The 8 Best Places to Buy Refurbished iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.
Apple’s range of phones, tablets, and laptops is great, but quite pricey. The good news is that you can get an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook refurbished to near-new condition at a significant discount over the price of a new product.
The 8 Best Places to Buy Refurbished iPhones
There are several retailers that specialize in refurbishing Apple products and reselling them at competitive prices. If you live in the US, we’ve rounded up the best places to find and buy refurbished iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.
What Does It Mean to be “Refurbished”?
Before considering a refurbished Apple product, the first thing you should understand is what the term “refurbished” means. Refurbished products are used, which means they were sold to someone who then traded or sold them.
However, the device is tested and any defective components are replaced or repaired. Typically, refurbishment also means that the device has been cleaned, but minor cosmetic damage, such as scratches or scuffs, may be present. However, in terms of functionality, they should be as good as a new product.
Refurbished devices are not the same as “open box” products. Products in open packaging have been opened but never used. As such, they are essentially brand new, may not have accessories, and are only on a small discount.
Refurbished devices usually come with a one-year warranty, which further differentiates them from buying a regular used device. The warranty period may be shorter than for a new product or may have special terms that exclude certain items. However, you can be sure that if something serious goes wrong during the warranty period, you have the opportunity to ask for help.
Before You Buy a Refurbished Product, Read This
While repairs generally mean the same thing, there can be significant differences between dealers in the small details. It’s important to review each recovery company’s process and policies to make sure the amount of risk you’re taking is reasonable.
First, pay attention to how they test devices, and then fix the problems found. Pay special attention to how batteries are handled. Replacing batteries in Apple products has long been a problem. Batteries are glued in when it comes to iPhone, iPad and some MacBooks. They can be replaced, but it’s not an easy job.
If a given company does not replace batteries in their refurbished devices, try to find their acceptable battery policy for refurbished products. Devices such as the iPhone and MacBook may report the current battery status and you may need to know how much time this component has left.
Another important area requiring your attention is the warranty policy. We think a 1 year warranty is a good minimum warranty. Any period of less than one year, when there may not be enough time for more serious latent problems to manifest.
Be sure to check out what each warranty covers. Please note that no warranty can take precedence over consumer protection laws. Some countries have consumer protection laws that allow you to return items under certain conditions, regardless of what is stated in this return policy.
Finally, make sure the refurbished Apple product you’re buying isn’t too outdated to be useful. For example, you can get great deals on a refurbished Apple iPad Air 2, but it’s a 2014 tablet. While iOS 15 still supports it, we’re nearing the end of its lifecycle and potential incompatibility with apps. So if you don’t have a particular use for it, it’s probably better to look for something newer.
For more information, see Should You Buy a Refurbished Mac: Pros and Cons.
Apple itself is arguably the best place to buy a refurbished iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. This is one of the few places where you can get any Apple product in refurbished condition. This includes the Apple Watch, Mac Mini, and large desktop Macs.
They are (obviously) experts at repairing their products. They only use genuine parts and offer almost the same warranty and after sales support as a new product.
The main downside to buying refurbished products from Apple itself is that the discounts aren’t as big as other options. However, you can trade in your old Apple stuff for store credit, which sweetens the deal even more.
An example of a great deal is the unlocked iPhone 11 Pro Max 512GB. That’s almost $300 less than the retail price of the new model. The price includes a new battery and external case.
2. Get “Renewed” Gadgets From Amazon
Amazon has a special category of products known as “refurbished”, including used, refurbished and open products.
Amazon uses 3rd party restorers who meet their requirements. These products must have at least 80% battery remaining, or 90% for Renewed Premium products. Updated gadgets should also be free of visible defects when held 12 inches or further away from the eyes. If you buy an iPhone from the Amazon Renewed Store, you should also be aware that they do not guarantee the original water resistance rating, if any.
With the exception of Amazon’s own devices, all refurbished products are covered by a special limited warranty. The standard warranty is only 90 days, unfortunately. However, if you buy a “refurbished premium product”, you will get a one-year warranty instead. Aside from theft, accidental damage, and counterfeiting, Amazon is pretty generous with its refunds, and you’ll almost certainly get a refund if something goes wrong.
Here’s an example of a great deal on a MacBook Pro. For under $700, you can get a 15-inch MacBook Pro with at least 80% battery capacity left and a Core i7 processor that’s more than adequate for most users.
