Certified Refurbished, but 5 years old...

HippyRabbitFish

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 22, 2013
78
64
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!
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,037
2,719
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.
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).
 
Last edited:

Stefan johansson

macrumors 65816
Apr 13, 2017
1,294
606
Sweden
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.
 
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Beachguy

macrumors 65816
Nov 23, 2011
1,007
402
Florida, USA
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.
 
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Hirakata

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2011
298
357
Burbank, CA
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?
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.
 
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ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
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.)
 
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robeddie

Suspended
Jul 21, 2003
1,777
1,700
Atlanta
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!
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.
 
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HippyRabbitFish

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 22, 2013
78
64
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.

AppleCare+

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.

Conclusion

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!
 

Larry-K

macrumors 68000
Jun 28, 2011
1,855
2,311
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!
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.
 
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dukeblue219

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2012
132
215
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.
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/
 
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macizcool

macrumors regular
Feb 4, 2010
106
13
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.
 

NorCalLights

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2006
591
74
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.
 

Larry-K

macrumors 68000
Jun 28, 2011
1,855
2,311
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.
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.
 

Digger148

macrumors regular
Aug 8, 2010
130
85
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.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,037
2,719
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.
Actually...
Vintage products are those that have not been manufactured for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago.
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624
(Subject to regional variations)
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.
 
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Audit13

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2017
4,386
1,103
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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