The MacBook Air has been one of the most popular laptops since it hit the market, especially with the M1 chip it has seen huge success.
Before 2020 Apple had a very tough time with their models, they are slow and not enough to perform the tasks.
But things turn around with the 2020 model the Apple MacBook Air is in trend for students and largely for programmers and coders, but if you have not used it before then you must be thinking is MacBook air good for programming?
To know everything about MacBook air, this post is going to help you a lot, as we have tested the device for a few months and indeed, we have discovered some pros and cons.
However, if you need an answer to your questions is mac air good for coding and programming? Request you to read this full post to know everything.
Also read: Are gaming laptops good for programming
System Requirements for programming and Coding
- CPU: Intel i5, AMD Ryzen 5 (Minimum 4 cores is a must, speed 2.0Ghz or above)
- Ram: 8GB DDR4 with the upgradeable slot. (16GB DDR4 ram is best for heavy or professional users)
- Storage capacity: Minimum 256GB SSD (512GB is best)
- Graphics card: Integrated GPU
- Operating system: Windows 10 64bit, Mac, or Linux.
- Display: Full HD 1920 x 1080.
The above requirement will give you smooth working on programming languages like java, python, C++, etc.
Now let us quickly go through the features of the Macbook air and then we will dive into each point to discuss whether is mac air good for programmers.
However, if you want to jump into an in-depth discussion then just go down yet you should go over the specifications so you can understand what you are going to get, so let’s begin.
Apple Macbook Air M1 laptop
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Highlights of the laptop:
- CPU M1 chip with 8 cores with 3.1 GHz speed.
- GPU integrated with 7-8 cores.
- The neural engine’s 16 cores support machine learning.
- Ram Memory up to 8GB.
- The storage capacity is available in 256GB / 512GB SSD.
- Storage upgradeable up to 2TB.
- Display 13.3” with excellent color accuracy.
- Excellent long battery life.
- Lightweight and portable.
Things we did not like:
- Ram is not upgradeable.
- Not ideal for gaming.
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Also Read: Best laptop for web development
Is MacBook air good for programming in 2023
Now for instance is MacBook air good for programmers? Yes to some extent it’s quite a good laptop for coding and programming.
It is ultralightweight with an aesthetic look it adds a lot of value to professional users, due to its sleek design and hardware supports you can expect to run applications smoothly, and you can also write and develop the code on it.
However, in this section, I am soon going to reveal our findings while testing this machine but the first question you must ask is is it really worth spending on Macbook?
As it’s a little more expensive than other options, you have multiple alternatives in the same range.
And in fact, even at the lower range, numerous gaming laptops, and student, and professional laptops we have in the market are suitable for working on programming applications.
If you are a beginner-level of coder and student who does not have to deal with multiple IDE and applications, and just work on a single IDE, visual studio, eclipse, IntelliJ, etc, where you have to practice basic programs for all these apple MacBook air is a perfect on-the-go machine for you, as it has the capability to deliver a smooth experience on all other tasks.
Now coming to our testing we have literally taken this to an extreme level, especially the Ram memory.
The laptop consumed all the memory after running 4-5 heavy software with multiple tabs opened, and the conclusive result is this device will not allow you to use it as a server machine for professional use.
As a professional full-time programmer, you have to do a high level of multi-tasking where you need to open multiple software with other tools, then it’s not the most recommended mac for programming.
However, you can run photoshop it’s quite more efficient than windows and other things like booting and loading are way faster which makes your work easy and increases productivity but again if you work on a cloud setup then not the most advised machine.
In this case, you need a laptop with 16GB ram, however, most of the coders do not do very high-end development so you can consider it if you are one of them.
Overall you won’t be able to connect it to a server machine which is a drawback, however for basic coding you can use it.
If you are ready to spend and looking for only Apple MacBook, then you can go with the Apple Macbook Pro version which features 16GB ram.
