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Recycling My Wife’s Old MacBook Pro


My wife got a new 16″ 2021 MacBook Pro, and I talked about how I transferred the files in this article. But now is the time to recycle it. I say recycle because the computer she got was my old 2015 15″ MacBook Pro which replaced her 2012 15″ MacBook Pro which was also once belonged to me. Before I get to that, let me describe what I did to prepare it for recycling.

First, I made a backup of it using Time Machine to my NAS. But you can also use an external hard drive to backup as well. I do this as I want to keep a backup handy in case we need it for something. Like some missing or corrupt files for example. And the advantage of using Time Machine is that it is built into macOS which means it’s free and somewhat easy to use. Apple has a support document that you can find here which describes how to use Time Machine that will guide you through the steps of how to use it to do a backup. One thing that I should note is that if we don’t need anything from the backup after about 6 months or so, we delete the backup to get some disk space back.

The next step is to erase the computer and reinstall macOS, and remove it from your Apple ID. Now Apple does have a guide for this which you can find here. It’s a pretty comprehensive guide that’s worth following as it captures everything that you need to do to prepare the Mac for recycling.

Now onto the recycling part. When I say recycling, I mean that we’re recycling it with Apple. And the reasons why go something like this. Often Macs that are recycled with Apple (ditto for iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches, etc.) are worth something. And Apple cleverly will give you that value in the form of a gift card. While you won’t get the same sort of value that you would if you tried to sell it privately, you avoid the hassle of having to try and sell it privately. Not to mention the fact that the value of Intel based Macs have fallen through the floor since the Apple Silicon Macs appeared two years ago. Plus you know that they won’t end up in a landfill or something. My wife and I have used this method for years and the value that the products that we recycle have have helped to finance new Apple product purchases as we’ve often gotten hundreds of dollars in value when we’ve gone this route. Another thing that I should note is that Apple does trade-ins as well. But we tend not to do that with Macs because even though we have a backup of the device, we want to have the old device around just in case something goes wrong with the new device in terms of the data that comes across to it. However with things like Apple Watches and iPhones we will do that as that risk is way lower in our minds.

So in this case, my wife got $345 in value from her 2015 MacBook Pro when she took it to Apple. That money in turn helped to partially finance AppleCare+ for her new MacBook Pro. Meaning that she was only out about $125 or so. That’s not trivial.

Now I’ve been critical of some of Apple’s environmental practices. Such as the fact that they like to talk about reducing the use of plastic wrap on iPhones boxes. But on the boxes of MacBook Pros among other products, there is plenty of plastic wrap to be found. But this is one thing that both my wife and I can get behind. And the fact that we get some value in terms of dollars out of it is great as well.

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