Thinking of selling your old Mac so you can buy a new one, or because you have bought a new Mac. There are various ways in which you can sell it, and various services that can help you to do so with the minimum amount of hassle. However, there is more to selling your Mac than just picking the means by which you will sell it.
We discuss everything you need to do when selling a Mac, from evaluating the market and choosing the right price, to making sure you aren't ripped off, and being prepared for hagglers. Read on for our advice about selling an old Mac.
First things first - this is probably the most pressing question you have:
How much is my Mac worth?
Wondering how much you can get for your Mac? When you pick your price you need to keep a few things in mind:
- Find out what other Macs of this generation are selling for by checking on eBay and Gumtree
- Find out what a Mac with a similar spec costs new
- Check to see if Apple is still selling that Mac? Is it in Apple’s refurbished store?
- Be honest about whether your Mac is in reasonable shape and knock pounds off if it isn’t
- See how much competition there is
The first step when it comes to selling your old Mac is finding out which model you have. Wondering how do I know which Mac I have? Read Which Mac do I have.
Once you know which model you have you can start to work on getting an idea of what it’s worth. The risk otherwise is that you might be undercut and not make as much money as you could, or, on the contrary, you might be unable to sell your Mac because your price is too high.
If you aren’t in a major hurry to sell your Mac you might be happy to price it higher on the off chance that at some point someone will be prepared to pay extra for it. Don’t be unrealistic about what it’s worth though. You might have paid £1,500 for your MacBook Pro three years ago when you bought it but, while Macs can keep their value pretty well, you have to be realistic and look at what Apple sells now with a similar spec - it could be that your potential purchaser could pick up the same spec in a completely new Mac for not a lot more than you think yours is worth.
Alternatively, if you really want to shift it quickly you might think that pricing it for a fast sell is wise. There are a couple of things to bear in mind here. 1) You might find that buyers assume that your Mac is faulty if you price it too low. 2) You may find that you could still get more money for your Mac if you were to sell it to a Mac selling service.
Another thing to check is how much competition there is. If there aren’t many other Macs like yours being sold then you might be lucky and get a quick sell at a good price, but equally, that might just suggest that there isn’t a lot of demand for that model.
We looked up MacBook Pro on Ebay to get a feel for what the competition is like, and how much the various Mac laptops are selling for. You may notice there is a Refurbished Apple store there, with refurbished Macs right from Apple that come guaranteed with a one year warranty. That’s some major competition already (speaking of which you will also want to check Apple’s refurbished store on their website too, we’ll come to that).
On Ebay we found a 27in 5K iMac from 2015 for £500, "in excellent condition with no marks or chips". That's the 3.33GHz model with AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics and a 2TB hard drive. That might not sound like a lot for a three-year-old machine, especially when you consider that the price of a 27in iMac starts at £1,749.
A search for a secondhand MacBook Pro on Ebay showed up various models of various ages, which is worth a glance, just to give you a feel for the market before you try looking for your actual model.
Note things like whether people are selling the model with extras, perhaps its in the original sealed box, I.e. never used. Maybe they are bundling software with it (which isn’t strictly legal - the Mac should be wiped before you sell it). Base your pricing decision on Macs that are a similar as possible to the one you are selling, and note whether there are a lot of people watching the sale to gage interest.
Circling back the Apple’s refurbished store that we mentioned earlier, you can view deals on the Apple Refurbished store here. Keep these prices in mind when you set a price for the Mac you are selling because you have to accept that a person is perhaps unlikely to buy your second hand Mac if they can get what is essentially a new one for the same price (including a one year warranty from Apple). Even if your machine appears to have a higher spec on paper, it may be an older processor, so perhaps it’s not that much more powerful.
On the other hand, if your Mac has a very high spec - particularly if it was one that had veracious build to order options added when you bought it, you may be able to get more for it simply because it is rare - and it’s rare because it is pretty much impossible to add components to a Mac at a later date.
So if you are selling a MacBook Air with 8GB RAM, rather than 4GB RAM as used to be standard, you can expect to sell it for more. Although, even in that case, the MacBook Air is now sold with 8GB RAM as standard, so as before, you need to keep an eye on the market for new Macs. But when it comes to the generation of MacBook Air from 2015-2018 there is little difference between one bought in early 2018 and one bought in 2015, the specs are all but identical, so when it comes to selling one, you may find that there are a lot of similar units out there, some of which are newer/older than yours. Figure out what you are up against and price accordingly.
It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth getting an idea of the value of your Mac even if you don't plan to sell it on eBay or similar. You want to make sure you have an idea of its value even if you plan to sell it to a company who will go on to sell it themselves. You can expect them to pay you slightly less than you’d get for it on eBay, but you won’t have any of the hassle and that can be worth much more. Just make sure you do your homework first so that they don’t rip you off.