It is still quite expensive so if you do not have a budget to spend on it then you have multiple windows laptop options available, especially gaming laptops are the perfect device for those who have to operate a laptop as a server machine regularly.
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Detail answer: is MacBook air good for programmers?
The above overview we have given on the model with M1 chip with 8GB ram + 256GB SSD, now let’s discuss each component of the Macbook Air for programming, so let us begin.
The programming and coding are highly CPU extensive tasks so your main focus should be on the CPU, now Apple has intel-based models as well but in 2020 they have introduced their own processor, now as per brand, it’s faster than other processors.
The speed of the machine is not the important thing to notice still I would say that it has all the capability to handle coding and programming work, however, it’s not a beast at the price point but pretty powerful it’s competitive with intel i5 and AMD Ryzen 5.
As I said this integrated CPU has strong Cores support, for programmers barely 4 cores minimum are needed, and this M1 chip comes with 8 cores.
This octa-core processor lets you open multiple tabs and applications overall MacBook air smoothens the multi-tasking, and increases the efficiency of your work.
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The ram memory is a crucial component for coding and programming, as ram stores the temporary data while you working on your projects so basically 8GB of ram is a decent option for basic-level work.
However, we had enough conclusions on the ram requirement above, as the processor is strong enough due to its core support but ram is a little tricky topic in MacBook air.
There are 16GB MacBooks available but that has a very high-priced model, though I would definitely say it’s worth running heavy programming software still nowadays we have mid-budget laptops that offer a good processor with 16GB memory for under 1000 dollars.
If you compare this with the MacBook pro you will end up saving about 200-500 bugs, moreover, you have to compromise on battery life and portability a bit.
But MacBook has a strong battery life of up to 10 hours and above, whereas other laptops have lower battery backups depending on the model.
Another thing that limits you in MacBook is that most of their laptops do not have upgradability feature especially with the ram.
They use soldered ram into the systems, therefore if you work on heavy applications or develop android systems that require both processing and memory, this is where it does not allow you to test heavy applications.
As if it had an upgradability feature you can always extend the ram support, the other latest and modern laptops do come with upgradability.
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The MacBook Air model comes with two options one variant has 256GB SSD and another one has 512GB SSD, now as a programmer you do not need to store many heavy applications so 256GB SSD is sufficient additionally you have the upgradable option up to 2TB SSD.
Moreover, for 512GB SSD, you need to spend a little more but it is worth it as you do not have to spend extra bugs on future up-gradation.
Still, 256GB is enough in the laptop for programming especially in case of a tight budget as you can manage with an external hard drive this will save you money.
In programming feasibility and accessibility of multiple operating systems is essential, the reason why a large number of software engineers and developers prefer the apple mac is due to its feature having the capability of working on different platforms.
For instance, here I am not at all saying windows is not good for programming but Mac is slightly ahead as you have access to other platforms as well, in windows, you won’t be able to get Mac support but in Apple laptops, you can access windows with few necessary settings.
Additionally, the mac is also built-in to support Unix and Linux operating systems which consider the top-rated OS for programming to work on coding, under mac you get maximum access to multiple software whereas windows have very limited options.
The mac is essential for programming, just for instance if you want to develop ios applications so you need a mac device so you can register to generate final files.
Therefore it’s largely accepted by programmers and almost everyone wants to get MacBook despite its high price than its competitor.
The mac os is pretty efficient and fast with an excellent battery that results in less charging and long hours of use, these all things impact positively on your performance while coding and programming.
The in-build SSD in this system is incredibly faster than what you get in windows SSD, overall it’s worth every penny when you compare it to windows.
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The Apple laptop is known for its long-lasting battery life this is another reason why many students and professionals do prefer Mac devices.
Especially the latest invented machines, the overall battery backup is pretty strong you easily get 8-10 hours of running, making it a pretty strong contender for your working need.
The brand claims that it delivers up to 18 hours of battery life which to some extent it does on regular use for day-to-day tasks.
