After the 2018 MacBook Air launched, complaints began surfacing about the machine's 720p FaceTime HD camera, with users suggesting it was noticeably worse than the ‌FaceTime‌ cameras on other MacBook machines, including the 2018 MacBook Pro and the previous-generation ‌MacBook Air‌.

All 720p cameras are rather poor in quality compared to the ‌FaceTime‌ cameras that we get in iPhones and iPads, so we initially believed these complaints were coming from people who just expected more from a 2018 machine.

macbookairgroupfacetime
Given the sheer volume of complaints, though, MacRumors decided to do some investigating and found that the 720p ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera in the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ does indeed appear to be worse than the ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera in some other models, specifically the 2015 ‌MacBook Air‌.

2018 MacBook Air vs. older MacBook Air

Compared to the 2015 ‌MacBook Air‌, the ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera in the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ is noticeably worse. It's darker, grainier, and lower in quality. To be clear, neither camera is good because we're talking about 720p video here, but there is a visible difference in side by side photos.

2018macbookairvs2015macbookair

2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ on left, 2015 ‌MacBook Air‌ on right


2018 MacBook Air vs. 2018 MacBook Pro

The 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌'s ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera is actually pretty similar to the ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera in the 2018 MacBook Pro. There's little difference that we saw in comparison images, suggesting that the two machines are using similar cameras, neither of which is particularly good.

2018macbookairvs2018macbookpro

720p camera quality

The ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera that Apple is using in the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ is far worse than the cameras on modern iPhones and iPads, and quality hasn't been bumped up for years, which is the real problem.

‌FaceTime‌ streaming is limited to 720p, but we do use our front-facing cameras for other purposes, and the poor quality of the cameras Apple uses in its notebooks is a stark contrast to the sharp 7-megapixel front-facing camera in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, and XS Max.

Even bumping that camera up to 1080p would make a world of difference when it comes to quality, as evidenced in photos captured using the 1080p ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera in the iMac Pro.

2018macbookairvsimacpro
The 720p camera in the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ does suck, but so do the ‌FaceTime‌ HD cameras Apple uses across the Mac notebook lineup.

Which models are affected?

All ‌MacBook Air‌ models appear to have the same ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera and thus all models are impacted. The quality of the camera is less bothersome to some users than others, but there have been a large volume of complaints.

What does Apple have to say about the issue?

Nothing. Apple hasn't yet commented on the complaints over the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌'s camera.

What can I do if I'm unsatisfied with my camera?

If you're unhappy with the ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera in the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌, the only recourse seems to be to return it. There's nothing that can be done to improve the camera at this point in time, though buying an external webcam is also a possible solution.

There is a possibility that there's a software issue that could be fixed via an over-the-air update, based on the testing of some users who have claimed to see better quality video in some apps compared to others, but the results have been inconsistent and it's unclear if hardware or software is to blame.

Is it still worth buying a 2018 MacBook Air?

If you're buying a notebook for its front-facing camera, the 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌ isn't a great choice, nor is any other Mac. The same is true if the front-facing camera is an important feature to you.

If you just use ‌FaceTime‌ occasionally, have other devices to fall back on, and don't need to rely on the front-facing camera, the ‌MacBook Air‌ is a capable machine with a Retina display, T2 chip, Touch ID, support for up to 16GB RAM, a third-generation butterfly keyboard, a Force Touch trackpad, and Thunderbolt 3 support.

Top Rated Comments

Pepe4life Avatar
29 months ago
Back in the Jobs era, I was happy to pay premium prices to get high quality MacBooks.

Now, MacBooks are less reliable than windows laptops while prices increased by 20% for no reason
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BWhaler Avatar
29 months ago
I hope Tim likes missing earnings.

Keep cutting corners while charging premiums for products and that’s what will happen.

The bean counters are wrecking the place.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
29 months ago
I could swear I read this article before.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fcs132 Avatar
29 months ago
Relax it’s a feature. Enhanced Privacy. No need to cover your webcam if it’s quality is comparable to a 2010 android ;)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
29 months ago
There’s no excuse for the camera to be worst than an older generation
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LogicalApex Avatar
29 months ago
Honestly, the camera on my 2018 MBP is so laughably bad I'm not even sure why Apple included it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
apple music for artists new icon

Apple's Revamped Apple Music for Artists Icon Leads to Speculation About iOS 15 Design Plans

Tuesday April 6, 2021 1:03 pm PDT by
Apple yesterday updated its Apple Music for Artists app with some minor bug fixes and improvements, but also one other notable change -- a new icon. New icon on the right The Apple Music for Artists app now features a simpler, streamlined icon with a pinkish red music logo rather than the multicolored logo that was used before. The icon also has an embossed look that makes it stand out from...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...
new m1 chip

M1 Mac RAM and SSD Upgrades Found to Be Possible After Purchase

Tuesday April 6, 2021 5:34 am PDT by
Technicians in China have reportedly succeeded in upgrading the memory and storage of the M1 chip, suggesting that Apple's integrated custom silicon for the Mac may be more flexible than previously thought. Reports of maintenance technicians being able to expand the memory and storage of M1 Macs began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend, but now international reports have...
Intel MBP Is Thin and Lighjt

Intel Ad for 'World's Best Processor' Features a MacBook Pro

Wednesday April 7, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Intel has been on a relentless marketing drive against Mac computers in recent weeks, positioning them as inferior to Windows laptops powered by Intel processors. In a slight slip-up, however, Intel has accidentally used a MacBook instead of a Windows laptop in one of its newest ads to promote one of its new 11th-generation chips as "the world's best processor." The ad appeared on Reddit and ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
14

Apple Seeds Seventh Betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the seventh betas of upcoming iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta updates coming one week after Apple released the sixth iOS and iPadOS 14.5 betas. iOS and iPadOS 14.5 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS 14.5 is the...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...