Apple’s line of MacBooks are some of the most popular laptops on the planet. However, the high price of models like the MacBook Air is too expensive for you, you can opt for for a secondhand MacBook Air instead.
When buying a used MacBook Air, there are some important things you need to check before deciding to make the purchase. These include:
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1. The actual age of the MacBook Air
The age of a MacBook is actually determined by its serial number.
When inspecting a MacBook Air being offered by a seller, here’s how you can verify the serial number.
- On the desktop, click on the Apple icon.
- On the dropdown menu, select About This Mac.
- Under the tab labeled Overview, you’ll see the serial number.
- Check what year it was made by entering the serial number here.
Generally, you should avoid buying a used MacBook Air that is too old (more than three years old) so that you don’t encounter more problems in the future.
2. Any physical damage?
Looking at the appearance of a used MacBook Air is also necessary. You should check the laptop for signs of physical damage such as scratches, dents, misshapen parts, if the lid opens and closes properly and isn’t loose, so on and so forth.
Make sure to check all the accessories as well. See if the cable on the MagSafe is fraying, severely bent out of shape, or has discolouration, and look for any wires that appear where they shouldn’t.
3. All parts in good working condition
First, check if the MacBook Air boots up properly. It should make a chime sound when you press the power button.
Next, inspect the screen for even the smallest display issues such as lines or dots on any area. Look for dead pixels, and check the edges of the display as well. You can also tap or press gently on the screen to see if there are any problems.
Check the keyboard. Open up a browser or a text-editing app and type with all the keys to see if everything works. Make sure all the function keys work as they’re supposed to (e.g. does F11 and F12 decrease and increase volume respectively). Then, check if the camera works fine by opening the Photo Booth app and taking a selfie.
Lastly, verify that every port is functional. On each of the USB ports, insert any device and wait to see if it gets recognized by the laptop. Test the headphone jack by inserting your earphones or headphones in it then play some music. Check the firewire port if it accepts peripheral devices such as external displays. Bring an SD card and card reader to insert in the MacBook Air’s card slot as well.
4. Battery health
Examine whether the battery of the used MacBook Air is still in good health by checking its cycle count. Here’s how.
- Click on the Apple icon at the top-left corner of the screen.
- Select About This Mac.
- Under the Overview tab, click on System Report.
- Under Hardware, select Power
- The current number of cycles is displayed beside Cycle Count.
The cycle count tells how you long before the battery is considered completely used and must be replaced. For example, the used MacBook Air you are looking at is a 2014 model (maximum cycle count is 1000) and it has a cycle count of 500. This tells you that the battery is 50% used up.
5. Final checks
If, for some reason, you don’t trust the seller, you can run a comprehensive check of the used MacBook Air through a feature built into all MacBooks: the Apple Hardware Test. It will report on any issues on the MacBook the seller may not have mentioned, and it will also provide wear and tear reports of the all the MacBook’s components. To start the test, follow these instructions.
- Shut down the laptop and wait for it to completely turn off.
- Press the power button.
- When you see the startup screen, press and hold the D key, then wait for the test to finish inspecting the MacBook.
- Select your language and click Test.
The caveat here is that it may take some time to complete (up to 1 hour), but if the seller has nothing to hide, then he won’t mind.
Conclusion: Apple’s Certified Refurbished or other sellers
This all boils down to your personal preference. If you don’t mind paying extra, then go buy a secondhand MacBook from Apple’s Refurbished Store. You get a one-year warranty, a power adapter, cord, and a new white box.
On the other hand, if you want to save some cash, then feel free to look for sellers online. Just make sure that you meet them in person to test out the MacBook Air thoroughly before you buy it.
For more useful MacBook tips, check out our blog.
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