How to Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount

Two Parts:Finding a Discount ComputerSaving on Extra Costs

Many people prefer Apple computers, but balk at the steep prices. If you know where to look, you can often cut 10% off the Apple Store price. Discounts of 20% or more are not uncommon, especially if you don't need the latest model.

Part 1
Finding a Discount Computer

  1. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 1
    Choose a model. If you're only interested in the latest models, compare them with Apple's online tool. For older models, check out buyer's guides from Mac Rumors and similar sites.
    • If you're new to Macs, visit a physical Apple Store for personal assistance. Just don't be tempted to buy on the spot — there are better deals.
    • Apple tends to release new computer models every six months or less. If the current model has been around a few months, wait for an update. The "old" model will drop in price.
  2. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 2
    Get an educational discount if possible. Current or incoming college students get a major discount, as do faculty and staff at any school. Visit the online education store to get the cheaper price. After you choose a product and enter payment info, Apple will send you to another site to verify your status for free.
    • You'll need proof of your educational status (typically a student or staff ID). If you do not have this, call or visit an Apple Store for advice.[1]
    • Look for summer back to school deals. Apple usually throws in a free $100 gift card to the App Store.[2]
  3. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 3
    Shop for refurbished computers. Refurbished computers were returned to Apple due to some defect, but have since been fixed and tested thoroughly. Most are identical to a brand new computer, and with free returns you can't really go wrong. They're typically between 10% and 20% off, but you can only choose from a limited selection.
    • Remember to check the exact model of each computer. An older model can save you some money, but make sure it has the specs you need.
  4. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 4
    Check for clearance products. Apple does have clearance sales, but they're not common. Check them out from time to time and you might get lucky.
  5. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 5
    Look for quality used computers. Apple does not allow other sellers to use the term "refurbished."[3] This means "used" Apple computers range from dented bricks to fully repaired beauties. PowerMax and Simply Mac are two sellers that offer "used" computers that are often as good as new.[4]
    • Used computers may lack the original packaging and manual.
    • You can find cheaper deals on other sites, but check for Apple certification and good customer reviews before you buy.
  6. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 6
    Find cheaper new computers. Even if none of the discount options above are right for you, you can save money just by shopping around. The Apple Store almost always lists the highest prices. Instead, browse authorized apple resellers such as MacMall or Mac Connection, and larger retailers such as Best Buy.
    • Apple has approved sellers with an "Apple Authorized Reseller" title. Stores that offer excellent guidance earn "Apple Specialist" status.
    • Search the store's online site first for discount offers. If you decide to visit in person, print out the online deal and take it with you.

Part 2
Saving on Extra Costs

  1. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 7
    Compare close offers between resellers. If you find two or three offers that are fairly close in price, read the fine print. Many resellers offer extra deals, such as discount Apple Care warranties or free software. If you plan on purchasing the "extra" anyway, the nominally more expensive computer might be the better deal.
    • The Apple Store rarely offers this kind of deal on computers, except in the educational store.
  2. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 8
    Install extra RAM yourself. Upgrading the RAM on a new Mac computer can make it much faster, but buying the RAM yourself is much cheaper than getting it from Apple.[5] All you need to install the RAM is steady hands, a screwdriver, and a set of instructions. We've got the last covered with guides for Mac Mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro.
    • Not all RAM is created equal. As of late 2015, DDR3 and DDR4 are the latest standards, and comparable in performance for home users.[6]
  3. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 9
    Consider buying hard drive space separately. Buying a separate hard drive is generally cheaper than upgrading your Mac's hard drive size at the time of purchase. Just store the files you don't use as often on the backup.
  4. Image titled Buy a Mac Computer at a Discount Step 10
    Be careful with third-party laptop chargers. Mac laptop chargers are notoriously expensive. Unfortunately, the ultra-cheap options are usually knockoffs that overheat or fail after a short time. It's best to stick with chargers made by Apple.
    • Even used laptops usually come with a charger, so you don't need to worry about this for a while.


  • In the United States, you can sometimes avoid sales tax if you purchase the computer from an online retailer that does not have a physical store in your state. The legal ground is shifting quickly, so this is becoming harder and harder to do.[7]


  • Be very cautious when browsing non-authorized retailers. Unofficial resellers cannot offer Apple warranty.[8] Check the return policy before buying, since you won't be able to return it directly to Apple.

Article Info

Categories: Selecting and Buying a Computer