You might argue that despite them being great products, there is never a good time to buy a Mac or MacBook. That hole in your bank account hurts, even if you’re chuffed with your latest purchase.

Also with the relentless onward push of technology, you have about a year before the cutting edge Mac you own is superseded by the next generation. It’s not always as clear-cut as that though, as Apple is evolving just as much as its customers’ buying habits.

It’s best to decide first which Mac or MacBook you want to buy. We can help with that.

Mac buying guide

MacBook buying guide

Those guides cover which Macs and MacBooks are going to be preferable to you depending on what you want to use them for.

We also have put together a guide on where to buy a Mac or MacBook. You don’t have to get it from Apple. Click here to see where to buy one

The update cycle

Apple updates its computer line-up relatively frequently, so you might be inclined to time your purchase to that cycle. It used to be roughly annually, but now things aren’t so linear.

Let’s take a look at all the Mac and MacBook models and when they last got an update.

Mac mini

Last updated: October 2014

iMac

Last updated: October 2015

Bear in mind that there are three models of iMac - non-Retina, Retina and 5K. 

Mac Pro

Last updated: April 2017

MacBook

Last updated: April 2016

MacBook Air

Last updated: March 2015

MacBook Pro

Last updated: October 2016

As you can see, the timeline varies. The 12in MacBook is falling into a yearly spec-bump upgrade, while the MacBook Air rarely sees more than a RAM improvement. The MacBook Pro meanwhile enjoyed a bigger update recently.

The Mac mini is unlikely to be updated again, while the Mac Pro technically wasn’t updated in April – but upgrade options went down in price. The hardware itself is from 2013.

It is usually best to time your purchase to when Apple has just updated a specific model of Mac or MacBook. That way, you’ll have the latest spec of hardware for, most likely, at least a year and maybe longer.

Buying a Mac 11 months after it has been updated is risky – often the next month will see a new model come out with improved specs at the same price.

We round up rumours about updates to all the Mac line. Click through on the links below to check out the latest news:

Mac mini

iMac

Mac Pro

MacBook

MacBook Air

MacBook Pro

Then again, having the latest and great might not matter to you. It might be the price that affects your decision.

The refurbished store

Apple doesn’t discount older Mac or MacBook models after it updates a line, it just stops selling them. It does however have a little known refurbished and clearance store on its official website. Check it out here for savings on older models.

See also: Should I buy a refurbished Mac?

Mac and MacBook sales

Apple never has sales. Ever! So, if you want a cheaper brand new Mac or MacBook it’s best to check out sales of resellers such as Currys PC World or John Lewis.

Black Friday is a good time to check out all the electronics retailers too, though Apple product sales are still quite hard to come by.

We also collect together Apple deals, including those on Macs and MacBooks, on our deals page here.

Decisions

We think the best time to buy a Mac or MacBook is when the one you want has just been updated.

Then again, the best time to buy might simply be when you can definitely afford it, as these aren’t cheap machines.

But lining up your purchase with Apple’s product cycle is a safe bet for getting the longest possible life out of your new computer.