Tech

How to trade in your MacBook, macOS desktop, or iPad

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If you’re looking to trade in your MacBook, iMac, Mac desktop, or an iPad, for one of the new iPad Pro or Mac devices Apple announced today, you stand to get a pretty good return. Apple’s tech has a reputation on the secondhand market for retaining value long after release. This speaks to build quality, but mostly to Apple’s long-lasting software support for its older products. This trend is positive for both buyers, who will end up with a product that will likely continue to work for years, and sellers, who will make much of their original purchase back.

There are plenty of ways of trading in your old Apple products for cash, and no matter which avenue you choose, you’ll first want to make sure that your hardware is in good shape. You can easily net an extra $50 to $100 from a sale if you’ve taken care of your tech, as buyers will pay more for products that look closer to new condition.

Clean your gear

How you clean your Apple product will vary a bit depending on what it is your selling. You’ll want to apply some screen cleaner to your MacBook, iMac, or iPad before listing it for sale. While doing so, take note of any scratches or other defects in the display and be sure to accurately report them during the selling process, or else you’ll probably be met with an unhappy buyer and no sale.

Remove any stickers from your tech, and if you have a can of compressed air, clean out any and all ports and various grilles. There’s no reminder more immediate that your device is pre-owned than forgetting to clean out port gunk.

If you’re selling a macOS desktop, like a Mac Pro or Mac mini, open them up and gently remove any dust that has accumulated within, and if you wanted to add some RAM to sweeten the deal for buyers, this is your chance. This is an easy task if you have the Mac Pro from 2013, or a Mac mini made before late 2012. Unfortunately for my colleague Nick Statt, making improvements to his late 2014 Mac mini proved to be a lot more complicated.

Perform a factory reset

Ensuring that your tablet or computer is properly wiped is mutually beneficial for both buyer and seller. What good is hardware that you can’t access due to an unknown passcode? Depending on what product you’re dealing with, the process for initiating a factory reset will be different, but it’s easy.


How to erase your MacBook, or macOS desktop

On your MacBook or macOS desktop, first make sure you’ve backed up all of your personal files to an external hard drive via Time Machine, or to your cloud storage service of choice. Once you’ve ensured that everything is duplicated and safe in a location different from your hard drive, you can wipe the computer. Click the Apple logo up top and hit restart. Once you hear the startup chime, hold down Command and ‘R’ until the Apple logo appears. This will load you into the recovery partition of your hard drive, letting you obliterate your personal information once and for all.

Of the few applications at your disposal, open Disk Utility, then click into the first option listed under your hard drive’s name. If you haven’t change its name, it will probably be called “Macintosh HD”. If you did change it’s name, then you probably already know how to do all of this. With this selected, navigate to ‘erase’ and confirm the selection. If you select to securely wipe your computer, allow a few hours for the operation to write over your drive a few times.

With this step finished, you’re ready to reinstall the operating system. Click the red ‘x’ and you’ll be popped back to the recovery menu. Make sure your machine is connected to the internet, then hit ‘reinstall macOS’ to return it to factory settings.


How to erase an iPad

Before you get to wiping your tablet, switch on iCloud to sync all of the information that you want to keep. Open up the settings app and navigate to ‘general.’ Once you’re here, scroll down to ‘reset,’ then hit ‘erase all content and settings.’ If asked, enter your passcode or Apple ID password, then the operation will execute. It’s far easier and faster to bring your iPad back to factory settings than it is for one of Apple’s computers.

Post your Apple hardware for sale

So by now, you’ve wiped your device inside and out. Now it’s time to sell it and get some money that you can use toward buying a new MacBook Air, Mac mini, new iPad Pro, or something else. We’ve covered the myriad ways to arrange a sale for your iPhone, and much of the process is the same for selling your Apple tablet or computer.

You’ll find passionate people from all over who will likely take interest in your gear, if it’s priced well and in good condition. As for where you can sell your tech, Swappa.com and Craigslist remain the best options, but for different reasons. If you are selling a tablet or laptop, you’ll want to go with Swappa (it currently doesn’t list desktops.) Unlike Craigslist, Swappa charges a fee to post to its market of buyers. This might be a deal-breaker for those trying to squeeze every last dollar out of their sale. But it’s worth mentioning that Swappa protects both buyers and sellers with PayPal during the transaction process.

Comparatively, Craigslist doesn’t discriminate what you want to sell, or charge you for listing your items. In fact, for better and worse, it doesn’t hold your hand at all. It will be up to you to arrange the meeting point, negotiate a price, and finally, decide on how money will be exchanged. It can be stressful, but it can also be super easy and fast. I’ve had plenty of good experiences selling on Craigslist, though you’ll always want to make sure that you meet in public places and don’t fall for an offer that seems too good to be true.

You can always fall back on Apple’s GiveBack trade service, which will give you Apple Store credit in exchange for your computer or iPad. At Apple’s site, you can find out how much you can get for your machine before sending it in. You’ll just need your serial number and access to its specifications to find the value. Apple won’t pay you as much for your tech as it might go for on the public market, but it’s a good option if you just want to flip your tech without a fuss.

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