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Thread: Mac Lifespan

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2012
    Mac Lifespan
    Just a general question: how long, on average, would you say you keep your Macs? I've read a lot of posts which speak of keeping up with the yearly refresh cycle (about once a year, roughly, buying the newest version of whichever Apple device is being mentioned). Do you consider this normal?

    Personally, I would say that I keep my computers between 3-5 years, at which point, depending, they start to struggle to keep up. With almost all other electronic devices (example, iPod) I tend to use them until they break in some way, as there is rarely a need for keeping up with the latest technology in such devices.

  2. #2

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 17, 2009
    27" i7 iMac, 24" iMac, 13" Macbook Air, iPhone 5 & 5S, iPod Nano 7th Gen, iPad 2 16GB WiFi, iPad 3
    Updating things like iPhones/iPods on a yearly cycle (as crazy as that is to me) is relatively common, but most people do NOT update their computers (iMacs, MBAs, MBPs) on the yearly cycle (that's just loony)..

    Most people here keep their computers until it no longer services the needs of the user and then they upgrade..there is absolutely NO reason to update a Mac on a yearly cycle since the increments just don't make it a worthwhile effort.

    Updating every 3-5 years makes the leaps a lot more significant and worthwhile..

    Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.

  3. #3

    Oneironaut's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 23, 2009
    21" iMac * 2.8 Ghz Intel Core i7 * 16GB 1333 Mhz DDR3 * 1TB HD *AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB
    A new Mac every year?? That's kinda nutty. My Macbook Pro is 4 years old and is as fast as the day I got it. It's certainly slower than my newer iMac, but I'll keep using it until it dies. There's no sign of that happening any time soon. I know that my Windows PC was slowed down to a crawl after less time than I've had my Macbook.

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Sep 08, 2008
    Shakopee, MN
    iMac, late 2012 model, 21"
    In my experience, most people don't bother to upgrade their computers every year. This is true with Macs and PCs. They'll use them until a catastrophic failure forces them to replace it. I'm like the OP in that I tend to replace my own machines on a 3-5 year cycle.

  5. #5

    Germany_chris's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 31, 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
    A new Mac every year?? That's kinda nutty. My Macbook Pro is 4 years old and is as fast as the day I got it. It's certainly slower than my newer iMac, but I'll keep using it until it dies. There's no sign of that happening any time soon. I know that my Windows PC was slowed down to a crawl after less time than I've had my Macbook.
    It'd really not that hard or sell the old one most likely you sell it for a couple hundred under new, then you take that money add your couple hundred and get a new's the nice part about Apple keeping prices constant.
    Mac Pro 4,1 (Flashed to 5,1) W3570 3.2 Quad..48GB RAM..Gainward GTX 570 "Phantom."
    MacBook Pro 5,2..2.8Ghz C2D..8GB RAM..240GB Vertex +

  6. #6

    Larry H's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 21, 2009
    Pacific Northwest
    MacBookPro Late 2011 2.5Ghz 16GB Ram OSX 10.9.5
    It seems to me that 'Upgrade' means buying a new computer. Every 3 to 5 years is probably often enough, or when the newest OS won't run on your existing computer. (Assuming you want the newest OS)

    'Update' means updating the software. The existing software can be updated by clicking on the apple (upper left corner). New OS releases must be installed either from a disc, (Snow Leopard) or online or from a USB stick (Lion).

  7. #7

    JUKE179r's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 01, 2009
    MacBookPro 11,2 <--DAW!!!
    The onlyreason I haven't bought a newer MBP is that my '07 MBP with Snow Leopard & Windows 7 Pro still runs great for my music production needs.
    MBP 11,3 | Logic Pro X | Ableton Live 9 | Traktor Pro 2 | AKAI MPC2000XL, X7000, MPK-49 | Roland MV-8000, SP-808, TR-707, TR-808 & TR-909 | Ensoniq ASR-10 | x0xb0x #911 & Willzyx | Denon DN-MC6000 | (3) Technics SL-1200MK1 | 4000+ vinyl records

  8. #8

    XJ-linux's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 02, 2007
    Going Galt...
    I've done the yearly thing for a while now. My latest was a non-backlit keyboard MBA to a backlit-keyboard MBA. Curently, there's nothing new to upgrade to in the MBA arena. It's kind of a bummer because if you go too long you get less back selling your current hardware. Such is life.

