Apple

Buying a used MacBook, the essential guide – Intro

Photo by Phillip Artisanbread

Buying a MacBook can be daunting; from price to features, there is a lot to consider. This guide will help you decide how to make the right choice and get the most value.

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Buying a MacBook can be daunting; from price to features, there is a lot to consider. This guide will help you decide how to make the right choice and get the most value.

Why buy a used MacBook?

Simply put, the main reason to find a used MacBook for sale is to save money. Apple laptops aren’t cheap, but buying used can present great value.

Most people who become MacBook fans are swayed by the simplicity of design and ease of use of other Apple products, like the popular iPhone 6 or the Apple Watch. You’ll find those same qualities in Apple’s laptops and the compatibility to make your digital life easier.

Due to the great build quality a well cared for MacBook will last a long time and keep it’s value. Good news, with Swappa, you’re able to reap the benefits of Apple’s forward thinking design with a much lower price tag by buying a gently used or refurbished MacBook direct from another user.

If you’re new to the Apple ecosystem and are looking to buy a used or refurbished MacBook for cheap, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is which type of Apple laptop to buy. There are three main “families” of Mac notebooks: MacBook Retina, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in sizes ranging from 11″ to 15″.

MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook Retina

The MacBook Air is designed for portability and is available in both 11″ and 13″ sizes. Both the MacBook Air 11″ and MacBook Air 13″ are slim and lightweight, balancing capability and portability. MacBook Airs sport full-sized keyboards, solid state storage, and machined aluminum casing.

The MacBook Pro is built for performance and is available in both 13″ and 15″ sizes (the 17″ version was discontinued in 2012). The MacBook Pro 15″ is the Apple laptop powerhouse while the MacBook Pro 13″ sacrifices little performance for a smaller profile. MacBook Pros sport powerful processors and greater memory and storage options.

The MacBook Retina line was relaunched by Apple in 2015 and is available in a 12″ screen size. The MacBook Retina has a similar appearance to the MacBook Air, but is actually thinner and lighter. The price is generally higher than the MacBook Air due to the Retina Display, thinner body, and higher storage and memory. However, the processor and graphic performance are generally inferior compared to the MacBook Air.

Each has their own pros and cons. In this post, we’ll hit some highlights to help you choose which MacBook to take a closer look at based on your needs.

How to use this guide

This guide is broken into the considerations that you may want to review before you purchase a used or refurbished Apple laptop. Feel free to jump to the feature that may be at the top of your priority list or read the guide in order. In addition to discussing features we’ve also included some helpful tables to help you compare features across multiple years.

To make this guide easier to read, we’ve broken it into smaller articles so you can click around to the topic that interests you most. Here are the main features we’ll cover:

Not only have we loaded “The Essential Guide to Buying a Used MacBook” with tips and information that will make you more confident when buying a used or refurbished MacBook, we’ve added in a checklist at the end of the summary to help you remember all of it.

Next in the series, check out Buying a used MacBook, the essential guide on price.