Good photo editing takes a lot of skill, whether professionally or as a hobby. It also helps to have a computer that is up to the task. Many choices exist, and many editors swear by their Apple products. So what about the MacBook Air? Is it suitable for Photo Editing?
It absolutely is, especially when discussing the MacBook Air M1 or the latest M2 model. While many will say that the M2 MacBook Pro is the way to go because of its incredibly powerful processor, the MacBook Air packs almost the same punch but for a better value.
My name is Eric, and I am a long-time computer enthusiast. One of the great things I have always loved about them is that they have allowed us to edit our photos. The MacBook Air system is excellent for photo editing, and below I will explain why.
Keep reading if you want to hear why this is an excellent system for photo editing, some of the negatives you might encounter, and if there are better systems out there.
- What makes the MacBook Air good for Photo Editing
- Cons of Using a MacBook Air for Photo Editing
What makes the MacBook Air good for Photo Editing
Older MacBook Airs can be used for photo editing. Still, here I will focus on the newer M1 and M2 models since these are the latest versions, and Apple has made significant upgrades with these models, which is one of the reasons they can work so well for editing your images.
Let’s look at some of the main reasons the MacBook Air is suitable for photo editing.
If you take a look at the specs of the M1 MacBook Air or the M2 MacBook Air, you will find that they have an 8-core processor, which provides plenty of power for nearly any editing you will do. You won’t have any issues running your favorite photo editing apps on either.
They also have an 8-core GPU (the M2 can be configured to have a 10-core) to provide outstanding graphics and work along with their amazing-looking displays.
The M1 can be configured to have up to 16 GB of memory, and the M2 can have up to 24 GB. I recommend getting as much memory as you can afford since large images and image processing often require larger amounts of memory, and it will help speed things up when you are editing.
Both versions are configurable with up to a 2 TB SSD drive. This will allow you to store plenty of photos on your local drive if needed, and it is a great idea to get the maximum-size drive because smaller ones will fill up fast, especially when it comes to photos and images.
The items I have mentioned above cover the performance of the MacBook Air, which is more than adequate for general photo editing and will also do very well for high-end photo editing. Performance may be the most important, but you must consider other factors.
The MacBook Air is the smallest and lightest of the MacBooks, making it very portable. The low power usage and long battery life also mean you don’t have to be tethered to an outlet.
For photographers and editors who are on the go, this can be a key benefit. You can go out on a photo shoot, view and edit photos right there on location and then determine if you need to take any more shots before leaving. This can save both time and travel expenses.
Ease of Use
The great thing about Apple products, especially if you are already an Apple user, is that they are intuitive and easy to use. You can spend time editing photos, not learning how to use the computer.
With the MacBook Air and Apple products, applications are readily available, especially for photo editing. You can find them in the App Store or online; many are low-cost or free. Those are also available if you want to go with the big-name professional applications.
You won’t worry about finding quality photo editing software that works for you.
The MacBook Air is affordable compared to the MacBook Pro and many other laptops while providing the power and features needed for photo editing. It’s great for anyone on a budget. Even if you’re not on a budget, it still provides the best value in its class.
Cons of Using a MacBook Air for Photo Editing
There’s not much to complain about with the M1 and M2 MacBook Air. It’s an overall great system and will satisfy the needs of almost any photo editor. That said, no system is perfect, so let’s look at a few minor complaints some may have.
To limit the size and weight of the MacBook Air and also the power consumption, it has a smaller 13-inch screen. Many editors would prefer a larger screen, making it easier to see what you’re working on.
You can connect an external monitor to the laptop, which helps, but you won’t want to lug it around when you are on the go.
A limited Number of Ports
Another issue often brought up with the MacBook Air is that it has only two USB ports. Many find this a problem if they connect external monitors and other peripheral devices, but this problem can be alleviated by using wireless devices or purchasing a USB hub.
Not as powerful as MacBook Pro
Not only is the MacBook Air not as powerful as the MacBook Pro, but the Pro can also be configured to have more memory and more disk space. These enhancements are always better for any application but are not always necessary.
No matter what system you purchase or use, there will always be a better one available or that will come along after you buy yours. If a system like the MacBook Air fits your needs and is a good value for you, you don’t necessarily need to spend the money on a more powerful system.
You Can’t Upgrade
The MacBook Air cannot be upgraded, so if your needs grow, you will not be able to grow the system with you. While this is unlikely to happen anytime soon with the M2 MacBook Air, it is something that concerns some users. Will I need more processing power, memory, or disk space?
As with any system, it will eventually become outdated, and you will need to purchase a new one anyway, but when buying a new one, you want to make sure that you buy a system that is well-configured for your needs. When in doubt, go for as many upgrades as you can afford.
Below are a few questions often asked when considering a MacBook Air for photo editing.
Which is more important, processing power, memory, or disk space?
This can depend on your usage and what application you use. I prioritize by processing speed, memory, and then disk space, but some applications can be memory hogs, and you may want to ensure you have the maximum amount of memory. On the other hand, you may want to save tons of photos locally on your machine. In that case, you may opt for more disk space.
Should I get a MacBook Pro instead?
Yes, if you can afford one with better specs than the top-of-the-line MacBook Air. The high-end MacBook Pros will perform better and have a larger screen, but you will sacrifice some portability regarding weight, screen size, and battery power.
What about using older MacBook Airs for photo editing?
You can still use older MacBook Airs for photo editing, but you will likely run into slow downs and possibly apps crashing or not even working if the system is too old. Slowdowns will be the most common thing, which can get very frustrating when editing photos.
The MacBook Air is good for photo editing. The newer M1 and M2 models provide plenty of power, and upgrades in memory and disc space improve the Air to where it is an excellent choice for this type of work and will function well for photo editing.
I hope the information above can help you to decide what type of machine you would like to use for your photo editing. As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.