How to Sell Your Mac, iPhone, iPad

This un-official Seller's Guide was created to provide our best recommendations for selling your used Apple devices, both online and locally. Learn how to Sell Your Mac for the most cash online, without any risk or hassle. If you do sell in person, follow our suggestions for a safe sale.
Image features detailed reviews of the most popular Apple iPads, MacBook Laptops, iMac Desktops, and iPhones, featuring expertly written articles, tests, opinions and more. We've owned and extensively used every model to come out of Cupertino and we are happy to share our reviews with you for free.

We have written this Seller’s Guide to help you to make the best decision when it comes time to sell or upgrade Mac or Apple systems.

Decide the main reason why you want to sell.

For whatever reason, you'll at some point want to sell your Mac or iPad or iPhone, either for an upgrade to a faster or newer model, or perhaps a downgrade to something less expensive. Image

The best thing to remember is Macs don't actually depreciate as much as PCs in value, and you'll find that when it comes to selling your Mac, you can often recuperate a large proportion of what you paid for it. This is mainly due to the yearly refresh cycle, the fact that Macs are only manufactured by one company, Apple, and because they are relatively expensive.

Preparing Your Mac For The Sale

Before you bid farewell to your Mac, there are several things you need to do to ensure that it is completely clean and free of any potentially sensitive data!

Step 1: Back up all your data

Before doing ANYTHING, be sure to run a full Time Machine backup on all drives within your Mac because there's nothing worse than finding out that those valuable files on your device were wiped during the format.

Tip: We recommend backing up to two separate external hard disk drives in case one fails on you (it's happened to me before). If you're running Mountain Lion, then you can backup to multiple destinations directly from Time Machine. After you run Time Machine, it would be wise make a Backup of your backup’s most important files just to be safe, on a USB drive or external hard drive.

Step 2: Transfer your data over to your new Mac (optional)

ImageIf you've already bought a new Mac, then to save the trouble of restoring your old system from a Time Machine backup, you can easily transfer all your user accounts, applications and computer settings to your new model via your local network – as long as both Macs are either connected to the same network (e.g. the same wireless network) or they are connected directly to each other via an ethernet cable.

Migration Assistant can help you transfer all your applications, documents and settings onto your new Mac. Migration Assistant, found in the Utilities folder on your Mac, will do all this for you, and going through it is a piece of cake. If you're still unsure, then you can grab detailed instructions from Apple's Support website.

If you haven't yet bought your Mac, then don't worry, as restoring from a Time Machine backup will restore all your applications, documents and settings automatically for you as well.

2. What to do before selling or giving away your Mac

Learn how to back up and remove the data from your Mac before selling or giving the computer away.

When preparing to sell or give away your Mac, you may want to erase some or all files from its hard drive. But first determine whether you should back up your computer and disable certain features and services. These steps show the recommended sequence of actions:

  1. Deauthorize your computer from iTunes, if applicable.
  2. Back up your data using Time Machine or other backup methods for OS X Mavericks or Mountain Lion.
  3. If you use Find My Mac or other iCloud features on this Mac, complete these steps:
    1. Back up your iCloud content.
    2. Choose Apple Menu () > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
    3. Deselect the Find My Mac checkbox.
    4. Sign out of iCloud. When you sign out of iCloud, you're asked whether you want to remove iCloud data from your Mac. Removing iCloud data in this way makes sure that the data isn't also removed from any of your other devices that are using the same iCloud account.
  4. If you're using OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 or later, sign out of iMessage:
    1. In the Messages app, choose Preferences > Accounts.
    2. Select your iMessage account, then click Sign Out.
  5. Reformat your hard drive and reinstall OS X. Follow the appropriate instructions:
    • OS X Mavericks
    • OS X Mountain Lion
    • OS X Lion
  6. After you reformat your hard drive and reinstall OS X, the computer restarts to a Welcome screen and asks you to choose a country or region. If you want to leave the Mac in an out-of-box state, don't continue with the setup of your system. Instead, press Command-Q to shut down the Mac. When the new owner turns on the Mac, the Setup Assistant will guide them through the setup process.

And that's really all there is to it! Selling your Mac is generally a smooth and painless task and by following our simple steps you can guarantee that your Mac is completely wiped and ready for shipping. Of course, all you've got to do now (if you haven't already done so) is to pick out a shiny new Mac to replace your old one!:

Remember see how much your Mac is worth by requesting a free quote at

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