Apple’s MacBook computers are so wonderfully built. They’re easy to use, dependable, and provide long-lasting technology, whether you’re using it at the office or watching movies at home. But if there’s one thing you can expect from Apple, it’s that a new, eye-catching model is just around the corner.
As a result, some consumers may feel the urge to trade in their old MacBook towards this newer model. (It’s not just you, we promise.) There are many ways to do so. You could try to sell it on eBay, turn to a buyback site (for instance, us here at GadgetGone), or trade it in at a retail chain like Best Buy.
So how does the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In Program measure up overall? Before you run to the store, let’s take a closer look.
- The Positives of the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In Program
- The Drawbacks of the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In Program
- The Pros and Cons of Recycling a Computer At Best Buy
- Best Buy vs. Gadgetgone: Who Provides the Better Deal?
- Should You Trade In Your MacBook To Best Buy?
One huge advantage to Best Buy is that it’s one of the few retailers that accepts MacBooks for trade-in. GameStop, by comparison, doesn’t take them whatsoever. It tends to focus more on iPads and iPhones, as well as video games and consoles. T-Mobile and Verizon also have their own trade-in programs, but don’t accept MacBooks either.
This narrows the field quite a bit, making Best Buy a “one stop shop” for long-time consumers and newcomers alike. What’s more, the convenience of bringing an item in-store to trade is a huge plus.
Based on details from Best Buy’s trade-in website, it takes in different types of “Apple notebooks,” as it calls them. This includes MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models released between 2015 and 2020.
Once consumers go onto this site, they can go through several questions to see if their MacBook is accepted. This includes screen size, overall condition, whether it includes the power cord, and if it’s been factory reset. This means being logged out of such programs as iTunes and iCloud. (If you need a guide on how to reset your MacBook, we’ve got you covered!)
From there, you’ll receive an estimate. If it meets to your satisfaction, there are two ways to get that sweet store credit to apply towards a future purchase.
For those that don’t feel like getting out, you can ship your old MacBook to Best Buy’s headquarters. Upon filling out a form with your information, you’ll be provided a UPS label. You can either request a pick-up, or simply drop it off at the nearest UPS Store or carrier. Make sure to package it thoroughly (we’ve got a guide for that too if needed!) and send it on its way, along with its power cord.
If all goes well with your trade-in, you should receive a Best Buy eGift card via email. You can use it on the website for either shipping or in-store pick-up, whichever you choose. The process usually takes five business days from receipt, though during holiday seasons it can take a little longer.
Don’t feel like waiting or having to pack your MacBook for shipping? No problem. You can take the device and its accessories to your nearest Best Buy location. The Best Buy MacBook Trade-In program is quite convenient these days, now that COVID rules have eased a bit.
Before you go, check the store locator for the location nearest you and see if they accept trade-ins. Some may be limited due to overstock or state regulations. Make sure it accepts trades before you make the drive.
Once you stop in, a representative will analyze your MacBook for trade-in. They’ll take a few minutes to look it over for any defects. If needed, a manager may come by for a secondary inspection and final approval.
From there, the representative will provide a Best Buy gift card with your trade credit. This can actually be used either in the store or online through BestBuy.com right away. There’s no waiting either – that’s a huge benefit over shipping it in.
For consumers that shop at Best Buy regularly – or buying a new MacBook at the store – this is a convenient option. However, before you call it a done deal, let’s look at the other side of the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In picture.
Though the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In program is great for the most part, that doesn’t mean it’s completely ideal.
It’s actually limited when it comes to the MacBooks that it takes in for trade. It won’t pay anything for models made before 2015 (save for accepting them for recycling, which we’ll get to a little later). There’s also no value provided for newer 2021 models, at least at the moment. Its program as a whole hasn’t been updated that much as of late. It doesn’t even list new game consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X for trade-in.
And while Best Buy’s MacBook trade-in prices aren’t abysmal, they aren’t exactly top-tier either. For example, for a 2015 MacBook in fairly good shape, it only offers $125. Likewise, a newer model 2020 MacBook Pro 13” with Touch Bar will only get you $450 – a fraction of what you initially paid for it. It beats nothing, of course, but you can get so much more.
Keep in mind these values are for MacBooks in “perfect” condition. If there’s one thing not right with the device, the price drops drastically. For example, that same 2020 MacBook Pro we mentioned? It goes from $450 to $0 if the power cord isn’t included or it doesn’t turn on. The same goes for not being logged out of Apple accounts (like iCloud and iTunes) prior to trade-in, as mentioned above.
