Oldest Macbook pro that can take current release OS?

matt167

Gawd
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
974
I am a Mac newb. I've dabbled with them but never got or cared to use one. My girlfriend told me she wants one for work purposes for christmas. She had an older macbook when I met her, but it died. She has been without a laptop for years, but she is an Apple user.. I cannot wrap my head around spending $2k+ for one, when all she is going to use it for is facebook, a word processor and syncing to her Iphone.. Is there a happy medium on a refurb year where she can have an older machine with the brand new experience?
 

SuperSubZero

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 21, 2000
Messages
3,714
In the United States, a brand new MacBook Pro 13" starts at $1299 for a totally usable configuration. Which country are you in that they are all over $2000?
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,056
Well entry level Macbook's have never been $2000. The Air has started at $999 (and often $899) for years, and the MBP 13" behind it at $1200 or so. $2000 for base model doesn't hit until the 15", but the 15" inch is obviously and clearly intended for professionals that need that kind of hardware (it bumps up to discrete GPUs, processors with more than 4 cores, and much higher RAM and SSD configurations).

To answer your question directly, yes there is a refurb section, but now with Apple M1 out it seems capitally stupid to not buy an M1 equipped Mac unless you still need to run a bunch of x86 programs. From your description it doesn't sound that way at all for her. In that case I'd buy a new base level Macbook Air for $1000. It's incredibly fast, will basically do all of her tasks instantly (including wake), has a 20 hour battery life, and is completely silent (passively cooled).

If you want the machine to last for 5+ years and need more HDD space than 256GB, then I'd recommend stepping up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of space which can be done for $1459. If she really never does a task beyond browsing and FB and general office tasks + Netflix, then 8GB of RAM will be plenty. The M1 Macs turn the idea of needing a bunch of RAM on its head. Believe whatever you want but even the 8GB config is probably good enough for most users. The M1 smokes every Intel desktop chip and trades blows with every AMD chip. So again, I can't stress enough that not buying an M1 equipped Mac is basically a terrible idea. Not to mention as this is Apple's way forward, the ARM based chips will be supported longer into the future than x86 ones.

I'd also recommend checking other authorized resellers for M1 custom configs. Both Adorama and B&H have had $50 deals off and on since these new machines launched (which isn't huge but hey $50 is $50). Some configs have a deeper discount. Some none at all.
 
Last edited:

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,056
I have a 15" retina early 2013 with 10.15.7.. Any older and I fear I wont be getting much support, but works fine!

macOS Catalina HW support:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210222
True, you can go this route as well, but you can also expect that basically every year towards the end will drop off into what Apple calls "vintage" (the no longer updated/supported list). The first Retina Macbook Pros and 5k iMacs have just entered that list.
If support and updates matter than buying something on the edge of what is going out I can't really recommend. Also people tend to want more than what I think those machines are worth for a lot of configs. You maybe be able to buy something for $500-$600 or so, but there will be a more than 4x difference in speed between any of those machines and a base level M1 equipped Macbook Air at $999, not to mention the other major benefits like I mentioned in terms of battery life and all the other side benefits or running M1.

EDIT: Also technically the latest OS is Big Sur, now officially called macOS 11. Your 2013 MBP is still barely supported. It's likely next year it won't be. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211238
 
Last edited:

FSCDiablo

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 3, 2003
Messages
283
Well entry level Macbook's have never been $2000. The Air has started at $999 (and often $899) for years, and the MBP 13" behind it at $1200 or so. $2000 for base model doesn't hit until the 15", but the 15" inch is obviously and clearly intended for professionals that need that kind of hardware (it bumps up to discrete GPUs, processors with more than 4 cores, and much higher RAM and SSD configurations).

To answer your question directly, yes there is a refurb section, but now with Apple M1 out it seems capitally stupid to not buy an M1 equipped Mac unless you still need to run a bunch of x86 programs. From your description it doesn't sound that way at all for her. In that case I'd buy a new base level Macbook Air for $1000. It's incredibly fast, will basically do all of her tasks instantly (including wake), has a 20 hour battery life, and is completely silent (passively cooled).

