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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 29, 2013
I got an MBA, 13 inch, 4/256 as a gift for Christmas. I am VERY happy and grateful - but I would love to upgrade to 8gb ram and would be willing to pay the difference to do so. I won't be able to buy a computer for a long time so I'd like to get a bit more mileage out of it as far as OS upgrades and whatnot while it would only cost me a little bit to do so.

The only problem is the person that bought it for me bought it at Best Buy and I don't want to hurt her feelings or appear ungrateful. She also kept the receipt, obviously.

I know this is a very long shot, but I haven't even taken the shrink wrap off the box yet - is there ANY way at all I could somehow go to the Apple store and trade it in for the same thing, just with 8mb ram and pay the difference without the receipt? Or is there some other great idea where I can get one with 8mb somehow without the gifter knowing about it?



macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
The 8GB upgrade is a custom configuration, which has to be ordered.
Best Buy, as far as I know, would only have access to the stock configurations.

In that case, no trade-ups possible through Best Buy, and Apple wouldn't take it back (I think), and also doesn't normally have the 8GB in stock.
However, contact your local Apple Store, and ask about ordering your custom configuration, with your present, unopened one as a return. All Apple can say is no, or they may have another option to suggest.


macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
The only way to get 8GB of RAM is to buy the high end configuration (i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) in the store or order online BTO from Apple.

I don't think there is a way to get this from Best Buy.

You could perhaps try to get store credit from Apple and buy the higher end model in store. Of course it's unlikely they will accept merchandise from another store (they can tell which store it came from using the serial number) mostly due to liability reasons.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 25, 2013
The Netherlands
The stock configuration has been getting deep discounts. So there's probably a major (>$200) price difference between stock and an 8GB upgrade.

I don't think it's worth it. Just wear this one out, and start saving right now. If money is tight, cancel cable and put that money in a savings account so you can upgrade when this MBA its configuration stops being enough.


macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
Down by the river
If I were in your shoes, I'd explain the situation and request a copy of the receipt. Failing that, take the unit to an Apple store and hope for the best. If those 2 avenues dead end, then enjoy your new computer! :)


macrumors 68000
Oct 9, 2012
Ask for the receipt

I would contact the generous person who gave you the MBA and ask for the receipt. explain that for your use you need a different configuration and you want to return/exchange.

Doubt the person would be offended. It's a piece of equipment.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 29, 2013
Thanks everyone, for the replies. I really appreciate it.

We did call the local Apple store today to explain the situation and see if there was any chance at all to make this happen - as expected, the answer was "no".

I really don't want to hurt the generous person's feelings or appear ungrateful so I will just use my shiny new 4gb MBA. :) My main concern was mostly future-proofing since I am on a low income and won't be able to upgrade anything in the next few years.

I mostly plan to use the MBA for writing, with programs like Scrivener and Scapple and just various writing programs and apps, and Calibre, and things like that. I'll be storing a lot of research on my MBA related to that - pictures, videos, etc. I may also be using it to play music while I write or deal with personal pictures (no heavy editing, just basic sorting through and archiving). And of course web browsing, etc now and then.

I am really hoping that my planned activity is low enough that future-proofing isn't that big of a concern for me and I'll be able to get at least 3, maybe 4 years of frustration-free use out of my MBA. Anyone want to make me feel better on that point? :D

Also - I don't know which OS my MBA has since I haven't opened the box yet, but while researching, I've seen some noise that Mavericks has caused issues - I'm not really understanding about all of that. Should I leave it with whatever OS it's come with or try to upgrade to Mavericks? Will it automatically try to upgrade? It's been about 10 years since I had a mac so I am a newbie all over again. Thanks!


macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2010

Don't worry about trying to "future-proof" your macbook air. You can't do it and there's no good reason to try and here are some reasons why:

1. the trend from OS X is to make the operation system and apps more efficient rather than more powerful. the *need* for tons of RAM is not as big of a problem as it used to be. unused RAM is wasted RAM. If you're not experiencing issues with the 4GB you have you stand nothing to gain by having more.

2. your air has an SSD that will page things from disk to memory quickly. in the old days with spinning disk drives paging something from RAM to disk was noticeably and often painfully slow. RAM is still faster than your SSD but if/when you do ever run out of RAM and you have to page the memory to disk the performance will likely be barely noticeable.

3. finally, with an Apple device your dollars are safe. Rather than spending a huge premium now for very little gain based on your usage plans, you can wait until you actually need a more powerful machine and sell your air for a nice amount. apple devices rarely drop significantly in value and the mid-range models suffer the least from depreciation. That means upgrading your RAM from 4GB to 8GB will cost you over $200 dollars but on the used market only resell for around $50 dollars more. It's conceivable that you will be able to sell your new mac next year or two within a couple hundred dollars of someone's used, but more current air (if you time it right you can buy one from someone who got one as a gift and didn't like it, got the wrong model kind of like how you're feeling, a month before release of the most up to date so they're willing to let it go for a nice low price, or any other reason that comes to mind).

The bottom line is your Air is going to be relevant for a few years to come and very likely many more after that for the next person you decide to sell it to. If you'd like to see whether you really *need* more RAM then open up all your programs while you have "Activity Monitor" open and monitor how much RAM you are using.

your new Air should come with Mavericks pre-installed. If it doesn't for some reason you should feel no concerns about upgrading. It won't do it automatically but it's really easy to do it from within the App Store. When you start your Air you'll see an Apple in the upper left screen. Just click on that and click on Software Update and the rest should be pretty self-explanatory.


Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I used a 4gb/256gb 2011 MBA for almost two years and it was a great machine. And I ran som powerful software like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Photoshop, Filemaker Pro, VectorWorks, etc.

My new MBA is 8gb, but when I was setting it up we had them side by side and I really noticed very little (if any) difference between them for everyday things. And this was with a 2011 vs 2013 MBA. My best friend now has my old 4gb MBA and she loves it.

Stop worrying, open your Christmas present and start enjoying it. For the things you describe, it will be fine. :)
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macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2010
i used to work at bestbuy, if you were looking to return it i am sure theyll be able to do the return as long as your upgrading it, hence they will give you a store credit since you dont have a receipt.. also the policies may have changed i havent work there in a couple years. gl
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