MacBook Air

Apple's lowest-cost notebook with options starting at $999 with an Apple M1 chip. Redesigned 13-inch model with M2 chip from $1,099, and 15-inch version available from $1,299.

By MacRumors Staff
MacBook Air

The M2 MacBook Air

Apple sells two versions of the MacBook Air, one that measures in at 13.6 inches and one that measures in at 15.3 inches. The 13-inch model was introduced in June 2022, while the 15-inch model came out in June 2023, adding a second model to the current-generation MacBook Air lineup for the first time since the 11-inch version was discontinued.

With 13- and 15-inch options, the MacBook Air lineup is suitable for those who want portability and those who prefer larger displays, with no need for those who want a bigger screen to shell out more money for the MacBook Pro lineup. Both MacBook Air models feature the M2 Apple silicon chip, which has been around since 2022.

The 2022 13-inch MacBook Air refresh introduced a new design that Apple also carried over to the new 15-inch model. There is an updated chassis that does away with the tapered design that the MacBook Air used for so long. Instead, the updated MacBook Air models adopts a uniform, flat body similar to the MacBook Pro.

The 13-inch MacBook Air is 11.3mm thick, making it a bit thinner than the prior-generation MacBook Air, and it weighs 2.7 pounds. It is just about the same size as the prior-generation model at 11.97 inches wide and 8.46 inches tall.

The 15-inch MacBook Air is 11.5mm thick, and at 3.3 pounds, it weighs a half pound more than the 13-inch model. It measures in at 13.4 inches wide and 9.35 inches tall.

Thin black bezels surround an updated 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display for the 13-inch model and a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display for the 15-inch model, both of which support 1 billion colors and feature 500 nits brightness

There is a notch at the top of the MacBook Air display, which allows for more screen space around the updated 1080p FaceTime HD camera. Apple added a built-in four-speaker sound system for the 13-inch MacBook Air that supports spatial audio and wide stereo, while the 15-inch model has a six-speaker system. Both models include a three-microphone array.

The MacBook Air comes in Silver, Space Gray, Starlight, and Midnight, the latter of which is a new dark blue shade that's almost black. The MacBook Air continues to feature a black keyboard with Touch ID and a large Force Touch trackpad.

Two USB-C ports are available on the MacBook Air along with a MagSafe port for charging purposes and a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones.

The battery in the MacBook Air lasts for up to 18 hours when watching movies or TV, and up to 15 hours when browsing the web. It supports fast-charging with an optional 70W USB-C power adapter.

Apple's MacBook Air is equipped with a next-generation M2 chip, a follow up to the original M1. The M2 chip features an 8-core CPU and up to a 10-core GPU, along with support for up to 24GB memory. Compared to the M1, the M2 offers advancements in performance and efficiency with an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent faster GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine. Both models use the same M2 chip even though the 15-inch MacBook Air was introduced a year after the 13-inch model.

MacBook Air 15 Inch Feature Teal

Pricing on the 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip starts at $1,099, with Apple introducing a $100 price drop following the launch of the 15-inch version. The 15-inch MacBook Air is priced starting at $1,299, with SSD and processor upgrades available for both models at higher prices. Apple is continuing to sell the M1 MacBook Air for $999.

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How to Buy

The M2 MacBook Air can be purchased from Apple's online store or Apple retail stores, with third-party retailers also selling the machine. Pricing starts at $1,099 for the 13-inch machine, while pricing on the 15-inch machine starts at $1,299. Apple also offers refurbished 13-inch models at a lower price point, and the refurbished 15-inch models are available in Europe.

15-Inch MacBook Air Reviews

Apple in 2023 introduced a new, larger-sized MacBook Air, which accompanies the 13-inch MacBook Air that came out in 2022. According to reviewers, the new 15-inch model hits the "sweet spot" in value, size, and performance.

At $700 cheaper than the 14-inch MacBook Pro, the 15-inch MacBook Air is available at a good price point for a thin, ultra portable laptop. Reviwers praised the speaker system, which is improved compared to the 13-inch model, and the 18-hour battery life.

For more on what reviewers thought of the MacBook Air, we have a dedicated MacBook Air review roundup.

Design

Apple overhauled the design of the MacBook Air in 2022, marking the first major design update to the MacBook Air line since 2010. The updated MacBook Air does away with the tapered chassis that the MacBook Air has used for years, instead introducing a flat MacBook Pro-style body that's the same thickness from front to back.

macbook air body

In 2023, Apple introduced a new 15.3-inch version of the MacBook Air that uses this same design, but with a bigger display size for those who are looking for an affordable machine that has a larger screen. The 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Air feature identical designs with the exception of the chassis and display size.

