Whether you love or hate Apple, we all agree on one thing: their products are Dear. Apple iPhones can easily cost upwards of $1,000, and MacBooks require a mortgage just to look at them. The thing is, you don’t have to buy these devices new to get the advantages to buy new.
The best way to shop Apple is to shop refurbished. If you haven’t heard of Apple’s Certified Refurbished Store, it’s probably because Apple doesn’t advertise it much. After all, the company would prefer you to buy one of its latest products from the front page of its site. But if you are not going to do it, he would still like to sell you something, even if that something has already been used.
With the Certified Refurbished store, Apple sells used devices at a discount. Depending on the device, the price drop can be modest or generous. From this article, you can buy a refurbished MacBook Air M1 at 15% off, leaving it $849 instead of $999. Apple is listing this refurbished 512GB iPhone 11 Pro Max for $899, $400 less than its retail value. That’s a 30% discount.
These devices all have a varied history behind them: some may be devices returned by customers to have a fault, such as a dead pixel on a MacBook screen, or an iPhone that couldn’t make calls. Others may be older devices that customers have traded in for a new one, such as when someone upgrades from an iPhone 11 to an iPhone 14. Still others may be “open box” devices, when customers decide they don’t want the product within the 14-day return period, but have used the device, preventing Apple from being able to sell the product as new to another customer.
You will not know the past of your device when you buy it refurbished. All you’ll know is that it, and the rest of Certified Refurbished devices, go through the same quality control process to ensure they’re in good working order. Devices like iPhones are getting fresh batteries and new exterior covers, so they should last all day and look like new. All devices undergo “rigorous” testing and cleaning to meet certain standards set by Apple. Best of all, they’re backed by the same one-year warranty as new Apple products, so if something goes wrong within that window, Apple will fix it for you. You can even add AppleCare+ to the device if you want.
An unknown benefit is also that these devices are eligible for Apple’s free services. If a product came with a four-month trial of Apple News+, a three-month trial of Apple Music, and a three-month trial of Apple TV+, you’ll get it with the refurbished item from the same way you would with brand-new, extending the value even further.
All of this also applies to purchasing refurbished products through an Apple Authorized Reseller. If you find a great deal on refurbished Beats through Best Buy, jump on it! You will save big and have free Apple perks to boot. Just check your warranty status when you come directly from Apple. Stores have their own limited warranties (Best Buy is 90 days), and the purchase won’t automatically fall under Apple’s one-year warranty. But a simple call to Apple support with your receipt is enough to activate the warranty, so it’s a safe bet.
Of course, refurbished items are not mass-produced. Apple or one of its resellers only have what they have, based on items returned by customers. This is why you will see massive turnover in these refurbished stores. Once something’s gone, it’s gone. If you see a good discount on an Apple device you’ve been looking at, don’t think it’ll be there in the morning.
Now, when it comes to used tech, there’s a plot options. You may find that the prices for refurbished Apple devices are still a bit steep compared to the steep discounts you find on other used sites. You can probably save more money by buying used outside of refurbishment, but that’s a tradeoff. You lose the protections Apple offers with its quality control and one-year warranty, which means you run the risk that this discounted MacBook won’t work as expected. Also, an eBay seller won’t give you a free trial of Apple Music, and we all know that’s why we buy Apple devices in the first place.
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