(Side note: By comparison, GadgetGone offers top value for MacBooks, even if they aren’t in the greatest shape.)
As noted above, the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In program is also limited when it comes to payout. It only provides trade-in credit on a card; and while that’s a plus for long-time consumers, it serves as a problem for anyone simply trying to get cash for something else. Meanwhile, GadgetGone offers three payment methods, including Amazon gift card, Paypal deposit or a good ol’ fashioned printed check!
Again, the drawbacks aren’t deal-breakers, as we’ve seen worse limitations with trade-in programs. But considering that value can drop tremendously based on one little flaw, consumers may want to check around before making a final decision.
There is one more positive aspect with Best Buy’s program that is worth noting, however.
Let’s say that you’re not looking to really get any money from your older MacBook, or don’t want to bother with reselling it someplace like eBay. You just want it gone. Fortunately, Best Buy does provide assistance with that through its Recycling Program.
The company accepts up to three items per household per day across a number of categories. So if you’re getting rid of your older MacBook and don’t have any use for your broken old 3D TV, you can bring them both to the store and the team will handle everything for you free of charge.
It’s a great program that helps “lighten the landfills,” as the company puts it. In fact, it notes that it has helped consumers recycle more than two billion pounds of electronics since 2009. That’s quite a positive change for the planet.
So if you don’t mind skipping out on the cash and just want to give Best Buy your device for the better, it’s a good choice. However, if you’re looking to get something for your investment and all you’re offered is a big goose egg because of a small inconvenience, you may want to hold off.
Although the Best Buy MacBook Trade-In program is useful when it comes to getting store credit in-person, there is another option to consider – GadgetGone! By waiting a few days and using our free shipping service to send in your MacBook, you can actually receive more from us – and in cash! Even if you’re buying a new computer through Best Buy, you’ll still save big!
Let’s take a closer look at price comparisons that show the stark differences between the two.
First, here are current offers for a 2015 MacBook with 13” display and 256GB SSD storage, in good shape with power cord and factory settings:
- Best Buy: $75 (store credit)
- GadgetGone: $170 (cash)
$75 isn’t bad, but GadgetGone not only provides nearly $100 more, it does so in cash.
Next, let’s take a look at what’s offered for a newer model MacBook. In this case, a 2020 MacBook Pro 13” with Touch Bar and 256GB SSD storage (again, with power cord and factory settings):
- Best Buy: $450 (store credit)
- GadgetGone: $485 (cash)
It’s worth noting that Best Buy does provide better prices for newer MacBook models, save for the new 2021 models. Over at GadgetGone, however, we still provide an advantage with $35 difference – and, once more, in cash!
The Best Buy MacBook Trade In program offers very little when it comes to flaws, such as a power cable missing or active Apple accounts. But what if you fixed both of these issues and it’s just in poor shape? Let’s take a look at values for a 2019 MacBook Air with 512GB SSD that isn’t in the best condition:
- Best Buy: $123.75 (store credit)
- GadgetGone: $195 (cash)
Best Buy is okay here, but GadgetGone has the advantage. It offers more cash for a damaged MacBook than Best Buy does with credit. In addition, where Best Buy offers nothing (save for recycling) for a broken or no-power MacBook Air, GadgetGone will give $100 or $50. (Keep in mind this depends on the final estimate after receiving the item.)
The Best Buy MacBook trade-in program isn’t that bad. There are some good values here, as long as your computer is in reasonable shape; and being able to quickly take it into a retail location for trade-in is convenient; compared to waiting a few days for shipping. It also has a hassle-free recycling program, if you just want that older MacBook gone.
That said, there are some models it doesn’t take; and it offers little to nothing for your MacBook if it’s an older version. It also zeroes out the value over small things, like a missing power cable or if it’s not factory reset.
Meanwhile, GadgetGone takes in all models and offers the best competitive offer for MacBooks, even if they aren’t in tip-top shape. And we provide free shipping to send it in, along with a no-hassle return policy if you change your mind for any reason.
The choice is yours. Now, if you’re picking up something from Best Buy (like that elusive PlayStation 5 you’ve been wanting) or need to pick up a new MacBook for immediate use, it’s a solid choice. However, if you can wait just a little longer, GadgetGone has a better offer waiting, which will save you cash in the long run.
Check out our quote page to see what your MacBook is worth. And if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Whatever you choose, your older MacBook will see a fond farewell as you prepare yourself for a newer model.
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