    Anyhow, the idea is to spend out of pocket a few hundred dollars every year and always have the latest hardware -vs- spending north of a thousand every 3 or 4 years and having hardware that is a generation or two behind what is optimal for current peripherals, OS's and applications for a chunk of those 3-4 years. Most of the time, I can cough up a few hundred at will -vs- budgeting for $1500 at once.

    That's the theory anyhow...
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
    That way you'll be a mile away from him, and you'll have his shoes.

  9. #9

    Member Since
    Apr 25, 2012
    So Cali
    Well years back when the PowerBook G4 just came out. I bought it for Garage Band purposes. I seriously used the **** out of it and left it on 24/7, "I know idiot!". Anyways that badboy latest me 6 years! I still cant believe after all the abuse it went that long.

  10. #10

    Member Since
    Jul 15, 2011
    2010 imac, 2011 13" mbp, Ipad mini, Ipad air
    I still have my 2003 imac ppc and it's just as fast as the day I got it. In the 9 years I've owned it never a single problem. I only bought my newer ones because of the software compatibility. I did just recently upgrade it to leopard

  11. #11

    RavingMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2008
    In Denial
    4GB Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    XJ's rationale makes a lot of sense, but I don't want to go through the hassle of selling my old equipment every year. So, put me in the use it until its too slow or breaks camp. Have gotten almost 5 years from my MBP and expect at least another couple before I upgrade.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  12. #12

    Member Since
    Apr 02, 2012
    We replace when it breaks or no longer is able to serve it's purpose. I still have an IBM Thinkpad that was purchased in 96 or 97 in use..........It's limited but performs it's duties very well. We donate any units that we cycle out of service to families that cannot afford to purchase them. So a family just got a Lenovo SL410 laptop that this one replaced. There was nothing wrong with that unit, I just wanted a MBP after working on one for a friend.

  13. #13

    Stretch's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 13, 2007
    Central New York
    15in i7 MacBook Pro, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 500GB HD
    I got a MBP last year, I plan on keeping it for probably another 3+ years. The iMac I had before that, I had for 4 years. We are still using 2006 Intel iMacs at work, although, it's getting to be time we replaced them.

    You can easily get 3+ years out of a Mac without many problems.
    Blog and Photo Gallery:

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  14. #14

    chas_m's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 22, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    I have done both of these "styles" (selling and upgrading rapidly versus holding on till you really can't anymore). Based on the experience of myself and my clients, I would say that the "average lifespan" of a Mac varies from four to seven years, based on what level of use you put into it.

    I held on to my beloved BlackBook for five years -- a bit longer than I should have but I was waiting to see if new MBPs would come. They didn't in a timely fashion, so I bought a "tide me over" 2009 MBP and while old by current standards, it was a step up from where I was -- so by the time the "new" MBPs we will probably get this year (I'm going to guess June, just a guess) appear in the refurb store (let's say September), I'll be ready to buy one and will sell this one for what I paid for it ($500) since it is still a capable machine that can run Mountain Lion and most everything short of some high-end games (which, to put it mildly, is not a priority for me).

    It depends on your needs, but two things that are worth pointing out:

    1. There's probably a reason why AppleCare goes no further than three years. For those people who like to switch out models frequently, that still leaves them with time to sell the unit "with warranty." For those who hold on to their machines, if you haven't see defects by the three year mark you aren't very likely to see them at all.

    2. My experience over the past 30 years (!) with Macs is that the OS that your machine comes with will likely be supported for up to five years. At the point the OS is no longer supported, you should really be at least thinking about your next Mac.

    Finally, on the topic of iOS devices: most people have contracts that make it very cost-prohibitive to change out every year. When you see references to this sort of thing, MOST of time what they mean is that they got a device, then a new device came out so they got a new contract and did a "hand-me-down" to a family member. This happens A LOT, but as a rule of thumb I'd say most Americans (who only have two-year contracts, those lucky duckies!) upgrade every two years-ish. I know I jumped from the original iPad to the new iPad (completely skipping the iPad 2).

  15. #15

    Member Since
    May 05, 2011
    I've kept my two PC's probably about 10 years each, so I plan on having my iMac for that long. Got rid of my first PC(Windows 95) when it would get the 'blue screen of death' when accessing my e-mail. Got rid of my Windows XP PC when it got stuck in an infinite loop of rebooting--- so did not expect to have to run out and get a computer last year April. I expect my iMac to last as long or longer since I am not a power user in any way. I mainly surf the web and check e-mail. I do like to make greeting cards, and some day I'll learn how to do more with my digital photos than minor editing and printing.

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