Mac Air Mac Pro

Jun 18, 2020. Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Macbook Air Vs Macbook Pro
  2. Mac Air Laptop Review
  3. Mac Pro Reviews 2017
  4. Mac Air Vs Mac Pro 2020
  5. Mac Air V Mac Pro

Performance and features: MacBook Pro vs. Day-to-day use of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is relatively similar. Both computers run.

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Lift the lid of your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air to turn it on, or press Touch ID. Every time you start up, restart, or log out, you need to type your password to log in to your user account. After setting up Touch ID, as long as you're logged in, you can use your fingerprint instead of typing when you're asked for your password.

With Touch ID, you can also use your fingerprint to make purchases from the App Store, Apple Books Store, and iTunes Store, as well as many of your favorite websites using Apple Pay.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

On MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar, the Touch ID button is on the right side of the Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard.


13- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar introduced in late 2019 or later


13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar introduced in 2016 through 2019

MacBook Air

On MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 and later, the Touch ID button is on the right side of the function keys.

MacBook Air (2020)

How to set up Touch ID

  1. Make sure that your finger is clean and dry.
  2. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  3. Click Touch ID.
  4. Click the plus sign to add a fingerprint, type your user account password when prompted, then follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Use the checkboxes to select the Touch ID features that you want to use on your Mac.

Tips for adding fingerprints:

  • Place your finger on the Touch ID button — but don’t press. Hold it there until you're asked to lift your finger.
  • Lift and rest your finger slowly, making small adjustments to the position of your finger each time.
  • Add up to three fingerprints.

You can also delete fingerprints:

  1. Hover the pointer over a fingerprint. A delete button appears.
  2. Click the delete button, then enter your password to remove the fingerprint.

Use Touch ID to unlock your Mac

After you set up Touch ID, you can use it to unlock your Mac. Wake up your Mac by opening the lid, pressing a key, or tapping the trackpad. Then place your finger lightly on Touch ID to log in.

You must type your password to log in after you start up, restart, or log out of your Mac. When you're logged in, you can quickly authenticate with Touch ID whenever you're asked for your password.

You can also use Touch ID to unlock these features on your Mac:

Difference mac air mac pro
  • Password-protected Notes
  • The Passwords section in Safari preferences
  • System Preferences
    If you have FileVault turned on, you must type your password to unlock the Security & Privacy pane and the Users & Groups pane.

If multiple users set up Touch ID and log in to the same Mac, they can use Touch ID to switch accounts. Just press Touch ID, and your Mac switches to the logged-in user account associated with the fingerprint.

Make iTunes Store, App Store, and Apple Books Store purchases with Touch ID

Use Touch ID instead of your Apple ID password to make purchases on your Mac:

  1. Open the iTunes Store, App Store, or Apple Books Store.
  2. Click the buy button for something you want to purchase. A Touch ID prompt appears.
  3. Place your finger on Touch ID to complete the purchase.

You might be prompted to enter your password on your first purchase or if you've made changes to the fingerprints that you've enrolled in Touch ID.

Use Touch ID for Apple Pay

You can make easy, secure, and private purchases on websites using Apple Pay on your Mac. Apple Pay never stores your credit or debit card information and never shares it with the merchant.

Apple Pay is not available in all regions.

Set up Apple Pay

On Mac notebooks with Touch ID, you’re prompted to configure Apple Pay during setup. If you don’t choose to set up Apple Pay when you first start up, you can set it up later in the Wallet & Apple Pay section of System Preferences. You can also check your transaction history and manage your payment cards there. For example, you can add or delete cards and make updates to contact or shipping information.

You can add payment cards to only one user account on your Mac. If you set up Apple Pay in your main user account and then log in under another account, Touch ID and Apple Pay are unavailable. In this situation, you can use an eligible iPhone or Apple Watch to complete Apple Pay transactions that you begin in Safari on your Mac.

Make a purchase in Safari with Apple Pay

On websites that offer Apple Pay, click the Apple Pay button during checkout. When prompted, complete the payment by placing your finger lightly on Touch ID.

Turn on, restart, sleep, and shut down

Macbook Air Vs Macbook Pro

Press Touch ID to turn on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air if it's open and turned off. If your Mac is closed and turned off, simply open it to turn it on.

Unlike with older Mac notebooks, holding down Touch ID on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air doesn't display a dialog with options to Sleep, Restart, or Shut Down. You can find these options in the Apple menu. If your Mac is unresponsive, you can hold down Touch ID for six seconds to force a shut down. Note that you'll lose any unsaved work if you do this.

Pressing Touch ID won’t put your Mac to sleep. Instead, choose Apple menu  > Sleep. If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can also add a Sleep button to the Control Strip:

  1. Click Finder.
  2. Select View > Customize Touch Bar.
  3. Touch the Control Strip region of the Touch Bar to switch to Control Strip customization.
  4. Use your pointer to drag items that you want, such as the Sleep button, from the main display down into the Touch Bar. You can also drag items left and right within the Touch Bar to rearrange them, or drag them up and out of the Touch Bar to remove them.
  5. Tap Done in the Touch Bar or click Done on the screen when you finish.

