Apple Refurbs

When I get customers asking about new or nearly new Apple kit, I’ll often point them in the direction of the Apple Refurbished store, but often the question is “what are the pros and cons?”

Well straight away is price, for e.g. this years 21″ iMac models are £1149 & £1299 respectively, over in refurbs, and they’re £979 & £1099, so a saving of £170-£200

And it’s the same over in the current generation MacBooks Pro too, MacBook Pro 13″ £999, refurb £849, new MacBook Pro Retina 15″ 2.3GHz i7 £2199, refurb £1869, no not a typo, that’s £330 off.

The astute will also notice sometimes previous years models are also available, often with even bigger savings. Occasionally you’ll fall doubly lucky, as it’s not unknown to buy a refurb and then find you’ve been sent one that’s had factory upgrades, so you’ll get more ram or a bigger hard drive than expected.

The next crucial question that comes up is warranty, well they all come with Apple’s standard one year warranty, with the option as with all other new equipment from them, to add a further two years before the end of the first year, so there’s no problems there.

The stock in the refurb store, is supposedly a mix of customer returns under distance selling regs, old stock clearance & factory repairs, so you can occasionally expect some marks, but you rarely see them. They come looking like a new one, wrapped in cellophane as per a new one, with the paper inserts as per a new one, with sealed new keyboards, mice, chargers, all as you’d find with a new one.

eg here’s a refurbished MacBook Air that I’ve just picked up for a client…

No I can’t see any marks on it either.

If you did get one with marks or you were unhappy, then there’s free returns too which should be quibble free.

The difference then?

The box..

For the iPads it’s a blink and you’ll miss is difference, basically no pictures and it says “Apple Certified Refurbished” on the box. Internally they’re all packaged identically, regardless of new or refurb’d.

For the iMacs & MacBooks it’s a bit more obvious

The refurb box externally looks nothing like your typical Mac Box, an utter anticlimax, and internally on the laptop boxes they differ

So they lack some of that Apple je ne sais quoi for opening, but then you can console yourself with a weekend break on the savings, and anyway the box is going in the bin/loft so you won’t care until you come to sell anyway. And when you do, I think the refurbs box have the edge on the packaging with much more foam around the machine. Personally I always re-wrap the standard boxes in bubble wrap to give more than 1/2″ foam protection to the screen from the courier.

Also they no longer say “refurbished” on the serial number, so if you were trying to arrange an extra special present you could just lose the box and wrap it in a case, plus this also means nothing to identify them come resale values either, just in case anyone was for some reason put off in any way.

The only other cons are the stock lottery, one day you’ll look and they’ll have various models, then you’ll watch for another 4 weeks waiting for the one you want. Also if you want a build to order specification, you’ll have to be extra patient/lucky, oh and don’t expect new models in the refurb store inside the first two-three months. But it does become a good opportunity to pick up last years model on the cheap…

Convinced? Head to the Apple refurb store to pick yours up now

Scroll to Top