Do you have an older Mac you want to sell? There are various ways to do it with the minimum amount of hassle. However, there is more to selling your Mac than just picking how you will sell it. This guide covers everything you need to do when selling a MacBook or Mac, from evaluating the market and choosing the right price to making sure you aren’t ripped off, and being prepared for hagglers.
First things first–probably the most pressing question you have is, how much is your Mac worth? We’ll address that first. Then we will look at all the ways to sell your Mac: from selling it on eBay or other marketplaces, to trading it in at Apple, or selling it to a service that specializes in selling refurbished Macs. To find the best place to sell a Mac jump to Best place to sell a Mac.
How much is my Mac worth?
Wondering how much you can get for your Mac? When you pick your price you need to keep a few things in mind. Here’s what you need to do to figure out how to price your Mac for sale.
Find out the model of your Mac
The first step when it comes to selling your old Mac is finding out which model you have–not just whether it’s a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, for example, but the generation and other specs. You can read our guide to identifying which Mac you have for help with that.
Find out how much similar Macs are selling for
Once you know your Mac’s model, you can start to work on what it’s worth. Finding out its model, specs, and value can help you set a selling price.
When you research used Macs for sale, you’ll find that some listings categorize the laptop as pre-owned while others are listed as refurbished or certified refurbished. Pre-owned usually means it’s used and has nothad major repairs or modifications to make it like new. Refurbished generally means that an Apple Certified engineer has looked it over and made repairs to make it like new, and it may even come with a warranty.
Many secondhand Macs for sale come with extras. Perhaps it’s in the original sealed box (i.e. never used). Maybe they are bundling software with it (which isn’t strictly legal; the Mac should have its data wiped out before you sell it). Some may or may not include accessories such as a keyboard, mouse, or power adapter. What you offer in your total package can influence your selling price.
Apple’s Certified Refurbished Store (U.S./U.K.) is a good indication of the maximum resell value of your M-series Mac (Apple no longer sells Intel-based Macs), but expect yours to sell for a lot less. For example, a 2020 MacBook Air with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU M1 chip is $849/£849 in Apple’s Refurb store, which includes a full one-year warranty and the knowledge that Apple’s engineers have rectified any problems with the device. If you decide to sell your Mac at a similar price, a person is unlikely to buy your used Mac if they can get what is essentially a new one at the Refurbished Store.
If you want to sell an Intel-based Mac, you can check prices on BackMarket (U.S./U.K.). Just like Apple, BackMarket sells certified refurbished Macs with a 12-month warranty.
Be realistic about demand
Apple’s switch from Intel chips to its own M-series chips will affect your ability to sell an Intel Mac. There’s a small customer base that wants Intel Macs, but most people want the M-series.
Keep in mind that as Macs age, Apple starts dropping support for them in different ways. Apple often drops older Mac generations when it releases a new version of macOS. And Apple stops providing hardware support, usually after five to seven years, which means a third-party shop has to be used for repairs.
If Apple stops providing support, it doesn’t mean the Mac is unusable. Versions of macOS that are two or three generations older than the current version usually can still access iCloud and the apps still work. But there may come a time when Apple implements a new feature that requires a version of macOS that won’t run on an older Mac.
Decide what to sell it for
Be realistic about what your used Mac is worth. If your price for your three-year-old MacBook Pro is close to that of a completely new Mac, it’s not going to sell. But if you aren’t in a major hurry to sell your Mac, you might be happy to price it higher, hoping that someone will be prepared to pay for it.
If you want to sell it quickly you might think that pricing it for a fast sell is wise. But a price that is too low could be a red flag to shoppers–they might assume that your Mac is faulty. If you’re looking for a fast sale, consider a Mac selling service (we list a few below).
Don’t get caught up in what you originally spent on it. The MacBook Pro you are selling might have been the top dog at the time you bought it, but now an entry-level MacBook Air could be more powerful, so don’t expect people to pay top dollar for your old Mac.
Choose whether to sell it privately or via a business, or part exchange it
How to sell your Mac depends on the amount of effort you want to put into it. Selling your Mac through eBay, Gumtree (U.K.), or a similar service is a lot of work. You might make a bit more money if you sell it privately, but you have to directly deal with the buyer. It’s not as simple as posting your Mac for sale, collecting your money, delivering your Mac, and waving goodbye, but it can be satisfying.
If you want to sell an old Mac and limit the effort you need. to put in, you find a business that will buy your Mac. These businesses often refurbish the Mac so they can turn it around and sell it, so that means you won’t get top dollar, but it’s an easy sell. We cover some of these businesses below.
If you are selling your Mac with the idea of buying a new one, some retailers offer an exchange. Apple will let you do this, as will various Apple Certified Resellers. We look at the prices you can get for this below but you can also find out more information here: How to sell or trade in your old Mac and save on a new one.
Alternatively, if your Mac has very little resell value you might prefer to donate or recycle it.
Choose the best time to sell a Mac
The time of the year can affect the sale of your Mac. Typically, it makes sense to sell an old model before Apple announces a new one, rather than after the announcement. When a new model is announced, the older ones will lose a significant amount of value. So keep an eye on upcoming Apple events and rumors and try to pre-empt them if possible. You can read our lowdown on what products we expect Apple to announce over the next few months, and when we think Apple will hold its next launch event. We anticipate Apple updates in the spring (usually March), June (to coincide with WWDC), September, and October. But the company has been known to update products outside of these windows.
Another good time to sell is in the summer months prior to students returning to or starting university. While students can get a decent discount on Mac products (read more about how to get an education discount on Apple products), an older Mac may be a better fit for a student budget.
Selling in the run-up to the December holidays is also a good time, but there is competition from the Black Friday deals.
Where to sell your Mac in the U.S.
These services will buy the old Mac from you. They won’t pay you as much as they will sell it for, but this can be a quick and easy way to make some money by selling your Mac without the hassle. The amount on offer will depend on the condition of your machine.
Where to sell your Mac in the U.K.
There are several services in the U.K. that will buy your old Mac from you:
Apple has a trade-in program where the value of your old Mac is applied towards the purchase of a new one. Not all Macs qualify though; Apple may offer to recycle it instead of allowing it to be traded in. Apple certainly doesn’t pay the highest rates either, but it’s a convenient service.
To use the program you will need to enter your Mac’s serial number, which you can find in the Apple Menu > About This Mac.
This is another option if you don’t have a local Apple Store. Some Apple resellers can use the Apple Trade-In program to take your old Mac off your hands. It’s likely that they might offer to knock some money off the purchase of a new Mac in exchange for taking your old Mac. But there isn’t a lot of flexibility in terms of how much of a discount they can give you because Apple controls the prices they sell products at.
Other selling options
If you’d rather get the maximum amount of money for your Mac then you might prefer to use one of the following to sell your Mac.
Sell on Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, Gumtree, or a local Facebook group
Sell via an ad in a local newspaper or privately some other way..
If you just want to get rid of it and you don’t care about getting money for it you could sell via Freecycle, or give it to your local charity
What to do before you sell your old Mac
It’s perfectly safe to sell on a Mac second-hand, provided you take some basic precautions. (Well, if you’ve been storing state secrets or billion-pound business-critical data on there, you might want to get in some specialist help. The following tips are for the rest of us!)
Before you sell your Mac second-hand, you should clean it both inside and out. We have complete details on how to wipe and reset a Mac, but in a nutshell: Make sure you have a backup and erase your Mac using the tools in macOS.
Also, check to see if you have any original box or packaging. The more presentable the Mac looks in its photographs, and the more original packaging you have, the more it will fetch on the second-hand market.