Certified Refurbished, but 5 years old...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by HippyRabbitFish, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. HippyRabbitFish macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Long-time reader, first-time posting.

    I just ordered my very first Mac yesterday, an Apple Certified Refurbished 2012 13" non-Retina MBP (2.5 i5) with base 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD, and paid $829 for the privilege.

    It showed up yesterday in the Certified Refurbished store and I could not let it pass, especially when it disappeared for a couple of hours before reappearing.
    • Did I pay too much?
    • Should I even consider Purchasing AppleCare?
    • If I buy AppleCare, should I wait until after I purchase it to upgrade RAM and swap to SSD?
    This is intended to be primarily a starting-hobbyist GarageBand/Logic Pro X computer with some coding and number crunching, possibly.

    Thoughts? I doubt I will have buyer's remorse, even if I ultimately overpaid, but I value the opinions I have read here. Thanks for your feedback!
  2. DarkSel macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2012
    You paid way too much. I've seen the 13" cMBP 2012 run for about $400 on Ebay and Craigslist.
  3. MSastre macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2014
    Personally, I would feel more confident about the useful life span of an Apple Certified Refurbished computer, than one bought blind from Ebay or Craigslist.
  4. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    You can always buy old macs at resellers...I just recently bought 2 old macs from Mac of All Trades. They also sell extended warranties with the computers, so you can feel more comfortable about buying.
  5. theluggage, Jul 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017

    theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Actually, although that was a 2012 model, it wasn't discontinued until late 2016 (Everymac.com). Its anybody's guess when your machine was actually manufactured but it is likely much less than 5 years old. It was the last MacBook with an optical drive and spinning-rust HD (The good news is that you could - and probably should - upgrade the RAM and replace the HD with an affordable 2.5" SSD without breaking the warranty - there are actually instructions in the manual).

    I don't think the dates on which Apple started/stopped manufacture are public knowledge - and they probably didn't just make one batch of 5 years' supply of the things in 2012.

    If you're concerned (and certainly if you're considering AppleCare), what I would do in your situation is contact Apple and find out what its status is in respect of Apple's Vintage and Obsolete products policy. if the product range actually was last manufactured in 2012 then it is only a year away from becoming "vintage" and unsupported outside of California. IF that is the case, you've been sold a pup, and I'd send it back to Apple with a strongly worded letter. I doubt that is the case or Apple wouldn't be selling it as "certified refurbished" (and certainly not offering AppleCare).

    So that's the thing: its a model that was still selling "new" for about $1200 a year ago - and Apple certified refurbished stuff has a reputation for being "good as new" - so if you look at it that way, its not a bad deal. Possibly, it was just unsold stock left over when the model was discontinued - whereas stuff on eBay could be actual 5-year-old "one careful owner followed by 3 complete slobs" turkeys.

    (FWIW I still wouldn't have spent that much money on 2012 technology in 2017 - but as long as the machine is "mint condition" and wasn't actually made in 2012 I don't think you've been had).
  6. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Apr 13, 2017
    As it's a certified and refurbished computer,you cannot compare with some second hand thing with god knows what problems with the hardware. Guess the price you paid was merely the cost for refurbish it.
  7. Beachguy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2011
    I have a 15.4" "Hi resolution" (not Retina, but not the standard resolution; it's 1680x1050) MBP from 2012 (as in, it's 5 years old) and I have no need or desire to update it yet because it meets my needs, the i7 is still quick, and thus, I can't justify it. It now has an SSD, and takes care of me nicely. :)

    In looking at your pricing, if it is indeed a refurb (not all sold as refurbs are refurbs) don't discount that it is Apple that refurbed it and they do an incredible job.
  8. Hirakata macrumors 6502


    Mar 17, 2011
    Burbank, CA
    Assuming you bought this through the Apple Refurbished store, I think the price is good. The refubs through Apple are treated as if new, with 1 year warranty and all, and is eligible for Apple Care. It just come in a generic box.

    I don't think you paid too much, and I always recommend Apple Care, especially with laptops.
  9. TheTruth101 macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2017
  10. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    You did not overpay, but if you plan to upgrade both the RAM and go to a SSD, the total end-pricing would probably not be all that much different from purchasing a refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro with retina display, if you can still find one (and the 2015 will have a faster CPU, better GPU, better screen, a much faster SSD than the one you are upgrading to, faster RAM, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, weigh less, and better battery life.)
  11. McScooby macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2005
    The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
    Excellent news, means mine'll be supported for another 3yrs at least!;) Drop 16GB of Ram in there & a 2TB SSD, makes for an excellent machine!:)
  12. robeddie Suspended


    Jul 21, 2003
    You can currently get a 2015 13" in the Apple refurb store for $929. That's $100 more, but it's a faster, much more modern, lighter laptop, with a retina screen to boot!!! So yes ... you paid WAY too much.
  13. HippyRabbitFish thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Thanks for the feedback, folks.

