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Apple @ Work: What should businesses do with old laptops once new models are deployed?


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With the beginning of the new year, many businesses are starting new budget years, including the IT budget. Many organizations are likely ready to upgrade some of their old Intel Apple laptops to more recent models with Apple Silicon. The MacBook Air is a favorite among enterprise buyers due to its affordability, long battery life, and incredible speed. When Apple laptops are upgraded in a remote environment, what are the best options for the laptops coming off deployment?

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers managed an enterprise IT network from 2009 to 2021. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.

Trade in to Apple

When purchasing new laptops or desktops, Apple gives you the option to trade them in to cover some of the purchase of the new computers. When finishing your rollout, Apple will assign a trade-in value from your purchase price. Trading them back into Apple is one of the most straightforward solutions for a company to do.

Trade in to a third party

Countless third-party companies will buy back old Macs, iPhones, and iPads. 9to5Mac has an official partner for trade-ins, but other vendors work directly with enterprises and schools as well. One company I’ve worked with in the past is Diamond Assets.
Many of these companies have turn-key white-glove services to handle packaging and shipping and deliver a check.

Keep as a spare

If your laptops are still in good shape, one idea I’ve been pondering is if companies should let employees who are working remotely keep their old laptops as spares in case their new machines are broken, lost, or need to be sent off for repairs. Unfortunately, there is no IT help desk in a remote work environment where you can grab a new laptop before a sales call, webinar, etc.
Now that macOS has Erase All Content and Settings built-in, an IT department could wipe the old laptop after the new laptop is up and running. Once it’s unenrolled from the MDM, it could be kept as an “in case of an emergency.” In the event of a broken laptop, an employee could pull out the old laptop, charge it, boot it up, re-enroll to the MDM, and get back to work while the repair is taking place.


As IT departments look to replace old laptops with new ones, there are multiple paths forward with what to do with the old ones. However, I lean toward keeping the old ones around as spares after decommissioning them for remote employees.
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