The 13-inch MacBook Air is about the same overall size as the prior-generation version, but there are some slight differences. It measures in at 11.3mm thick, which is quite a bit thinner than the thickest point of the prior model (16.1mm). It is 11.97 inches long and 8.46 inches deep, and it weighs in at 2.7 pounds, just a little lighter than the 2.8-pound prior-generation model.

macbook air design

The 15-inch MacBook Air is, of course, larger. It is 11.5mm thick, so just a touch thicker than the 13-inch version. It is 13.4-inches long and 9.35-inches deep, and it is heavier at 3.3 pounds.

15 inch macbook air

Two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports are available at the left side of both machines, along with a MagSafe charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple added four rubber feet to the bottom of the machine, another MacBook Pro-style design touch.

m2 macbook air

There are black bezels around the display, similar to the prior-generation model, and it features a black Magic Keyboard with no Touch Bar, along with a large Force Touch trackpad. It is essentially a smaller, lighter version of the MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air is available in Silver, Space Gray, Starlight (a light gold), and Midnight, a new dark blue color.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The MacBook Air uses the same Magic Keyboard from the prior-generation model. It features a scissor switch mechanism that is able to hold up to dust and particulates without failing, unlike the butterfly keyboards that Apple used in older Macs.

macbook air keyboard

The scissor mechanism in the MacBook Air's keyboard offers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, plus it uses an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a more responsive key press. The keyboard also features backlit keys controlled by an ambient light sensor to light up the keys in dark rooms.

As with the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models, the MacBook Air has a full row of function keys with no Touch Bar.

Below the keyboard, there's a large Force Touch trackpad that is unchanged from prior models. The Force Touch trackpad has no traditional buttons and is powered by a set of Force Sensors, allowing users to press anywhere on the trackpad to get the same response. A Taptic Engine powered by magnets provides users with tactile feedback when using the trackpad, replacing the feel of a physical button press.

The Force Touch trackpad supports a light press, which is used as a regular click, along with a deeper press or "force click" as a separate gesture that does things like offer up definitions for a highlighted word.

Touch ID

The M2 MacBook Air has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that's located next to the function keys at the top of the keyboard. Touch ID is powered by a Secure Enclave that keeps your fingerprint data and personal information safe.

Touch ID on the MacBook Air can be used instead of a password, unlocking the Mac when a finger is placed on the sensor. It also replaces a password for password-protected apps, and it can be used to make Apple Pay purchases in Safari.

Ports

The MacBook Air features two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports that support transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s, plus there's a new MagSafe 3 charging port that is identical to the charging port added to the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

macbook air ports

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones.

Display

The 2022 MacBook Air has a display that measure in at 13.6 inches, while the 2023 MacBook Air's display is 15.3 inches in size. Both models have slim bezels and use "Liquid Retina Display Technology." Like the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air has a notch to allow for more display space while still providing access to a 1080p webcam.

macbook air display

The 13-inch MacBook Air has a 2560 x 1664 resolution with 224 pixels per inch, while the 15-inch MacBook Air has a 2880 by 1864 resolution, also with 224 pixels per inch. Both displays offer support for 1 billion colors and P3 Wide color for vivid, true-to-life colors. Brightness maxes out at 500 nits.

The display in the MacBook Air uses True Tone, which is designed to tweak the color of the display to match the lighting in the room. True Tone works through a multi-channel ambient light sensor that's included in the MacBook Air models, which is able to determine both the brightness of the room and the color temperature.

After detecting the white balance, the MacBook Air is able to adjust both the color and intensity of the display to match the room's lighting for a more natural, paper-like viewing experience that also cuts down on eyestrain.

M2 Apple Silicon Chip

Apple uses the M2 chip in both the 13.6- and 15.3-inch MacBook Air models. The M2, which is the successor to the M1, has an 8-core CPU, much like the M1, but it supports eight or ten GPU cores, up from seven or eight in the M1.

m2

Apple says that the M2 chip is built using next-generation 5-nanometer technology, with better performance per watt. It consists of 20 billion transistors, 25 percent more than the M1, adding more memory bandwidth at 100GB/s.

The M2 chip is 1.4x faster than the M1, and 15x faster than old Intel-based MacBook Air options. It features an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent more powerful GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine.

Geekbench benchmarks have confirmed that the M2 chip is up to 20 percent faster than the M1 chip when it comes to multi-core performance.

