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Few things become obsolete faster than computers. In accordance with Moore’s Law, what was shiny and state-of-the-art a few months ago has now been superseded by the latest processor or graphics chip. As such, people frequently get new MacBook Pros.
And if you’ve upgraded your MacBook Pro or are thinking about doing so, why not sell your device to recoup some of your upgrade costs?
To get the most bang for your buck, you can sell your MacBook Pro through online merchants including, Facebook Marketplace, Mac Me an Offer, Apple Trade-In, Swappa, and eBay. But all are not equal.
I’m Andrew Gilmore, and as a former Mac administrator and everyday Mac user, I can guide you through the selling process so you can get the most money for your used MacBook Pro.
In this article, I’ll compare five of the most popular places to sell your Mac and show you what to do before selling.
Let’s dive in.
What Is the Best Way to Sell a MacBook?
Because of Apple’s popularity, you have a lot of options for exchanging your MacBook for cash. We’ll look at all the places you can sell your MacBook and estimate how much you can receive in each scenario.
Remember though, that price is only one consideration. Convenience, safety, and the market are other important factors.
For the purposes of this article, we priced a three-year-old MacBook Pro in perfect working condition and good physical shape–no scratches on the screen and only minor scuffs on the case. We included the original charger but no other accessories, or the original box.
The good news is that Apple products hold their value as well as can be expected for out-of-date technology. Something about that Apple logo signals quality and value to its loyal fanbase.
Know that these estimates are for comparison purposes only and that price can fluctuate on a daily basis, so be sure you do your own price comparison.
1. Facebook Marketplace
- Price estimate: $1,275.00
- Fees: None
- Pros: Popular platform; you can get top dollar if you’re patient.
- Cons: Local exchange only; the process can take longer than a trade-in program.
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/
Where once Craigslist dominated local classified ads in the online space, Facebook Marketplace has now become the digital swap meet du jour. It seems you can find just about anything you’re looking for on FB Marketplace.
The biggest appeal of Meta’s market is your ability to get top dollar for your Mac. Our hypothetical MacBook was selling for around $1275. With no listing fees, Facebook Marketplace is far and away the highest price we could find on any platform.
Unlike other options, you don’t have a guaranteed buyer on Facebook. Your best bet is to give an accurate description, post multiple, high-quality photos, and price the computer competitively.
While you can use FB Marketplace just about anywhere, you’ll likely have more success in densely populated areas because more people will see your listing.
Once you agree to a price with a seller, arrange the exchange to occur in a public place and bring a friend along. Many police stations even offer safe transaction zones where you can complete the purchase you’ve arranged online.
To list your MacBook Pro, sign in to https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/ with your Facebook credentials and click the Create new listing button.
2. Apple Trade In
- Price estimate: $800
- Fees: None
- Pros: The simplest and easiest way to sell your MacBook Pro. Online and in-store options.
- Cons: No cash option– gift card or Apple credit only; lowest offer we found.
- Website: https://www.apple.com/shop/trade-in
Apple’s trade-in program gets a lot of things right.
The process is straightforward and easy to use. Unlike with other options like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, there’s no need to take photographs or write up a description of your MacBook.
Instead, you visit the trade-in site, enter your serial number, answer a few questions, and then you’re provided with an offer estimate. (Apple also offers an in-store option if you happen to live near an Apple Store.)
If you accept the offer, Apple will send you a prepaid shipping label and instructions for prepping and shipping your MacBook Pro. Once Apple receives the device, the company verifies the condition matches what you reported and then issues you a gift card good at, you guessed it, apple.com and Apple Stores around the world.
Therein, as they say, lies the rub. If you’re looking for cold, hard cash, the Apple Trade In program isn’t for you. You only get Apple capital, which works fine assuming you were already going to spend that much with the company.
The other downside is that of all the options we sampled–including some that didn’t make this list–Apple offered the least capital for our hypothetical MacBook Pro except for one: Best Buy’s trade-in option ($550).
Know that you will always get less for your product with trade-in type services, because it wouldn’t be profitable for the company otherwise. Nevertheless, you’re essentially paying a premium to avoid the hassle of finding a buyer and convincing them to buy your product.
So if you’re willing to lose some money for convenience’s sake, and you don’t need remuneration in cash, Apple’s trade-in program might be the way to go.
- Price estimate: $1298
- Fees: 3% seller fee ($38.94), 3.49% PayPal fee ($45.30), plus shipping costs (approximately $35 with USPS).
- Total earnings: $1178.76
- Pros: With lower fees than eBay, you can get more cash for your device. The site is only for electronics, so the audience is more targeted than general online marketplaces.
- Cons: Smaller audience than Facebook or eBay. You must use PayPal for checkout, which charges an additional fee on the purchase price.
