Apple Laptop Help

bakahump

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So I have 2 HS Freshmen this year. Both have been provided School IPAD and Keyboards but hate them (and tbf they seem to suck for any kind longish paper work).

So we are looking for a couple of affordable <$400 used/refurbed Apple Laptops.
I am not afraid of refurbed especially from what I consider a solid reseller like Newegg.

I am a tech guy but 99% of my exp is with Intel stuff. So while Processers, SSD/hd and Ram I can compare and contrast pretty confidently I do have some questions.
My wife claims that "age/year" is a big deal in apple laptops? So for instance an i7 with 8gb and 256SSD we can find for 250-350 on Newegg.....but they are 2013 or 2015. Assuming the refurb is a good one and cosmetically its decent does that matter?
M1, M2?? is there a decided difference? Is that some kind of proprietary Processer? comparable to I5? i7?
Also is a "newer" Air better then an Older Pro?
What about a Pro Retina? (i think new egg had a couple but in the 2013 timeframe).
Another idea?

Basically any thoughts would be appreciated. If you have a line of a decent refurb and want to pass that along I would be indebted as well.
 

ifmanis5

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I would go with an Air if possible, smallest/lightest form factor. The M1 Apple MacBook Air is a great machine and more than enough horsepower. If you can find a deal on that, grab it. M2 is not necessary for you.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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You'll want to skip any of the Macbooks that were produced between approximately 2016-2019 which contain the butterfly keyboard. They are horrible to type on and not reliable.

For your purposes, you could easily get away with a good condition Macbook Pro or Air from 2015, which has all the usable ports you're likely to need, as well as the good keyboard. These can be had for about $250-$400.

I am still using my 2015 Macbook Pro Retina 15" as my primary day to day computer. It has 16 GB Ram and 1TB SSD, and it performs just as well as one of my newer machines, with the bonus of usable USB 3 ports, SD reader, and HDMI--I never needed to use a dongle on this machine.
 

bakahump

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they Wife says something about "Security Concerns" or messages that come with stuff older then 3-4 years? Is that true? (she uses macs....but is in no way a tech expert.)

Like they wont security update? Seemed odd.....which is why I am asking here.
 

Red Sox Physicist

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they Wife says something about "Security Concerns" or messages that come with stuff older then 3-4 years? Is that true? (she uses macs....but is in no way a tech expert.)

Like they wont security update? Seemed odd.....which is why I am asking here.
Apple drops support for older Macs as they release new versions of macOS. For macOS 13 (Ventura) which should be out next month, they've dropped support for anything with a pre Kaby Lake Intel CPU. That means anything before MacBook Air 2018 or MacBook Pro 2017.
macOS 12 (Monterey) also dropped support for pre-2015 MacBooks, and supports MacBook (Early 2016 or later), MacBook Air (Early 2015 or later), MacBook Pro (Early 2015 or later).

macOS versions are usually supported for 3 years so there should be 2 more years of support for macOS 12 and the 2015 models.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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they Wife says something about "Security Concerns" or messages that come with stuff older then 3-4 years? Is that true? (she uses macs....but is in no way a tech expert.)

Like they wont security update? Seemed odd.....which is why I am asking here.
Technically yes, Apple OS won't update some of the older hardware. But I think those concerns are minimal. I am still using 4 different Macbook computers for which support has been dropped, the oldest being 2011. And there has never, ever been an issue with security. Frankly, the newest MacOS that I choose to use is Mojave (10.14). The newer OSes have several annoying quirks that caused me to drop their use (lack of 32 bit support, annoying software security checks every time I launch a program, interface changes that resemble iOS, and overall performance bottlenecks where older hardware inexplicably runs slower). If you can live with a machine whose support ends with the 2021 MacOS and your goal is to get the kids through high school, then I think a 2015 machine would be the sweet spot, especially for the price, and the convenience of not needing a dongle can't be overstated.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Nov 16, 2004
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I would go with an Air if possible, smallest/lightest form factor. The M1 Apple MacBook Air is a great machine and more than enough horsepower. If you can find a deal on that, grab it. M2 is not necessary for you.
If it were me I'd grab two refurb M1 MBA's from Apple's refurb site for $849 each. I get this is double what the original post was asking for but buying a couple 7 year old MacBooks hoping your kids get 4 years out of them in high school is an aggressive goal with the likelihood one or both will need to be replaced in the 4 years, then you're back at the price tag of the original M1 Refurb.

If money's tight I get it, but saving $100 a year per kid for their high school 4 years isn't worth the hassle. Don't go out to dinner once a year and get the kids a modern laptop they won't have issues with.
 
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Rudi Fingers

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Jul 18, 2005
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So I have 2 HS Freshmen this year. Both have been provided School IPAD and Keyboards but hate them (and tbf they seem to suck for any kind longish paper work).

