Apple Refurbished Products: Should You Buy Them?

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    There's often a stigma against purchasing refurbished electronics because many companies don't have rigorous quality control programs for refurbished items, but that's not the case with Apple. Some companies may sell refurbished items with cosmetic defects and other issues, but Apple's refurbished products, available from its online refurbished store, are "as good as new" products, as Apple says.

    You can also get refurbished Apple products at steeper discounts from third-party retailers, but they don't offer the same benefits as buying directly from Apple.


    Every refurbished iPad, iPhone, Mac, Apple TV, or Apple accessory Apple sells goes through a certification process that ensures full functionality, and with iOS devices, each one gets a new outer shell and a fresh battery. All refurbished products come with a 1-year warranty.

    As long as you can wait a few months to pick up an Apple product, there's virtually no downside to purchasing a refurbished model. The quality is superb and the price savings can be worth the wait. This guide covers all the ins and outs of refurbished products, from release timelines and prospective price savings to warranty information and stock information.

    Click here to

    Article Link: Apple Refurbished Products: Should You Buy Them?
  2. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    What's kind of weird is that in my country (The Netherlands), there aren't any refurbished Macs. Sure, there's an occasional iPod, or an Airport Extreme or a Time Capsule. But that's about it.
  3. street.cory macrumors 6502


    Oct 13, 2009
    There's nothing like opening up a brand new retail box of an apple product.

    But nothing quite feels like the first time so why not save some cash and buy Apple refurbished.
  4. pnoyblazed macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2008
    patiently waiting for Apple watch and ipad Pro to go on refurb
  5. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    In my experience the many refurbished devices I've gotten from Apple or bought last longer than the new ones. Every iPhone I've had I've had to replace with a refurb from Apple. I have a multitouch trackpad that is still rocking and my Airport Exteme ac was almost half off as a refurb and it hasn't quit since I plugged it in in July. Personally I think the quality control is better on their refurb stuff. Why not save money too?
  6. xsdeus macrumors regular

    May 24, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Apple's Refurb Line has solid quality control that matches/exceeds that of their Production Line.

    Plus, they have the advantage of having gone through two QC processes— once through the Production Line, and another through the Refurb Line.
  7. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I have bought both refurbished and new Apple products, and have had excellent experiences with both.

    While @street.cory has suggested that nothing equals opening the box of a brand new Apple product, that is not what motivates me when buying Apple stuff; actually, my new computers tend to be CTO, stuff I can't normally obtain through the refurb store.

    However, I have had very good experiences with refurbished iPads, and once, bought a refurb computer, an 11" MBA (my CTO wasn't ready by the time I was due to return to work abroad and I needed a computer)
  8. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    I've had one iPod touch that had severe light bleed. Another with random quirks and early camera failure.

    It's my impression that you're deal with a product that someone returned (probably sometimes with cause). I expect a higher failure rate.
  9. LogicalVue macrumors member


    Aug 28, 2007
    USA (Maine)
    I try to purchased refurbished stuff whenever possible. I've twice received better specs than what was ordered, which makes for an ever better value:
    • A 2006 iMac Core Duo had a larger hard drive and the upgrade graphics card.
    • A 2013 Macbook Air came with 8GB RAM instead of 4GB.
  10. Scepticalscribe, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016

    Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Actually, the only Apple products I ever had real trouble with were iPod classics (that had been bought brand new) that suffered HDD failure while still under warranty.

    Refurbished products can be those which were returned under the 14 day 'cooling off' period, or were returned for some other reason. Before being offered for sale as refurbished products, they have undergone an intense individual quality control examination - often more thorough than some of the brand new products - and anything defective or less than ideal repaired or - more usually - replaced.

    I have no hesitation in recommending them heartily. An excellent way to buy an Apple product - which comes with all of the guarantees and warranties of the brand new product - at a considerable discount.

    The only possible drawback is that the technology might not be the very latest - or, if it is, you won't be the first to have been able to buy it. That is a small price to pay for the discount.

