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You can assume that certain models will drop off the OS support list each year. So in the fall of , the MacBook Pros and Airs are likely to drop off the list. That's not to say they won't be usable, but it does mean that upgrades, special features, and security upgrades won't be available. For example, I own one machine which I couldn't upgrade when Mojave came out last year.

I have three more machines which I can upgrade this year, but will hit OS obsolescence in There are hacky ways to bypass Apple's OS limitation, but they're still hacks. I reached out to OWC , who sells refurbs. They tell me they have lots of folks who are running somewhat older OS versions. But beware. It's not just the OS that obsoletes. I got hit with Chrome not upgrading on a too-old machine.

Even when using other browsers, Gmail wouldn't work.

Apple Macbook pro in mint condition with charger.

Apparently, Gmail also checks the OS version. One of the problems with Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook sellers is they often won't specify the year of the machine you're buying. I spoke to a number of sellers, who claimed they themselves had no idea. If you encounter a seller who claims no knowledge of model, ask for a serial number it's available on the unit or in the About this Mac dialog under the Apple menu.

Then run the number through Apple's Check Coverage page. It will generally give you model year information, as well as some other details. So let's say you decide to ignore my advice and buy a machine from a local seller.

You're going to want to do some hands-on testing. Here's what you should do.


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As mentioned above and as you should know if you're braving buying a used Mac locally , About This Mac is a small screen located under the Apple menu. Have the seller take a photo of that screen and text it to you. If any of those specs bother you, stop right here. Knowing the model year of the device your considering will help with this step. You'll want to choose a USB 2. Take my advice, though.

Refurbished Apple MacBook Air 11

Don't buy a Mac that doesn't support USB 3. It'll just be too slow. If possible, use an external SSD drive. If you don't have one, you can use a large thumb drive and follow these instructions from Apple. I recommend installing MacOS Mojave, since that's the currently-shipping product. Here's a quick note: if you don't have a Mac already to make this external boot drive, that's okay. You'll just have fewer backup tests you can run when considering the Mac you're looking at buying.

Is The Old MacBook Air Still Worth Buying?

Step 3. You'll want to bring a basic test kit with you when you go to see the device you're considering. First, bring the external drive you pre-configured a version of MacOS on. Next, bring a set of headphones preferably with a headphone jack, rather than a USB connection. This will allow you to test external audio. Pack an SD card to test the internal SD card slot, if one exists. Here's where you're going to do a thorough physical inspection of the machine before booting it up.

Apple Mac Book Pro A1398

You want to notice any dents, scratches, and, especially, any obvious damage. Look at each of the ports to see if any is out of alignment or crushed. Examine the screen for scratches or damage. Some MacBook Pros have visible screws. Check to make sure they're all in place and not stripped or missing. If the machine looks too beaten up, you might want to give it a pass.

That said, some scratched up Macs still work great and the scratches could well save you some bucks. Make sure the power adapter is plugged in and boot the machine. This is a good time to examine the power cable. Make sure it's not badly kinked, bent, or cracked. Power adapters are available elsewhere to purchase, but they're not inexpensive.

If the machine boots on external power, but the adapter looks crappy, ask for a discount. You should be able to boot all the way into the machine through to the desktop picture. If the machine won't boot, and you don't have an external startup disk, walk away now. If you do have an external startup disk, start thinking about how much you want the seller to discount the machine. Then, attach your external drive to the Mac, hold down the Option key and keep holding it until you see the Startup Manager.


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Choose your drive and see if the machine will boot using your drive. The simplest way to make sure the network is running is to go to YouTube. Don't worry about running Chrome here. Just launch Safari and make sure you can get to YouTube. If the seller says there's no available network connection or if you're in a public location , try setting up Wi-Fi. If you can't test the network, period, then just walk away. If you can test the network, go to this YouTube video.

Scale it to full screen and run, looking for stuck pixels or dots on the screen. This test runs though a bunch of basic colors and should help tell you if there's discoloration or missing or stuck pixels. If you have screen problems, walk away from the deal. I like using the keyboard viewer, but you can also open Notes or TextEdit. Type a lot of text, check caps, caps lock, function keys, and repeating keys. Make sure the keys that repeat stop repeating. Also check the trackpad and make sure it tracks with your fingers as expected. If there's an optical drive, take your test disk, insert it and see if it plays.

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Plug in your SD card and see if the machine reads it. Test your external drive in each of the USB ports. Try your headset and make sure it works. It used to be that you could check the S. I prefer to use Disk Utility to run First Aid on a drive and see if any errors show up. Errors on the drive could be caused by a bad drive which is replaceable or bad drive controller chips which are not.

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I'd recommend walking away from any machine that fails the First Aid scan. If the seller doesn't want you to run a scan, run away. Apple details a series of simple steps for making sure the battery still has life in it. This includes a look at the Mac's perception of the battery's condition and its cycle count.

Pay attention to the max cycle count listed for each model on this page , and then the cycle count you find on the machine you're considering.


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If they're too close, don't buy the machine. You'll need a costly battery replacement sooner rather than later. Depending on how old the machine is you're looking at, you should consider running Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics. I wrote an article on how to do that here.

Step Be sure you have an Administrative login and the Firmware password is disabled. If you made it this far, you're probably considering buying the machine.

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Make sure you have an administrative login to the machine. Finally, make sure there's no firmware password. Apple details how to turn on and off a firmware password , and here's a short guide for what to do if you can't disable the password. Microseconds offers a wide range of computers, peripherals and upgrades. We have been exclusively specialising in Macintosh computers for home, office, and small business since Microseconds was established in in association with the reseller Logical Solutions as a means of facilitating the disposal of previously leased equipment from government departments, small business and educational facilities.

Our office is centrally located in Ultimo, near the Broadway Shopping Centre with easy access to parking and public transport. See map on Contact page. The staff have knowledge about Macs, past and present. Wwill help you select the best option for your requirements and budget.

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