Buying a new iMac - What do YOU do first?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jack Parker, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Jack Parker macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    I'll be buying a new 27" iMac next month to replace my mid-2007 model. I wanted to ask a few questions and see what those who are tech savvy do when they buy a new computer.

    Me: Very basic user. I just browse, read the news, watch YouTube (make a video now and then), and watch movies on sites like Primewire. I don't play games or download books/music/movies.

    Most Important: Speed and security from nosy, info-mining companies. I use Firefox and the only add-ons I use are:

    AdBlock Edge
    Does anyone use NoScript?

    Too many? Not enough? Got another recommendation?

    What do YOU do when you get a new computer? Are there certain precautions you take, or extensions/add-ons/software that you consider must haves and download immediately? (Like any Mac "cleaning" software or security programs?)

    The only info I'll be transferring from my old iMac are a few documents and pictures. Easy enough to put on a thumb drive. I keep nothing important on my computer so backing it up first isn't a concern for me.

    Extended Warranty? I bought the extended warranty for my current iMac and never needed it. Should I get it on the new iMac?

    Refurbished? Are they worth considering or do they usually come with headaches?

    Lastly, I want to completely wipe my current iMac clean, do a clean re-install, and give it to a single mom friend (who is also a basic user). Once I wipe this computer clean and re-install, it will re-install Snow Leopard again. How do I get it back up to Yosemite? (I had to purchase one OS in the meantime. Will I need to purchase it again, and install each OS in progression like before?) I would really appreciate any advice on how to securely clean this iMac and get it ready for my friend.
  2. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    I just manually clone my previous computer. Manually transfer files from a Time Machine backup, and install my programs again from scratch. I prefer to start again than to do a system restore.

    Avoid "cleaning software" like the plague.

    Depends where you live. In the UK, AppleCare is very questionable.

    Why would it be on Snow Leopard? If you've updated it already to Yosemite, it should have 10.10 recovery installed. It will therefore allow you to install Yosemite straight away.

    Steps to securely wipe and reinstall Yosemite are, from memory, as follows:

    1. Make a time machine backup of your Mac, or at least backup everything you need
    2. Clone your backup onto another drive to be safe
    3. Restart and hold 'CMD' + 'R' to boot into recovery
    4. Check your backups
    5. Once booted, choose Disk utility from the list and load it up
    6. Select your main partition 'Macintosh HD', and click the Erase tab
    7. Ensure the format is 'Mac OS Extended (Journaled)', and call it 'Macintosh HD'
    8. Click 'Security options...' in the lower right, and move the slider at least one notch to the right
    9. Click 'Erase...' in the bottom right and say yes/ok to the warnings
    10. Once complete, quit disk utility and then click 'Install/reinstall OS X'
    11. Follow the prompts to install Yosemite on 'Macintosh HD'
    12. Once it's finished installing and you're at the initial setup screen, simply press 'CMD' + 'Q' (Quit) to shut down the Mac and leave it for the next owner.
  3. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    Refurbished can mean many things in practical terms, as it covers every computer that is not coming directly from the manufacturing floor.

    So it could be:

    a. a machine that while being built on the factory, failed a QC test or part of a group of machines that failed a QC test. They would be sent to repair and all the defects fixed, but now must be sold as Refurb even though they have never been owned or used.

    b. a machine that was built and sent out to the customer who decided before 14 days that they didn't want it and sent it back. Checked over by repair and any found problems fixed. It's very new but still previously owned.

    c. a machine that went to an Apple store, or other retail location. Was used as a demo machine for a period of time. Could be very well used, or abused. Send back to Apple who checked it over and fixed anything that is out of spec. But wear parts or parts that ware out over time won't necessarily be changed unless they were broken during the test.

    d. a machine that was sent back to Apple from a user for repair and for reasons of a contract, was exchanged for another refurb unit and sent back to that customer. The broken machine would be fixed if possible, and put into the refurb stock. Could be any age or condition, it would be all working but is like 'c' in the condition of the unit you get.

    e. a machine that was band new factory fresh that was put to one side to cover the possibility that a machine that was under Apple Care warranty might come in completely unrepairable. Apple would need to warehouse carry an amount of stock to cover the liability for replacement. They choose not to sell it as new but badge it as refurb as it would be checked over before shipping it out to make sure it is in perfect condition even though it has never been used.

    All these you take your chances on. But like for instance, if you are buying a refurb 2012 iMac you are far more likely to get option 'c', 'd' or 'e' as they don't make that model any more. Chances are more likely that you are going to be 'c' over 'd' but it's not unheard of to get 'e'.

    But if the refurb is from a current shipping product, then you are more likely to get 'a' or 'b' but could get 'c' or 'd'.

    And if the unit is just been shipped like the Retina iMac, you are most likely in the 'a' or 'b' category and highly unlikely to get a 'c' or a 'd'

    The option on if you want to take the risk and if the benefit of the discount out weighs the chances of getting a lemon.
  4. ssmed macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2009
    For the new computer:
    My four essentials

    1. Turn on the Firewall
    2. Forbid Safari from autofilling any forms
    3. Turn off third party cookies in Safari
    4. Move my Keychain over - renaming to avoid confusion so that previous passwords and certificates are available if needed

  5. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    I won't need to back anything up. I keep very little on my computer.

    Good to know. I've seen people recommend certain ones when your computer starts getting sluggish.

    I'm still debating it, leaning towards not getting it this time around.

    This is where my lack of expertise comes in. I assumed that when I performed a secure wipe of my computer, I would reinstall with the disks that came with this iMac (mid-2007 model). That has Snow Leopard on it.

    So, once I perform a secure wipe of this iMac, it will automatically prompt me to install Yosemite? I'm assuming I would need to be online to do that, right?

    Thanks for that. I'll double check them since you listed them from memory, but I'm glad to know it doesn't appear to be a big deal.

    Thanks again!


    I really appreciate you taking the time to type that out. Very helpful. I'm just not the sort to take chances on expensive technology.

    How long have the current 27" iMacs been out? When is the next model coming out?


    Thanks for this. That's exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I'm curious though, why do you forbid Safari from autofilling any forms? Do you allow Safari to remember your passwords?
  6. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2009
    This is very much a matter of opinion and experience.

    I own a 2012 retina Macbook Pro 15", first retina model to be released, which was covered with a 3 year warranty. During that time [and all after the first year] the logic board was replaced twice and the screen once. I had zero problems with Apple and found them to be gracious in their assistance.

    There have been several other iPhone replacements but I won't go into detail.

    I guess you could argue that the fact that others haven't had a positive experience makes AppleCare questionable but that implies that it isn't valuable - this I would disagree with.

    For the OP, I'd consider an extended warranty if you are investing heavily into a machine that you would like to hold onto for a number of years.
  7. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    Thanks. I haven't ruled it out. I'm just hesitant because of the great experience I had with my current iMac. Not a single problem in eight years. Not one.
  8. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Buying a new iMac - What do YOU do first?

    Ok, I agree I implied it wasn't valuable - that wasn't what I was trying to say though. I thought I'd posted this link...

    In the UK there are some very weird laws around consumer rights:

    I would personally buy AppleCare every time, but I also know others who do not.
  9. Steveatesh macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2014
    North east England
    I personally would not be falling back or relying on the sales of goods act 6 years thing in the UK. Not so easy to prove that something failed when it shouldn't and it would be a big risk going to court at four or five years.
    Whether you take out Apple Care becomes a matter of your attitude to risk. If you do and you don't use it then it will seem a waste of money. If you don't and you need it, then you'll wish you had.

    It's a dilemma faced across the world of consumers!

    Best of luck with it whatever you do.
  10. liquorice macrumors regular


    Jan 31, 2012
    I took out Applecare and have used it 3 times to the tune of £1350.00 . Sadly mine is about to run out :(
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What do I do?

    Install my software, configure said software and enjoy the Mac :)

    I haven't purchased applecare for the last couple of Macs, so that seems to be an issue that I don't find important and I usually buy new.
  12. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    I have purchased my first iMac. I have an ipad and ran into issues not with the hardware, but the ios software that runs on it. This is where Apple can get you.

    For me, Apple Care is really two parts.
    1- hardware coverage for 3 years.
    2- Phone support for 3 years ( they only give to 3 months without)

    I have run into situations on my ipad where after the IOS upgrade everything went wrong. The hardware is working fine but apps are crashing, imessage didn't work, and I could not back anything up. Tried to phone apple thinking that it's in their best interest to get this working again, and it took me 4 phone calls to finally find a support person who felt sorry enough for me not to want a credit card number to charge me for support for a software upgrade that took out my ipad.

    Now I am buying my iMac, I am getting Apple Care and I expect to be on the phone with them a whole lot for any and every issue or question on how to do something and if I get the feeling that the support person doesn't know, I will be demanding that I get bumped up to a more knowledgeable person who does. For me, that is worth the $175
  13. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011


    When people buy computers, they usually load on what they need...

    Also, I have never ever called apple care. 9 times out of 10 you can google for a fix.

    Just don't delete files or move things around if you don't know what you doing and enjoy.

  14. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I just use it. I stick to Safari for web browsing with no external ad blockers. And I don't use my Mac at all to look at unsavory webpages.

    I purchase AppleCare+ with the hopes I never need to use it but the peace of mind knowing its there. That in itself justifies its additional expense, for me anyway. Also then if something starts going wrong it will prevent me from A: Using my Mac differently, B: Opening it myself in an attempt to repair something and possibly breaking it. I figure pretty much ANY repair on it will exceed the cost of AppleCare+ anyway.
  15. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    Thanks, maflynn. Is the software you install specific to your interests/job, or is it something that enhances your computer?
  16. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    I appreciate everyone's time in replying. Being a basic user, I've been fascinated reading through this forum to see how folks use their computers. It's remarkable to me! The folks here are more intelligent and savvy than I could hope to be. My life has always been so simple. I've never even owned a microwave and I still make my own bread and butter from scratch every week. My life really is that simple. My computer does EVERYTHING I would need from every other piece of technology, and I don't feel the need (or desire) to take it with me, so, an iMac is all I need.

    If people don't mind, I'd like to ask for a few specifics. I'm not very good with the lingo, so I'll try my best.

    When you first get a new computer, before you start using it, are there specific configurations that you make sure you set in a certain way to...

    1. Make it more secure from data mining entities?
    2. To use less resources while running? (For optimal performance.)
    3. What apps/extensions do you immediately download as Must Haves for security/privacy/anti-ads and optimal performance overall?
    4. What programs do you turn off or just delete?
    5. Are there specific files/apps/programs you make sure to delete because of problems they tend to cause or because they're just useless and take up space?

    Also, what advice would you have for someone like me in the way of warnings or cautions? "ALWAYS do this..." "NEVER do this..." "BEWARE of this..."

    These are the kind of things I'm hoping to get some clarification on. I don't mean, "I immediately install Zelda because it's my favorite game."

    Thanks again for your patience, folks. I'm sure this must bit a bit boring for what you're used to discussing.


    You don't change any factory settings or download specific extensions or add-ons, etc.?

    I don't go to unsavory sites either. Here's my rule of thumb:

    "Don't go to any sites that you wouldn't go to with your mom, spouse, pastor, or grandma!"
  17. Steveatesh macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2014
    North east England
    Jack I'm sure people will have different options but here's mine. I got my first Mac before Xmas, so pretty much in the same boat as you.

    I got it out if the box, went through set up and that's it. It simply worked. Unlike my PC days I have not put any anti virus software on but that is something I'm still considering as I feel a bit naked without it, lol, but the majority on here seem to say a Mac does not need it.

    There were no other programs I added to it to make it run "better". I simply installed the programs I needs - lightroom and a few others. The supplied software is more than enough for home use. I certainly didn't delete anything and I strongly suggest you don't either. There is no bloat ware on it like you find on a branded PC.

    If you don't need MS office for work then Pages is sufficient for writing letters etc. I've just used it for writing a Management report for a contract, and it was sufficient.

    The one thing I have done is back up. You need a backup facility or two, just in case, unless you have no pictures or documents that matter to you.

    I have no regrets about getting it, is is simply the best computer I have had. It is so easy to live with compared to my Windows PC days. Just plug it in and enjoy. :)
  18. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Only factory setting I think I changed was the ability to download software outside the Apple store.

    I utilize AE firewall so I leave the software firewall defaulted off.

    And I never found any huge benefit from extensions for adblock, for me safari does a good enough job. The only extension I have installed is translate so Google can translate certain webpages to English for me.

    I keep everything up to date and I've never had a problem that just wasn't a bug in OS X Yosemite.

    Thats a good rule of thumb btw.

