Buying an old iMac: Is it worth it?

If you are thinking of buying an old iMac, in this post we will see which models you can buy, which of them will help you get more performance out of them, and thus, do what. its purchase is worth more and what are the most common and appropriate uses that you could give it. Likewise, if you have an older iMac at home, the ideas that we are going to recommend can also help you.

What is an old iMac good for?

Apple computers are characterized by having a long life time. Although they do not spend their entire useful life performing the tasks for which they were manufactured, they do tend to have second lives, such as simple office equipment, multimedia, the occasional backup copy, and consuming content.

iMacs from 2017 onwards are compatible with macOS Ventura. This means that they are still officially valid teams, and that their tasks and functionalities are still up to date and, perfectly, they can serve as our main team. Therefore, we are going to focus on the iMac from 2015 and back and we will see which operating systems support the most:

  • 2015: macOS Monterey
  • 2014: macOS Big Sur
  • 2013 – 2012: macOS Catalina
  • 2011 – 2010 – late 2009: macOS High Sierra
  • Early 2009: OS X El Capitan

Even so, and despite the compatible operating systems, you have to take into account the specifications that you are going to buy. An i5 with 8GB of RAM is not the same as an i5 with 16GB of RAM. In the same way that you have to make sure if your older Mac will be expandable or not, to know or better performance to your purchase. Given this, let’s see what an old iMac can do for you.

The cloud and NAS hard drives

The cloud for old iMacs can be a second life. We are not only talking about storage space, but also about executing tasks of writing and editing Word documents, PowerPoint presentations or PDF documents. It can be a more secondary computer, or a computer to have at home to do simpler tasks, if, for example, we already have a MacBoook Pro with which to carry out heavier tasks and we want to separate work from personal life, for example . In addition, they are not only compatible with iCloud, but we can use the cloud provider that we have contracted. Even if we have a NAS hard drive, and our older iMac allows it, It can be a bridge between a storage memory and our NAS.


photo copies

Viewing and downloading photos, especially in 2015 or more powerful models, accompanied by the cloud, can be a good idea. If we want to make backup copies of our photos, a somewhat older but powerful iMac can be the “bridge” between our cloud and the hard drive. Or between the iPhone and the cloud, to keep our memories safe. In this way, we can have a secondary team dedicated to this task, which we can leave working and we will not have to interrupt other activities, in the event that we only had a single computer. In this case, we can either choose to upload the photos to iCloud, or another cloud service, or to our NAS hard drive.

Old systems and retro games

A very good option for an older iMac is the installation of old versions of operating systems such as Windows or Linux, through a virtual machine or Bootcamp. So we have an iMac capable of running older software and peripherals that are no longer compatible with new versions of macOS, but are still functional. Or, depending on the specs, be able to install game emulators and old arcade consoles, for a retro gaming hub.

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