Best Buy is one of the largest retailers in the US, but most of its customers probably don’t know that they sell refurbished electronics and new items. Their refurbished computer products are GeekSquad certified and as Best Buy describes it, the products have been restored to “like new” condition.
The warranty for these products varies by product, so be sure to read the terms separately. Their refurbished products are subject to the same return and exchange policy as new products.
Here’s an example of a great deal – Apple iPad Mini 4 Wi-Fi Space Gray 64 GB.
Other World Computing is a computer repair specialist and probably one of the most famous sellers of refurbished Macs. Their technicians are Apple certified, and they can even do custom Mac upgrades so you can get something better than new when it comes to performance or SSD space.
Be sure to check the warranty on each product, but the Apple factory refurbished computers we reviewed on the OWC website, for example, have a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase. You also get a 14-day money-back guarantee if the seal (if applicable) is not broken. Otherwise, a 15% restocking fee will apply.
OWC also offers an extended warranty called OWC Eclipse, so for an additional fee, you can have peace of mind.
An example of a great offering from OWC is this 27-inch iMac 5K Retina Display.
Mac of All Trades is another Apple repair specialist that has been in the business for over 25 years. They use certified technicians to refurbish their products, offer free shipping within the US and a free hardware warranty.
The selection of products on offer is staggering and the turnover rate seems pretty high, so if you don’t find what you want, check back regularly. Refurbished products come with a one-year warranty, but you can add a two-year Platinum Plating for an additional fee.
We love that Mac of All Trades allows you to quickly add accessories and other extras right from the product page, so you get a clear idea of how much it will cost to buy everything you need.
An example of a great deal from Mac of All Trades is this 12.9″ Apple iPad Pro 5th Generation Wi-Fi 128GB. This is a refurbished iPad in original packaging.
At the time of this writing, it was the latest model to cost about $100 less than the new model. Considering you’re getting pretty much the same, the 10% savings isn’t negligible, and you can get an even better deal by turning in your old stuff to Apple first.
Refurb.me is a little different from the other stores listed here. They don’t repair anything. Instead, the company curates a list of products from certified repairers and allows you to quickly compare offers.
The only downside to this is that there is no overall warranty, so you will have to test each product individually. However, Refurb.me only allows products with a minimum 30-day warranty to be used. They also conveniently put together all the warranty information from the biggest resellers on one webpage.
This is by far the fastest way to compare refurbished Apple products available for order. You can also set up an email alert so you know when a product that suits your needs becomes available. This is a very important feature for all rose gold fans as Apple products in this color will never be available for a long time.
Ref. It’s also great because it’s not just limited to the core Apple stuff. You can also look for things like AirPods, Pro XDR displays, HomePods, Apple TV, and anything with the Apple logo.
When you select a category, like “Mac”, you can also choose from standard search options like “MacBook under $500” or “Keyboard with scissors”. Finding exactly what you are looking for is very easy.
For example, here we were looking for a 2020 MacBook Air in mint condition.
As you can see, the results show us products that match this description from different manufacturers. We especially like that you can see exactly how much you are saving compared to the current new price of this MacBook Air.
7. Back Market
Back Market (an obvious black market game ) is a site with a good sense of humor, but above all, it has a lot of great deals on refurbished vehicles. This doesn’t just apply to Apple products. Back Market also offers products from Samsung if you want to switch to the Android side.
They also update Apple AirPods, which is a relative rarity considering they fit in people’s ears. If you are looking for a refurbished MacBook or iPad then you are in Back Market comfort zone and they have great deals. As a nice touch, each product list also tells you how much e-waste you’ve saved the planet so you can feel even better.
A great example of a great deal is the 2020 MacBook Pro, which is listed on the site for 24% off retail.
Decluttr is an online general used goods store where you can easily sell your items or buy used items. They have a dedicated certified refurbishment department that includes iPhones, MacBooks, iMacs, iPads and even iPods.
These refurbished products are covered by a one-year limited warranty against technical defects and workmanship. There is also a 14-day no questions asked return policy in case you feel burned shortly after receiving the product.
We love that Decluttr lists the full range of tests they run on their products, such as this extensive list of iPhone tests.
They also use PhoneCheck to evaluate the condition of the iPhone’s battery and replace failed batteries.
An example of a great deal from Decluttr is this original 64GB iPhone X.
Good as New!
With all these great sources for refurbished Apple products, you almost have to wonder why anyone would buy them new. Again, there would be nothing to repair if these people did not buy a new iPad!
The 8 Best Places to Buy Refurbished iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks
The 8 Best Places to Buy Refurbished iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks