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Buying a used MBP for my use case?

areskins

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 3, 2016
56
4
Hi I never had a macbook before and I need help. I kinda want to jump ship to a mac since all of my other devices are apple products but I think Im gonna go for a used one. I usually just write word documents and read pdfs. Which used macbook pro should I buy where I can save money?

1. Is the macbook pro 2016 13’ base model still capable?
2. What is the usual battery cycle count of macbooks?
3. If you’re buying used, what’s an acceptable cycle count?

Im trying to get rid of my ipad pro 12.9 inch for a macbook that has the same size screen so the discontinued macbook is not an option. Thanks in advance!! This forum tends to have the nicest and most knowledgable people ☺️
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,156
34,278
Boston
Which used macbook pro should I buy where I can save money?
I'd opt for the 2015 model, over the 2016, simply because of the defective butterfly keyboards. Additionally, your legacy USB devices will not require the use of a dongle.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,431
7,246
It would sure help if you could tell us how much you want to spend, and what your "upper limit" is.

I agree with maflynn.
2015 is WAY BETTER THAN a 2016, because it has a keyboard that doesn't break and plenty of ports for your legacy USB stuff.

You can probably find the 13" 2015 MacBook Pro at decent prices, but BE SURE it's in good shape before you buy.
And always ALWAYS ALWAYS insist that the seller TURN OFF the MacBook, and "boot it up from cold" so you can see that it boots properly without requiring anything more than a user password.

If you could spend more, I'd recommend an Apple-refurbished 2015-design 15" MacBook Pro, but you MUST buy one from Apple's online refurbished store.
 
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Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,906
2,160
I have a 2015 13" and love it. But if buying a used one now you may also need to consider another $200 for a battery refresh. The 2015 13" performs around the same as the 2019 MacBook Air. The Pro has faster SSD and Wifi, but an older generation processor.

If it's 2015 13" + $200 for battery vs brand new MacBook Air then it's a hard choice IMO. The Air has the risks for the keyboard etc. but then you don't really know how well any used Macbook Pro 13" from 2015 has been used. It's not completely clear cut IMO. Again, I love my 2015 13", but I'd certainly factor in the battery replacement cost on a 2015 as a part of the price for the unit.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,991
6,871
What’s your budget? My personal recommendation is a 2018 or 2019 MacBook Air.
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68030
Oct 24, 2013
2,713
8,411
New Hampshire
If you just want to write papers and read PDFs, you could get a 2015 or 2014 MacBook Pro but even those are more than you need. You could consider the MacBook Air and the MacBook too; as long as they don't have the Butterfly keyboards. It seems that everything predating the Butterfly doesn't have the odd problems that's plagued Apple from 2016-2019.
 
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DougFNJ

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2008
1,293
862
NJ
For older and more budget friendly, I am going to echo the 2015. If you are looking for the same size as your iPad, the 13 inch is still very capable.

You may want to entertain the newer ones that just released, they came out with some nice hardware, it appears previous butterfly issues have flown away for the most part.
 
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Kung gu

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2018
372
540
Is the MBP 2016 keyboard that bad?
i would get 2019 macbook pro 13" for $1299 or mba 2019 for $1099 but avoid the 2016 because keyboard not as reliable as 2019 models. or if budget is low get 2015. but imo get 2019 pro.
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68030
Oct 24, 2013
2,713
8,411
New Hampshire
2015 MacBook Pro 15 in great condition for sale in Portsmouth NH on Craigslist for $1,400. It's the maxed out model and comes with a 1-year warranty. I'm looking more towards a Dell 7740. I'm seeing the 2015s coming down in price. There are still people out there selling them for crazy amounts of money but the average non-store sales prices are coming down.
 
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DroidSheep

macrumors newbie
Jul 20, 2019
1
0
'mericawww
Run Apple Diagnostics on a used Mac before buying it, and have the AC adapter plugged in to test it as well. This can be done by holding the D key while powering it on from a cold start (D for diagnostics). The test will warn you about any surface issues it detects, such as a 3rd party battery, potentially incompatible parts, and more. Stay away from MacBooks with 3rd party parts inside them until you've been in the MacBook game long enough to know how to deal with their complications. If you're buying online, ask the seller to run the diagnostic and snap you a clear picture of the results.

As for battery health, it's also important to look at full charge capacity. A MacBook battery might seem healthy if it has only 150 cycles, but a quick system report could reveal that its FCC has already diminished to ~80%. It would then throw a "Replace Battery" warning pretty soon. A rule of thumb for modern MacBooks is to not buy one that's close to 1000 cycles or 80% FCC unless it's such a good deal that you won't mind a $130-$200 battery service. A lot of MacBooks from 2015/2014 are gonna be close to these thresholds, as another user has already mentioned.

If you happen to buy a 2015 rMBP, I recommend that you have an external keyboard and mouse stored somewhere. When I worked at an AASP, one of the most common issues I came across was failing IPD cables in 13" 2015 MacBook Pro's. A bad IPD cable will leave you with an unresponsive keyboard and/or trackpad until it's replaced.

Good luck and enjoy your future Mac! :)
 
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Khaleal

macrumors regular
Aug 24, 2013
185
75
Either go for a 2015 MBP or a 2018/19 one, don't get anything in between, the 2016 ones keyboard replacement program is going to end later next year, and you're guaranteed to have a broken keyboard after the program ends, and will need to pay around $700 to fix it out of warranty. the 2017 will end a year after.

What's so special about 2018/19 Pros is that they started using quad core processors even in 13" models, and they outperform even 15" models from pre-2018.
 
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areskins

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 3, 2016
56
4
As much as I would like to get the 2018 models they’re out of my budget. Thank you guys for the responses!
 
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