refurbished MacBook Pro 2017

4 Things to Remember: Buying a Refurbished MacBook Pro

Updated on June 28, 2023

Updated Feb 6, 2023 - Are you considering buying a used and refurbished MacBook Pro? Buying a refurbished Mac is worth saving several hundreds of dollars, but here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for a cheap MacBook Pro.

What you need to consider when buying a used or refurbished MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro laptop is the most powerful option that Apple has for laptop computers. MacBook Pros offer top quality and functionality, making them suitable for a wide variety of purposes and many types of users. Of course, these benefits come at a price. Buying a refurbished MacBook Pro is a great way to save money on a high-end laptop that still performs like new. If you're shopping for a cheap MacBook Pro, here are 4 tips to keep in mind to shop smart and make sure you get the best bang for your buck.

When you shop for refurbished devices, you're likely going to find great deals all year long, so you don't have to wait for the Holiday season or Black Friday just to get that MacBook you've had your eye on.

1. Find the right MacBook Pro to suit your needs

1. Processing Power

As you begin to set a budget for yourself and what laptop you want, consider that the MacBook Pro can cost anywhere from $300 to over $2500. That's quite a large price range, but it reflects the range of capabilities for these devices. One of the biggest factors that affects the price of a used MacBook is the processor.

MacBook Pro processors are available in Core i5, Core i7, Core i9 and most recently the Apple M1 and M2 chips. While the Core i5 processor of a 2015 device doesn’t compare to the Core i5 processor on a 2020 device, it does speak to the general capabilities of each device within its year of release. Accordingly, a 2019 device with Core i5 is going to be a more powerful computer than a 2013 Core i7, simply because of the advancements in technology between years and processors.  More recently, Apple has released two of its most powerful processors in a Mac with the Apple M1 and Apple M2 chips. You can find these in options like the MacBook Pro 2021 and the MacBook Air 2022.

The prices for each of these processors range significantly, but intuitively the more recent and more powerful processors will end up costing you more. On refurbished devices, you won't have to worry about a Mac's processor being compromised. Shop for a MacBook based on the processor the same way you would if you were shopping for a new Mac.

macbook pro coding

2. Display Size

This might seem simple, but if you're wondering which used MacBook Pro you should get, consider the different screen sizes available to help decide which laptop is the best fit for you.

The MacBook Pro is available in a few different Retina display sizes: 13.3-inch display, 14-inch display, 15.4-inch display, and 16-inch display. If you need to have multiple tabs open or frequently work with videos or larger documents, the 15.4-inch or 16-inch display might be ideal. If you prefer something smaller and more compact for travel, the 13.3-inch or 14-inch display may be a better option.

Apple’s Retina display consistently keeps the pixel density at 300+ pixels per square inch. So even though the display size of MacBook Pros might vary, the quality of the screen remains consistent between the models. The resolution will be sharp and clear regardless of which dimensions you prefer, so it truly depends on how much screen size you'll need to work with. When it comes to buying refurbished, the screen display size and quality will not be affected by the refurbished process. You can expect the same screen quality from a certified refurbished Mac as you would with a brand new one.


3. Storage and Memory

The MacBook Pro also has plenty of options for storage space and memory. You can find a used MacBook Pro with anywhere from 128GB to 8TB! While 128GB might sound low, if you already have an external hard drive, or rarely save documents on the laptop itself, that might not be an issue. Typically, average users invest in laptops with about 250GB, which is usually enough unless the laptop is purchased for a specific purpose requiring more space.

The RAM for MacBook Pros typically ranges anywhere from 4GB to 16GB. This has a direct impact on how many programs can run simultaneously and at what speed. Again, consider what you'll be using the laptop for to decide how much memory you'll need. The average user would likely find that a MacBook Pro with 8GB memory works well for their needs.

You shouldn't have any issues finding the right storage size and memory when you're shopping for a refurbished MacBook Pro. In fact, you might find that you can upgrade to a Mac with more storage and still stay on your budget when you buy used.

2. Research trustworthy refurbished sellers

The most important aspect to consider when buying a refurbished MacBook Pro is to make sure you're purchasing from a reputable seller. A simple search for the seller's reviews should give you enough insight from past customers to help make an informed decision and ensure that you're getting a quality product. Some places you may know by reputation and brand name, but there are thousands of sellers to choose from and a little research goes a long way.

Another option is to check refurbished marketplaces. Of course, the risk here is still ending up purchasing from a low quality seller, so you need to make sure you're shopping on a legit marketplace like Back Market. We're dedicated to only refurbished tech, unlike other marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. We'll also save you some research time because we put our sellers through a rigorous screening process to make sure only the best are listed on our site. On top of that, we perform regular random quality checks so that our sellers continue to deliver top-performing products.

Once you find a seller you're happy with, this step of the process will be much easier for future refurbished purchases. You can also help out friends and family by providing recommendations to refurbished marketplaces or individual sellers with whom you've had a great experience.

3. Look for guarantees or warranties with your Mac purchase

Even if you've found a seller or marketplace you can trust, you should still make sure that your purchase is somehow protected or guaranteed. Every site has a different policy, but if your MacBook Pro ends up being defective or otherwise unusable at any point, then all that money you saved on your purchase will be for nothing. 

That is, unless you've purchased from a seller that has a great warranty policy. At the very minimum, you should look for AT LEAST a 30-day warranty included with your purchase. If your warranty is for a shorter time period like this, then you should make sure to use your MacBook Pro frequently within the first couple weeks of purchase to make sure there's nothing wrong with it and you won't run into any issues with heavy use. Bottom line: don't buy a used MacBook Pro without some sort of warranty policy in place!

Back Market also looks to protect our customers through the warranty process. We offer a 1-year warranty on all MacBook Pro purchases and any other purchase on our site for that matter. On top of that, you'll get 30 days to change your mind in case your unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason.

4. Compare MacBook Pro prices

If you made it to this step and you've found a few sellers or marketplaces that you can trust with good policies to protect your purchase, you'll want to start comparing prices at this point. This stage should be easy since you've already done the research to identify trustworthy sites, so all you really need to do is find the best deal.

You can do a quick comparison on MacBook Pro display prices between different sites, but you also might want to consider shipping costs and any other hidden fees (these can fall under categories like "processing fee" or additional fees for warranties). If you're shopping for the newest MacBook Pro models, then you'll obviously want to compare refurbished prices to the price of new as well. In some cases, the price difference might not justify buying used over new, but that's not usually the case, especially if you're shopping for a Mac that's at least 1 to 2 generations old.

Shipping costs and hidden fees for refurbished devices can be a tough break, especially if you were initially excited to find what seemed to be an amazing deal. We try to be as transparent as possible at Back Market, so all our devices come with free standard shipping and no hidden fees (aside from taxes).

Back Market

Written by Blanca Marín

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