    Refurb Quality
    As it turns out, the unit looks so flawless that I can't imagine it was ever used for more than the 14 days it may have been out in someone's hands before being returned. Mint condition, indeed. There is not even a hint of a scratch anywhere on the entire chassis. If this is typical of Apple Certified Refurbished Macs, I am seriously impressed.


    I did opt for AppleCare+ coverage, given my desire for peace of mind and my SNAFU luck. Getting a small discount through my work made the decision easier.

    Initial Experience

    Having used a 2015 15" i7 rMBP for work at my last job, this 2012 MBP with stock 4GB RAM and 500GB mechanical HDD runs better than I expected out-of-the-box. It took me a while to recognize the difference in the display vs a Retina display. For music production, that wasn't a big deal, at all. If I need better screen resolution, I'll connect it to an external display.

    Adding RAM and an SSD will breathe newer life into it, but for my purposes, that may not even be completely necessary yet. Music production work ahead will tell me how soon I should upgrade.


    For me, I made a good choice, especially given my initial levels of risk tolerance for this first ever Mac purchase. I overpaid for as close to guaranteed high quality as possible. I received Apple's quality refurb process on what is visibly a mint-condition unit, and covered it with a plan that makes it good for at least three more years. For Mac #2, someday, I think Mac of All Trades, PowerMax, or MacSales.com will get my business.

    If you made it this far, thanks for the read!
  14. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    Hey, Congratulations, I've given away a couple of these as gifts, and they always show up in mint condition. Having bought several Refurbs from Apple, I've begun to think they're the only computers on which Apple has actually opened the box and looked at.

    After replacing the hard drive with an SSD and maxing out the RAM, these are very capable machines.

    And they have things that legacy users appreciate, like a built-in Superdrive and firewire port, in fact, lots of ports for the dongle-averse, features you can't get on new machines no matter how much you want them.

    Do you get the best deal in the universe on these? probably not, but you got a fair deal on a solid machine, from a trusted source, and I doubt you'll be dissatisfied.
  15. dukeblue219 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2012
    Refurbished Apple products always come with a brand new outer case and battery. It's only the internals that are "used" at all. I couldn't find an Apple.com reference for that quickly, but plenty of others: https://www.macrumors.com/guide/buying-refurbished-apple-products/
  16. macizcool macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2010
    Apple's vintage policy is a minimum of 5 years from the last date of sale, which means this computer won't be vintage until 2021. Apple is not going to sell you a computer and not support it through the AppleCare time frame, so do not worry about that.
    I'm more concerned about the model you chose. I've owned this exact model, and it is slooooooooow. Now, if you do the upgrades (SSD and RAM), it is definitely faster. Also, I had many, many problems with this model, and I know others who had problems too. I would recommend returning it and getting a Retina model. However, if there is something appealing about this particular model, please purchase the AppleCare protection plan. You have 365 days to do so.
  17. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    AppleCare+ can be a really good deal on these older Macs. If Apple needs to repair or replace your machine in 2 years time, it's unlikely that they will have the parts or a replacement machine on the shelf. There's a significant chance they will offer you a newer model as a replacement.

    I don't think you overpaid... I just think you probably paid more than you could have paid for a used model, but that doesn't mean you overpaid. Refurbished machines are an incredible deal. Every computer I've ever bought from Apple since 2000 has been refurbished.

    I would upgrade to SSD immediately, however... you'll be shocked at how much of a difference that makes.
  18. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    You can expect pretty much everything Apple sells with a 5400PRM Drive to be slow out of the box.

    What kind of problems have you had with this model? Always helps to know what to watch out for.

    One appealing thing is that it comes with El Capitan, not Sierra.
  19. Digger148 macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2010
    Apple should be ashamed for asking you to pay $800+ for that 1280 X 800 display (which wasn't acceptable when this model was introduced in 2012!) and a sloooowww 5400 rpm Hdd.

    If you really want a MacBook of this era, then, return/cancel this order, grab a knowledgeable friend that can help you find one locally on Craigslist. By going locally, you're able to do a hands on and can check the D.o.B, and service history, if any, through the Apple website. Lots of them are usually available under $500.

    I purchased one in April with 8gb ram, i7 processor, 15 months of AppleCare remaining, and, just 32 battery charge cycles for $450.
  20. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    As I said in an earlier post - its anybody's guess when this unit was manufactured (were they manufacturing cMBPs until the end, or did they have a warehouse full from the early days?) but if they're offering AppleCare on it I expect its got at least 3 years to go.
  21. Audit13 macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Congratulations on your purchase.

    The mid-2012 and 2011 13" MBPs are still very popular items where I live. The ram, HD, and optical drive can be replaced with standard "PC" parts. 8 GB and ram and an ssd will make that machine very fast.

    Don't worry about the price you paid. If you enjoy it, that's all that matters.

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