Repurpose a 2016 MacBook Pro

I’m looking for help on repurposing my 2016 MacBook Pro, something that doesn’t need to use the battery or keyboard much. The battery lasts about 40 minutes and the keyboard has lots of near dead keys (butterfly keyboard). This is a 8Gb,1Tb, Intel machine which has and does give great performance even today. But for obvious reasons I have moved to something more modern.

My first thought was make it a web server for me to use as my test machine for my web development. Does this seem like a good use, if not why? If yes do you know of a source of directions for setting it up? It would be connected via ethernet, and located in a safe room in the basement.

After I transferred everything to my new machine, I then reinstalled Monterey but should I maybe install a version of linux instead? What version of linux would you recommend?
If I stay with Monterey should I create a new Apple ID for it or use my current ID already being used on 3 other machines?

Do you have other ideas for its use, tell me about them?

I have many other questions but these are the big ones and everyones opinion is of interest to me, including the opinion of just letting Apple recycle it.


I have a 2010 MacMini 4,1 that I run headless (no monitor) with Debian Linux (an OS I am very familiar with). This provides Homebridge (for controlling “smart home” things via HomeKit that are not HomeKit compatible), Plex (for watching my DVD collection on the AppleTV), and providing AirPrint services for an old HP LaserJet 3030 printer. It has been a nice way to get some additional services with a machine I already own. Sure, I could do the same things with some Raspberry Pi’s, but my Pi’s are already busy doing other things!

1 Like

You could set it up as a media server and a web server if you want. I set my late 2013 iMac up as the former. You could get by using only Apple’s built in streaming capabilities, but I elected to supplement that with Rogue Amoeba’s excellent utility AirFoil.

Every version of macOS for years has shipped with the Apache web server built in. Enabling it varies a bit by OS, but here are the instructions for every version since Snow Leopard:

I’m in a similar boat as I have a 2016 MacBook Pro that’s soon to be obsolete, but it’s in perfectly fine shape and is still usable. I’m probably going to just keep Monterey on it and try to use it a while longer.

1 Like

This is an interesting problem to have. Most laptop computers are in pretty bad shape once about 4-5 years pass. Apple MacBooks (especially the Pros) seem to be the “energizer bunny” of laptops - they just keep going and going and going.

Either that or us Mac users take really, really good care of our kit.

I use an old Mac mini as a media server, backup,server, and archive file server. I have 24tb of storage attached.

I had an old MacBook Pro, but it was run over by a train. It was a sad loss since the machine was in good working condition. However, I was able to replace it with a new system.

My iPhone is an issue. My last one was accidentally thrown over the side of a boat. But darn it, they’re now waterproof, so I’m still stuck with my old one.

I hate it when that happens.

I am detecting a trend here. ;-)


There’s Chrome OS Flex, when Monterey is no longer viable.

I have used a couple of obsolete Macs for specific pro software that got stuck in time. The ironic thing about using an old Mac, is that one aspect is great… no software update, no changes, no maintenance, no time spent configuring. It’s just set in stone and does what it does. On one of them I run a piece of imaging software from the 90s, which requires MacOS9 via Classic and which despite its ‘ancientness’, still runs faster than Photoshop today.

As for using an old Mac for other purposes, I’ve run an old Mini, set to a daily startup/shutdown routine, in a safe in the basement for family media + Time Machine + work archives/backups. (Reassuring to have backups under lock and key). We’ve also used an old Mac/Air attached to a tv and used as an actual tv, controlled via Remote Desktop, for over a decade.

Portables are good for this sort of thing, compared to Minis, because you don’t get stuck, in case of problems, without a monitor and otherwise you just close the lid and leave it to do its thing.