One of the best ways of funding a computer upgrade is by selling your old one, and that’s especially true for Apple products. Macs tend to hold their value much better than comparable Windows PCs, but knowing exactly what to charge isn’t easy.
First, Determine Your Model and Specifications
Ultimately, your Mac is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. You can use this information to work out what you should expect to get for your Mac, even if you want to request slightly more upfront.
eBay is still the best tool for this since it allows you to search for items that have already sold (where money has exchanged hands). Before you do that, you’ll need to figure out which Mac you have and what its specifications are.
To do this, power up your machine and click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner. Select “About This Mac” to see an overview of your machine. This includes important information like your model and size (e.g. MacBook Pro, 16-inch), the year of manufacture (which may also include differentiators like “mid” or “early”), plus the chip, and RAM (memory).
You may also see the GPU including available memory on older Intel models. Click on the “Storage” tab to see the size of the internal drive (labeled Macintosh HD by default), which is another important piece of information you can include in the listing.
Most MacBooks have had solid storage drives for a long while but if you’re selling an especially old model that you have upgraded yourself, don’t forget to take this into account and mention it in the listing.
Estimating Value Based on Past Sales
With your specs on hand, fire up eBay and click on “Advanced Search” next to the search field. Use your Mac’s model as a search term, for example, “2012 Retina MacBook Pro” and feel free to get a little more specific by listing SSD size or the type of chip used.
Under “Search including” make sure you check “Sold listings” and then hit the blue “Search” button at the bottom of the page. eBay will fetch a list of completed listings, with the most recent listings at the top.
Depending on how specific you were in your search, you can filter through the listings to find a machine that more closely matches your model including RAM, chip, and SSD size. The price that you see (in green) is the price that the item was sold for. Be aware that some items may be listed as “Refurbished” which will likely go for more than the “Pre-Owned” models.
You can now use this information to get a good idea of what your model would likely sell for on an auction site like eBay. You can also use this information to make listings on other marketplaces like Facebook or Craigslist where you expect the buyer to make an offer rather than pay the full asking price.
You can use this technique not only for Macs, but iPhones, games consoles, and just about any other bit of tech you want to get rid of. Consider searching for “Completed Listings” instead of “Sold Listings” if you want to see auctions that didn’t get any bids for comparison.
Want a Faster Sale? Trade-in Your Mac
If you want money quickly and are happy to take the hit, you can always trade in your Mac instead. Apple offers a trade-in program, as do retailers like Best Buy, and services like Gazelle, decluttr, and ItsWorthMore.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get your Mac ready for sale or trade-in by removing personal data and cleaning it up first.