There are many reasons why Macs are considered superior to PCs and there has been a massive surge in interest in Apple machines in recent years – at least partly as a result of the increased profile of Apple following the success of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. As well as the droves of customers purchasing new iMacs and MacBook Pros, there is a huge and ever-growing market for second-hand Macs. One of the many advantages of Macs is the fact that they retain their value far more than other computers and this means that if you are considering upgrading your existing Mac, there’s a good chance you can make back some of the purchase price by selling your old machine. In this feature we’ll reveal everything you need to know – from preparing your old Mac to sell to getting the best price you possibly can for it.

Preparing your old Mac to sell

Macs are reliable computers, and you can expect to get a good number of years’ service from them. As such, it is likely that you have been using the Mac you are planning to sell for some time and it probably includes a large number of personal files on the hard drive.

Therefore, it is a very different machine from when it was bought, due to the customisations and system settings you have put in place. Few Macs can just be sold without at least a little preparation, and it is important that you take the time to work through these steps before parting with it.

 Before selling your Mac you should de-authorise it in iTunes

The data on your old computer needs to be dealt with in a couple of ways; first it needs to be backed up so you can transfer it to your new computer, and second it needs to be wiped from the original hard drive so that it cannot be accessed by the new owner. Just how you go about backing up your data is entirely a matter of personal choice. You could use Time Machine, manually copy files to a removable hard drive or burn them to DVD.

If you have linked your iPod, iPad or iPhone to your Mac, you will need to de-authorise it from within iTunes. This is a process that may have to be repeated with other software, and completing it will ensure that you are able to use your new computer with your favourite software and services and will not have to worry about the new owner having access to your account.

Prevent ID theft

It is also vital to clear traces of internet activity and other information about the ways in which you have used your computer. This must be done properly to protect yourself against the possibility of identity theft.

The most comprehensive and reliable way of ensuring that none of your private files and data fall into the wrong hands is to format the hard drive ready for the new user and reinstall OS X from scratch.

It is important to format your hard drive before selling your Mac, and Disk Utility can help

Before wiping the hard drive, check that you have backed up all of your valuable data and that you have made a note of any passwords that have been stored in Safari as well as exporting data from any other applications you have been using. Now insert your OS X installation disc, restart your computer and hold down the C key to boot from the DVD. Select the language you want to use and then select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. Select your drive, move to the Partition tab and select Partition 1 followed by GUID before clicking Apply. Move to the Erase tab and choose how the drive should be wiped – select the Zero Out Data option for added security – and once this process is complete you can set about the task of reinstalling OS X.

What Mac do you have?

Using PayPal as a payment method offers protection and security to both buyer and seller

Before you consider selling, it is important to determine exactly what it is you have to sell. Anyone buying a computer will want to know precisely what hardware is on offer, so it is vital that you are able to provide information about hardware specs, OS version, and any software. You can find out the basic details of your Mac by clicking the Apple menu and selecting About This Mac. In the window that appears, you will be able to see essential details such as the type of processor and amount of RAM you have installed. Click the More info button for additional details.

The System Profiler window that appears displays more detailed information about your Mac in the Hardware Overview section to the right. You can also click through each of the various categories listed in the left-hand Content pane to view specific details about individual pieces of hardware such as your graphics card, hard drive, memory cards and ports. So that you will have the details to hand, simply export the data to an XML file which can be saved or printed out. Click the File menu and select the Save As option. Enter a name for the file and choose where it should be saved before selecting either System Profiler 4.0 (XML) or Rich Text Format (RTF) from the File Format drop-down menu and then click Save.