Every technology deployment has its time in the sun. From the initial unboxing to the initial deployment, and to the various great moments, all deployments reach a point when it’s time to replace them. Over the years, I’ve done many Apple hardware refreshes, and they are a lot of fun. And one question that always has to be answered is what do you do with your existing hardware? Do you sell it? Do you keep using it? Let’s answer the question of what do you do with old laptops and iPads?

About Making The Grade: Every Saturday, Bradley Chambers publishes a new article about Apple in education. He has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.

What do you do with old laptops and iPads?

If you remember anything from this article, remember this: replace equipment on a schedule and ditch the old gear afterward. I’ve had many situations where I am replacing old Mac or iOS hardware, and the person who is getting the new gear has “ideas” for things the old equipment can do. My response is always that if you don’t get rid of it now, you’ll never get rid of it.

I understand their point that a 3-year old (my regular refresh schedule) MacBook Air is still a great laptop, but a 6-year-old laptop is not going to be. Hardware in the enterprise should be replaced on a schedule, and the old gear should be pulled out of production. If you don’t pull out of production at the time of buying a replacement, you’ll be supporting older equipment for a long time. Figuring out your schedule will help you determine what do you do with old laptops and iPads.

Where to resell old gear

More than any company other I’ve used, Apple hardware holds its resale value as much as any of them. When we refresh Apple laptops and iPads, I can easily resell them for 40–50% of the cost. You’ve got a couple of options how to do this: resell in bulk, trade back to Apple (for money off a future deployment), or sell privately.

Trading them in will likely lead to a lower trade-in value, but you have a lot less hassle. If you have 300 iPads, you might be willing to take less money in order to not have the hassle of selling them all individually. There are plenty of bulk reselling organizations around, and Apple will often buy them back from you. If you are turning around and rebuying more gear from Apple, selling to Apple will undoubtedly be easy.

I’ve had great luck with reselling our gear to our faculty and parents. In fact, it’s gotten to the point to where parents ask me when devices are being refreshed. I will price them to sell, and they move quickly. I will set up a form online that asks for payment, and once it’s paid, they can come to pick up their devices. Everything will have been wiped and inspected at that point, so the machines are ready to go.

If you have equipment in your device enrollment program, be sure to release it (you have to legally). Be sure your Macs are ready to be sold as once they are removed from DEP, they cannot be added back. You’ll want to make sure the people you are selling them to understand that you do not support hardware you are selling.

I hope this information will be useful to your school or business in the future in helping you determine what do you do with old laptops and iPads. Any questions? Let me know in the comments below.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.