Is MacBook Air Good For Coding

Yes, the MacBook air is good for coding. The m1 or M2 silicon chip is far superior to the intel i5 chip models and 8GB of ram is just enough to run multiple programs while doing mobile development.

If you intend to have a bunch of programs and emulators running, you should upgrade the MacBook air to have at least 16GB of ram, otherwise when using programs like Flutter you will encounter a bunch of errors.

Is MacBook Air Good For Coding

The MacBook air has excellent hardware but it comes with the downside of only being able to connect to one monitor because it is not a MacBook Pro.

This is a big consideration to make, can you do all your work and stay productive with only one side monitor for coding? Other things to mention is that the screen size is a little smaller which can feel a bit constricting.

8GB of base ram is enough for coding and running emulators at the same time. However, if you do multitasking like using video editing software as well, then 8GB of ram might not cut it and you would have to opt for the upgrade.

Browsing and googling answers while coding is very fast as the silicon chips are so well optimised, it makes every page load super fast and run very smoothly.

Processor

The silicon chips are definitely better performing than the older intel i5 Macbook air models. You get heaps of computational power with the Silicon m1 chip for programming.

The M1 chip is most likely all you need as a programmer and if you need more performance you should look at upgrading ram instead.

Ram

8GB ram is what you get in the base model MacBook Air, it’s good but not great. You will be using 90% of it at most times when you are coding. If you use intensive software and a bunch of emulators at the same time, expect to get some errors.

I would suggest going for the 16GB upgrade if that’s the case. If you write programs for games with graphics then 8GB may not be enough.

With 8GB you are going to have to manage your background applications a lot to make sure nothing is taking up more than it should. For example you would switch to brave instead of chrome to save on that ram usage.

Keyboard

The Keyboard on the MacBook air is great and it lets you write code very fast with minimal mistakes. The actuation time and feeling of the keys is very good and fun to type on. It feels very light which gives you the effect that you can type really fast.

The fingerprint ID button is also very handy to login to your laptop fast and continue with your coding work.

It also has full heigh function keys to make your experience that much more efficient. Things like adjusting the brightness up, turning on the spotlight with one key press instead of a combination of keys and toggling on the do not disturb mode to focus on coding.

These small changes do make the keyboard feel a lot more efficient. The keyboard does get really greasy though if you using it everyday and coding a lot.

Screen

The screen on the M2 is a bit larger than the M1 so it will let you fit more code on single lines. It supports a 2k display which is very sharp and allows for more viewing and a larger workspace.

The liquid retina display is very good, it comes with 500 Nits brightness which is a perfect brightness for coding in the day or at night.

At the top of the screen it has a thinner bezel on the M2 than the M1 which gives you more spaec to use the top bars in coding apps in full screen.

Flutter

You may experience ram related problems like slowdowns when using flutter on the silicon chip.

When you compile your laptop is going to heat up a lot and can reach really high temp around 80 degrees.

Flutter can be very frustrating to use on the MacBook Air because of the silicon chip so be ready to troubleshoot a bunch of errors that pop up.

If you want to do mobile development on the MacBook Air then you should get 16GB of ram or more. When you have multiple emulators open on the silicon chip, be ready to get a bunch of errors.

Storage

256GB of storage seems a bit small for a base model, but the fact that it’s an optimised Apple SSD makes it sufficient.

This amount of storage can be enough for all your coding projects. If you do other things on the side like video editing then you might want to get a 512GB which costs an additional couple hundred dollars.

Build Quality

You can only connect two other devices on the MBA. It has two thunderbolt ports and requires a USB hub if you want more.

The keyboard is one of the best on a laptop. Apple has a great typing space to allow for quick and efficient typing. Some MBA models also have a full height function key row which is very popular. It comes with a magic keyboard which is better than the butterfly.

Programmers usually like mechanical keyboards so this can be a challenge for some if coming from a mechanical keyboard. You can always connect an external one.

A 13 inch screen could be big enough for some, but I think it’s not too great. It doesn’t give you enough room to multitask. You can only really use one window at a time and would have to be in fullscreen mode to read all the code on screen.

MacBook Air Or Pro For Programming

Go with the 16 inch MacBook Pro if you need to do intensive programming and want to future proof your purchase. However, the MacBook Air will still give you a good few years run for your money.

It’s not necessary to go with the MBP, you can definitely get away with just using the MBA if you can manage your ram and cpu usage properly.

The MBP does have some great benefits though like a larger screen, 1TB SSD, six cores, more powerful silicon chips such as the M1 pro chip and 16GB of ram. The MBP is not budget friendly though and will cost you some money.

Hardcore and complex programming projects will run your MBA at super high temps and flutter could give you many errors.

Cons Of The MacBook Air

There are positives and negatives of the MacBook Air when it comes to development. These pros and cons also change depending on what your programming needs are.

If you are someone who needs a lot of performance when programming because you use a lot of programs then these can be amplified.

The cons:

  • The screen is only 13 inches and can be constricting in terms of productivity and workspace
  • The laptop reaches very high temperatures when compiling
  • You get many errors on flutter when using only 8GB of ram
  • You can only connect one extra monitor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is MacBook Air suitable for coding?

The MacBook Air M1 and M2 are great models to program on. They are an excellent choice if you are trying to save on money but need performance. The 8GB ram options are sufficient to program on but some developers may need 16GB depending on their needs.

Is MacBook Air or Pro better for coding?

The MacBook Pro is superior to the MacBook Air for coding. The MacBook Air will rise to insanely high temperatures while compiling and will run into many errors when running programs such as flutter. If you are a mobile developer, then go with the MacBook Pro.

What MacBook is good for coding?

The MacBook Pro 13 inch is a great option for coding, it has an M2 chip which will give you adequate processing power to compile and code quickly. The keyboard is also very nice to type on and this model is faster than the MacBook Air.

Conclusion

The MacBook Air is a great laptop for coding as it’s budget friendly and also very optimised. It has one of the best feeling keyboards for coding and houses a great M1 or M2 silicon chip that makes browsing and using development programs very smooth.

The only issue with the MacBook Air is that the base model comes with only 8GB of ram and this can be just enough for most developers, however if you do mobile development you are most likely going to need 16GB.

Another thing to mention is that when compiling and running your projects, the laptop can get very hot and starts to heat up to insane temperatures.

I hope you have a good idea of whether the MacBook air is good for coding now. Let me know your opinions in the comments if you already do coding on the MacBook air.

With over 12 years of experience with laptops, Grayson Uppington has delved deep into the tech world, always learning and sharing. His top pick is the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, blending performance with style. Formerly a pro gamer in CS:GO, those tournaments sharpened his skills and heightened his appreciation for laptop potential.