🔥 Buying a used Mac laptop: How to avoid scams and find the best deals | ZDNet

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What is the best used MacBook Pro for 2019?

Some MacBook Pros have visible screws. Here's a quick note: If you don't have a Mac already to make this external boot drive, that's okay. If the machine won't boot, and you don't have an external startup disk, walk away now. One of the more interesting challenges in buying used MacBook Pro machines is understanding which model year you're buying. Since graphics and video production are some of the Mac's strengths and Chromebook's weaknesses , I'm going to assume that the kids need some video and graphic capability -- and machines that can handle that load. If the machine looks too beaten up, you might want to give it a pass. With eBay purchases, you generally won't be able to see the unit or units until they arrive at your door. You'll just have fewer backup tests you can run when considering the Mac you're looking at buying. The risk of spending a lot especially for MacBook Pros and not getting what you need or expect is quite high. This test runs through a bunch of basic colors and should help tell you if there's discoloration or missing or stuck pixels. Errors on the drive could be caused by a bad drive which is replaceable or bad drive controller chips which are not. I reached out to OWC , who sells refurbs. As mentioned above and as you should know if you're braving buying a used Mac locally , About This Mac is a small screen located under the Apple menu. I prefer to use Disk Utility to run First Aid on a drive and see if any errors show up. Make sure the keys that repeat stop repeating. Unfortunately, my correspondent didn't detail why he wanted to move from Chromebooks to MacBooks. My correspondent also didn't specify why, specifically, he was interested in MacBooks rather than Windows laptops. Scale it to full screen and run, looking for stuck pixels or dots on the screen. So, let's say you decide to ignore my advice and buy a machine from a local seller. Just launch Safari and make sure you can get to YouTube. You'll want to bring a basic test kit with you when you go to see the device you're considering. I am currently shopping for MacBooks My twins are in the Junior year of college and it's time to replace their Asus Chromebooks and MacBooks from like Which 'year' of construction? Don't buy a Mac that doesn't support USB 3. Check to make sure they're all in place and not stripped or missing. Don't worry about running Chrome here. I spoke to several sellers who claimed they had no idea. Knowing the model year of the device your considering will help with this step. If any of those specs bother you, stop right here. Test your external drive in each of the USB ports. It's not just the OS that obsoletes. You should be able to boot all the way into the machine through to the desktop picture. It used to be that you could check the S. You can assume that certain models will drop off the OS support list each year. If there's an optical drive, take your test disk, insert it and see if it plays. You want to notice any dents, scratches, and, especially, any obvious damage. That said, some scratched up Macs still work great, and the scratches could well save you some bucks. If you can't test the network, period, then walk away. Then run the number through Apple's Check Coverage page. That's not to say they won't be usable, but it does mean that upgrades, special features, and security upgrades won't be available. If you don't have one, you can use a large thumb drive and follow these instructions from Apple. Examine the screen for scratches or damage. What is the ideal trade off for refurbished Mac performance at 'gotta buy two' pricing? I'd recommend walking away from any machine that fails the First Aid scan.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} If you do have an external startup disk, start thinking about how much you want the seller to discount the machine. Next, bring a set of headphones preferably with a headphone jack, rather than a USB connection. One of the problems with Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook sellers is they often won't specify the year of the machine you're buying. Step 3. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}I once got an interesting letter from a reader who wanted to save some money buying two Mac laptops for his college-age twins:. It could be his kids prefer MacOS, or it could be that they want some features or applications unique to Mac laptops. I got hit with Chrome not upgrading on a too-old machine. The potential for outright scams is high. If possible, use an external SSD drive. Take my advice, though. Here's where you're going to do a thorough physical inspection of the machine before booting it up. That said, you need to do a certain amount of OS calculus. Then, attach your external drive to the Mac, hold down the Option key and keep holding it until you see the Startup Manager. Also, check the trackpad and make sure it tracks with your fingers as expected. Make sure it's not badly kinked, bent, or cracked. When buying a used car, you always want to know its model year, but oddly enough, many Mac resellers both the commercial ones and private ones seem to gloss over the production year in favor of specs. If the seller says there's no available network connection or if you're in a public location , try setting up Wi-Fi. If you can test the network, go to this YouTube video. Try your headset and make sure it works. If you have screen problems, walk away from the deal. The simplest way to make sure the network is running is to go to YouTube. If you encounter a seller who claims no knowledge of model, ask for a serial number it's available on the unit or in the About this Mac dialog under the Apple menu. If the machine boots on external power, but the adapter looks crappy, ask for a discount. Read More. It will generally give you model year information, as well as some other details. You'll want to choose a USB 2. This will allow you to test external audio. Pack an SD card to test the internal SD card slot, if one exists. Have the seller take a photo of that screen and text it to you. First, bring the external drive you pre-configured a version of MacOS on. Here's what you should do. That certainly applies to eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace purchases. I like using the keyboard viewer, but you can also open Notes or TextEdit. Type a lot of text, check caps, caps lock, function keys, and repeating keys. Let's cut to the chase: buying used gear can save you money but can be risky as heck. Apparently, Gmail also checks the OS version. The scam potential is there as well for Craigslist and Facebook marketplace, but since you're likely to be able to put your hands on the machine before you buy, you stand a better chance. I have three more machines, which I can upgrade this year but will hit OS obsolescence in There are hacky ways to bypass Apple's OS limitation, but they're still hacks. Plug in your SD card and see if the machine reads it. Even when using other browsers, Gmail wouldn't work. You're going to want to do some hands-on testing. For example, I own one machine, which I couldn't upgrade when Mojave came out last year. Look at each of the ports to see if any is out of alignment or crushed. Choose your drive and see if the machine will boot using your drive. His Chromebooks are a bit long in the tooth, but there are some quite fine Chromebooks to be had quite inexpensively. They tell me they have lots of folks who are running somewhat older OS versions. That said, to do a purchase this way, you have to be very comfortable with your ability to validate product model year and features, and the seller has to be willing to let you spend time with the machine. Power adapters are available elsewhere to purchase, but they're not inexpensive. To be quite honest, though, I'd avoid those channels. It'll just be too slow. But beware. This is a good time to examine the power cable. Make sure the power adapter is plugged in and boot the machine.