Selling Used Macs guide
A companion page on where to buy used and refurbished Macs is also on
this website. Here are tips for selling:
- Deauthorize your music store account for machines you are about to sell. See Apple Article 93014 to learn how.
- Backup your data before selling it.
- Verify the hardware tests OK with the included discs. The directions for the hardware test the link for Intel Macs
on their restore discs, and PowerPC Macs
on their restore disc will help you determine if any user detectable hardware issues are
present. These will not give you bad RAM all the time. See my Bad RAM FAQ, in event you have any
possibility of bad RAM, due to Kernel panics.
- If you are considering selling a notebook or Mac Mini because the power adapter no longer works, note the guide I have on How to prevent power adapters from fraying.
It is possible you may be able to get a replacement power adapter before selling it, so that the buyer does not have to incur that cost.
- Include the original installation disks for any included applications, and destroy your own copies
unless you have license for another copy. If you aren't sure which disks are the original ones, it is necessary to identify your Mac,
and look at what operating system it came with using Apple Article 25517 and 1159.
Note, Macs whose hardware changes on or after July 20, 2011 do not have prebundled installationd discs, or USB Flash drives. For those Macs, any software
you include, you can't have made a copy of for yourself, unless you requested an extra license in most instances.
Original installation discs are not available for post July 24, 2010 Macs, as Lion or later shipped on those Macs. For them, the restore directions here apply.
- If you forgot your system administrator password, don't leave that up to the buyer to reset. Here's an Apple Article to reset the password
- Make sure your PRAM battery is current. Any Mac older than 3 years may need a PRAM battery replacement. This is different from the battery
the notebooks have which are easily removable. Almost all Macs have them, except the few which are marked "n/a" on "Backup Battery" column of Apple's
Article 86181 in their knowledgebase.
If you have a notebook which needs a battery replacement, take it to an authorized service center to have it replaced
as those are particularly difficult to replace and require extra parts most desktop PRAM batteries do not.
- Buy any licenses for software you wish to keep.
- You can't keep the restore disks for the computer. If you lost the disks, contact AppleCare for replacement
as these are important for the ability to restore the software, and troubleshooting if a software or hardware issue exists.
- If your Mac is still under AppleCare discuss with AppleCare how to transfer your AppleCare to the buyer.
- Boot off the installation disks to zero the hard disk. Follow Apple's instructions on Article 107437.
- Inform the buyer of Apple's article 61802, and 301468 on how to restore software.
- Check the current price for your type of machine with existing used and refurbished Mac shops.
- If you choose to migrate data from one machine to a different machine, consider the processors of both machines. If they are both the same using the Migration Assistant
should work fine if both have Firewire, and the machine being sold has Target Disk Mode support.
- If there is an apparent hardware issue, before passing it on to someone else, check the Exchange Repair programs page to find out
if your Mac can still be repaired out of warranty.
- An optional type of installation would use ChangeShortName. Note this type of installation may require reinstalling some software,
and you would need to reregister any registered software in that name.
If one is PowerPC and one is Intel, you are better off using just Target Disk Mode, and only copying critical files
and folders, and installing the rest on the different machine separately. Similarly you can save the critical files and folders to CD and DVD, or an external hard drive or flash drive
if your machine doesn't have Firewire. This is done by the following steps:
1. Backup your data first before attempting this. This is vitally important in case you make a mistake below.
2. Startup your new Mac for the first time, go through the setup and registration screens, but do NOT migrate data over. Get to your desktop on the new Mac without migrating any new data over.
3. Startup your old Mac in target disk mode, and connect the Firewire cable between the two Macs. If your Mac doesn't have Target Disk Mode
capability, setting up an ethernet network may also work to move data, but it won't work
with the Migration Assistant necessarily.
4. Copy from your old Mac: Users - yourname folder the following to the equivalent folder on your new Mac, replacing the contents of the new Mac:
Music if you used iTunes.
Pictures if you used iPhoto
Movies if you used iMovie
Library folder's Mail and Mail Downloads folder if you used Mac OS X Mail
Library folder's Applications Support folder's Addressbook
Library folder's Calendar folder (for iCal)
Library folder's Safari folder
Library folder's Preferences folder's com.apple.mail.plist
Once you have done transferring those contents, restart the new Mac and test to make sure the contents are there for each of the applications. If you used any other applications you want to transfer data over from, feel free to ask me
where the files are stored, or ask Apple Discussions or the vendor discussion board that is relevant.