Best time to sell a Mac
Another thing to consider is whether it is a good time to sell your Mac.
Typically it makes sense to sell on an old model before Apple announces a new one (rather than after the announcement). Obviously when a new model is announced, the older ones will lose a significant amount of value. So keep an eye on upcoming Apple events and rumours and try to pre-empt them if possible.
Read our lowdown on what products we expect Apple to announce over the next few months, and when we think Apple will hold its next launch event.
We anticipate Apple updates in the spring (usually March), June (to coincide with WWDC), September and October. But the company has been know to update products outside of these windows.
Another good time to sell is in summer months prior to students returning to or starting university. While students can get a decent discount on Mac products (read more about how to get an education discount on Apple products here), we all know how poor students are.
Selling in the run up to Christmas when people are shopping around for deals is also a good time - although there can be some compeition from the Black Friday deals around that time.
Best places to sell your Mac
As we explained above, how much you get for a second-hand Mac depends on a lot of things, from the specific specs of the model that you’ve got, to the competition, and what Apple is selling currently. Another thing that will effect the price you get for it is where you sell it.
Typically you’ll get more cash from a private sale than from a shop or services (as they will obviously need to include a markup when they sell it on). However, if you sell your Mac to such a service you can get the money in your hands a lot quicker and with minimum hassle.
Selling to a high street shop like CeX could seem like a quick and easy way to get money for your old Mac. You’ll get an idea of what they will buy it for on their website here, as well as what they sell it for.
For example, a 13in MacBook Pro with 128GB SSD will get you £371 in cash. They will sell it for £640… You can get more ‘money’ if you choose to opt for a voucher - £448, which maybe you can use in store to upgrade.
Renew and Recycling Program at Apple
Incidentally, you can actually sell your Mac back to Apple. Apple has a Reuse and Recycling program and will buy your Mac from you. You’ll get a gift card that you can use to purchase your next Apple product. Not all Macs qualify though - Apple explains on its site here, that it only includes Macs from 2007 or newer.
Apple certainly doesn’t pay the highest rates either, and as we said, you will get a gift card rather than cash in hand. Apple will offer you vouchers if you recycle your PC with them too.
To use the Reuse and Recycle program you will need to add your Mac’s serial number which you can find in the Apple Menu > About This Mac. You may be shocked to learn how little Apple will pay you for your Mac.
We looked up a 2015 13in MacBook Pro with 128GB SSD and 2.7GHz drive and Apple offered us £230 trade in value.
Trade it in to your local Mac reseller
This is another option if you don’t have a local Apple Store. Some Apple resellers can use the Apple Reuse and Recycle program to take your old Mac off your hands. It’s likely that they might offer to knock some money off the purchase of a new Mac in exchange for taking your old Mac.
But there isn’t a lot of flexibility in terms of how much of a discount they can give you because Apple controls the prices they sell products at.
Sell on Ebay, Amazon or Gumtree
We wrote in some detail about eBay above. It may be the case that a private sale via one of these services will get you more money, but in our experience there is a considerable amount of hassle selling this way.
It might be preferable to sell locally on Gumtree where a person will drive to your house to view the Mac and potentially buy it from you - but be prepared for them to haggle the price down.
Sell via a local Facebook group
Facebook is really pushing its Marketplaces. A quick look and you might find lots of people in your area are selling old Macs. Because they are local they will probably be happy to come to your house - but again, expect them to haggle
Sell it the old fasioned way
You could of course sell via an ad in a local newspaper ad or a poster in your local supermarket, work kitchen, or student halls, if you want to go old-school. These days goods are likely to sell a lot quicker if you have an online listing though.
‘Sell’ it on Freecycle
If you just want to get rid of it and you don’t care about getting money for it you could sell via Freecycle, or give it to your local charity. Either way, the Mac will go somewhere it is needed and you will feel good about yourself.
What to do before you sell your old Mac
It's perfectly safe to sell on a Mac second-hand, provided you take some basic precautions. (Well, if you've been storing state secrets or billion-pound business-critical data on there, you might want to get in some specialist help. The following tips are for the rest of us!)
Before you sell your Mac on second-hand you should clean it both inside and out. Here are the things you should do before selling a Mac.
- Clean it
- Back it up
- Sign out of iTunes, iCloud, iMessage
- Format the hard drive
- Erase and reinstall macOS
Read more about preparing your Mac for sale here: How to wipe and reset a Mac
Also, check to see if you have any original box or packaging. The more presentable the Mac looks in its photographs, and the more original packaging you have, the more it will fetch on the second-hand market.
If it's an old iPhone you want to sell, read this: How to sell an old iPhone (and get the best price).