A Macbook on a wooden desk next to a notepad, iPhone and coffee mug.

There are many reasons Apple’s MacBook laptops are so popular, including their sleek designs, high-quality audio and video experiences, and seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem. In early 2023, the company released the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch to rave reviews, with writers praising its first-class LED display, all-day battery life and unrivalled power. But with a starting price of $2,499 and potentially reaching all the way up to $5,299, a new MacBook isn’t cheap.

Fortunately, older MacBooks tend to stand the test of time, remaining quality devices even after a number of years have passed. And it should come as no surprise that buying a MacBook second-hand is a lot more affordable than buying a new one.

But what about the quality? Will it still have the same long battery life that makes the MacBook so highly sought-after? How do you check a second-hand MacBook properly so you can make sure you’re getting what you paid for?

As sellers of Apple refurbished laptops, OzMobiles are used to dealing with questions and concerns about buying a MacBook second-hand. In this article, we explain how to check a second-hand MacBook and explore the benefits of buying refurbished electronics.


Difference between Second-Hand, Used, and Refurbished


In most cases, ‘used’ and ‘second-hand’ mean the same thing: the device has had a previous owner and is no longer in a new condition. There are exceptions, though, such as ex-demo smartphones. These phones have been taken out of their boxes to be put on display in retail stores but haven’t had previous owners. They’re used but likely to be in an excellent state nevertheless.

Refurbished devices are electronic goods (smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.) that manufacturers or third-party sellers have repaired and restored to make them as close to new condition as possible. During this process, the previous owner’s data is erased, background checks are run, and every part of the phone, from the microphone to the touchscreen, is tested to make sure it still works.

There’s plenty of variety on offer when it comes to refurbished devices. They’re usually sold in grades ranging from as good as new (or close to it) to showing a little more wear and tear. Most are in excellent condition for the price, though. And apart from a few scuffs or scratches, many are almost identical to new devices.

Buying refurbished Apple laptops and other refurbished devices packs a range of benefits, as you’ll discover below. But it’s important to know how to check a second-hand MacBook so that you know what kind of quality you’re getting.


What to Quality Check

A laptop on top of a wooden desk with an iPhone next to it and a single bulb lamp shining.

While there’s a lot to consider when you buy any device (and a lot of it depends on your own priorities), here’s a brief guide to how to check a second-hand MacBook for quality.  


Consider the model you want

Like every other device, the MacBook has changed and evolved over the years. Since the MacBook’s debut in 1991, it’s grown to become a favourite device with university students, professionals and creatives, among others. Choosing which one you want to buy is a topic for another whole article in itself, but there are certainly ways to narrow it down. How much do you care about the screen size? Is the Touch Bar important, or is the speaker set up? Doing some research on the different models out there will help you gain a clearer perspective on which MacBook you should buy.


Check the seller’s credibility and reputation

If you’re buying from someone without an established web presence, it’s important to check they’re a safe and reliable person to buy from. If you’re shopping on a site like Facebook Marketplace or eBay, you can view the seller’s feedback scores. Sellers you can trust will always share clear photos of devices and be able to answer any questions you have.


One of the best things about buying from a refurbished seller is that it’s pretty easy to find out what kind of reviews they have and how satisfied their customers are. When it comes to how to check a second-hand MacBook, examining the credentials of the seller is an essential step.


Check for damage

Scratches, scuffs, dents and other minor superficial damages aren’t necessarily dealbreakers when it comes to the device. But if you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, keep an eye out for problems like cracked and broken screens and worn-out rubber gaskets. A decent seller will have photos and accurate product information online and won’t sell anything that doesn’t meet an acceptable standard of quality.


Check the battery health

When the health of the battery dips below 80%, you may start to notice a decline in your MacBook’s performance. You don’t want to have to fork out for a new battery when you’ve only just bought a new MacBook, so it’s worth making sure the battery is up to speed.


Check if there is a warranty

One of the riskiest things about buying a MacBook second-hand from an individual is that if anything goes wrong, you may lose your money permanently. In Australia, consumer laws don’t apply to private sales. A decent refurbished retailer will provide a warranty with your device to protect it (along with your peace of mind).


One important factor in how to check a second-hand MacBook is checking whether it’s a used MacBook or a refurbished one. You can pick up used MacBooks and other laptops online and at outlets like second-hand retail stores, but there are definite benefits to buying Apple laptops refurbished.


Why Buy Refurbished MacBooks?


Some of the biggest benefits of buying a MacBook second-hand include:


It’s more affordable

The main reason that anyone buys refurbished devices is how much more affordable they are. You can save several hundreds of dollars, sometimes even a grand or more, just by skipping the shopping centre and choosing refurbished instead.


It’s better for the environment

You may have heard of e-waste (environmental waste), currently the fastest-growing form of waste in the world. Laptops are among the millions of electronic devices that end up in landfills every year, and in Australia, only about 10% of PCs and laptops are recycled. When you buy a second-hand MacBook, you save one laptop from the scrap heap and save another one from needing to be produced.


You still get a warranty

When you’re looking into how to check a second-hand MacBook, one question you need to find out the answer to is whether or not you get a warranty with your purchase. When you buy a refurbished MacBook through a reputable seller, however, you’re certain to.  


Get Refurbished MacBooks at OzMobiles

A woman's hands hovering over the keyboard and mouse pad of a Macbook.

You can find a refurbished MacBook right here on the OzMobiles website. Just check out our collection of Apple refurbished laptops.


More interested in a tablet? The iPad Pro series offers a faster level of performance than some Macs, plus crisp resolution and top-notch battery life.


All OzMobiles devices are tested at our Melbourne headquarters to make sure they meet high Australian standards. This includes their battery life, which we guarantee is at least 80%. Every device we sell is 100% fully functional, sold with 12 months of warranty and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


To find out more about how to check second-hand MacBook quality and the MacBooks we offer, contact the OzMobiles team.

Apple macbookRefurbished macbookRefurbished macbook pro