Learn more about Touch ID

You can use Touch ID to control accessibility features on your Mac:

  • Triple-press Touch ID to display the Accessibility Options window.
  • Hold the Command key and triple-press Touch ID to toggle VoiceOver on and off.

In some situations, you need to enter your password instead of using Touch ID:

  • If you've just restarted your Mac
  • If you've logged out of your user account
  • If your fingerprint isn't recognized five times in a row
  • If you haven't unlocked your Mac in more than 48 hours
  • If you've just enrolled or deleted fingerprints

If you still need help unlocking your Mac with Touch ID, follow these tips. Try again after each one:

  • Make sure that your fingers are clean and dry.
    Moisture, lotions, sweat, oils, cuts, or dry skin might affect fingerprint recognition. Certain activities can also temporarily affect fingerprint recognition, including exercising, showering, swimming, or cooking.
  • Your finger should cover Touch ID completely. While Touch ID is scanning, don't press down or move your finger.
  • Try setting up a different fingerprint.

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If you want to join the Apple family, the question is, do you opt for the MacBook Air, or the MacBook Pro? The answer, in very simple terms, is this:

  • Want an all-rounder for general office and home use? Get the MacBook Air
  • Need a (just about affordable) laptop for heavy duty graphic work and complex editing? Get the 13-inch MacBook Pro
  • Need the best laptop possible as an investment for your career in design? Get the 16-inch MacBook Pro

There’s some nuance to this – including which of the MacBook Pro variants to choose between. The most important thing is to understand what your own needs are ahead of picking up a MacBook. If you’re keen to invest in an Apple laptop, it’s now a decision that boils down to the MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air, as Apple has discontinued the 12-inch ‘MacBook'.

Known for their premium design, and a mainstay of coffee shops everywhere, MacBooks have a reputation as speedy, capable laptops that are a joy to use. You’re unlikely to meet a MacBook user with much negative to say about their laptop of choice. Whether you end up with the Air or the Pro, we’re confident you’ll be over the moon with it, and join the legions of MacBook owners who speak so lovingly about their laptops.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Head to Head

Below, we compare the key specs of the MacBook Air and the various MacBook Pro models to help you decide which is best. The good news? There’s no such thing as “a bad MacBook”. The most important thing is not choosing a model that’s overkill for your own needs – as the prices get very steep, very fast.

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Screen Size
Screen Resolution
In pixels - the higher the number, the greater the screen detail.
Battery Life
As claimed by the manufacturer – actual performance will vary depending on daily tasks.
Storage
The built in storage space for files, programs, apps and the operating system
RAM
More RAM tends to help a computer to run quickly and multitask
Magic Keyboard
For MacBooks, this is the newer style of keyboard, replacing the unpopular Butterfly keyboard
Touch Bar
Runs along the top of the keyboard, lets you give certain commands depending on the program running
Touch ID
Price From
Buy

The go-to MacBook for anyone but the most demanding users. Perfect for daily browsing and work, it's slim, light and runs like a dream

Lots of power, a brilliant screen and an improved keyboard make this the perfect MacBook for demanding users, though the Air is cheaper

The absolute pinnacle of MacBooks, and everything a design professional could want – but at an eye-watering price

Discontinued by Apple, this is the smallest MacBook available. It's only worth buying if you find it at a big discount, versus the newer Air

  • Intel i5 (8th-gen)
  • Intel i5 (10th-gen)
  • Intel i7 (8th-gen)
  • Intel i7 (10th-gen)

MacBook Air or MacBook Pro: Which is Best?

Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro are excellent laptops in their own right, but which one to opt for depends on what you’ll be using it for.

  • The Air is the thinnest, and it's lighter than the Pro models
  • The Air is a better choice for simple day-to-day use such as browsing and email
  • The 13-inch Pro (updated for 2020) is the cheapest Pro model
  • The Pro 16-inch is the most expensive model, aimed at design professionals
  • The Air only comes with a 13-inch screen, whereas the Pro comes in either 13 or 16-inch sizes, both with sub-variants for processors and RAM
  • All Pro models now have the unique ‘Touch Bar’ above the keyboard

Both the Pro and the Air are beautifully designed and offer excellent battery life, at around 12 hours between charges. This makes them excellent travel companions, no matter which model you go for.

As for which is best? We’ve got you covered. Our guide will help you work out exactly which model will work best for you.

MacBook Air: Highlights, Pros and Cons

  • Incredibly light and slim
  • Apple’s cheapest MacBook
  • 2018 redesign offers many improvements
  • Retina display

With the 2018 MacBook Air, Apple took the rather neglected laptop and brought it bang up to date. It now packs in an 8th generation processor, and took some design cues from the MacBook Pro too, including finally getting a highly detailed Retina screen. It’s also had its speakers moved to the sides of the keyboard, rather than underneath, making the sound more impactful and clearer.