    Now if you were to ask me about a Windows machine I'd have a fair size list of things I would do. I haven't found that to be the case with OS X yet. And even with windows practicing safe computing is by far on the top of the list.
  19. Jack Parker, Jan 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015

    Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    If I had to have a PC, I'd live without a computer at all. Period.

    You don't use any extensions on Safari? The ads alone are enough to drive me bananas. Adblock Plus is my first requirement on Safari. (Then I go into the options and turn off the permission to allow some ads that Adblock has allowed to buy their way into automatic permissions.) I just wish it worked with pop unders. I tend to go back and forth with using Safari and Firefox as my main browser. For ad reasons, I'm currently using Firefox, even though I hate their bookmarking system. It's unnecessarily complicated and should be as simplified and easy as Safari's system.

    I like having all the Google, Facepalm, Tweeting stuff removed because I don't do any of that. I don't feel the need to share or "like" anything. For this, I like Ghostery.

    And I like NoSquint for my 48 year old eyes. That's one of the main reasons I don't like notebooks.

    ETA: I'd really like to learn how to use NoScript, too. I see value in that.
  20. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    That's one thing I don't feel naked about. There's simply no need for anti virus software, etc., Save yourself the annual expense of it. PCs and Laptops might be a little cheaper in price, but, when you add up the cost of all the monthly and yearly subscriptions to software for anti-virus, malware, etc., and the higher cost of the extended warranty, which is always necessary because you WILL use it, Apple turns out to be cheaper in the end.

    There are things I remove from the dock that I don't use. That helps. Right now, on my dock, I only run Launchpad, Dashboard, Firefox, Safari, Text Edit, and System Preferences. That's it. If I could, I would delete programs I never use, like Mail, Messages, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, FaceTime, PhotoBooth, GarageBand, GameStore, and Calendar.

    And there are a few files that can cause problems, but I only deleted them when someone I trust recommended to. It always solved the problem.

    The mid-2007 iMac didn't come with Pages. I'm looking forward to it. I don't need or want anything MS on my computer.

    That's how simple my life is. I have never backed up my computer and have no need to. The few documents and pictures I have on my computer will easily fit onto a thumb drive to transfer them. The biggest pain in buying a new computer will be getting my favorites re-established.

    That's been my experience. Whenever I'm in the Apple Store and relay my Apple conversion experience to them, I always say this:

    "Buying a PC is like buying a car... and having to push it everywhere you go. Buying an Apple computer is like getting chauffeur with the car."

    They always say their going to use that line, which is fine by me. It's the truth.
  21. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    The first thing I do is check the refurb store and places like Macmall to see wha t the cheapest price is for the model I'm considering.
  22. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Apple refurbs are great. I've bought a ton of them; always been at least as reliable as the non refurbs. Selection can be limited though.

    You can, BTW, transfer your "favorites" if by that you mean bookmarks. Check the instructions on your favorite browser's website. Some allow exporting them, and then you can import them on the new machine.
  23. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2015
    Thanks B.A.T and robgendreau. I haven't ruled out a refurb yet. It will mostly depend on what's available when it comes time to buy.

    I've been reading where people have gotten AppleCare free with their purchase (although I don't know from whom). That would be good incentive. I've even read where some have received a free iPod, which would also be nice, since I'm considering one of those now, too.
  24. Nosferax macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2014
    This is not a sure thing to do since plenty of legitimate web site get hacked now and even those that don't get hacked may still use non kosher way to moneytize their services.
  25. Nosferax macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2014
    I've own 4 Apple computers. An Apple IIe, the first G5 Powermac tower, a Macbook and a 2010 iMac. Two of those I did buy new, the Powermac and the Macbook. The iMac I bought refurb from Apple and after almost 5 years the only thing that broke was the DVD drive that I don't use anymore and that was my own fault having used it continuously for a month ripping my 1,500+ DVD collection to my media server :D

    I'm planning to replace it this summer with either a nMP or an iMac, new or refurb depends on the budget, but the 2010 will become an iTunes librairy for a few more years or until the 500Gb spinning hardisk die.

    Since most of the application that I use are now bought on Apple store or Adobe I just reinstall from there. That way I'm sure everything is up to date. My media are on a server or on external drive so I either rescan them in itunes or just link to the external librairy.

    I use my own homemade password generator and manager.

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