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Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: rz
Date: December 07, 2023 11:41AM
I may be buying a used M1 Macbook Air next week off of someone on Craigslist. Other than having them show me that it boots up and checking battery health, is there anything I should do to help me decide?
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: mattkime
Date: December 07, 2023 11:53AM
Overall physical condition of the device is usually pretty reliable.



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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: Gareth
Date: December 07, 2023 11:57AM
I would bring a thumb drive (USB-C or with adapter) so you can make sure both ports work. Maybe a pair of plug-in headphones as well if you care about that port.

I walked away from a used laptop purchase because the Thunderbolt port didn't work (luckily I had brought a portable TB drive with me!).

Make sure it's logged out of iCloud.

I don't know if Apple has guidelines for Macs, but you can follow the used iPhone ones as best you can for a laptop: [support.apple.com]
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: December 07, 2023 11:57AM
The biggest risk is water damage as the damage will get worse over time as corrosion takes place. Unfortunately, Macs don't have moisture indicators like an iPhone. Still check every key for stickiness, as well as the trackpad. If the owner allows it, take the back cover off, and look for any corrosion or water spots.



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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: gadje
Date: December 07, 2023 12:06PM
Yes make sure it is not locked to their account and check if it still has AppleCare. You never know.
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: clay
Date: December 07, 2023 12:36PM
Quote
gadje
Yes make sure it is not locked to their account and check if it still has AppleCare. You never know.

Yup. IF you can connect to some sort of wifi (mobile phone hotspot) and sign in to your iCloud with your AppleID, that should answer that question.

The other thing I look for in used Macs is the # of battery charge cycles. You can see this in the Apple System Report under "Power". If it has 1000 charge cycles on a 3 year old machine, that is a battery that has been through the wringer.

Otherwise, as others have stated, cosmetic condition and other stuff (like, smell) is what I'd look for.
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 07, 2023 12:49PM
fwiw, if the price it right, and battery is an importnating thing, a new battery for them is under $75, as low as $50.

Installation isnt bad tech wise. pretty simple step by step. nothing convoluted.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: hal
Date: December 07, 2023 01:36PM
make sure that the battery carries a reasonable amount of capacity - the # of cycles won't tell you about the actual health of the battery. On that thumb drive that you are bringing to test the ports, bring along coconutbattery and make sure the capacity is at least 85% of new.

Check every key and every modifier key.

Verify that it can shut down. Verify that it can start up - connect to power and not.

pretty much do everything suggested in this thread... bluetooth is really hard to check properly. You might get a device to work, but how long will stay connected?

Frankly, there is too much to check - you're best off measuring the seller.

DO NOT buy from a guy that does this for a living. You want to buy a person's pride and joy - not a flip. Let them tell you about the day they bought it and how it has worked for them. ask directly if there are any serious problems and read the face hard.

I could go on for hours...
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: gadje
Date: December 07, 2023 01:41PM
I could go on for hours...


GO GO GO!
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Re: Buying a used laptop... what to look for
Posted by: gabester
Date: December 07, 2023 01:50PM
Boot into and run the diagnostics?

[support.apple.com]

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac. (Every Mac has a power button. On laptop computers that have Touch ID, press and hold Touch ID.)
  2. As you continue to hold the power button, your Mac turns on and loads startup options. When you see Options, release the power button.
  3. Press and hold cmd-D on your keyboard.

While we're at it, check About this Mac and verify it really has the hardware it says it does... I wouldn't be surprised if some joker tried to pass a Core i3 Air off as an M1.



g=



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2023 01:51PM by gabester.
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