How to check second hand Macbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by powerhead, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. powerhead macrumors newbie


    Jul 17, 2015
    Hi all,
    Long story short, bought a used fully upgraded MBA 2014 which should be delivered early next week. The $550 price was too hard to resist. The seller only allows 2 business days for returns, so I have to make sure i do all the checks promptly so as not to be remorseful later on for my frugal habits (i've planned to purchase a base refurbished model initially).

    I've spent several hours yesterday searching this forum, found heaps of useful stuff but couldn't find a thread that would be like an all-in-one guide to checking a second hand macbook.

    That's what i'm planning to do so far:

    * Make sure serial number on the back lid matches serial number in About this Mac;
    * Ring up Apple and check the warranty status and possibility to add Apple care;
    * Run Apple diagnostics (restart and hold D);
    * check battery health (Coconut battery?)
    * Check the display for dead pixels with this app (any other app suggestions?);
    * Check SSD health (how?)
    * Run SSD speed test to see if i'm getting the real deal

    And last, but most important, the seller i bought from is quite reputable, but still, how do i check if this macbook wasnt stolen? and i dont end up with a laptop that will have serial number blacklisted or even locked remotely in the same way as an iPhone?

    Apologies for such a long list of noob questions, i've always bought my iPhones and iPads brand new, but first time buying a used Mac. Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You seem to have it covered.

    SSD health is practically impossible they pretty much work or they don't.

    And there are lists online (can't remember where) of stolen serial numbers, but they are by no means comprehensive or of much interest to either apple or the police.
  3. charlyham macrumors regular


    Jun 30, 2012
    Here is one site where you can input the Serial Number to see if it is stolen.

    You can go here to check Warranty and Service Info.
  4. EmilioStewart macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2015
    Thanks for sharing i got a friend that is selling a mac book and i am interested to buy it. Thanks for this tip this would be the best things i should do for sure.
  5. powerhead thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 17, 2015
    Thanks for that one, i've also found those two:

    Yep, just did the check, and it says:
    Valid Purchase Date
    Telephone Technical Support: Expired

    Repairs and Service Coverage: Expired

    I thought it was strange, as when i run the serial on sites like and it says that the macbook was built in second half 2014, which i thought would still make it eligible for warranty and apple care purchase.

    Those websites also decode the config from the serial number and the processor is wrong on both of them (listed as i5, not i7), could it be that Built-to-order macbook serials are decoded incorrectly?
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yep the BTO options don't show up if I remember correctly....
  7. powerhead thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 17, 2015
    Is there a way to double check if whatever config is listed in About this Mac menu is correct? I remember reading somewhere here that all those values for processor, ram etc are just written in plain text in some file and could be edited before hand in case of a dodgy seller. Is there some sort of another (third party?) systems test that would do a hardware check and list the specs?
  8. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    SSD health can be verfied by checking SMART Data. It definitely works, I've checked it before and it found corrupted sectors on an SSD (as rare as that is, mainly on the MBAs that had that common SSD failures, forget which year).

    I use SMART Utility.
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Thats wrong as far as I know, the 15 inch dual graphics even displays which graphics card is being used as they change.

    But if you go into about my mac and then system report it has all the details of whats installed.

    I think you are being slightly paranoid here, yes by all means check it thoroughly boot it up run it etc check all the bits, but in the end it'll be down to gut feeling when it comes to parting with your cash. If it seems wrong don't do it if it seems right go for it, you are never going to be 100% on any second hand buy, if it's got you that worried buy apple refurbished....

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