What’s the Difference Between a MacBook Air and Pro?


A MacBook user using keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste text on Mac
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So that you wish to purchase a MacBook, however you’re undecided whether or not to go Air or Professional. A very powerful query to ask your self is: do you want further energy, or is portability extra necessary to you?

The MacBook Professional Is (Usually) Extra Highly effective

When you want extra energy for extra demanding duties like video modifying, 3D rendering, and information evaluation, take into account the MacBook Pro. Although the bottom 13-inch MacBook Professional has the identical M1 chips because the MacBook Air, it additionally has an lively cooling resolution which suggests it could actually stay beneath load for longer.

However if you need extra CPU and GPU cores, for higher multi-tasking and efficiency in multi-threaded apps, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Professional fashions are for you. They characteristic the upgraded M1 Professional (10-core GPU, 16-core GPU) and M1 Max (10-core CPU and 32-core GPU) chips, and you’ll go for much more highly effective extras at checkout.

The Apple M1 Pro Chip Specs

These improved M1 Professional and M1 Max chips embrace devoted video decode and encode engines, a ProRes encode and decode engine, hardware-accelerated H.264, and HEVC capabilities. Greater reminiscence bandwidth (200GB/sec on the M1 Professional, doubled on the M1 Max) gives the CPU with entry to information in much less time than the bottom M1 mannequin.

The Apple M1 Max Chip Specs

Storage and RAM quantities will likely be restricted on the very best M1 MacBook Air fashions to 2TB and 16GB respectively. When you’ve acquired the money, you possibly can splash for an 8TB SSD and 64GB of RAM on the highest-spec MacBook Professional. The 14-inch and 16-inch fashions additionally characteristic extra Thunderbolt lanes for higher connectivity.

This efficiency comes at a price although, and that’s energy consumption. The very best-spec MacBook Professional ship with energy adapters that gulp down 140w of energy, with 96w and 67w fashions additionally obtainable. By comparability, the MacBook Air can solely draw as much as 30w. When you’ve acquired a monitor with USB-PD (Energy Supply) that you just wish to use to energy your laptop computer, preserve this in thoughts.

The MacBook Air Is Smaller and Extra Moveable

The clue’s within the title: the MacBook Air is lighter and extra transportable than its MacBook Professional counterpart. It’s additionally wedge-shaped, which suggests it’s most likely essentially the most snug laptop computer type issue that Apple makes when it comes to typing and basic use.

The MacBook Professional takes on the standard laptop computer “chunk” type issue. This implies there’s extra room for extra Thunderbolt ports, in addition to an SD card slot and HDMI output on the 14-inch and 16-inch fashions.


On the time of writing, the MacBook Air is restricted to the 13-inch type issue, whereas the MacBook Professional is obtainable in 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch sizes. A bigger chassis means there’s extra space for a roomier keyboard, a greater bass response from the interior audio system (which shine on all fashions), and a bigger trackpad for desktop navigation and gestures.

Weight can also be an element, with a 13-inch MacBook Professional weighing solely 2.8 lb (1.29 kg), whereas a 14-inch MacBook Professional weighs 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) and the 16-inch mannequin weighs 4.7 lb (2.1 kg). This weight makes the MacBook Professional really feel strong and hefty, which can be a fascinating high quality relying in your expectations.

The MacBook Professional Is Extra Costly

Because the MacBook Professional is a extra highly effective machine, it’ll value you greater than a MacBook Air. There’s extra aluminum used within the development, a greater show, and an lively cooling resolution to push the worth up on the MacBook Professional facet of issues.

To interrupt it down, the most cost effective 13-inch MacBook Professional is $1,299 whereas the MacBook Air begins at $999. Each of those machines characteristic the identical M1 chip, however the MacBook Air makes use of passive cooling. Extra highly effective MacBook Professional fashions characteristic 512GB of base storage and extra succesful M1 Professional chips, beginning at $1,999.

16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro

When you max out a MacBook Air you’ll pay $2,049 for 2TB of storage and 16GB of RAM, whereas a MacBook Professional with all of the trimmings will set you again $6,099 for 8TB of storage and a whopping 64GB of RAM. This could offer you some concept of which part of the market the MacBook Professional is aimed toward since it may be an entire cell desktop alternative for many who want that kind of energy.

Whether or not you want all that grunt is as much as you to resolve. There could also be a cheaper resolution in case you want a robust Mac by choosing a Mac Studio with M1 Max chip for $1,999, then selecting up a base MacBook Air for if you’re away out of your desk (and even an iPad, if you will get away with it).

This kind of setup may swimsuit you if you have already got a a number of monitor setup at residence and a set of peripherals you need to use, significantly in case you get most of your work carried out on the identical desk. It additionally unlocks the doubtless far more highly effective M1 Extremely chip as an choice, you probably have the money to splash.

A Few Different Variations

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Professional fashions include a number of the greatest shows which have ever graced a laptop computer, with an HDR peak brightness of round 1600 nits. The laptop computer operates at round 500 nits beneath commonplace desktop circumstances, which is greater than sufficient for many circumstances. It additionally has full-array native dimming, on account of its mini-LED backlighting resolution.

It additionally options one in every of Apple’s extra divisive design choices: the notch. There’s a small rectangle within the high center of the display that has been minimize out to accommodate the webcam and ambient gentle sensor, although you possibly can conceal it with the appropriate software program hacks.

M1 MacBook Pro 13" compared with M1 Pro/M1 Max MacBook Pro 14"

Contained in the notch is an upgraded 1080p webcam, which gives a great bounce in high quality over the earlier 720p mannequin (the identical one which Apple makes use of within the MacBook Air). In addition they characteristic the subsequent technology of Apple’s much-loved MagSafe energy adapter, which attaches with a magnet in order that tripping over your energy wire received’t lead to your laptop computer crashing to the ground.

You don’t have to make use of MagSafe the entire time both and may cost over USB-C in case you’d fairly (which is how the MacBook Air prices usually). Whereas there are solely two of those ports on the MacBook Air, there are no less than three on the 14-inch MacBook Professional and 4 on the 16-inch mannequin, plus the SDXC reader and an HDMI output that you just received’t discover on the Air.

Maybe the least vital distinction of all is the truth that the Air additionally is available in gold, whereas the Professional is restricted to Apple’s staples of House Gray and Silver.

Up to date Fashions Will Arrive Quickly

The MacBook Air was one in every of Apple’s first laptops to obtain the Apple Silicon therapy approach again in 2020 with the discharge of the ARM-based M1 chip. This makes it the most popular contender for the M2 therapy.

The M2 will likely be an evolution of the M1, with doubtlessly extra cores, extra Thunderbolt lanes (and thus extra ports), and different iterative enhancements over the unique Apple Silicon chip.

When you can’t wait to make your buy, although, you possibly can study extra about which it is best to choose by trying out our MacBook suggestions.

The Greatest MacBooks of 2022


MacBook Professional 14-inch (M1 Professional, 2021)


2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop computer: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Show, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Digicam, Contact ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; House Grey


2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop computer: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Show, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Digicam, Contact ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; House Grey


MacBook Professional 16-inch (M1 Professional, 2021)

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