Macs are cool. They're shiny, fast, sexy machines that can turbo charge
your work and play. Apple is happy to sell you a new one as often as
you can afford it! But whether you stay on the cutting edge or live
the full Low End Mac philosophy, you will inevitably reach the day when
change is necessary.
then to do with the old Mac? Systems
only a few years old can usually be sold, but what if your system is
longer in the tooth? Perhaps five years old, ten, or truly vintage (but
still running). You don't want to just dispose of your old computer,
you want it to go to a good home.
friend, I was just about to take a bunch of older
Macs to the dumpster or to Goodwill. Are you interested in anything
more for your museum? Thanks for what you're doing to keep the antique
the Macintosh Community, this feeling is magnified. Old Macs are special,
personal. There was always something notable about being a Mac user,
whether in the 68k Glory Days, the Beleaguered Apple Computer era, or
early in the Second Jobs Dynasty. Our Macs weren't just tools, but visceral
parts of our lives. It seems cruel to just dispose of the carcass.
have the following vintage software that I would like
to pass on to someone who can use and/or appreciate. I would even
consider giving it away to someone who will pay shipping. I hate to
see them go to waste.
you want any of this? Yes, there is a cost to ship
but we can split it, or if that is too much and you really want it,
I am happy to foot the shipping to get it to you. I just need to know
if I may send all this to you.
users go out of their way, often at their own expense, to help make
this happen. Old technology does not necessarily mean obsolete.
you know of a good home for this printer? I have the
original box and packaging. I will donate it as I don't think it would
be worth a whole lot of money. I just put a new cartridge in it back
in the winter. The things we Mac people will do... :)
are a few options for what to do with those old treasures or eyesores
(depending on your perspective):
Setup the old Mac as a server
Macs find second lives as home or office servers. Typically you don't
need a lot of horsepower (relative to newer Macs) for this purpose,
just a version of the Mac OS which is current enough to support what
you wish to do. It's also easy to add large external USB and FireWire
hard drives to increase storage capacity.
Sharing is a popular option, providing a central storage
or backup location for one or more computers. Mac OS X supports AppleShare,
FTP and Windows File Sharing, which you can enable via the Sharing Preference
Pane. You can also enable Web Sharing for a basic internet
or intranet server. If you have access to a version of Mac OS X Server
you can improve performance and add more sophisticated account access
and sharing configurations.
up a Media Server is also an option. Load up all your
music and enable iTunes
Sharing to stream music to any system on your home network, or load
up pictures and share with iPhoto.
moving on, let's not forget the classic geek use for any old computer
regardless of age or manufacturer: run Linux
on it. Flavors exist for Intel, PowerPC and even 68k Macs. I don't really
know what Linux on a 68k box is practical for nowadays (particularly
with UNIX being the foundation for OS X), but hey - you can do it!
power user may outgrow his machine every two years, but other family
members have more modest requirements. For young children, high performance
is not as important as something reliable and easy to use. All-In-One
models such as iMacs and eMacs make good choices. Older family members
are usually using their computers for basic communication and housekeeping:
web browsing, email, home finances, iPhoto, etc.. Internet
access will be the most demanding thing, currently this means a G4 based
system running Tiger or higher.
people like to use much older systems, such as 68k PowerBooks,
which don't have internet capability in order to avoid distractions
and get some writing done. That's a great use for an old machine, if
you can find a taker.
Sell your old Mac on eBay
is always a popular option for disposing of old equipment, with an international
market of potential buyers. The question is whether you want to price
things to sell quickly or you're trying to maximize your profits. Costs
for older Macs vary wildly, I've seen the same model going for $25 and
$250 depending on the day and seller. Professional eBay sellers tend
to charge the most, check listings for items which have already sold
to get a range of what buyers are paying.
important to list used equipment accurately, describing working condition,
configuration and appearance. Include photos in the listing. Shipping
is a big factor, particularly for large or heavy items. This will affect
the cost to the buyer and the ease of the exchange.