The M2, which runs at 3.49GHz compared to 3.2GHz for the M1, earned a single-core score of 1919, which is roughly 12 percent faster than the 1707 single-core score of the M1 MacBook Air. The M2 earned a multi-core score of 8928, up about 20 percent from the 7419 score of the M1 model.

As for the Metal benchmark, the M2 chip scored 30627, a notable improvement over the 21001 score earned by the M1. The M2 chip offers up to a 10-core GPU, compared to the 8-core maximum of the M1.

As with the M1 MacBook Air, the M2 MacBook Air models do not contain fans and are able to operate silently.

Memory and Storage

The M2 MacBook Air supports up to 24GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage. The base models ship with 8GB memory and 256GB storage.

Battery Life

The 13-inch MacBook Air is equipped with a 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, while the 15-inch MacBook Air has a 66.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery. Though the 15-inch MacBook Air's battery is larger, both machines last for up to 18 hours when watching movies using the Apple TV app, or up to 15 hours when wirelessly browsing the web.

The base model 13-inch MacBook Air ships with a 30W USB-C power adapter, while the higher-end 13-inch base model with 10-core GPU comes with a 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter. An optional 70W USB-C power adapter available for an extra $20 enables fast charging. The base model 15-inch MacBook Air ships with a 35W Dual USB-C Power Adapter, but customers can instead opt to choose the 70W USB-C power adapter for fast charging instead.

Other Features

Connectivity

The MacBook Air supports 802.11ax WiFi, which is known as Wi-Fi 6, a WiFi protocol that's faster and more efficient than the prior-generation 802.11ac WiFi. It also supports the Bluetooth 5.3 specification, which is faster and more reliable than Bluetooth 5.0.

Speakers and Microphone

The 13-inch MacBook Air features a four-speaker sound system to the MacBook Air with improved stereo separation and vocal clarity from two tweeters and two ultrathin woofers. There is more space in the 15-inch MacBook Air, so it is equipped with a six-speaker sound system with force-cancelling woofers for superior sound. The sound system is one of the few differences between the 13- and 15-inch models.

Both MacBook Air speaker systems support wide stereo sound and Spatial Audio. Spatial Audio is available when playing music or video with Dolby Atmos on the built-in speakers, and Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking can be used with the third-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

The MacBook Air is also equipped with a three-microphone array with directional beamforming for better sound quality on video calls.

FaceTime Camera

The MacBook Air features the same 1080p FaceTime HD camera that was introduced in the 2021 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. It is powered by an advanced image signal processor with computational video that improves video quality, and Apple says it offers double the resolution and low-light performance of the previous generation.

Available Configurations and Upgrade Options

Available Configurations and Upgrade Options

There are two stock 13-inch M2 MacBook Air configurations available from Apple, in Silver, Space Gray, Starlight, and Midnight

  • $1,099 - M2 chip with 8-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD.
  • $1,399 - M2 chip with 10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD.

Entry-Level 13-Inch MacBook Air Upgrade Options

  • 10-core GPU - +$100
  • 16GB Unified Memory - +$200
  • 24GB Unified Memory - +$400
  • 512GB SSD - +$200
  • 1TB SSD - +$400
  • 2TB SSD - +$800
  • 35W Dual USB-C Power Adapter - +$20
  • 70W USB-C Power Adapter - +$20

Higher-End 13-Inch MacBook Air Upgrade Options

  • 16GB Unified Memory - +$200
  • 24GB Unified Memory - +$400
  • 1TB SSD - +$200
  • 2TB SSD - +$600

There are two stock 15-inch MacBook Air configurations available from Apple as well.

  • $1,299 - M2 chip with 10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD.
  • $1,499 - M2 chip with 10-core GPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD.

Entry-Level 15-Inch MacBook Air Upgrade Options

  • 16GB Unified Memory - +$200
  • 24GB Unified Memory - +$400
  • 512GB SSD - +$200
  • 1TB SSD - +$400
  • 2TB SSD - +$800

Higher-End 15-Inch MacBook Air Upgrade Options

  • 16GB Unified Memory - +$200
  • 24GB Unified Memory - +$400
  • 1TB SSD - +$200
  • 2TB SSD - +$600

What's Next for the MacBook Air

Apple is working on new versions of the MacBook Air that are equipped with next-generation M3 chips. The M3 chip will be built on TSMC's 3-nanometer process, bringing performance and efficiency improvements.

The M3 chip is expected to have similar CPU and GPU core counts as the M2 chip, and the new MacBook Air models that use it will likely come out in 2024. Apple is planning to refresh both the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Air models.

MacBook Air Timeline

Roundup Last Updated
September2023
July2023
June2023
May2023
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