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 the same 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.
Step 1: Find out which Mac it is
The first step when it comes to selling your old Mac is finding out which model you have - not just the type of Mac, but the generation and other specs. Read: Which Mac do I have? for help with that.
Step 2: Find out how much similar Macs are selling for
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 not make as much money as you could, or you might be unable to sell your Mac because your price is too high. Even worse, if you get the specs wrong and claim that it is newer or more powerful than it is the person who buys the Mac won't be happy and you may have to refund them.
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.
For example, on Ebay UK we found a refurbished mid 2015 15in MacBook Pro, 2.2GHz i7 processor, 16GB RAM, listed as pre-owned, but "Grade B tested". It was priced at £430 and has some dents in the base and marks on the screen. In its day that Mac would have cost £1,599 new.
On Ebay US we found a similar 15in MacBook Pro also from 2015, with the same 2.2GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. That was priced at $774 in "used" condition, but apparently comes with a "three year warranty". In the US this originally cost $1,999.
You'll see some options that are listed as Pre-owned while other are listed as Refurbished - the latter generally means that an Apple Certified engineer has looked them over and they may even come with a one year warranty.
The Refurbished prices will be higher, but they come with more reassurance for the buyer. That's some major competition already. There are also a lot of businesses selling on Ebay that can offer more protections for buyers, so if you are an independent seller the competition is hot!
If you have a newer Mac you should also check the Apple Refurbished store. If you find that Apple is still selling your Mac in the Refurbished Store that will be a good indication of the maximum resell value of your Mac - expect yours to go for a lot less. For example, a 2019 16in MacBook Pro with 2.6GHz 6-core i7 is going for £1,869 on Apple's UK Refurb store (originally £2,199). While in Apple's US Refurbished store we found the same Mac for $1,949 (originally $2,299).
Keep Apple's refurbished prices in mind when you set a price for the Mac you are selling because you have to accept that a person is probably 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).
If you don't fancy doing all this research you could take a look at one of the businesses that offers to sell your Mac for you, many of which will calculate a price (although that price is usually what they will give you for it, rather than what they would sell it for). One example is Mac2Sell where you can select the model you are selling and get a quote based on what it's worth: that same 15in MacBook Pro from 2015 was estimated to be worth £663.
Step 3: Be realistic about demand
One issue in particular is pertinent right now: the transition from Intel to Apple's own chips (M1, M1 Pro or M1 Max). People will either be falling over themselves trying to buy Intel Macs because Apple no longer sells them, or people will not be buying Intel-powered Macs at all. Either way it seems likely that the effect of the transition to the M1 chip, which has proven to be very successful for Apple, will reduce the resale price of, and demand for, older Macs.
It's also worth bearing in mind that there is a limit to how long Apple supports old Macs for. Apple usually maintains the last three versions of the macOS with bug fixes and important security updates, ensuring that the latest version of Safari will run, and that Apple Services, such as iCloud, are fully supported. This means that Macs that don't run macOS Catalina are not officially supported by Apple.
If your Mac isn't in this list you might find it harder to sell because it won't run macOS Catalina. For more information read: What version of macOS can my Mac run?
- MacBook (2015 or later)
- MacBook Air (Mid-2012 or later)
- MacBook Pro (Mid-2012 or later)
- Mac mini (Late 2012 or later)
- iMac (Late 2012 or later)
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro models (from 2013)
You'll also notice that many secondhand Macs will be sold 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.
On the other hand, if your Mac has a very high spec model in its time - 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.
Step 4: Decide what to sell it for
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 (we list a few below).
Step 5: Choose whether to sell it privately or via a business
Selling your Mac using eBay, Gumtree or a similar service can actually be a lot of work, your decision about selling it will be based on whether the amount of effort you will need to put into selling it will be met by the return. Is your old Mac going to make you enough money to justify the effort selling it, or is there a better way to get rid of it?
You might make a bit more money if you sell it privately, or you might just end up in a dispute with a buyer. The ease with which sellers can offload Macs to a business that specialises in selling Macs is a big reason why there are so many refurbished Macs being sold. If you want to make some money by selling an old Mac you don't have to do the hard work yourself. In the section below we have some recommendations of places that will buy your old Mac.
Another option that may apply, if you are thinking of buying a new Mac to replace it, it to part exchange your Mac. Apple will let you do this, as will various Apple Certified Resellers. We look at the prices you can get for this below too.
Alternatively, if your Mac has very little resell value you might prefer to donate or recycle it. More about that below.
Step 6: Choose the 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), 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 competition 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.
One of the easiest ways to get money for your old Mac is to trade it in with Apple when you buy a new Mac. You might not get as much money this way, but it's certainly the easiest way to convert that old Mac into money off a new one.
We have various options below for selling your Mac in the UK and US.
Computer Exchange (UK)
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, CeX will buy that 15in MacBook Pro with 1TB SSD we were looking at earlier for £437 in cash or £528 voucher. They will then sell it for £755.
A similar service, this will buy a Mac from you, refurbish it, and then sell it on.
Here that same 2.2GHz MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD could get us £400, or £25 more if we had the original charger and box. Visit Cash4Mac.
Cash for your Mac (US)
Here we got a quote of $380.95, or $420.95 for trade-in for the 2.2GHz 15in MacBook Pro from 2015. Visit CashForYourMac.
Decluttr quoted us $300 for the 2015 2.7 MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM (we couldn't put in the 2.2GHz model in their tool). Visit Decluttr.
This service will buy your Mac from you and then resell it. We popped in the data for that same 2015 MacBook Pro and got the quote of £145 back. Visit MacBack.
MusicMagpie will also buy old Macs. They offered £225 for the 256GB version of the 15in mid-2014 MacBook Pro (we couldn't search for the 2015 model, unfortunately). Visit MusicMagpie.
Sell Your Mac (UK & US)
We searched for our 2015 MacBook Pro and were given a quote of $320. Visit SellYourMac.
Renew and Recycling Program at Apple
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.
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.
Read about how to trade in a Mac.
Sell on Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, 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 Marketplace is another option. 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 fashioned 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).