So we are looking for a couple of affordable <$400 used/refurbed Apple Laptops.
I am not afraid of refurbed especially from what I consider a solid reseller like Newegg.

I am a tech guy but 99% of my exp is with Intel stuff. So while Processers, SSD/hd and Ram I can compare and contrast pretty confidently I do have some questions.
My wife claims that "age/year" is a big deal in apple laptops? So for instance an i7 with 8gb and 256SSD we can find for 250-350 on Newegg.....but they are 2013 or 2015. Assuming the refurb is a good one and cosmetically its decent does that matter?
M1, M2?? is there a decided difference? Is that some kind of proprietary Processer? comparable to I5? i7?
Also is a "newer" Air better then an Older Pro?
What about a Pro Retina? (i think new egg had a couple but in the 2013 timeframe).
Another idea?

Basically any thoughts would be appreciated. If you have a line of a decent refurb and want to pass that along I would be indebted as well.
If the school is really expecting work to be done in iPads, you may want to consider just getting a way better keyboard and mouse for them to use with the iPad.

Any iPad with a good quality bluetooth keyboard and mouse (like Apple's own wireless keyboard and mouse) is an excellent writing tool. Even the base model. Even for any kind of longish paper work.



To go for the best possible choice - Best Buy has the Apple wireless mouse on sale for $60 this week and the wireless keyboard on sale for $80 this week. Trust me, they work just great with iPads, and they can be tossed into a backpack along with the iPad if needed.

Bonus - only $140 each :)

Connection instructions https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/pair-magic-keyboard-ipad3cbb656d/ipados and https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/connect-a-mouse-ipad10939edf/15.0/ipados/15.0
 

ifmanis5

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If it were me I'd grab two refurb M1 MBA's from Apple's refurb site for $849 each. I get this is double what the original post was asking for but buying a couple 7 year old MacBooks hoping your kids get 4 years out of them in high school is an aggressive goal with the likelihood one or both will need to be replaced in the 4 years, then you're back at the price tag of the original M1 Refurb.
Yes, agreed with this. Long term it's your best bet if you have to go Apple.
 

nighthob

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NPJ is correct, the M1 MacBook Air models will have 5-7 years of life in them. Also older models will live just fine, when I bought by M1 Pro model MBP my old 2015 model went to my mother and it's still chugging along running OS12.

Also, to add to what Rudi Fingers said above, for mobil meetings I have a 12.9" iPad Pro. I have the Brydge Max keyboard (although I got it on sale for about $90 less) and it's a pretty first rate keyboard. Not as good as Apple's top end keyboard, but 80%-90% of the way there at a good price. The ones for regular iPads would be cheaper still.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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Adding to the chorus for the MacBook Air with Apple Silicon (M1 or M2). They’re twice what you want to pay, but they’re fantastic. All day battery life. Peerless keyboard and trackpad. Fast enough to last years. I’ve been using the M1 Air as my daily driver since 2020 and it’s as good as the day I got it. I suspect I’ll get another 5-7 years out of it still.
 

Rovin Romine

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Preface this by saying I'm not an Apple shill - just pretty happy with the product.

I just went from a 2013 MBP to a 2022 MBA M2.

Over the time I used the 2013 MBP as a daily driver, I had: battery swelling (replaced 2020), and keyboard degredation in the form of worn keys - I type a lot. Shocker, I know. Bought some replacements on ebay and popped 'em on and off. Oh, and the power cord started to split/fray. (But it got stepped on now and then.) I did all the battery replacement work myself as sending it away for servicing would take too long. (Go, Ifixit, go.) Original cost was $1,500, with probably $200 in repairs? $1,700/8+ years is $212 a year.

It proved to be an ultra-reliable machine. I could still be using it, but I decided it was a reasonable time for an upgrade, and the 2022 MBA M2 seemed to have all the correct bells and whistles for me. For my needs, the MBA M2 is light and fast - so much so there's no need for a pad for remote work. My only reservation is there's no active cooling, but it hasn't gotten remotely warm yet, even while streaming the Sox while having 30 .pdfs open. (I don't do any gaming/video editing though.)

So the upthread suggestion to pick up a 2015 model makes sense to me, especially if the battery has been replaced. You'd likely get 2-3 years out of it?

I don't know how responsible your kids are, or the environment they work in, or what they'll use their computers for. But the point of typing all that out that was to suggest at some point you might want to consider spending more on a newer model with the expectation it will last longer. Depends entirely on the kids, obviously, but if you're going for durability, some Apple products are worth it.
 

Rudi Fingers

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If it were me I'd grab two refurb M1 MBA's from Apple's refurb site for $849 each. I get this is double what the original post was asking for but buying a couple 7 year old MacBooks hoping your kids get 4 years out of them in high school is an aggressive goal with the likelihood one or both will need to be replaced in the 4 years, then you're back at the price tag of the original M1 Refurb.