If you want the machine to last for 5+ years and need more HDD space than 256GB, then I'd recommend stepping up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of space which can be done for $1459. If she really never does a task beyond browsing and FB and general office tasks + Netflix, then 8GB of RAM will be plenty. The M1 Macs turn the idea of needing a bunch of RAM on its head. Believe whatever you want but even the 8GB config is probably good enough for most users. The M1 smokes every Intel desktop chip and trades blows with every AMD chip. So again, I can't stress enough that not buying an M1 equipped Mac is basically a terrible idea. Not to mention as this is Apple's way forward, the ARM based chips will be supported longer into the future than x86 ones.

I'd also recommend checking other authorized resellers for M1 custom configs. Both Adorama and B&H have had $50 deals off and on since these new machines launched (which isn't huge but hey $50 is $50). Some configs have a deeper discount. Some none at all.
Agree with UnknownS. Get the base Macbook Air for $1000 and if she ever uses up the drive go with external/network/cloud storage. Fin!
 

matt167

Gawd
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
974
I'm the kind of person who generally buys the $200 decent laptop/ notebook without an HDD on ebay, sticks in an SSD, loads win 7/10 and calls it good ( for myself ). So spending $1k on any laptop is new to me. She wants a Pro for the 15" screen and is very stubborn.
I would rather spend $1,100 or so on a 15" gaming laptop for her, as she is also a console gamer when she has time, BUT it's not a mac product and she won't like it
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
Joined
Sep 29, 2001
Messages
18,340
I've got a 2014 MacBook Pro that I just put Big Sur on. Works fine.

This is a list,

Which Macs can run macOS 11 Big Sur?​

  • MacBook (2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2014 or newer)
  • iMac (2014 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (from 2017)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or newer)
 

chithanh

Gawd
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
902
Your 2013 MBP is still barely supported. It's likely next year it won't be.
When moving from PPC to x86, Apple released only two versions of OS X (now macOS) which ran on both architectures. If that repeats then macOS 12 will be the last version to run on x86 anyway.
 

Jinto

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
1,745
Get a late 2013 15 MBP. You can probably find one for ~$400. It is still a very solid machine. I've had mine for years and never had the urge to upgrade and I have plenty of fast Windows computer to compare it to.
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,056
I'm the kind of person who generally buys the $200 decent laptop/ notebook without an HDD on ebay, sticks in an SSD, loads win 7/10 and calls it good ( for myself ). So spending $1k on any laptop is new to me. She wants a Pro for the 15" screen and is very stubborn.
I would rather spend $1,100 or so on a 15" gaming laptop for her, as she is also a console gamer when she has time, BUT it's not a mac product and she won't like it
It would be a mistake to buy a current gen 15” that’s still on x86. The ARM based models smoke it in everything that matters.
Enough that if I could get out of what I paid for on mine I would sell it and switch to a MacBook Air or 13” Pro myself. She should get educated on M1.

There is an updated 15” coming, but it won’t be here until late first quarter next year. And yeah, it will come with that $2000 price tag.

When moving from PPC to x86, Apple released only two versions of OS X (now macOS) which ran on both architectures. If that repeats then macOS 12 will be the last version to run on x86 anyway.
That was a 4 year process back when Apple only released a new version every 2 years. Now Apple releases new software yearly.

Either way I expect there will be at least 4 years of support on x86. And extended support after that. I would also say that having a “que sera, sera” attitude doesn’t help your security situation and if that’s how you feel it’s all the more reason not to buy an outdated Mac.

(Also I 100% guarantee that macOS 12 won’t be released next year. It will be point releases for at least a decade much like macOS 10).
 
Last edited:

SuperSubZero

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 21, 2000
Messages
3,714
I'm the kind of person who generally buys the $200 decent laptop/ notebook without an HDD on ebay, sticks in an SSD, loads win 7/10 and calls it good ( for myself ). So spending $1k on any laptop is new to me. She wants a Pro for the 15" screen and is very stubborn.
I would rather spend $1,100 or so on a 15" gaming laptop for her, as she is also a console gamer when she has time, BUT it's not a mac product and she won't like it
Part of the whole "doing thing for my gf" task is that what *you* do isn't necessarily what *she* does. Don't project on the gf. If she wants a decent Mac, get her a decent Mac.

