tl;dr – By changing the first letter of a Mac’s model to “F” and appending it to https://www.apple.com/shop/product/, you can access the product listing page for non-listed refurbished Macs. Example: for model MF839LL/A, URL is https://www.apple.com/shop/product/FF839LL/A.
I was taking a look at Apple’s Refurb and Clearance section the other day, curious what prices were like for the prior gen MacBook Pros (given that I have no interest in purchasing the overly-expensive current gen with only USB-C ports). I was a little disappointed to find just late 2016 models, still only USB-C endowed.
Hoping for something more, I noticed a “Chat with Us” button on the Store’s site, and decided to ask a store rep if there were indeed any older (early 2015) models available, not expecting any. Much to my surprise, the helpful rep came back with a link, saying “MacBook Pro. Try this link, can you access it?” Well sure enough I could, and it brought me to a full product listing page for a refurbed early 2015 15″ MBP model. Woah! That wasn’t listed on the store!
Curiosity got the best of me. There was no index or way to browse other listings from the page the rep supplied, but this obviously existed in the system. Then I took a peek at the URL:
Now there’s a couple of interesting things in that URL! It looks like something very similar to Mac model numbers in the first two segments (FJLQ2LL/A), followed by a slugged description of the model. Knowing how permalinks work, I took a guess that the first two segments were the only required ones, and that the last text slug is just for SEO or human purposes.
Could there be other models of interest lurking in the Apple Refurb store? I sure hoped so! I opened up the very trusty EveryMac.com listing of all Mac products for the last 20 or so years, and for comparison’s sake, looked for the model from the link. Sure enough, the model number was MJLQ2LL/A. Bingo! Swap an M for an F, and you have the URL. Did this work for other models? How about a 13″ early 2015 MBP, model MF839LL/A? I removed the text slug, swapped the M for an F, and ended up with the following URL:
Money! Though not in stock, it did indeed take me to the product listing page for a refurbished model of that exact Mac. Awesome. Now stock is probably very limited on unlisted products, but you may just get lucky.
If you find yourself looking for a refurbished Mac, but aren’t finding what you’re looking for on the short listings on Apple’s store site, try that technique to see if you can find some hidden gems.