Refurbished Apple products are devices which are pre-owned. They might have had a faulty part—a faulty SSD, a screen issue, a battery problem, an unresponsive keyboard—and were sent back to the manufacturer. Or, they were a display item that is now getting prepped to go on the market.
But how do Apple products get refurbished?
First, the device gets sent back to the manufacturer or to a refurbisher. There, it goes through a battery of tests on both hardware and software.
If any issues are found, the faulty parts go through troubleshooting. If a part can be fixed, the refurbisher will do so. For instance, a loose wire on a MacBook motherboard can easily be reconnected. If a faulty piece cannot be fixed, the refurbisher will replace it with a brand new one. For instance, a cracked screen systematically gets replaced with a brand new one.
Once all the parts are functional, the refurbished device is thoroughly cleaned before it goes through a full set of functional tests once again. Product testing is crucial to make sure the device is ready for sale. Only when a product passes these tests—just like a new one would!—the refurbisher can stamp them as refurbished.