Purchasing Used MAC

Hi. We have an elderly friend whose (quite old) Macbook Air has died. She needs a replacement and doesn’t want to spend the money for a new one – so we told her that we’d find a decent used one for her. I know that about the only thing that she uses it for is email. I had suggested that she switch to an ipad a while back and she was a little hesitant, but now that she is in a nursing home I can’t even go in and teach her – so it has to be the thing she knows.

We are looking at some of the usual suspects – Gazelle, OWC, Newegg. Are there others that people feel comfortable recommending?

1 Like

Three other ideas come to mind:

  • Directly from Apple refurbished?
  • Do you have a local chapter of Craig’s List?
  • Do you have a local computer “warehouse/exchange” type store?

The tradeoff is usually getting a warranty / security of knowing that it will work (at a higher cost) versus being able to pay a lower price (with less if any warranty).

Depending on the skills of your friend, the downside of her replacing the Air with an iPad is that typing on the iPad could be a pita for her. You might end up needing to add a modular physical keyboard.



Good advice from @DrJJWMac.
I would add checking nextdoor.com, you might have a neighbor with one for sale.


I’ve bought a couple of Macs off Craigslist as well as selling some. Never any issues. Also have seen some ok deals at pawn shops. I would suggest avoiding the models with butterfly keyboards if possible. I like my 2015 because the battery and SSD are easily replaceable and it was the last model before the butterfly.


Why so? If you can get one for a good deal, then it’s a bargain. They can easily go for $1,000 or more on eBay.

And if it breaks when it’s more than 4 years old you can spend $700 for a keyboard repair.


I was not talking about the 4-year-old MacBooks.

I agree with @glenthompson & @ChrisUpchurch that, in OP’s situation, butterfly keyboards are best avoided.

Is that website shady? I don’t want to put my address in there if it is.


My girlfriend and I use it without problems.
(Also wouldn’t have recommended it if I thought it was shady.)

1 Like

IMHO if it’s good enough for @JohnAtl, it’s good enough for me.


“But why?” Maybe you should re-read the original post.

If support for an iPad would be a problem how are you going to help her when keys stop working or otherwise screw up? The butterfly keyboards have been very problematic.

As someone else had mentioned, Apple refurbished is a good place to check. They currently have a 2020 MacBook Air for $809.

1 Like

How can you be so sure unless the keyboard does in fact break on her if she has it?

Thank you all for the responses. There were some good answers here. We ended up getting a 2014 MB Air from Gazelle. A few points:

  1. Time was of the essence. I didn’t realize this initially but my wife said that the people at the nursing home told her this when she picked up the old one. With no visitors allowed, this is really the only way she can have any outside contact with friends, kids, grandkids, etc. So with expedited shipping we should have it in the next couple of days. We will boot it up and get her email and wifi configured and have it back to her before New Years (I hope).

  2. I honestly wasn’t very concerned with the butterfly keyboard issue. My 2016 MBP has been just fine and it was one of the first laptops with the butterfly keyboard. I have listened to ranting about the butterfly keyboard continually for four years on MPU and ATP and I have no reason to believe that it isnt a real issue, but it really wasn’t at the top of my list.

  3. That being said, the 2014 MBA was before it so we dodged the bullet in any case. :slight_smile:


My girlfriend’s has been fine too. Glad you found a good solution. I’m sure it sucks being cut off from the world.


Yeah, I did that multiple times to no avail.

I have bought several refurbished Mac’s from www.Macofalltrades.com

Highly recommend. I’ve also bought on ebay but that is more tricky.

I have a 13" MacBook Air (2012) that is in pristine condition running Catalina memory. 256GB SSD. 1.8GHz Dual Core I5 processor. Works great for email and web browsing. Interested?