Are Refurbished Macbooks Good or Bad?

Though some refurbished items lack quality control or consistency, Apple products all go through rigorous testing that makes them extremely reliable and come in at a more reasonable price.

I’m an Apple user who’s spent years using their products. I’ve also had both new and refurbished items. That hands-on experience has allowed me to fully explain the details laid out in this guide.

The below paragraphs take a long look at both the pros and cons of refurbished Apple products. In doing so they break down why a renewed Macbook might be right or wrong for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Most of the time refurbished Apple products have the same quality, features, and battery life as new models.
  • Refurbished Macbooks have solid warranties, go through a thorough review process, and tend to be much cheaper than ones that come right out of the box. 
  • Getting a refurbished model through a third party can lead to quality control issues, while ones bought through Apple tend to be older models without as much cutting-edge technology.

Understanding Refurbished Macbooks

Refurbished items tend to be pre-owned products that have been returned by customers who either ran into an issue (commonly a defect) or who simply didn’t want the item. In Apple’s case, they may have been a part of their recycling program as well.

When such returns occur, Apple repairs the products, cleans them, gets them back up to speed and then offers them to be resold through one of their many distributors. Some private parties may offer refurbished items too, but those don’t always have the same assurance.

Every refurbished Apple product, including Macbooks, goes through a strong certification process that makes sure it’s as good as new. They have full functionality, a clean outer shell, and a new battery. Few companies offer such quality control with their inspections.

In that way, refurbished items are quite different from used ones. While both products come with large price discounts, used ones don’t have a warranty and aren’t checked with the same thorough process. They have no quality assurance either.

Refurbished Macbooks almost always work just as well as new ones. They have great technical health and aren’t as big of a risk.

Refurbished Macbooks: Pros

There are several reasons to choose a refurbished Macbook over an out-of-the-box model, and the biggest is money. Apple products are extremely expensive. That doesn’t bother most of their users, but it acts as a barrier for many. A refurbished product overcomes that hurdle.

Such products come with a hefty discount, making them perfect for anyone on a budget or who wants to own a Macbook but can’t justify the higher price tag. They also allow you to get accessories without worrying about stretching your wallet too much.

Another bonus of getting a refurbished Macbook over other refurbished items is that, if you go through Apple, there’s amazing quality assurance. The devices are meticulously cleaned and restored to the point where they’re almost indistinguishable from new ones.

They also come with a solid warranty period (that can be extended with AppleCare) and are environmentally friendly due to the fact that they’re recycled. Extra protection goes a long way, as does the knowledge that you’re reducing your carbon footprint with your purchase.

Refurbished Macbooks: Cons

As good as refurbished models can be, they aren’t perfect. There are a few aspects you want to watch out for when going that route, especially if you don’t get one through the usual channels.

The first con of getting a refurbished model is that you’re opening the door for sketchy behavior. It’s unlikely that you’re going to get scammed, but there’s always a chance. That’s why it’s important to get your product from big box stores or Apple themselves when possible.

Always go with high-quality control. It may take a bit of extra work to vet your sources and ensure your product is up to snuff, but that comes with the territory.

Even if you do go through Apple, your options can still be quite limited. You’re getting a device from Apple, but you don’t get to pick and choose exactly what you want. Rather, you can only get something from the inventory available at the time of your purchase.

Most refurbished models also tend to be a bit older. That doesn’t mean you won’t get the reliability, accessories, or features most Macbooks are known for, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you can only find models from a year or two ago at the earliest.


The following questions are some of the most commonly asked by refurbished Macbook users.

Do Refurbished Macbooks Last as Long as New Ones?

Though you’re never going to get the same lifespan as an out-of-the-box laptop, a refurbished Macbook still lasts a long time. Most will give you around five years, and some can go even further beyond that.

Should I Get My Refurbished Macbook Straight from Apple?

Though you don’t need to get a refurbished laptop from Apple, you do want to get one from a trusted store or source. That eliminates the possibility of getting a faulty machine or one that wasn’t properly vetted.

Can You Trust a Refurbished Macbook?

Yes. While some sources aren’t as reputable, any refurbished model you get from Apple is thoroughly cleaned, tested, and has all defective parts swapped out. The device is even repackaged inside the original box.

Final Words

Many users try to stay away from refurbished Macbooks, but often they are as good as new. As long as you get one from a trusted source, understand the way the process works, and know what features you want, it’s hard not to be happy when getting a renewed item.

Have you ever owned a refurbished Macbook? What were the pros and cons when comparing it against a new model? Let us know below!

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