We all love saving money, especially when it comes to buying our tech toys and gadgets. The latest smartphones, tablets and computers don't come cheap and sometimes, it's better to be patient and just wait for good deals to come around before pulling the trigger on a purchase.
If you're a veteran deal hunter, you may have considered buying a refurbished product. We usually hear this term thrown around online shopping sites when hunting for used discounted items. These are used items that have been checked and repaired to meet the manufacturer's specifications.
Most online vendors claim that their "refurbs" are in excellent condition but it's still a hit-or-miss affair since they don't really have strict quality control procedures. That "like new" tag for some of these online items that are being passed as refurbished products are misleading since they may still have cosmetic defects and technical imperfections.
However, if you're in the market for an Apple product, the best source to get a substantial discount on truly refurbished iPads, iPhones, iPods, Macs, etc. is straight through Apple itself.
What are Apple's Certified Refurbished products?
Apple's refurbished products are previously owned items that were returned. These may be due to factory defects, recycling or the items were simply no longer wanted by their original owners.
The items are then repaired with all the defective parts replaced then tested and certified before they are put up for sale on Apple's online refurbished store.
All Apple "refurbs" include the standard one-year warranty with an option to get extended coverage via the AppleCare Protection Plan. All Apple refurbished iPhones, iPods and iPads also come with brand new batteries and outer shells.
Apple's Refurbishment Process
According to Apple's Shopping Help page, their refurbishment process is as follows.
- is fully tested (including full burn-in testing)
- is refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing
- is thoroughly cleaned and inspected
- is repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.)
- includes the operating software originally shipped with the unit and the custom software offered with that system
- 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
These procedures follow the same guidelines as Apple's Finished Goods testing process.
The best reason why you should consider buying Apple's refurbished items is because of the substantial amount of money you can save.
If you don't really mind getting Apple's latest and greatest products the minute they come out, you can wait until refurbished versions of a particular item start showing up on Apple's online store. This way, you can save a substantial amount of cash while still enjoying the same quality assurance and warranty coverage of a brand new item.
Apple's refurbished item discounts are typically at 15 percent but they can go as high as 25 percent.
For example, Apple lists a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus refurb at $589. That's $110 less than their brand new list price of $699 - a 15 percent off savings.
An iPhone 6s refurb is sold at $449, good enough for an $80 savings off the list price.
A 2016 256GB 12-inch-MacBook refurb is sold for $1,099 (a $200 savings) while a 2015 27-inch Intel Core i5 Retina Display iMac is at $1,529 ($270 savings).
Here are Apple's current lines of refurbished products:
- 11-inch MacBook Air
- 13-inch MacBook Air
- 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro
- 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro
- 21.5-inch iMac
- 27-inch iMac
- Mac mini
- Mac Pro
Accessories and Other Products:
Note that Apple's refurbished products are sold in limited quantities and stock varies constantly. If a product you're interested in is not available, check again at a later time.
Note: To help you out in your hunt for your next refurbished Apple product, try using the RefurbMe website. This site can notify you when refurbished Apple products get restocked on Apple's online store.
Now, you may find cheaper "manufacturer refurbished" Apple products on eBay, Amazon or other third-party websites but these haven't gone through Apple's rigorous refurbishment process and quality assurance nor do they have Apple's standard warranty.
With that said, official Apple refurbs are almost always "as good as new."