Apple Refurbished Products: Should You Buy Them?

Third-party retailers sell refurbished Apple products at a lower price, but they don’t come with the same benefits as buying directly from Apple.


Every refurbished



iPhone, Mac, Apple TVA one-year warranty is included with all refurbished items. Every Apple accessory, including iOS devices, goes through a certification process to ensure full functionality, and each one gets a new outer shell and a new battery.

The quality is excellent, and the savings may be well worth the wait. There’s almost no downside to buying a refurbished Apple product if you’re willing to wait a few months for it. This guide covers everything there is to know about refurbished products, from release dates and potential savings to warranty information and stock availability.

What is a Refurbished Product?

The items sold in Apple’s online refurbished store are previously owned items that have been returned to Apple due to a defect, such as a faulty SSD in a Retina MacBook Pro or dead pixels on an iPad display. They could also be items that customers have chosen to recycle through Apple’s recycling program or items that have been returned because they were unwanted.

Apple fixes these products and replaces any faulty parts before reselling them on the App Store. online refurbished siteRefurbished products can only be purchased through Apple’s website and are not available in stores.

Refurbished Apple products sold by third-party retailers are frequently from people who have sold older Apple products in exchange for cash when purchasing a new one.

Refurbished Products Available From Apple

The following is a complete list of products that can be purchased at a discounted price: Apple’s online store has a variety of refurbished products, including Macs and iPads, as well as the Apple TV and accessories like the AirPort. Products that have been refurbished range from stock models to those that have been custom built with upgraded parts using Apple’s custom build-to-order options.


Apple sells refurbished products that include both current-generation and previous-generation machines, as well as various configurations and capacities.

Stock Fluctuations

Apple’s refurbished site’s inventory is based on what customers return or replace. It also means that many of the Macs on offer may not be stock machines, but rather feature various hardware upgrades such as RAM, hard drive/SSD, graphics cards, and processors. As a result, the available refurbished products are constantly changing and are only available in very limited quantities.

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between processors and other hardware from year to year, especially for those who don’t keep up with Apple’s annual refreshes. Buying a refurbished Mac can be perplexing because Apple sells older models alongside newer models.

Make sure to read all product descriptions and research the hardware in the machine before making a purchase from the refurbished store to ensure that it meets your needs. Many older Macs are still capable machines that will last for years, but there are some noticeable differences in performance and features.

Getting a specific Mac or iPad from a refurbished store can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, and you’ll have to keep checking for new stock of the model you want. When purchasing from a refurbished store, it’s best to anticipate a wait, especially if you’re looking for specific custom options and upgrades.

There are a few websites that can keep an eye on stock in Apple’s refurbished store and send you an alert when a model you want is added. Refurb.medisplays every product Apple has in stock, lists the last time a particular model was available, and allows users to set up an alert to be notified when a specific model returns to the store. The site will also have a comparison tool for new and refurbished Apple product market prices by 2020. provides availability statistics and pricing history, both of which are helpful tools when selecting a refurbished product to buy.

refurb me logo

Refurb Trackerallows you to watch specific product categories and receive notifications via email or RSS feed. In all countries where Apple has a refurbished online store, Refurb Tracker and both support tracking refurbished products.

Apple’s Pricing

The lower the price of a machine, the older it is. Discounts on iPads and Macs typically range from 15 to 20%, but prices can drop as much as 25% on rare occasions. The main benefit of buying a refurbished Apple product is the substantial discount, which applies to both current-generation Macs and iPads as well as older, now-discontinued models.

Apple includes the discount percentage and exact amount saved on many models, but for others, such as older Macs, manual price comparisons will be required. The hardware upgrades included in refurbished built-to-order Macs are factored into the prices.

The majority of iPad and iPhone discounts range from 14 to 17 percent off, saving you anywhere from $50 to $140 off the original price. Discounts on some higher-end older cellular models are even higher, ranging up to 22% off.

Apple’s refurbished prices frequently outperform those offered by third-party retailers such as Best Buy, MacMall, and Amazon on newer products. Apple’s refurbished prices won’t always beat the discounts you’ll find on unofficial third-party sites that sell refurbished machines, but they’ll be less expensive than new machines.

How does Apple Test Refurbished Products?

On its website, Apple outlines the stringent testing procedures used to ensure that each and every product is fully functional and free of blemishes and other cosmetic flaws.

Here’s how Apple goes about refurbishing its products in general: Apple claims that its refurbishment procedures follow the same basic technical guidelines as its retail product Finished Goods testing procedures.

