The desire to purchase a MacBook might not come to fruition if you lack the necessary funds. After all, Apple computers are expensive, and it should not come as a surprise given how great they are.
However, it is worth noting that you do not have to discard the idea of getting a Mac if you cannot afford a brand new model. No, there is still the option of a second-hand MacBook, which would be much cheaper.
There are plenty of sellers that want to get rid of their old Macs, and as someone who is interested in buying, you can get in touch with them and see whether the purchase is worth it or not.
Keep in mind, though, that a used MacBook will likely have some performance issues and other problems. Before you commit, you need to make sure to follow a certain checklist as there are multiple things to check when buying a second-hand computer.
1. Find Out If the MacBook Is Loading Properly
The first thing you want to do is to boot the MacBook and see if it loads properly. Do not expect a fast load time if the device is used, but also remember that it should not take too long either.
Another thing to note is if the mac keeps restarting randomly because of Kernel Panic, an issue that is quite prominent in used computers.
Overall, if you are tech-savvy, you should notice potential problems right off the bat with a MacBook after starting it and not bother spending money.
2. Test the Keyboard
A responsive keyboard should function properly. Test all the keys and see if they are responding to the clicks. One or two bad keys should not be enough to refrain from purchasing the computer because you can replace them, but if the majority of the keyboard is not good, you are better off not buying such a MacBook.
Other than individual keys, spend a bit of time clicking different keyboard shortcuts. If the keyboard is fine, the shortcuts should work properly as well, but it is still better to be safe than sorry.
3. Check If Mic, Speakers, and Webcam Are Working
One of the benefits of having a laptop instead of a desktop computer is that you do not have to invest in an external microphone, speakers, and a webcam.
MacBooks have these three as well, and you need to check them thoroughly, especially if you will be doing a lot of video or voice chatting for work or other occasions.
4. Listen to the Sound the Laptop Makes
Loud noises after turning a computer on are a bad sign already, but they might dissipate after the device finishes loading. However, if the noise persists while the computer is running, and there are no resource-heavy applications in the background, then you have a real problem.
One of the likeliest causes behind the issue could be the dust inside. It is possible that the current owner did not bother cleaning the MacBook because they were reluctant to take the device apart for thorough cleaning. The dust inside clogs the internal fans and prevents them from cooling the hardware.
If it is not the dust, it might be just that the MacBook is pretty outdated and has lackluster hardware. You cannot really replace that, so getting a cooling pad could be one of the solutions as the accessory provides fresh air and improves the performance by reducing the MacBook’s temperature.
5. See How Responsive Applications Are
During the testing phase, take a while to check different applications and see how fast they load and whether they are responsive. Launch Activity Monitor and sort processes by different resource usage and consider whether the numbers make sense.
It is natural that older Macs will not be as efficient, but if a relatively low-end application is consuming a lot of memory and CPU, you might run into hardware problems sooner rather than later, and it is recommended to stay away from such MacBooks.
6. Look for Scratches
A few scratches should not be a bother. If anything, they are pretty expected when purchasing a used laptop. Covering them with a few stickers would be a solution that you can consider.
On the other hand, if there are physical damages that just make the overall look of the MacBook hardly bearable, you should probably reconsider. Of course, if the laptop itself functions properly and you are not too bothered with its looks, then taking a pragmatic approach and getting such a Mac regardless is still a possibility.
7. Test the Ports
Try all the ports to see if the USB cables and so forth are connecting properly and the MacBook reacts to them. The issue with ports is one of the toughest to overcome because you cannot really replace such intricate internal hardware.
As a rule of thumb, if a laptop’s ports are not working, it is better not to get such a computer and look for an alternative.
8. Use the Wireless Connection
An ethernet cable is usually more reliable than a Wi-Fi, but most laptop users do not use an ethernet cable.
If there is a network nearby, connect to it and see how the MacBook works when the internet is active.
The important thing to focus on is whether you can actually use the connection, as some outdated Macs have been known to have issues when users are trying to connect to the internet.
9. Check the Battery Lifespan
The last item on the checklist is the MacBook’s battery. First of all, you should expect that you will need to charge a second-hand laptop more frequently, but the overall battery lifespan should still be reasonable.
Use the device for a while with demanding applications in the background. Also, see how fast the battery charges if you have the charger plugged in while still using the MacBook.
If the battery seems okay, you should not worry too much. On the other hand, if its lifespan runs out sooner than expected, it would be for the best not to get such a MacBook.