Skip to main content

The best (and worst) time to buy a MacBook

Apple’s MacBooks are superbly made machines, but all that quality comes at a price. Not only are its laptops some of the most expensive on the market, but they also rarely go on sale. That’s why scoring a cheap MacBook deal is one of the few ways to save money on an Apple laptop.

With that in mind, you might be wondering when the best time is to pull the trigger and buy a MacBook. Fortunately, there is no great mystery to it. As long as you are careful, you can save yourself some cash and avoid a nasty case of buyer’s remorse while you’re at it. Follow our guide and you will know exactly when the best time is to buy a MacBook in 2021.

The best time to buy a MacBook

Macbook Electric Color
Dmitry Chernyshov/Unsplash

Apple never discounts its own products because it wants to retain their “premium” feel and reputation. But that does not mean no one else indulges in a little price-cutting. In fact, MacBooks are very commonly discounted by third-party retailers at certain times of the year.

In particular, look out for big events like Black Friday or the holiday sales season. You stand a good chance of spotting a cheaper MacBook among all the Amazon Prime Day deals, too. It is not uncommon to see savings of $200 or even $300 during these events, making for a sizeable price cut on what is normally a costly purchase.

Just make sure to do your research and know which MacBook you should buy before snapping one up. A lot of retailers will heavily discount old MacBook models in order to shift stock. While that means you can save handfuls of cash, you might have to make some sacrifices in terms of performance and features, particularly since the new highly performant M1 MacBooks are unlikely to be discounted by much. But if you’re not after the latest and greatest, the sales season represents an excellent time to go MacBook shopping.

Keep an eye out for other sales

While flagship events like Amazon Prime Day represent the most dependable times to look for MacBook deals, that does not mean they are your only chance to score some money off. In fact, Apple’s laptops regularly get discounted throughout the year — you just have to keep your eyes peeled.

One thing that can help is to bookmark our MacBook deals page. We regularly scour the internet for the best MacBook deals out there, and you might be surprised by how much money off you can get at random times throughout the year.

Now it’s confession time — we might have told a little fib earlier. Apple does actually discount its own MacBooks, but only if they are refurbished, never new. This means Apple has taken a returned or secondhand MacBook, replaced any faulty parts, given it a cleaning, and spruced it up so it is like new. You get the reassurance of Apple’s stringent testing process, plus a chunk of money off. Check Apple’s refurbished MacBook section on its website and you could find some very decent savings.

The absolute worst time to buy a MacBook

Because MacBook sales are relatively rare, you might not want to wait for the right discount to come along. If you need a MacBook now, you need it now, after all.

But there are still some times you should try avoid splurging. If you can help it, do not buy a MacBook right before one of Apple’s fall events. Typically, one is held in September and another in October or November. These are the primary times when Apple unveils new hardware, including MacBooks.

The company also usually hosts an event in the spring where MacBooks sometimes appear. Again, avoid purchasing a MacBook right before a show if at all possible. You don’t want to buy a new Apple laptop, only to find out it has become outdated a week or two later.

This advice is particularly important this year because Apple is heavily rumored to be planning a huge update to the MacBook Pro 13, plus an important refresh for the MacBook Pro 16. The former will get a total redesign, with a new design, better display, additional ports, and more. The latter, meanwhile, is expected to transition to Apple Silicon chips, which will give it a major performance boost.

In other words, 2021 is the year to act with caution. Both laptops are expected to land around the middle of the year, or perhaps in the fall, so hold off for now until they launch. We have all the details on both laptops, including everything you can expect to see when they launch, so make sure you are in the know before making a decision.

Editors' Recommendations