What to do with an old MacBook laptop

Consider what you want to do with your old MacBook

Does the MacBook still work?

If the MacBook still works, you can choose to upgrade its hardware. This is a great cost-effective way to breathe new life into an old laptop. Sometimes you only need to upgrade a small part of the laptop just for it to work like new again.

If that’s not the case and the MacBook doesn’t work nor turn on at all, you can consider getting it repaired, upgraded, or recycled. It all just depends on what you’d like to do with it.

Repair and upgrade costs

The repair costs of each MacBook can differ. If you only need the hard drive replaced, or you want to put more RAM in, it shouldn’t cost a lot. What you can definitely be sure is, these repairs or upgrade costs won’t cost more than buying a new MacBook laptop.

A new entry-level MacBook Pro costs at least $2000, but if you just put in some useful upgrades to an old MacBook, you might be able to get great performance from it. This is only the case for Mac users who use their laptops for basic stuff like internet browsing and general word processing. If you do more than like, say things like graphics or video editing, then repairing or upgrading this old MacBook would probably be not that useful for yourself. Still, you could get a bit of cash if you upgrade and resell the Mac.

If you don’t want to go through all this hassle, you might as well trade the MacBook in at a computer repair shop. Most computer repair shops do this, so they can refurbish and resell the laptop, or they’ll just take it in for spare parts.

person using MacBook laptop to browse photos online

So now you have a few options for your old MacBook: upgrade it for better performance, repair or upgrade to resell it, or recycle the laptop as e-waste. Before you do anything to the Mac, you might want to check the MacBook with Apple Diagnostics, to test for any possible hardware faults. Backing up any important data would also be helpful. You might not be able to do much if the Mac doesn’t turn on or boot up properly, but you could still try it out.

Apple Diagnostics

As a simple hardware testing tool, Apple Diagnostics can help you quickly review your Mac’s hardware. So you can be aware of anything you need to fix up. Sometimes even if the Mac turns on and seems to work well, something could be wrong with it and you might not even be aware of it. It’ll only take a few moments, and could also inform your decision on what you want to do with the Mac.

To start Apple Diagnostics, restart your Mac and press the “D” key to trigger it. After a language selection page, it should automatically start testing your hardware. The test will look into hardware such as the hard drive, battery, and RAM. Any problems found will be reported with some support solutions.

Backing up data

Whether you’re upgrading the MacBook for yourself or to resell, or simply throwing it out, backing up the data on the hard drive is an important step. It’s also a great computing habit to keep, for any of your devices.

You can choose from an external hard drive, or just put it all up in the cloud. This keeps your data safe, and makes the upgrade process much smoother as you won’t have to worry about data loss or recovery.

Useful upgrades to boost your MacBook’s performance

Replacing the hard drive with flash storage

Flash storage, also known as a solid-state drive (SSD), is pretty much the standard on new MacBook models these days. They are much faster and more durable than traditional hard drives (HDD). Performance wise, flash storage can get you speeds up to 16x faster than an HDD.

Replacing a hard drive with flash storage is one of the easier computer repair jobs, so much so that you can even do it yourself. Older MacBooks are often more repair-friendly than the newer ones, so you should manage just fine. Remember to choose a flash storage model that is compatible with macOS, or else the drive might not work.

Adding more RAM for better multitasking functions

RAM memory chips on motherboard

RAM (Random-access memory) is essential for even computing performance. Information that you need while you’re working is stored temporarily on the RAM, so it is readily available whenever you need it.

These days for most computer users, the minimum required amount of RAM is 4GB. It should get you through basic computing tasks. The recommended amount of RAM for a relatively smoother experience is at least 8GB.

Adding more RAM to an old Mac could also give you a better performance, for multitasking purposes. So this option could also be a way to refresh your old Mac. Just make sure that your RAM isn’t embedded on the logic board. If that is the case, you might not be able to add RAM capacity to your Mac. You can check this by opening up the Mac and look for where the memory chips are set.

Battery replacement

The battery pack on a MacBook doesn’t have an effect on its performance, but a battery replacement could be beneficial to the Mac’s lifespan.

Laptop batteries can be charged over and over without losing their capacity, but they are still a consumable part. Once it reaches more than 400 charging cycles, the battery can start to fail. It may lose charge, or carry no charge at all. In some more serious cases, these lithium-ion batteries can become extremely volatile and leak hazardous liquid or catch on fire.

So you might want to check the Mac’s battery status to see whether it needs a replacement. You can check this by going to System information, and clicking the battery tab. There you can find the battery charging cycle count. If your Mac’s battery needs replacing, it should show you a warning saying “service battery”, “replace soon”, or “replace now”. Either way, getting a battery replacement for your old MacBook can add to its lifespan substantially.

Recycling or trading in your old MacBook

If you don’t really need the Mac anymore and want to get rid of the clutter in your house, you could consider recycling the laptop as e-waste. Alternatively, you could also trade in at a computer repair shop.

In Australia, e-waste can be recycled for free. Check with your local council to see when the next e-waste drop off days are. Or you can also book a free pick-up service for any of your unwanted electronics. This includes laptops, desktops, and household appliances.

Trading in a laptop at a store could also be an option if you don’t want to go through the trouble of having to list your laptop online yourself. Computer repair shops like us are able to take in old computers for refurbishment or for its spare parts. If you just want to get rid of the Mac quickly and possibly get some cash out of it, then trading in at a computer repair shop is your best bet.

Before you recycle or trade in your old MacBook, make sure you take out the hard drive, or destroy it. That way there’s no chance that others can access your data. Simply take out the hard drive and give it a few whacks with a hammer. Then you can make sure that it’s completely safe to say goodbye to the Mac.

Professional repairs at Safemode Computer Service

Got an old MacBook laptop that you still don’t know what to do with yet? You can take it right down to us. At Safemode Computer Service in Inner West Sydney, we can offer the right advice for your old devices. We can help you access the laptop and see what we can do to suit your needs. If you’d like to trade in the laptop, we also offer tech recycling services. Even if the laptop is beyond repair, certain spare parts might still be viable.

As a trusted computer repair service in Sydney, our friendly technicians are always happy to help with any computer problem that you have, from desktop PCs to MacBook laptops. Come by our Enmore store or call us today!