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Tom Nelson

We Take Apple's Refurbished Mac Store for a Spin

By January 11, 2010

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Apple's online store has a special refurbished section where you can buy both current and previous generation Mac hardware at an attractive discount.

We Take Apple's Refurbished Mac Store for a Spin

Courtesy of Apple

I've blogged before about the refurb store, how discounts can range from 10 to 30 percent, and how it offers discounted Mac products with the same one-year warranty as new Macs. You can buy AppleCare protection as well.

So, seeing as how I've suggested the refurb store as a good place to find Apple bargains, it was only logical that we give the store a try when it came time for my wife to replace her older iMac.

We kept an eye on the refurb store, checking each day for a 27-inch Core 2 Duo iMac. Unlike Apple's normal store, the refurb store has no standard stock. Instead, the Macs (and other Apple products) listed in the store can change from day to day. Some of the most popular Macs at the refurb store, the MacBook and Mac mini, tend to be gone almost as quickly as they're posted.

Over the weekend, Apple posted a couple of listings for 27-inch iMacs, and we scooped one up right away. Good thing, too, since by Sunday morning they were gone from the store.

Besides refurb Macs, you can also find refurbished iPods and occasional clearance items, usually third-party products the Apple Store sells, but may have over-committed to, or is removing from stock to make way for future products. Unlike the refurb store, items in the clearance section are all new.

So, just what is a refurb? When Apple replaces a Mac that's under warranty, it's sent back to one of Apple's facilities, where it will be cleaned up, tested, and recertified as meeting or exceeding the original specifications for the product. A new one-year warranty is assigned to the serial number for the Mac and the item is placed in Apple's refurb store or sold to authorized Apple resellers as a refurbished Mac. Refurb items are never sold as new.

We've received confirmation that FedEx is processing the shipment. We'll report back as we learn more about the shipping schedule. We'll also let you know when we receive the iMac, as well as follow up with a review.

Happy bargain hunting! Let us know if you find any good ones.

November 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm
(1) Larry says:

Hi Tom,
So how is the refurb working?

I am planning on getting either the 27in dual or 27in quad core refurb. Are you glad that you purchased a refurb? Have you had any problems? Did you purchase the extended warranty? Any feedback is appreciated!

Thank you,


November 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(2) Tom Nelson says:

Hi Larry,

My wife is happily using her 27-inch refurb iMac as I type. We had a great experience with the Apple refurb store, and would buy from them again.

We did have one issue with the original refurb we received; the display would occasionally flicker. This was a known problem with the first 27-inch models, and at the time, Apple was trying very hard to figure out the problem and correct it. We contacted Apple about the issue, and spoke with their engineers, who decided to list the iMac as DOA, just so it could be easily processed back to them and a new one sent out to us.

We have had no other problems with the iMac since then; in a little over a month, it will be a year old.

We did not buy the AppleCare extended warranty, but many people feel much more comfortable doing so.

Let us know how it goes for you.


January 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm
(3) Nicolas says:

The refurb turned out to be a dud, but that is still not a problem? I’d say it does not speak well for Apple’s vetting process.

March 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm
(4) Matt says:

Think you have a warranty with a refurbished mac? Think again. Since I am not currently in a financial position to afford a new mac, I thought I’d struck gold when I found out that a local school district in Utah sold back a bunch of macbooks after only using 2 of the 3 years of the original warranty. Thereby keeping one year for the new owner, or so I was told by the salesman. After only 4 (that’s four) months after the date of purchase, the hard drive sizzled. When I took it in to take advantage of the help, I was told quite quickly and summarily from the same SimplyMac store that I bought it from that it wasn’t covered. They, of course, would be willing to take more money from to fix it for a premium price, but no go on that mystical warranty that I thought I would be enjoying. Slick salesmanship and I that I was lied to in order to make a sale. I though SimplyMac out of Ft Union, UT would be an honest company to work with- it turns out, not so much.
I’m sure that they really don’t care about making me mad, because of their momentum in the market right now, however, keep pulling stuff like this and another competitor will surely rise up to take their market position. Ephemoralization.

