List of Things to Check Before Buying a Second-Hand Mac

MacBooks are relatively expensive, and if you want to get one for yourself, you may need to go with a second-hand option.

Overall, Macs are quite reliable and durable, so getting a used computer is not necessarily a bad option. Nevertheless, you still need to check certain things so that your money does not go to waste and you get an optimally performing Mac.


The first thing is damages on the outside. After all, if the MacBook has scratches, you would notice them immediately.

Loose screws are another item on the checklist. If you find any, keep in mind that the laptop’s owner might have taken their Mac to non-authorized repair service. Lastly, make sure that the screen and case are not bent.

If the seller informed you about damages beforehand during a phone call or shared clear pictures in the ad that indicate these damages, you should not worry too much because you knew what to expect.

However, if you notice significant problems after meeting the seller in person, you may refuse to purchase the MacBook or negotiate the price down.


Do not believe that the seller will tell you how old the MacBook really is. Even if the laptop looks in good condition, you should still check the About This Mac tab and see the date it was manufactured.

In case the MacBook is missing an operating system, you can copy the serial number at the bottom of the computer and check the information online.

Hard Drive

The hard drive (or a solid-state drive) is an important hardware peace. Check its condition to confirm that there are no problems. If you can figure out what’s taking up space on the computer, deleting it should not be an issue.

The problem with MacBook drives is that you cannot simply replace them in certain Mac models. And even then, the whole process is quite a drag. If you decide to buy the computer even if its drive is in poor condition, get a discount for your future troubles.

Display Condition

There might be some defective pixels on the MacBook’s screen. Spotting them with a naked eye is quite hard, even if you have a 20/20 vision.

Luckily, there are dead pixel checkers that fill a computer’s screen with pure colors and let you spot dead pixels. One or two dead pixels are not that big of a deal, but if there is a group, expect to invest money in fixing the screen.


Testing the keyboard should not take too long. First, launch an app that lets you type. Try every key to confirm that they are responding properly. Next, turn on the Caps Lock and see whether there are no issues with that. Also, do not forget to check the functional keys.

Optical Drive

The optical drive is not necessarily something you will need to use yourself, but it is still recommended to check it for some peace of mind. Pick a random CD or DVD and insert it to confirm that the drive reads the disk’s information.


Unlike the optical drive, you are more likely to use ports. Connect an external hard drive or a USB flash drive to check if the ports are responding. Do not hesitate to test them with different devices like an MP3 or even your smartphone to see if they start charging and whether there are no issues transferring files from these devices to the MacBook and vice-versa.

Similar to other instances, if there are problems with the MacBook’s ports, you should negotiate the price with the seller to get a better deal because you will need to take the computer to a service store and have the ports fixed.


Not everyone needs a webcam, but you cannot know when you might have to facetime with someone, meaning that it would be better not to risk it.

Start the FaceTime app or any other application that requires a camera to confirm that the video is visible and working. In case you encounter a message about not having a connected camera, replace the default MacBook camera with an iSight camera and try again.

If the issue persists, the problem most likely lies in the camera itself and not in applications you use.


A poor battery lifespan is problematic because you will need to have the charger plugged in consistently, which would pretty much eliminate MacBook’s portability feature.

Test the battery to see how long it lasts. The issue may be with the current owner’s lack of a proper maintenance routine. They might have visual effects enabled or too many applications running in the background.

Regardless, replacing Mac’s battery is not simple, and you do not want to deal with that. Thus, see how the battery lifespan is and decide whether the MacBook is worth purchasing or not.

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