    Besides, personally, I am never a first generation buyer of new technology - I prefer to give a company a period of six months to a year to test their stuff thoroughly - if the product or technology are brand new, stuff will inevitably emerge that their own quality control hadn't spotted - before making any purchase to give them time to iron out any teething problems or glitches.
  11. iansumuk macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2015
    OMG, don't tell everyone. They all ready sell out too quickly as it is! Honestly, people believe nothing, buy new and leave the refurbs to me :)
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I am on a refurbished Mac right now! Unless you have a thing for glossy box art, it's new to me.
  13. iansumuk macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2015
    The last two refurbished MacBook Pro's I purchased surprised me as they came in the full pucker retail glossy box!
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I got glorious brown cardboard but it is what was inside that mattered.
  15. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    IKR ..... Let's not clue the masses, or we'll have slim pickings.
  16. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Mainly good luck with refurbished products from Apple, with the exception of the last one I bought, a Time Capsule. It was DOA, apparently a bad hard drive (how'd that ever pass QC?). Apple sent me a prepaid return box, which was fine, but for them to ship a replacement required a credit card authorization for the full cost. A bit of a hassle and you do feel somewhat at their mercy for a week or so, but the replacement was good and all was well.
  17. logicstudiouser macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2010
    Agreed. Refurbished tend to be very reliable. I only had 1 bad refurbished, but the situation worked out amazing. Back in January 2014, I bought a 2012 iMac refurbished off the Apple online store and it wouldn't start up. When I took it to the Apple Store, I showed them the issue and they did an on the spot replacement with a 2013 iMac version (which was like $100 more and was the current generation with better specs), so it worked out great! :)
  18. Cwolk macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2015
    NJ, USA
    Great article! Thanks. Had no idea that the model number could be used to identify the condition of the item.
  19. sailmac macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    Recently saved 15% on a rMBP. I'd do it again.
  20. Cmd-Z macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2014
    Coyote, CA
    My only caution with refurb is sales tax ... depending on the total cost and where you live, a no-tax outlet like B&H may not be much more (if any) than Apple refurb + tax.
  21. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    I think it's nice getting a retail box. It's also better for resale. Honestly, you can sometimes beat refurb prices at places like BB. I tend to just buy new at Apple due to their service and high return quality.
  22. technopimp macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009

    Step 1) go to website
    Step 2) add to cart
    Step 3) check out

    Was this really necessary?
  23. macs4nw macrumors 601


    I believe the opposite to be true, as with refurb any potential problems have been rooted out, whereas new products, even Apple's, do come with a certain failure rate. Fwiw, I've bought a handful of products from the refurb store, and I've (so far) never had a problem with any of them. The only downside is that you may have to have patience to get a certain config, and some items are virtually never available.

    Case in point, I was interested a while back in a 13" non-retina MBP to do some tinkering with but couldn't get the upgraded 2.9 dual-core i7 without also getting memory and/or storage upgrades, so after scouring the refurb store for weeks, I ended up ordering a new one from Apple, CTO, and maxed out the memory to 16GB (Mushkin 2x8) myself, as well as installed a Sammy 850 PRO SSD. Not only less expensive than equivalent Apple upgrades, but Apple won't even do more than 8GB of memory in that little laptop. I do however understand not everyone is comfortable with opening up their new equipment.

    To come back to the original point, perhaps I've been lucky but, of all the refurb equipment I have purchased (desktop, several laptops and a TC amongst others), besides being aesthetically flawless, I've never had a single problem with any item. You also get the same one year warranty as you do on new equipment, and for peace of mind you can get AppleCare as well.
  24. T Coma macrumors 6502

    T Coma

    Dec 3, 2015
    MAGA Country, a.k.a. Chicago, IL
    2009 MBP, 2011 iMac purchased refurb same year as original sale, both still running perfectly with no repairs required, although I replaced the battery on the MBP recently. Considering it's mileage, I'll chalk that up to standard wear and tear.

    I'll likely make my next Apple purchase via the refurb store as well, under the assumption that the refurb goods get the (critical) US-based repair / inspection / secondary QC. Although someone above makes a good point about non-taxed business for new goods from some online discount vendors, that extra inspection is tough to pass up. I'll just have to have it shipped to relatives out of state (to avoid the obscene, big-government taxes I get from living at the intersection of corruption and bankruptcy.)
  25. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    You can buy refurb iPhones from the carriers and other resellers

    Great guide, however, the iPhone section is incomplete. I know you can buy refurb iPhones from the carriers, usually online only (just like w/Apple, you can't walk into a store and get one, only online), but, I am not sure if they are only ones that customers returned to that reseller and refurbished by them or if apple sends them out certified and w/new warranties. My first iPhone was a refurbished iPhone 3G, purchased from AT&T's website in early 2009, I think I was able to purchase AppleCare for it at the time, but I did not. Supplies were limited and they would appear on their website and disappear when sold out, appear again when they had more.

    • It would be great if the OP could look into this and update the section on iPhones. Also, perhaps there are other places one can buy refurbished iPhones (gazelle, best buy?), and maybe get AppleCare.

Share This Page

73 February 2, 2016