- Website: https://swappa.com/sell
Online electronics marketplace Swappa’s tagline is “No junk, no jerks,” and the site claims to be “the safest marketplace for used tech.”
So how does the site stack up against other options?
While Swappa doesn’t have the name recognition of a Facebook or an eBay, the site does have a good reputation among its loyal customers, touting a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on Trustpilot.
The setup is similar to eBay; Swappa isn’t a buyback program like Apple’s trade-in option. You list the item you have for sale, upload pictures, and write a description. When someone buys your item, they pay you via PayPal, and then you ship them the item.
Sounds a lot like eBay doesn’t it?
So what separates Swappa from the world’s most popular auction site?
For one, Swappa has a “no junk” policy, which means you can’t sell anything that’s broken. What constitutes “broken?” You can read the full list of prohibitions yourself, but items with cracked screens, activation lock, and batteries that won’t charge are forbidden.
Lower seller fees further differentiate Swappa from eBay. Swappa charges both the seller and buyer 3%, but sellers must also use Paypal, which charges its own fees, and they must pay for shipping to the buyer.
All told, eBay’s fees at a whopping 12.9% are still almost twice as much as you’ll pay at Swappa.
- Price estimate: $1165
- Fees: 12.9% ($150.29)
- Total Earnings: $1014.72
- Pros: Most popular online marketplace with millions of potential buyers.
- Cons: High fees, stiff competition from other sellers drives the price down.
- Website: https://www.ebay.com/sell
Online auction and “Buy It Now” website eBay is the most popular digital swap meet in the world. With 2 billion (yes, with a “b”) daily transactions, there’s a decent chance someone wants what you’re selling. Especially if that something is an Apple product.
Where could you go wrong?
As mentioned above, eBay’s fees have mushroomed to almost 13% of the selling price. That’s high, but you must also consider that the e-retailer is bringing the audience to you.
Yes, there’s Facebook Marketplace, but you’re limited to buyers near you. Swappa is nice but doesn’t have the massive traffic of eBay.
But even without the question of fees, our three-year-old MacBook Pro was selling for around $100 less on eBay than the other two marketplace sites–almost a 9% price dip.
Your results may vary, but assuming these prices are representative, you’re losing 9% off the top and then 13% at point-of-sale.
The lower prices are likely a symptom of eBay’s popularity. Sellers flock to the site, driving down prices as they look to undercut each other.
If you’re going to use eBay, our advice is to price your item competitively and be crystal clear on the MacBook Pro’s condition.
5. Mac Me An Offer
- Price estimate: $995.00
- Fees: None
- Pros: Good reputation, convenient.
- Cons: Lower payout than other options.
- Website: https://www.macmeanoffer.com/
Mac Me An Offer is a division of Mac of All Trades, a reseller of refurbished Apple products that has been in business since 1995.
The e-commerce site buys just about any type of Apple product as long as its vintage is recent. As of this writing, Mac Me An Offer was purchasing MacBook Pros as old as ten years.
The setup is almost identical to Apple’s, except you have the option to receive cash in the form of a Zelle transfer or a paper check once you send in the device and the company verifies its condition. (You also have the option to receive macofalltrades.com credit.)
When you accept the site’s offer, you’ll receive a prepaid shipping label and instructions on sending in the MacBook.
The appeal is the convenience of an immediate offer. Yes, you’ll get less than elsewhere, but in our test, Mac Me An Offer offered us almost 25% more money than Apple did. And again, we could receive that in cash rather than store credit.
What to Do Before Selling Your Mac
Once you choose a route for selling your MacBook, make sure to perform these steps prior to selling the computer:
- Notate your MacBook Pro’s serial number.
- Identify the exact model number and specs, including screen size, year released, hard drive capacity, processor, and RAM.
- Notate and document with photos any physical defects or anything not functioning properly on your Mac.
- Turn off the activation lock (on newer Macs).
- Back up your data.
- Clear the firmware password (if present).
- Erase the hard drive and reinstall the operating system.
- Clean the device.
- Locate any original accessories, including the box if you still have it.
- Take multiple pictures of the device if you’re listing the MacBook Pro online.
Apple also provides guidance for preparing your Mac for resale here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201065.
Conclusion: Where Is The Best Place to Sell My MacBook Pro?
Best is always subjective in these cases. What do you value? In general, there is an inverse relationship between convenience and the amount you’ll receive for your Mac.
Do you favor convenience? Or do you want a swift refund for a brand new MacBook Pro? Go with the Apple Trade-In program.
Want the most cash? Facebook Marketplace is probably your best bet.
If I were selling my MacBook Pro today, I would choose Swappa because I’m willing to work harder to get top dollar. But this is my personal preference. Do your research and you’ll find the avenue that best suits you.
Have you recently sold a MacBook? What method did you use?About Andrew Gilmore