hardware proves to be a gamechanger: the devices are equipped with first-class components, are considered very robust, largely fail-safe and ready for the future. So why spend money on new equipment that rapidly loses its value shortly after purchase?

Tip: giving older iMac models a chance makes sense, but the computer shouldn't be too old either. The current macOS Monterey system is only supported up to the 2015 iMac generation. Older models will continue to run on older systems quite reliably, but you won't benefit from the latest security updates. In principle, it's advisable to buy a device that's no more than ten years old.

Check beforehand whether the technical equipment meets your requirements. If you work mainly with Office software, you don't need cutting-edge performance and you can get a good deal on an older iMac, such as the 2018 iMac.

Buying a used vs. refurbished iMac: a cheap but risky option

Buying hardware privately has its pitfalls: sure, you can get a good deal, and if the seller lives near you, you can simply pick up your brand-new old iMac. Bonus: you can test the functions directly on the spot.

This is also advisable. When buying privately, don't just check that it boots up, that the keyboard works and that the screen displays correctly. It's important to take a look at the case and screen, for example to rule out cracks or pixel defects.

👉 Despite the precautions taken, there's still a risk when buying from private sellers: you have no warranty or return option, it's "bought as seen". If you notice any defects on first use, you're in trouble.

Buy a refurbished iMac, expertly restored and guaranteed for 12 months

Wouldn't it be nice if buying second-hand were possible without risk? That's the case with a reconditioned iMac. Reconditioned means fully restored to factory settings. Faulty parts are replaced and the whole unit is cleaned. Experts examine all components with a magnifying glass, checking the screen and casing for defects.

The devices come from a variety of sources: they are often returns from leasing contracts. They may also have been used by companies for two to four years and returned when the leasing contract expired. Added to this are iMacs with minor defects, such as external scratches, exchanged products whose buyers were dissatisfied for various reasons, and display parts.

At Back Market, you'll find refurbished iMacs, mainly from the years 2013 to 2020 and with different configurations. So you can choose the iMac of your dreams. Unlike a private purchase, you benefit from a warranty when you buy a refurbished iMac via Back Market, as well as a 30-day cooling-off period. So you're buying a cheap, well-made iMac without risk. 🎉

Miguel G.

Written by Miguel G.Sr. Tech Copywriter (US)

Miguel is always looking for new ways to provide unique perspective on popular tech and has taken his writing to the refurbished industry to promote sustainability. Outside of creating content, you might find him travelling the globe, coaching a fitness class, or cheering on his favorite sports teams (Go Dolphins!)

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