What should I do when buying a second-hand MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kkar, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. kkar macrumors member

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    #1
    I want to buy a second hand MacBook Pro. What precautions should I take? I am a bit of a tech geek so I won't be going in completely blind, but I don't want to get ripped off for nearly a thousand dollars. I know this isn't like an iPhone where it can get blacklisted, but for laptops what can I do to protect myself from getting scammed? Thanks.
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #2
    Firstly do your research, set your budget, find the likely machines that are going in that price range, using second hand sites, eBay and craigslist etc.

    Other than that if it looks to good to be true it probably is and good luck
     
  3. kkar thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I meant what should I check out before handing over my money.

    Are there any laptop scams I should be aware of?
     
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #4
    Buy a model with no chance of GPU failure.

    Make sure no firmware password is set.

    Make sure it has been reset to factory, you wouldn't want it to be associated with someone else's Apple ID.
     
  5. kkar thread starter macrumors member

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    #5

    Is there a list of computers to check for GPU failure?

    How do I tell if a firmware password is set?

    I plan to reinstall the OS at the Apple store anyways, but can someone's Apple ID be used to lock the computer (like on the iphone)?
     
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #6
    1. Anything with a 8600GT(mid 2007, early 2008), 9400M(2009), ATI 6770(2011) or retinas with a 650GT(2012).

    2. If it asks for a password when you try to reinstall OS X, it has one.

    3. It can, but that can easily be undone by simply wiping the hard drive. The point is to protect private data, not much more.
     
  7. LxHunter macrumors 6502

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  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #8
    Any MBP with an NVIDIA 8600GT, GT 330M, Radeon 6750M, Radeon 6770M or GT 650M (retina only for the 650M) are prone to GPU failures.

    The Radeons and the retina 650M are covered under an extended repair program until February next year.
     
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #9
    One would assume that you would turn it on when checking it out (local purchase). If it asks for a password before booting, then it has a firmware password. Make them remove it before proceeding. If they say they forgot it then it's probably stolen.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    The correct way to check is actually to hold down the Option key while booting. If a password prompt appears, it's EFI-locked. If boot drives show up, it's unlocked.

    Just powering it on won't make the password prompt appear.
     
  11. David58117, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015

    David58117 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    When I sold mine, I met the guy somewhere public and let him play on it before we formatted and did a clean install.

    Make sure you go to the "about" section and verify the actual specs match up to what's being claimed.

    Also check for remaining AppleCare.

    See if they have a receipt and box too.

    If they have a warranty from square trade - they have to go online and transfer it to you.

    Same for best buy I believe. If they had a repair done at best buy, ask for the paperwork (incase you require the "lemon" policy - you will need proof of prior services done).

    Also don't accept anything boxed without opening it first. Shrink wrap means nothing and anyone could seal it. Be extra cautious when it's sealed.

    There are also tons of sales going on right now...so be aware of the current price of what you're buying! I've seen some guys price their used item for more than a current retail sale price..
     
  12. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Check the serial number, make sure that is written on the bottom of the case matches what the OS is telling you. Then lookup the serial number to verify the specs, for example on a page like this;

    http://www.appleserialnumberinfo.com/

    There was a thread on this site some time ago that showed that it was actually fairly easy to update the information in the 'about this mac' area, so this could be fake. Coconut battery (a free app, just google it) can help you find out more about the battery condition

    Also, run a hardware test (restart and hold D key)

    Lastly, if the seller allows, open it up to check for obvious liquid damage or other messing around with it. Make sure you bring the right screwdriver....
     
  13. kkar thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    OK, I will do all that is listed in this thread. If there are any other suggestions keep them coming. I might get either a MacBook Air 2013 or 2014 edition.

    Also, how easy is it to get them to reinstall the OS on the spot and how long does it typically take? I am not sure what OS X version the 2013 or 2014 edition came with by default, probably Mavericks, but if the OS was updated to Yosemite then is it possible to erase and reinstall Yosemite from within Finder and without an internet connection?
     
