How to save serious money with Apple-Certified Refurbished hardware deals

By , Dec 15, 2015

Refurb Tracker

I’m a big believer in taking advantage of Apple-Certified Refurbished hardware sales. Not only do its refurbished models undergo extra scrutiny, but each product is backed up by a 1-year warranty, are Apple Care eligible, and come with free shipping.

The real draw to buying Apple-Certified Refurbished hardware is the amount of money that you can save on hardware. It’s not uncommon to find hardware going anywhere from 15% to 24% off retail price.

Apple Certified

The great thing about buying refurbished is that a lot of hardware are built to order models, not strictly the stuff that you can buy off the shelf at your local Apple Store or Apple Authorized Retailer. With that in mind, it’s possible to save some serious coin, and still be served by a 1-year warranty and Apple Care, if desired.

Not only is refurbished hardware a great deal, but its put through rigorous testing. Each certified product goes through the following:

  • is fully tested (including full burn-in testing).
  • is refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing.
  • is put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection.
  • is repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.).
  • includes either the Mac OS originally shipped with the unit or, in some cases, a more recent version.
  • is given a new refurbished part number and serial number.
  • is placed into a Final QA inspection prior to being added to sellable refurbished stock.

By now, pretty much every savvy Apple fan knows about the Apple-Certified Refurbished website. There, you can find deals on Macs, iPad, and iPods. You can even find deals on AirPorts and Apple TVs.

The problem is knowing when the products are updated. Many of the best deals simply slip through the cracks because someone else finds it first, or you simply forget to check the refurbished page as often as you should.

Instead of waiting, why not be proactive and tap into a great free resource called Refurb Tracker? This is a site that’s been around since the first iPhone, and it allows you to track all of the additions made to the Apple-Certified Refurbished store using customizable filters, keywords, and price qualifiers. You can even build your search and add a custom RSS feed to your favorite RSS reader. For example, I’ve added a feed to Feedbin Notifier, and I’m now sent a push notification to my Apple Watch whenever a Mac Pro under $3,000 is added to the refurbished store.

Needless to say, the Apple-Certified Refurbished store and Refurb Tracker are two excellent resources for helping you score some sweet deals on gently used Apple hardware. I highly recommend it.

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  • I bought two Airport Expresses for 140 bucks

  • askep3

    Any downsides?

    • mrgerbik

      price

      • askep3

        ? What do you mean

      • Al

        hahaha. The price IS the only “down”side. 😉

  • Brent

    I’ve been manually checking Apple refurb site daily. This is an awesome tip, Jeff!

  • Richard Fairbanks

    FWIW, folks:

    In June, I was blessed with a refurbished Mac Pro (2013) that had the exact specs I wanted, but the system had been so corrupted (including being able to access someone else’s networked printers and scanner!), that after almost two months of endless problems, I finally decided to completely wipe the SSD and do a “from-the-ground-up” install. The machine, incl. many production AppleScripts and shell scripts, acted completely differently afterward. (The fact that Apple Computer hasn’t produced a stable OS X since 10.6.8 [more accurately 10.4.11] certainly didn’t help.)

    Jeff’s advice, based on my personal experience, is a pipe dream.

    Just FYI.

    • I’ve had at least a dozen refurbished Macs and never experienced any issues.

  • Cristian B

    Bought my 2013 MacBook Pro in the refurb store, excellent for someone trying to save some cash and still want a new product.

  • RayRayBeav

    I got my MacBook Pro (Late 2012) over a year and a half ago from the refurbished section and runs like a champ. Honestly, for me there’s no reason to ever have to buy a brand new mac.

  • Luis Santana

    I bought my Macbook air 2012 Oct, on 2012, refurbished (brand new ) still running like a charm, i took it 2 time to apple to fix the speakers and one keyboard key. Nothing else..