  1. Several tests are performed during this phase, including full burn-in testing for displays. Each product is thoroughly examined to ensure that it is in good working order.
  1. During the testing process, defective modules are replaced with functional parts.
  2. New batteries and outer enclosures are installed in iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches, ensuring that no cosmetic damage occurs.
  3. Apple employees thoroughly clean and inspect each product.
  4. On the device, current software is installed, and each product comes with its original operating system software as well as any optional custom software.
  5. Following cleaning, products are repackaged in new plain white boxes with the appropriate cables and manuals.
  6. The product is given a new refurbished part number as well as a new serial number by Apple.
  7. Before the product can be sold to the general public, it must pass another quality assurance inspection.



Both refurbished and new products come with the same cables and manuals inside the box.

Warranty and Apple Care

One of the main reasons why buying a refurbished Mac or iPad has no negative consequences is Apple’s generous warranty policy.

All of Apple’s refurbished products come with a 90-day warranty. same one-year warrantyIt also includes 90 days of phone support with all of its standard retail products. That means that if something goes wrong with a refurbished product within the first 365 days of purchase, Apple will fix it or replace it for free.

Refurbished products can be serviced in an Apple store, by mail, or by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

AppleCareThere are also two incidents of accidental damage per year. The AppleCare Protection Plan for Macs extends warranty coverage and phone support for a full three years, regardless of the year the Mac was first released. Apple will address any manufacturing issues, such as faulty batteries that retain less than 80% of their charge. + can be used in conjunction with refurbished products to extend the warranty period.

It also covers two accidental damage incidents per year, each of which is subject to a service fee (plus applicable tax) for repair or replacement. Purchasing the AppleCare + protection plan for the iPad and iPhone extends warranty coverage and phone support to two years. Accidental damage includes everything from water damage to shattered displays as a result of drops, while Apple will repair any manufacturing flaws, such as a faulty battery, for free.


New Releases

Most products are available after three or four months, but refurbished versions of products with supply constraints may take six to nine months after launch to become available. When a new Apple product is released, it takes several months for it to become available for purchase in the refurbished store.

Customers who want to buy a refurbished version of a newly released product should plan on waiting at least three months.

Shipping and In-Store Pickup

Refurbished products can be delivered to your home or to a nearby location. Apple Store Because they come from a central warehouse, refurbished models are never in stock for same-day pickup at a retail store, but shipping takes only two or three days. for pick-up in-store

Country List

Not only in the United States, but also in other countries, Apple certified refurbished products are available. The following is a complete list of countries where Apple has an online refurbished store:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Refurbished iPhones


While Apple sells refurbished iPhones on its website, the company also uses them as under-warranty or out-of-warranty replacements for customers who have problems with their devices. Because the iPhone is Apple’s most popular product, it is unsurprising that the company receives a large number of defective iPhones.

Although receiving a refurbished iPhone as a replacement for a retail device is fine because these are thoroughly inspected by Apple, some customers prefer to know what kind of device they’re getting when having their iPhone repaired or replaced.

The answer lies in the model numberThe model number of an iPhone can be found by going to General –> About in the Settings app and looking for the first letter of the model number.


  • M
  • – Retail Unit
  • N – Replacement Unit (Can be refurbished)
  • P – Personalized Unit
  • F – Refurbished Unit

A new retail device is always denoted by the letter M, whereas a new retail device is always denoted by the letter N. used for iPhones

Checking the Lifetime cellular usage is another way to see if an iPhone has been refurbished. The Lifetime metric does not change when resetting Cellular statistics, even if the device has been wiped or a new operating system installed.


  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to “Cellular.”
  3. Scroll down to “Call Time.”
  4. Check the “Lifetime” call time.

On a new device, this should be zero or close to zero – due to factory testing, there may be minutes on a new device.

Buying Refurbished Products From Third-Party Resellers

Apple’s refurbishing process does not allow third-party retailers to sell machines that have been guaranteed by Apple. Apple’s online refurbished store is the only place to get official Apple-certified refurbished products.

Refurbished Macs purchased from third-party resellers will have shorter warranties and will not be eligible for Apple’s free one-year support. You may see refurbished Macs for sale on other websites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Simply Mac, Mac of All Trades, and others, but these do not come with the same warranty and have not been tested by Apple.

If you’re buying from a third-party site, look for one with a 90-day or longer warranty and a guaranteed inspection process. Refurbished machines from third-party sites may be less expensive, but the savings may not be worth it if a major issue arises later.

Bottom Line

There’s no reason to choose a new device over a refurbished device if you’re planning on buying an Apple product and don’t mind waiting a few months after it’s released. You can find the exact model you want with enough patience, and the process will go even faster if you have some flexibility on specs that may vary due to build-to-order upgrades.

You can save up to a couple hundred dollars by buying a refurbished Apple product directly from Apple, and you’ll get the same benefits as a brand new Apple product, such as a guaranteed inspection process and a one-year warranty.

If you buy a refurbished machine from a third-party retailer, you’ll save money, but you’ll have less protection if something goes wrong.