I have the option to buy a 2009 13" MBP for $500 - mid 2009 with the 2.53 GHz C2D. At this point, I'm leaning towards it (I'd be using it for iOS development). I know it's been well taken care of.

However, before purchasing, I would like to know if there is anything particular to watch out for when buying this year of MBP. I know that the 2008 models had problems with the NVIDIA graphics.

So, my question: What should I watch out for when purchasing a machine like this?

  • 1
    Compliments for phrasing a shopping recommendation question in a way which is actually useful! I've edited out the "good deal" part because this will lead to debate (and heavily depends on your specific use cases). If you want to get people's opinion on that part, please do this in chat.
    – nohillside
    Apr 22, 2013 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


I used to work as an Apple Hardware Technician, and the biggest non-damage related issue I've seen with those machines is usually the battery (which is not technically user-replaceable). I'd make sure that it runs for at least 3-4 hours on a full charge. Also make sure that the optical drive works, because I've seen a number of those go out, as well, but that can be said for any notebook computer.

You will also want to check for the normal stuff: Impact to the casing, cracked screen, liquid damage, etc.

That seems like a pretty good deal, however. It looks like the average price on eBay is around $600, and that machine will have plenty of power for your purposes. Heck, I still do development on a 2009 Macbook and it works great.

For future reference, you can always find a listing of the open repair extensions (which are basically known-issues) at Apple's website.

  • Do you think the machine will be fairly future-proof for the next few years?
    – user44427
    Apr 21, 2013 at 22:17
  • Fortunately with those models you can still upgrade the hard drive and RAM at a fairly low cost (if you're willing to do it on your own or know someone willing to open up the machine). When I worked with Apple stuff I used to see people with Macbooks from 2006 that were still going strong. It all depends on how you take care of it. Just don't drop it off the roof of your car or spill a beer in it and you should be good. :)
    – Dylan R
    Apr 21, 2013 at 22:20
  • As in OS X releases, etc?
    – user44427
    Apr 21, 2013 at 22:21
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    C2D is already in the "past", it will do what it have done, but the future OS's will most likely demand more horsepower, and the unfortunate thing about it is that it wont be able to do some stuff already, like airplay mirroring! none the less its a great machine, but if you are looking at the future a sandy processor or any i-Core is a minimum (at least for me) (hyperthreading and so on)
    – Macmaniman
    Apr 21, 2013 at 22:23
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    The minimum requirement for Mountain Lion is a MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer). Apple considers a machine "obsolete" after about five years, and typically as long as a machine isn't considered obsolete then you will be able to run the latest operating system. I suspect you'll be able to run at least the next two or three OS X releases.
    – Dylan R
    Apr 21, 2013 at 22:23

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