If money's tight I get it, but saving $100 a year per kid for their high school 4 years isn't worth the hassle. Don't go out to dinner once a year and get the kids a modern laptop they won't have issues with.

The M1/M2 Macs are, at this moment, the very best laptops made for both performance *and* value.

By the way, NortheasternPJ's recommendation for refurb M1 MBA's from Apple's refurb site for $849 each is matched (or beaten) at the moment by $849 each for a new M1 MBA at Costco. (that said, Apple's refurbs are fantastic and I highly recommend them to family and friends)

I'm lucky enough to have a 14" MacBook Pro (with the M1 Pro chip) as my daily driver, and it's the best computer I have ever used, hands down. A+ speed, battery life, screen quality, keyboard/trackpad quality, and operating system. (this is coming from someone who *loves* Lenovo ThinkPads!)

I still stand by my recommendation for bakahump's high school freshman kids to just use a great keyboard and mouse along with their school-issued iPad, but for anyone who wants to buy a laptop for general purpose use, in September 2022, one can't beat the M1 or M2 MacBook Air machines.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I'm lucky enough to have a 14" MacBook Pro (with the M1 Pro chip) as my daily driver, and it's the best computer I have ever used, hands down. A+ speed, battery life, screen quality, keyboard/trackpad quality, and operating system. (this is coming from someone who *loves* Lenovo ThinkPads!)
Agreed, and ad alert: those are selling for just $1599 at Best Buy right now, which is an incredible deal for that much machine. Most reviews you read/see for the M2 MacBook Pro or Air will suggest, budget permitting, you move up to the M1 MacBook Pro, by most accounts the best laptop currently on the market by a decent margin. And with the $400 Best Buy discount we're talking basically the same price as the far inferior M2 Pro. (Nobody seems to understand why the M2 Pro was even released, given its awkward position between the cuter/lighter M2 Air and the far superior M1 Pro).

I just bought the bigger 16" M1 Pro for $500 more cos I wanted the bigger screen for graphics, but the 14" is basically the same machine but more portable. Sweet deal.
 
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nighthob

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I just bought the bigger 16" M1 Pro for $500 more cos I wanted the bigger screen for graphics, but the 14" is basically the same machine but more portable. Sweet deal.
I did the same thing, I do too much graphics work not to get the 16" m1 Pro.
 

The Napkin

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Agreed, and ad alert: those are selling for just $1599 at Best Buy right now, which is an incredible deal for that much machine. Most reviews you read/see for the M2 MacBook Pro or Air will suggest, budget permitting, you move up to the M1 MacBook Pro, by most accounts the best laptop currently on the market by a decent margin. And with the $400 Best Buy discount we're talking basically the same price as the far inferior M2 Pro. (Nobody seems to understand why the M2 Pro was even released, given its awkward position between the cuter/lighter M2 Air and the far superior M1 Pro).

I just bought the bigger 16" M1 Pro for $500 more cos I wanted the bigger screen for graphics, but the 14" is basically the same machine but more portable. Sweet deal.
any clues as to how long that sale at Best Buy is? That's a great deal.
 

Caspir

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Agreed, and ad alert: those are selling for just $1599 at Best Buy right now, which is an incredible deal for that much machine. Most reviews you read/see for the M2 MacBook Pro or Air will suggest, budget permitting, you move up to the M1 MacBook Pro, by most accounts the best laptop currently on the market by a decent margin. And with the $400 Best Buy discount we're talking basically the same price as the far inferior M2 Pro. (Nobody seems to understand why the M2 Pro was even released, given its awkward position between the cuter/lighter M2 Air and the far superior M1 Pro).

I just bought the bigger 16" M1 Pro for $500 more cos I wanted the bigger screen for graphics, but the 14" is basically the same machine but more portable. Sweet deal.
Am I looking at the right model here, because it’s showing for $999. I have an iPhone, but besides that I am a complete idiot when it comes to understanding any other Apple products, and I’m 100% certain I want a MacBook for my daily laptop, but haven’t gone on a deep dive on the models.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/macbook-pro-13-3-laptop-apple-m1-chip-8gb-memory-512gb-ssd-space-gray/6418603.p?skuId=6418603#anchor=productVariations
 

Zedia

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Most reviews you read/see for the M2 MacBook Pro or Air will suggest, budget permitting, you move up to the M1 MacBook Pro, by most accounts the best laptop currently on the market by a decent margin. And with the $400 Best Buy discount we're talking basically the same price as the far inferior M2 Pro. (Nobody seems to understand why the M2 Pro was even released, given its awkward position between the cuter/lighter M2 Air and the far superior M1 Pro).

I just bought the bigger 16" M1 Pro for $500 more cos I wanted the bigger screen for graphics, but the 14" is basically the same machine but more portable. Sweet deal.
I don’t get it, I thought M2 was better than M1? Am I misunderstanding or do you have them reversed?