If you are absolutely 100% fixated purely on used Macs, do not get one from 2016-2019 with the butterfly keyboards, as they are terrible and it doesn't take a Mac person to know that as this was "front page of CNN.com" territory. The 2015 models are passable, but they are fairly dated, and the batteries won't last forever, and batteries are an expensive swap that can involve a significant amount of the laptop as Apple glues the batteries to the chassis, and most Apple stores won't do that in-house, they ship to a depot which makes a battery swap a 1-2 week affair.

Again, I strongly suggest simply buying a new one. If she violently demands a 15", inform her Apple doesn't make those anymore, and the 16" is quite pricy. They can be found on the internets with small discounts, in the US we have a retailer B&H that typically has some sort of perpetual sale on them and even Amazon does sometimes.
 

Kardonxt

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
3,450
She wants a Pro for the 15" screen and is very stubborn.
Maybe help her find a job or a second job as your gift then LMAO. Sounds like a good old case of beggars can't be choosers.

If you buy her a barely supported 2014 15" MBP it will still cost you ~$600 for a decent condition one. Then you have to deal with the fact that it probably will lose support in the next year or so. Seems like a waste to me.
 
Last edited:

NoEcho

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 14, 2001
Messages
3,250
I just asked this question of an Apple rep yesterday. She said that Macbook 2013 was the oldest Macbook that could run Apple's latest OS.
 

robvas

Gawd
Joined
Jun 30, 2011
Messages
631
  • 2015 and later MacBook
  • 2013 and later MacBook Air
  • 2013 and later MacBook Pro
  • 2014 and later Mac mini
  • 2014 and later iMac
  • 2017 and later iMac Pro
  • 2013 and later Mac Pro
 

matt167

Gawd
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
974
I forgot to update this.. She got a last generation model Macbook Pro 13".. She didn't want the newest one because it would have been $200 more and said it would be just fine. We collectively got it, and I knew not to argue. She just got promoted to salaried management 2 months ago, so I know she does need a decent computer
 
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
19
Well entry level Macbook's have never been $2000. The Air has started at $999 (and often $899) for years, and the MBP 13" behind it at $1200 or so. $2000 for base model doesn't hit until the 15", but the 15" inch is obviously and clearly intended for professionals that need that kind of hardware (it bumps up to discrete GPUs, processors with more than 4 cores, and much higher RAM and SSD configurations).

To answer your question directly, yes there is a refurb section, but now with Apple M1 out it seems capitally stupid to not buy an M1 equipped Mac unless you still need to run a bunch of x86 programs. From your description it doesn't sound that way at all for her. In that case I'd buy a new base level Macbook Air for $1000. It's incredibly fast, will basically do all of her tasks instantly (including wake), has a 20 hour battery life, and is completely silent (passively cooled).

If you want the machine to last for 5+ years and need more HDD space than 256GB, then I'd recommend stepping up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of space which can be done for $1459. If she really never does a task beyond browsing and FB and general office tasks + Netflix, then 8GB of RAM will be plenty. The M1 Macs turn the idea of needing a bunch of RAM on its head. Believe whatever you want but even the 8GB config is probably good enough for most users. The M1 smokes every Intel desktop chip and trades blows with every AMD chip. So again, I can't stress enough that not buying an M1 equipped Mac is basically a terrible idea. Not to mention as this is Apple's way forward, the ARM based chips will be supported longer into the future than x86 ones.

I'd also recommend checking other authorized resellers for M1 custom configs. Both Adorama and B&H have had $50 deals off and on since these new machines launched (which isn't huge but hey $50 is $50). Some configs have a deeper discount. Some none at all.
im not in the market for a new laptop....
but I am looking at them now b/c of your post, lol.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
3,190
im not in the market for a new laptop....
but I am looking at them now b/c of your post, lol.
Not a bad idea, although it might be worth waiting until WWDC (June 7th) to see if Apple announces more MacBooks then. They'll probably be higher-end MacBook Pros if so. As it stands, my fiancée has the base MacBook Air and loves it. It's extremely speedy, and battery life simply isn't an issue since it lasts so long. I'd get one with 16GB of RAM if it were my money, but you don't need it as much as you might with other laptops.
 
Top