However, if you work on heavy applications with multiple tabs open and a backlit keyboard can drain the battery faster, overall, it’s an excellent machine for long hours of use.
Also read: Gaming laptop with good battery life
Design and build quality:
The design of the device is quite professional and attractive, this is suitable for users who are looking for a laptop for business.
The build quality is compact and sturdy moreover the major concern with Macbook is its keyboard as the previous versions had issues with quality but the latest released laptop since 2020 had sorted out this issue at a significant level.
The keyboard offers backlit support while working late nights you can utilize it by adjusting it as per your comfort, it’s a much-improved model.
Apple has put a lot of effort to make it a robust and tough machine to use, especially credit going to them as the weight of the laptop is 1.25kgs yet made with good quality.
Also Read: Laptop with a mechanical keyboard
Frequently asked questions:
is MacBook air good for web development?
The MacBook Air is a good option for web development, the variant equipped with 8GB ram is decent enough to work but it’s not the most future-proof choice, you need 16GB ram at some point and the Mac air is not having ram upgradability prospect.
So, in this case, if you have a budget to spend then suggest you go with a 16GB ram variant otherwise look for a laptop that has an upgradability slot for memory with an intel i5 CPU and an SSD drive must.
Moreover, an Apple laptop with an intel i5 is a decent choice for day-to-day regular work but I would suggest going with other options as with the intel variant the quality of the keyboard and overall performance is not the most efficient.
Do developers prefer Mac or PC?
Both are preferred by developers but Mac is a highly preferred choice for developers.
Due to its thinnest design and weight is not more than 1.25kgs which is a pretty cool option for development professionals, as in this field you often need to visit clients for meetings making it easier to go outdoors.
Another feature that makes it a better option is its amazingly optimized components that make things faster, additionally, the brightness of the screen is amazing and can adjust as per the situation you can use it anywhere.
The Mac operating system is very user-friendly that let you access other popular OS, such as windows you just have to do a few settings virtually and you also get access to Linux which is the best for programmers and developers.
However, if you are a heavy developer then instead of a MacBook Air with 8GB ram you should consider a 16GB variant, especially if you work on a system where you need to connect your system as a server machine.
Do more developers use Mac or Windows?
Large numbers of developers still use windows for development, as not everyone can afford to get a Mac laptop.
However, more than its usage it’s important to understand which one is best for coding and programming, for more detail you can read the above operating system section we have discussed in detail.
For instance, in the last few years, the mac is a more preferable choice for programmers as this allows you to use a maximum Operating system that makes your work a lot easier, you can access windows and Linux as well but you won’t be able to get MAC OS support in windows laptop.
Is 256GB MacBook air enough for programming?
This is depending on your usage if you are solely going to use it for programming purposes then it’s enough to save applications in your system.
Another factor that you must consider if you do video editing, saves a lot of movies and videos 512GB SSD is something you need to save all your data.
Though MacBook air comes with extendibility support for storage but the SSD drives are costly, in this circumstance, you can always keep the extra drive to store all your temporary files, overall Yes 256GB Mac is decent enough for coding and programming.
In this post, we have discussed Mac for programming with a detailed analysis of our tests and findings, and also I have covered a specs overview.
The final verdict on whether is Macbook air good for coding and programming. It is definitely a Yes especially due to its Mac operating system.
Also, it’s a much-improved laptop in terms of build quality and keyboard, the battery life is the longest which is the highlight of the Mac.
However, let’s summarize the specs the CPU is pretty powerful and gives a performance like Intel and AMD, it’s quite faster than windows machines as Mac uses a more efficient SSD drive that increases the speed of the device.
The main concern is memory support the 8GB ram is enough for all your work but if you do heavy programming especially if you want to run your machine as a server then 16GB is a must in this scenario MacBook pro is a better choice.
However Pro version is a little expensive then you can prefer to go with a gaming laptop as it will have a faster CPU, ram with an upgradable slot, and an SSD drive that enhances the speed.