Tech / Apple

Why you should never buy a used Apple Mac computer

Stolen macbook pro
Published 15 July 2020

From experience being on the wrong side of the sale. Always think twice about buying a second hand Apple computer.

Apple have a system where they can send a message through Siri’s voice and a notification on the screen saying the Mac is stolen and you need to return it. There is no way of getting rid of these notifications, even reinstalling the OS doesn’t work. Your computer is tracked through the serial number and using the web.

Read more about 7 Common MacBook Issues and How To Prevent Them.

This is what happened:

I was searching around for a MacBook Pro and then found one on Ebay. It looked in perfect condition, relatively new and decent price. Nothing was alarming about the ad. Wasn’t too cheap or expensive, it was around £1500. Everything seemed to be genuine with the Ebay profile who was selling it and they had a good rating so I didn’t really think much of it and thought maybe they just want to upgrade. Anyway, I bid on the MacBook Pro and won the bid. After a week or so the MacBook got delivered and it seemed in great condition. Got everything set up with a new operating system etc.

6 Months after buying a notification pops up

So this is where things get interesting! 6 months down the line, all of a sudden a notification pops up on the computer. It looks genuine and exactly like a mac notification. Anyway I was skeptical. A voice came on that sounded like Siri. On repeat the voice said align the lines of “unfortunately your MacBook Pro was stolen at (name of location) on (date) and you need to hand it into the police. Crime number (number). Please contact (email) and proceed bla bla bla”.

This voice went on repeat constantly and there was no way to turn it off unless you mute your speakers. After searching on Google for a while I couldn’t find any information at all! Bizarre! I was pretty upset to find that this had happened and it is most probably true because it lines up with the location I bought it from and the date.

Contacted the people it was stolen from

Anyway what happened next is I contacted the email and they confirmed that they want the MacBook back which is not good, but very understandable. It’s a tough situation because I spent £1500 on this MacBook Pro only to find the owner wants it back and the thief gets away with the £1500. Ultimately it’s quite unfair on both sides and the thief should be the one who gets screwed in this situation. Anyway, the seller was reported anonymously and hopefully there is a way around this as it’s super frustrating.

Moral of the story: If you buy a stolen Mac then you’re screwed

The serial number will be tracked even if you install a new operating system and Apple have a great system for making the Macs useless when they are stolen. Unfortunate thieves can still sell the Mac on and get their money, then the customer is the one who loses out.

Whenever buying a Mac, always check the serial number with Apple or the Police to make sure it isn’t stolen, otherwise the Police will be able to find your computer and make it unusable for you.

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