Sell or Give Away your old Mac on craigslist
is a good alternative to eBay: it's free, doesn't require an account,
and no shipping needed. I've found and disposed of many system this
way, with lots of old Macs changing hands in parking lots. You also
have the option of posting your gear to the free section for things
you just want to go to a good home.
again is variable, though typically cheaper than eBay. Lots of people
are looking for cheap computers in order to do basics like web browsing,
email, word processing, etc. Currently that generally means
a G4, G5 or Intel based Mac. G3 systems are still reliable but are best
for non-internet tasks. If it's beige I wouldn't ask more than $50 unless
you have something really unique (that doesn't mean a Mac Plus).
The Low End Mac Swaplist
chugging along after ten years, the Low End Mac Swaplist
is another option for finding adoptive parents for your old friend.
This service is less popular than in its heyday, but still a nice thing
to have around. Signup for the list and leave a good description.
Trade-in your old Mac
The Apple Recycling Program is a relatively new service run in conjunction with third party resellers. They will send you a shipping box, and if your old Mac has any value they will give you a credit good on the Apple store online.
independent Mac Resellers, particularly those who've been around for a
long time (there was a time before Apple Stores) sell both
new and used systems. These businesses typically accept working Macs
from customers as trades towards newer equipment. The old model needs
to have some retail resale value, so as of this writing you're looking
at G5 or early Intel systems as viable contenders.
can also try a recommerce service like Gazelle
or NextWorth, these
companies buy old gear and resell items on eBay or to secondary markets around
Donate to a School, Charity or Senior Center
charities, schools and senior citizen communities are often looking
for old equipment, and are typically very grateful for the donations.
However, donated systems should be able to handle current needs like
web browsing and email comfortably, which generally means a G4, G5 or
Intel based Mac. You'll need to look elsewhere to dump that pile of
SE/30s or the old Performa!
tip from LEM's Dan Knight: sometimes the best donation is giving an
old Mac to a teacher directly, so the school won't dispose of it over
Donate or Sell to a Mac Collector
a large community of Mac
Collectors online, many of whom are looking for models
they don't have or rare systems. By definition collectors have an interest
in giving good homes to old Macs, and I've acquired more than half of
my systems for my collection in this fashion. With old computers there's
also an ongoing need to keep spare parts around, for when the inevitable
popping sound occurs on startup.
be surprised if interest in your old treasure is muted, however. Most
collectors already have many of the machines they want, and limited
space to store things. Specify if you are looking to donate or sell
the system, and what price you're asking if the latter. I personally
don't tend to pay much (if anything) for unsolicited items, but am usually
willing to split or cover shipping costs if I can use the gear.
Repurpose your old Mac as Home Decor
perpetual Geek Trend is to repurpose your old Mac (usually a dead one)
as some kind of home furnishing: a Lamp,
(many choices available) or one of the newest fads, an iPad
Stand. These fun hacks keep old computers out of landfills
and are a nice way to add some Mac history to your living space.
Be sure to dispose of the guts of the old computer responsibly (see
Take your old Mac to a Computer or Electronics
disposal turns out to be your best (or preferred) option, don't use
a dumpster and the usual waste stream. The eWaste problem is large and
growing, anything we can do individually to help is worthwhile. All
the guts of your systems - circuit boards, monitors, peripherals - should
be disposed of responsibly.
are companies who specialize in recycling
old computers or electronics; most are legit, but alas
not all. Also check to see if your city or town picks up or accepts
electronics as part of any hazardous waste collection efforts.
Make use of "Urban Recycling"
the easiest way to dispose of an old system is the least amount of work
- leave it at the curb marked as "free" and wait for scavengers.
Assuming you are just planning to throw the system in the trash anyway,
may as well let the neighbors have a go.
tends to work well in both urban and suburban areas, particularly if
the system looks like it's in good condition. I've left empty cases
on the curb in front of my house as trash, only to find them gone by
dawn. Hopefully whoever grabbed it has some use for it.
This article was also published in the Adam's
Apple column on Low End