Looking for a way to save some money on the latest Apple products? Consider a refurbished MacBook, refurbished iPhone, or refurbished iPad from the Apple Certified Refurbished store. A refurbished product is just like a new, but at a lower price.
Here’s a quick guide with links to the best deals you can find on the refurb store, along with a FAQ guide if you want to know more about the ins and outs of the Apple Certified Refurbished store and buying a refurbished MacBook, desktop Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We make a recommendation of what to buy, but feel free to check out the store inventory to find the right model for you.
Editor’s note: Updated 5/25/22 to reflect the current inventory of the store.
As of this writing, the store has a very limited selection available.
Apple’s stock ebbs and flows. Sometimes there are several current MacBook Pro models to choose from, while other times the selection is small. Some are standard configurations, while others are customized, built-to-order models.
At this writing, Apple has M1 models in stock. Most of the inventory is Intel-based models.
The refurb store can be a good place to save some money on an iPad, though you might actually find better deals on brand-new iPads from Best Buy and other non-Apple retailers. Much of the refurb stock is older iPads; some models are three, four, or five years old.
Which iPad should you buy? Apple has the 2019 Refurbished iPad Air Wi-Fi 64GB in Gold for $419. keep in mind that this iPad Air is a couple of generations old now, but it is the cheapest iPad available.
As of this writing, Apple has a limited stock of refurbished 21.5-inch iMacs. Apple has discontinued this model, so the only way to get it is either through the Refurb store or through third-party retailers that sell new.
As of this writing, Apple has a few models of the 24-inch iMac.
Which 24-inch iMac should you buy? Get the Refurbished 24-inch iMac Apple M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and 8‑Core GPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, and 2 USB 3 ports in Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, or Yellow for $1,269, which is $230 lower than a new model.
Other 24-inch iMacs to consider:
Refurbished 24-inch iMac Apple M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and 8‑Core GPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, and 2 USB 3 ports in Blue, Green,Orange, Pink, and Yellow, for $1,439, which is $260 lower than a new model.
Apple discontinued the 27-inch iMac. You won’t find it in the Apple Store, but you might find new ones at third-party retailers. There’s a wide variety of 2020 and 2019 models to choose from in the Refurb store, and Apple has priced them to clear out its inventory.
The Mac Pro is a pricey machine, so going with a refurb is a way to save some cash.
Which Mac Pro should you buy? For a brand new Mac Pro, Apple doesn’t offer standard configurations; it’s a machine you customize to your preferences. Since a refurbished Mac is a machine that a customer returned, all the Mac Pros in Apple’s refurbished inventory are ones that a customer designed. You can’t customize a refurb, so you basically have to pick what’s on the shelf. If you really want a refurb Mac Pro, you may have to settle for a model that doesn’t quite fit the specifications you want.
That being said, big savings could be had. We’ve seen models for sale that were over $1,000 cheaper than a brand new model. If you are planning to spend big bucks, it’s at least worth a few minutes checking out the inventory.
As of this writing, Apple does not have any refurbished models in stock.
Apple Certified Refurbished store FAQ
What’s the difference between the Apple Certified Refurbished store and the Apple store?
The Apple Certified Refurbished store sells gently-used products that have been returned to the company. Apple repairs and tests these products to make sure they are in like-new condition. The Apple store, however, sells only new products that have never been opened and used.
Strangely, finding the Apple Certified Refurbished store isn’t obvious. On Apple.com, scroll to the very bottom of the page, where you’ll find a site directory. Under Apple Store, you’ll find a link for Refurbished and Clearance. (This link takes you there.)
What does “Certified Refurbished” mean?
The items in the Apple Certified Refurbished store are products that have been purchased and returned by other customers. Apple puts these products through what they call a “stringent refurbishment process” before they are put on the virtual shelves.
Apple says that each product is thoroughly tested and any problematic hardware components are replaced. The exception is with the Apple Watch and Apple Pencil: If these items need new parts, they aren’t put up for sale.
Each product goes through a quality assurance inspection, and is also cleaned, inspected, and repackaged with complete documentation, cables, and anything else that usually ships with that device. These products are essentially like new.
What kind of warranty comes with an Apple Certified Refurbished product?
Is AppleCare available for Apple Certified Refurbished products?
AppleCare is available. For an additional fee, you can get two or three years of coverage and support. Read our guide to AppleCare for more information.
What products are available?
Since these are refurbished products, inventory for this store relies on what’s returned to Apple. Because of this, it’s quite possible the store won’t have the model that you want. Apple may not have a certain model of a product one day, and the next day they might all of a sudden have a limited stock run available, unannounced. Then, once that batch sells out, it will once again become unavailable until Apple builds up stock again.
When shopping at this store, keep an eye on the product’s release dates, which are listed in each product description. Apple often sells older models. You can find refurbished models of the current product line, but these items tend to sell quickly, so act fast.