Macs are expensive, but they have a higher used value than PCs. Here’s how to sell your Mac hardware, whether you’re upgrading to a new Mac or just looking to cash in on the old MacBooks you own.
Backup and delete your old data
Obviously, you should not sell a device that stores all your personal information. The first thing you need to do is get rid of all that data and restore your Mac to factory settings to protect yourself and make it easier to set up as a new computer.
You may want to save a copy of your data somehow. If you just bought a new Mac, you can transfer your data from the old one to the new one. If you want to start over or are moving to a Windows PC, you can keep a backup of your files in case you need them in the future.
Next, you’ll want to erase your Mac’s hard drive. You can read our guide on how to do it from recovery mode, which shouldn’t take more than an hour or so, depending on how much data you have and how securely you want to wipe your hard drive. After that, you’ll probably want to reinstall macOS, otherwise it won’t be available to whoever you’re selling it to.
Find your characteristics
Apple releases new Macbooks almost every year and typically has a dozen models for each launch. You want to know which exact list you should make.
If you know the year your laptop was manufactured (not purchased), you can search Apple’s specs database for a complete list that you can refer to. Otherwise, you can click on the Apple logo in the top menu bar and choose About This Mac.
A dialog box will open that lists all the characteristics of your computer.
The main things you want to note are the model name (like «MacBook Pro»), the year it was made, the screen size, and the amount of RAM your system has. If you paid for a processor upgrade on your Mac, be sure to include it.
Option 1: Sell yourself for more money
If you love money and have time to spare, you can sell it yourself. In general, you won’t come close to the retail price of your Mac, even if it’s in mint condition. Buying used items comes with a discount, and it should be significant enough for people to consider. You should look up how much your particular device is selling on these websites and list yours at or below that price.
Make sure your Mac is clean and take good pictures for your list. Be sure to include all relevant information in the list. You must also include a link to the product’s retail page so that customers can see what discount they are receiving and view additional machine specs.
Note: There are many e-scrap companies that claim to only buy your devices for the best money in order to offer you a price well below market value. You will have to wade through a sea of scammers and stick to reliable sources.
RELATED:How to sell your laptop, phone or tablet for the best dollar
Selling Online vs Selling Locally
You have two options: sell it online (and ship it to the buyer) or sell it locally. If you sell online, you will be competing with resellers, authorized sellers, and thousands of other people who want to make a quick buck. This can be a lot easier, but also leaves you prone to return scammers when the favor is on the buyer’s side.
Selling locally gets a bad rap, but it’s perfectly safe if you know what you’re doing. Basic rules to avoid scams:
Meet in a busy public place so you don’t get mugged or robbed. You can even meet at the police station if you are paranoid.
Do not ship. This is a scam — you are selling locally for a reason. Always meet in person.
Cash only. Anything else is most likely a scam. Fraudsters can commit check fraud by writing you a check that appears to be correctly deposited only for rejections at first.
Chances are you’ll get a few bot-like replies repeating your full post title. Don’t bother answering this; they are scammers
Use your common sense and don’t trust people who ask you for more than they should. There are plenty of scammers out there, but once you get past meeting someone in person, that’s the only way to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Craigslist is a very good site for selling your old electronics to interested buyers. Even though it’s a local market, as long as you don’t live in the middle of nowhere, you’ll find people willing to bargain for used devices or potential middlemen willing to take it out of your hands.
The Facebook Marketplace is similar to Craigslist, except it’s a little less underground and sketchy. If you’re afraid of Craigslist, post your list here.
LetGo and Offerup are two worthy mentions.
eBay is an option for selling used items online.
Amazon, usually used by more established sellers, also allows you to list your own products like eBay
Swappa: Like eBay, easier to use, smaller user base.
Option 2: exchange for quick money
If you’re not worried about building a list or selling your computer, you can trade it in for store credit (and sometimes cash). Apple has its own trade-in program, which is much faster and easier than selling it yourself. Of course, they will only give you gift cards to buy new Apple products, but if you want to upgrade, you can sell your old devices to fund new ones.
This process is really worth it if your computer is in good shape. Apple offered us $490 for a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is under $800 or so, so you can sell it on a site like Craigslist. However, if your device has a lot of scratches or is damaged at all, you won’t come close to that amount. Apple will only give us $160 for a scratched MacBook — a terribly small amount — limiting us to an accessory basket at the Apple Store.
You can sell it to other exchange programs like Best Buy, but they offered less than Apple in our testing. Gazelle offers similar amounts but at least pays in cash. You can try your luck at the local pawnshop if you’re in serious cash trouble, but no matter how you change it, you’ll always end up with less money than if you sold it yourself.
We recommend posting on Craigslist or Facebook for a few weeks and then resorting to an exchange if it doesn’t sell. The best use case for these exchange programs is someone who buys a new iPhone every year, but in that case you can just use the iPhone Upgrade Program.