Is Macbook Air Good For Programming? Research Done For Programmers And Developers In 2023

You don’t need high specs in a PC to code. The basic requirements are a good backup,  a sleek design, powerful RAM and CPU with ample storage, and a vivid screen.

The older models of Macbook Air provided all these requirements, but the chips were not so powerful to satisfy the coder’s needs. 

🤔Do You Know?
The Macbooks are expensive, but what you get in return is 5 6 years software support and apex level optimization, which is almost impossible in other brands.

However, the latest Macbook Air equipped with the M1 or M2 chips is probably one of the best choices for programming. I will present solid reasons to support the statement. But first, we should know the recommended specs for a good programming machine. After that, we will compare these specs with Macbook Air.

Recommended Specs for Good Programming Machine

Let me take you through specific requirements when picking up a laptop for coding. Depending upon your development niche, it can vary greatly. 

RAM

RAM is one of the essential factors when opting for a laptop for programming. While programming, you might need heavy IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) and integrate or run virtual machines. IDEs like Visual Studio, Andriod Studio, Xcode, and Eclipse require considerable RAM to run smoothly. 4 GB of RAM can be satisfactory, but 8 GB is ideal for programmers using IDEs.

Processor

Another essential aspect when choosing a laptop for programming is the processor. A faster processor is as crucial as RAM to develop applications that require heavy graphics. The processor also helps smooth switching between screens, windows, or applications. A speedy processor comes in very handy when compiling code. Android Studio is a resource-intensive IDE and requires a fast processor.

The Intel Core i5 will work for a Windows laptop if you are developing non-gaming applications. However, if you are a game developer, you must have an Intel Core i7. You don’t need to worry much about the processor if you are a web developer.

Keyboard

It plays a vital role while coding because programmers spend endless hours on the keyboard. Select a keyboard that you find comfortable for yourself. I recommend a keyboard with decent travel and a soft touch. A backlit keyboard can be handy, especially while coding in dim lights. A laptop keyboard without numeric keys can be troublesome at times.

Screen Size

For ergonomic reasons, the quality and size of the screen are equally important as other factors. I recommend a laptop screen with a 15-inch size, provided you are comfortable with its portability. The 13-inch screen size is ideal for you if you prefer portability. If you are a game developer, your screen should be at least full HD. While there is no budget constraint, 4K is the best option.

Thanks to Singh in USA for this detailed review after one year. He has especially targeted the programming reviews.

4 Reasons Why Macbook Air is Good for Programming

Below are why I consider the Macbook Air one of the best options for programming. Some of these reasons might not be technical and can be subject to personal choices like portability. It can be a personal choice if you prefer a bigger screen size over an easily portable laptop.

Battery Life

MacBook Air has no match when it comes to battery backup. It has a built-in 49.9-watt-hour lithium battery, and on average, Macbook Air with an M1 chip offers 16-18 hours of battery backup. You can code a full day on your Macbook Air without connecting a charger. It also means you don’t need to carry a charger anywhere. 

CPU Performance

The M1 chip on the Macbook Air will outperform its competitors in every aspect. You can run Xcode, PyCharm, and WS Code without a single glitch. You can seamlessly emulate an entire Swift application if you are a Swift developer. Even heavy IDEs like PyCharm, which uses the heavy resource, performs well compared to lightweight compliers.

Software Support

When it comes to software support, Apple has no match.

You will get almost all the latest versions of IDEs, even later in the laptop’s life. It also means that you don’t have to worry about updates of specific languages like Python, as your Macbook Air will be ready at any given time.

Most importantly, with the inclusion of Apple Silicon, the Apple Rosetta layer will ensure that the X86 applications also work well with the latest ARM architecture.

Portability

It is a factor where Macbook Air beats every single competitor. It has dimensions of 11.97 inches by 8.36 inches and weighs only 2.7s lbs. In this era of remote working, you can carry Macbook Air everywhere and code wherever you want. If you are okay with the 13-inch screen size, then you won’t find a better machine in terms of portability. If you are not concerned with big displays then you can check out the 11-inch laptops which are way more lightweight and portable.

Pros and Cons of Macbook Air for Programming

Before finalizing whether the Macbook Air is suitable for programming, let’s first look at the pros and cons of the Macbook Air on a broader level. 

ProsCons
Support every compiler environmentNo USB Ports
Compatible with open-source packages13-inch screen size can be small
Support XCode for iOS, iPad, watchOS, tvOSWhen using heavy iOS and Android emulators, RAM might not handle
Compatible with PyCharm, and Eclipse. Morechallenging to use when developing Windows apps
High portability
Support ARM-based Android emulators

Conclusion

MacBook Air is one of the best choices for programming. It is fast, lightweight, portable, compatible with almost every type of compiler, and, most importantly, with a whopping 16 hours of extended battery life. Compared to Macbook Pro, it costs less but performs equally well. I recommend you opt for Macbook Air and not invest in more expensive variants for the sole purpose of programming.