What to Look for When Buying a Used MacBook Pro

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The MacBook Pro is certainly stylish, but its high price can be a bit too much for many people. If you are one of them, you can always opt for used systems. This Techspirited write-up gives some tips and things to check for before buying a used MacBook Pro.

Did You Know?
You can check the number of times a Mac has been repaired on Apple’s website, by entering the laptop’s serial number in the Support section.

Apple offers great discounts for refurbished systems, which can be bought from their stores directly. These systems come with a one-year warranty and 90 days of free technical support. But if you are considering buying a used system from other sources, you need to check for minute details related to the functioning of the system.

Physical Damages
Check if the screws that are attached to the case are all intact. If the screws are marred, make sure to get them changed before you buy the laptop.

You will also need to look for scratches or dings on the screen and body of the laptop. Dings on the body might not indicate serious damage, but dings on the screen might be a problem.

Open and close the lid of the laptop a couple of times to check if the action is performed smoothly. The MacBook Pro is equipped with a clutch-mechanism that keeps the lid open at any supported angle. Don’t forget to check the lid at all of these positions.

Also, check if the lid matches evenly with the case, when it is closed. If it does not match evenly, it might indicate repairing from unauthorized sources, or damage to the body of the laptop.

Checking the working of the ports is mostly not on our agenda while we buy a used computer, but it is a very important part of the entire process. Get a USB flash drive, and plug it into each of the USB ports to check their functionality.

Also, check the memory card or SD card slots, Ethernet, line-in, Thunderbolt, and Express card slots as well.

The next on our checklist is the display. Set a white background on the desktop or open a word document so that you have a white background on your screen. Now, check the screen for dead pixels. If the screen has pixel problems, you will see a colored spot or dark spot on the screen. Such spots indicate there is a problem with the screen. One or two such spots can be ignored, but if there is a cluster of such dead pixels, it is a problem.

You need to check the keyboard as well. Open a word document, and start typing each character and number.

Check the functioning of the light sensor by adjusting the ambient (room) lighting.

Next, check the functioning of the trackpad. Touch, swipe, pinch, double-tap, four-finger swipe, three-finger swipe, and drag-drop are the different functions that need to be checked. Open an image file, and perform all these activities.

The trackpad is made of glass, and the chances of it developing cracks due to rough use is a possibility. Check for cracks on the same; don’t forget to check the corners and edges of the trackpad as well.

Check the working of the iSight camera by launching the Photo Booth program.

Optical Drive
The MacBook Pro has a DVD/CD drive, but the MacBook Pro with retina display does not have one. If the model you are buying has a drive, play a DVD/CD to check the working of the drive.

You should check the warranty of the Mac before purchasing it. This can be done by entering the serial number of the device on Apple’s warranty page.

The MacBook Pro keeps a log of the battery charging cycles which can give you a fair idea of the battery health.

In the Apple menu, choose the About this Mac option, and click on More Info.

In the Contents list, select the Hardware option, and click on the Power option.

You will find the Cycle Count option in the Battery Information section.

Apple has specified the maximum cycle count for all Mac systems. Check if the used system’s count falls under acceptable limits. If it doesn’t, the battery will need replacement.

You can check if the drives are corrupted or not by checking the machine’s S.M.A.R.T. status.

In the Utilities folder, open the Disc Utility program and select the drives you want to check for errors.

If the status in the S.M.A.R.T. window shows ‘verified’, the disk is fine, but if you get a ‘failing’ status, the disk is on the verge of crashing. There is a serious need to change the drive right away.

Hardware Test
If you have performed all the tests and the system seems okay, you should carry out Apple’s hardware test.

Restart the system, and press and hold the ‘d’ key during the startup process.

The AHT (Automatic Hardware Test) will resume.

Upon completion of the test, the output window will give error codes if any components, including the RAM, are not working.

By looking up these error codes, you can get a fair idea about the system’s overall working.

Purchasing a Mac from reliable sources is important. If you are not convinced with the machine being sold, you can check Apple’s website for great deals on refurbished laptops. Refurbished laptops are a good bet because they are thoroughly checked by Apple’s technical team.

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