Buying / Setting Up Used Macs

I usually give my older Macs to other family members that do not need a newer, high-powered Mac. My old 2008 iMac was being used by my grandkids. The old 2008 had pretty much become not functional. It still runs, but it cannot keep up with the latest software. I am not ready to move on from my current Late 2012 iMac so I bought them a used 2011 iMac 27” machine.

Buying Used Macs

There are many places to buy used Macs online. Most of them are reliable, but it does not hurt to check them out a bit. After doing a lot of research,  I bought my used Mac from LA Computer Company. They have been online for many years and are a good company.

The Mac was described as in “Good” condition. Online ratings of used Macs are either “Fair,” “Good,” or “Excellent.” I could not afford the “Excellent” category so I bought one rated at “Good.” Here is a photo of it after I had worked on it a bit:


It is a pretty clean machine. It came with El Capitan installed. After doing a little cleanup work, I installed macOS Sierra 10.12.6. That OS will work with my grandkids software that they are using.

The machine came with 4 GB of RAM. It ran fairly well, but would do better with more RAM. I did not want to buy more RAM so I took an 8GB stick of RAM out of my 2012 iMac and installed it in this older 2011 iMac. If you are wondering how that works, it just does. The RAM from my newer iMac is only one model year newer. Most of the time if both Macs are close in build the newer RAM will just clock itself backward to run on the older Mac. You cannot do this with RAM form Macs that are several years apart. I am now running 24GB of RAM in my iMac and there is 12GB of RAM in the older iMac. Surrendering a little RAM is not that big a deal, my stuff still runs fine.

There is one drawback with this machine. The LCD has a dark spot in the upper right corner. At first I thought (hoped) it was just dirty, but it is burnt into the LCD. I did some research and this problem is very common in 2010 and 2011 iMacs. That is unfortunate, I am sure a machine in “Excellent” condition would not have this, but just more dinero.

This gray area is not big deal. You can see it while booting up, but if you run a darker Desktop background you cannot see this gray area. It does not alter the way the machine runs, it runs just fine.

When I first ordered this Mac, I was planning on taking it apart and installing a SSD. However, since I have been using it with the added RAM I have decided not to do that. It runs very nicely, much faster than my old 2008 iMac. I can always install a SSD later if necessary. Just to be safe I ran Drive Genius on the original hard drive. It did not find any problems, I think this machine is good to go.


If you are looking for a used Mac, there are many online resources. Make sure to do your homework. People don’t buy used PeeCees, they are not worth anything. They just buy a new PC with the current OS. However, Macs seem to last a long time and are actually worth something.