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #14
    To reinstall OS X on the spot, you would need a bootable OS X USB stick, which can be created using the OS X installer downloaded off the App Store and DiskMaker X (free utility). However, you would need a Mac to do this.

    The 2013 models and some 2014 ones came with Mavericks, but for the sake of security, I wouldn't really go for it. Besides, I think the lag issues are overblown. I have not experienced any noticeable lag on my own late-2013 13" i7/16/512 rMBP.
     
  15. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #15
    - The Radeon 6490M as well (on the entry-level Early 2011 15").
     
  16. iPad Retina macrumors 6502a

    iPad Retina

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    #16
    Check for a ghosting problem and if the hinge is loose, and if the screen too casing is shifted over I had made that mistake
     
  17. kkar, Apr 28, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015

    kkar thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    What do you mean? It seems you left out some details and your post doesn't flow. Can you elaborate?
     
  18. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #18
    What I mean is that, if you want to reinstall OS X on the spot sans an internet connection, you must first create the installer medium.

    To create one, you need this:
    1. A functioning Mac (not Windows PC).
    2. An 8GB USB stick
    3. OS X Yosemite installer from the App Store
    4. Diskmaker X.

    Use all these to create a bootable OS X USB installer. Then when you want to reinstall OS X there, just stick the USB stick in, boot from it, reformat the internal drive and reinstall.
     
  19. kkar thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    I forgot to bold the part I was referring to. It has been added, can you continue?
     
  20. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #20
    A lot of people in this forum complain that their 13" rMBP keeps getting frame drops and general UI lag, and I think that the proportion of these complaints are totally overblown.

    I have yet to experience any noticeable lag in Yosemite on my own 13" rMBP (late-2013 i7/16/512), aside when doing GPU-intensive tasks like dealing with large PSD files (and even then, it's not that noticeable).

    The people who complain about such UI lag will ask others to downgrade to Mavericks, but IMO, I will not recommend doing this for the sake of security, as when loopholes are discovered, Yosemite gets all the patches, but Mavericks don't get all the patches.
     
  21. darngooddesign macrumors G3

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    #21
    So there is no equivalent of iOS activation lock on OSX?
     
  22. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #22
    No. It wouldn't be of much use. First, a computer doesn't have an IMEI that can be blacklisted as stolen. Second, pull out the hard drive and that protection is gone. You can't pull out an iPhone's memory so easily though.
     
  23. kkar thread starter macrumors member

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    Toronto, Canada
    #23

    The website doesn't work, I entered the serial number and nothing happens.





    [/COLOR]
    The hinge I can check easily enough. What is the "ghosting problem" and what about the screen casing shifted over?
     
  24. spades1412 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2009
    #24
    I just sold a Macbook Pro Retina and the buyer was very thorough in his testing of the machine. Went something like this:

    1. Test the Screen, looked for any stuck or burned out pixels, turned brightness up and down
    2. Checked the Lid, made sure it was firm on all levels from closed to all the way open.
    3. Open Photo Booth to make sure the Camera worked
    4. Open Notes app and check every key on the keyboard
    5. Test volume and volume keys (opened Safari and played a Youtube video), tested headphone jack as well.
    6. Test all Function keys
    7. Test Wifi & Bluetooth
    8. Inspect overall condition on the machine
    9. Checked Battery cycles
    10. Test USB & Magsafe ports

    Everything at that point checked out for him. We met at an Apple store to complete the transaction. Also had Apple run a full diagnostics test on the machine. That test checked out as well. It looked like a pretty thorough test that tested all the internal hardware. Apple was also able to verify that the machine wasn't locked to an iCloud account with Find my Mac. I had disabled it prior to reinstalling OSX and removed the Mac from my iCloud account.

    I think if I were to ever buy a Mac second hand or sell another one in person, this is the route I would take.
     
  25. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    Shanghai, PRC
    #25
    That page is a bit temperamental, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. From my experience it works best with Internet Explorer (go figure....), alternatively try this one:
    http://www.chipmunk.nl/klantenservice/applemodel.html
     

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