June 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm
(5) Geekman says:

What this artical mostly covers is the certified apple refurbished store, which is very much diffrent from most other sellers. I myself wouldn’t buy anywhere else, just because scams like yours can be common.
If I get this wrong, I’m sorry, I just could’nt help but respond

July 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm
(6) Art says:

Back in January, I purchased a 21″ Core i5 iMac from Apple’s Refurb Store online.
It immediately gave me issues. Kernel Panics, and freeze-ups.
I used their telephone support.
After waiting on hold for hours, then waiting two days for them to call me back with a solution, I convinced them to issue a call tag for the computer, and to give me a full refund.
About a month later, I decided to give Apple Refurb a second chance.
Now, five months into using my Refurbed 27″ i7 iMac, it suddenly has locked up.
It works for a few minutes, then everything but the cursor becomes unresponsive, rendering the machine as an expensive paperweight.
Took it to the Genius Bar at the nearest Apple Store (1 hour drive each way). The kid there erased the HDD and clean installed the OS, then sent me home with my machine.
Upon returning home, I unpacked it, and guess what? Same old Same old.
Still not working.
It is at the Apple store now for “DIagnostics”, and I am without my computer for another three to five days.
I will never buy buy another iMac as long as I live, and I will never buy another Apple “certified” refurb.
I have been using Macs for years without any downtime, and now they sell me two lemons in less than half a year.
These new iMacs have been nothing but trouble for me.
If they do fix it, I don’t even want it back.
I have no faith in the hardware.
If they offer me an exchange, I’m not so sure I would want a brand new one either. I just do not trust them.
Might consider a Mac Pro, but that is just too much money for a computer.

August 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm
(7) mike ellan says:

This amazes me… you get a dud directly from the apple store yet claim you couldn’t be happier. In any case, thanks for your honestly, I certainly wont be purchasing any refurb from their store.

November 2, 2012 at 7:59 am
(8) Keith says:

I have bought my last 5 Macs from the Apple refurbished store.
2008 MacBook Pro 13
2009 iMac 27
2009 MacBook Pro 15
2010 MacBook Air 13
2011 MacBook Air 11

And am now ordering a MacBook 13 i7 2.0Ghz, 8Gb ram, 512 SSD
I have also purchased many new (from Apple Store) Apple products over the years.

I have not had any issue with any of the refurbished Macs. In all fairness we only keep our Macs for about a year as I like to replace them prior to them becoming obsolete, but still think you would see issues within the first couple of months.

I would be careful about buying a refurbished Mac from anywhere other than the online Apple Store, or if you want to, just make sure to go to the Apple website under support and click on the check my coverage. This will allow you to enter the serial number of the Apple product and make sure that indeed it is covered under the Apple warranty. This goes for buying used Macs also; check that you are within that first year of warranty. Apple does stand by their warranty very well I feel. Some things they do want to test for a couple of days but with all the scams going on I don’t blame them.

Also, if you do have problems within the first two weeks or just decide you don’t like or want your purchase Apple will typically take it back and fully refund your Apple purchase. I did this with a 15″ MacBook Pro that I purchased a couple of years ago off the refurb site that I just decided I didn’t need and they took it back with no hassles at all. They even paid the return shipping.

For what it is worth, that is my true story of the Apple refurb site(non-exaggerated). It is worth noting that anything purchased on the Apple Refurb site comes in a plain brown box instead of the shiny white Apple box.


March 17, 2013 at 2:23 am
(9) gwyneth says:

I, too, have purchased refurbished apple products. I got a mac pro and an iphone 4…I had no issues with either of them. I’m selling the mac pro, and I’m going to get a refurb imac (hopefully this week!)

The discount is pretty substantial, and for me, the full warranty gives me a safety net so that if I have an issue like the author of this article has…I know I’m going to be covered…and I can get apple care, too.

If you have a few hundred extra dollars and want to spring for a new products, that’s awesome. And some people probably do have problems…but lots of people don’t…and they also have more cash in their pockets. :-D

July 11, 2013 at 5:55 am
(10) education advice says:

Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can
survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.
I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with

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