As you might expect, the Air is light and slim. It’s a great option for anyone who travels a lot with their laptop and doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by a weighty set-up.

The Air doesn’t have the necessary grunt for heavy lifting tasks – think graphics editing, giant spreadsheets full of macros, or video work. For those tasks, that’s why the Pro exists.

For more, see our Full Review of the 2018 MacBook Air

The best MacBook for day-to-day casual users, and beautifully portable

Pros

  • Cheapest MacBook
  • 12 hour battery
  • Light and easy to carry

Cons

  • Storage is limited

MacBook Pro: Highlights, Pros and Cons

  • Available in 13-inch and 16-inch sizes
  • Powerful specs
  • Retina screen
  • Touch Bar (two out of three models)
  • Dedicated graphics card on some Pro models

In the MacBook line up, the Pro is the pinnacle, making it the most desirable (and costly) laptop bearing the Apple badge. The reason for this is that it is stuffed with tech, from fast Intel processors (up to i7 if you can afford it), to dedicated Radeon graphics cards

The MacBook Pro is a beast of a laptop, designed to tackle complex video editing and graphical processing with ease.

Two of the Pro models (one 13-inch, one 16-inch) are also home to Apple’s Touch Bar, a feature you won’t find on the MacBook Air. This is a thin touch screen that sits at the top of the keyboard and offers a context sensitive control panel. Uses include using it to scrub through the frames on a video file, or quickly add emojis to your messages. Is it essential? No. Is it cool? Yes, it really is.

It all sounds rosy for the Pro, but it comes at a price. Literally. The Pro is the priciest laptop in the MacBook line up, and can run you up to $2,800 if you opt for the 16-inch model with 512GB of storage and a blisteringly fast 8-core i9 processor. That’s not one for the budget conscious, but it’s a serious asset for design professionals.

To keep your budget down, but still get plenty of power, we’d recommend the 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar. This model is the cheapest Pro, but still packs in enough power for all but the most demanding users.

The MacBook Pro line starts from around $1,300 – click to compare MacBook Pro prices on Amazon

A solid MacBook with a reliable Keyboard

Pros

  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar
  • 8th gen processor

Cons

  • Big price bump from Air

Best All Rounder: MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is pitched as Apple’s entry-level laptop. That’s a slight misnomer, as tech-wise, it blows most entry-level Windows models out of the water. With the Air, you’re paying for a laptop that will cruise its way through your daily tasks. It will let you juggle your social media activity, Netflix binging, web browsing and daily work with ease.

So okay, the MacBook Pro can do all that too. But, it would be like buying a flamethrower to make toast – impressive, but overkill.

The MacBook Air represents the best of Apple’s laptop line up for the everyday user, suiting their needs, and their pocket, too.

Best for Value: MacBook Air

The term ‘value’ might not seem like it has a place in Apple’s line up – if you’re looking for a bargain, you won’t find one here. Apple has long built its reputation on offering high end computing equipment that is desirable, not affordable.

However, its cheapest laptop is the MacBook Air, at $1,199. That’s the price of the 2018 entry level Air, and if you’ve been on Apple’s website looking longingly through the virtual shop window, you might have spotted another Air that costs $999. So, what’s wrong with that one? Well, nothing. While the older Air model is perfectly fine, it’s rather dated – the 2018 model is a vast improvement in almost every way.

Mac Air Laptop Review

We think it’s well worth investing the extra $200 for the newer model, rather than picking up the cheaper Air now and regretting it one or two years down the line. By this point, the old Air will practically be a fossil, specs wise.

If you don’t need the MacBook right away (and we appreciate that’s a bit like asking a kid to not open its presents on Christmas Day), it could pay you to wait a little longer. On a stockholders call in early 2019, Apple promised that it was going to lower the price of the MacBook Air. We don’t know when this will happen, but we expect it to be before summer 2019.

Best for Power Users: MacBook Pro 16

Let’s be clear – while the Pro has more raw processing muscle, the Air is still no slouch, and will happily breeze through most of the tasks that you throw at it without breaking a sweat.

However, it’s the Pro that really kicks things up a gear. If you’re looking to do anything graphically intense, or some serious number crunching, this is the one to go for.

First up, the Pro has a more capable graphics processor than the Air, which relies on the Intel UHD Graphics 617 chip. The Pro leans on the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 or 655 in its 13-inch form. But, upgrade to the 16-inch model and the Pro comes with a dedicated Radeon Pro graphics card – this gives the 16-inch Pro a significant boost when handling graphics. Sure, you can play Fortnite on it at a decent frame rate, but, more importantly, it can power through intensive media editing or graphic rendering with relative ease.

Then, there’s the processors. The Air comes with an 8th generation 1.6GHz dual-core Intel i5. If all you tend to do is browse the web, stream and email, then this really is more than enough.

The Pro, though starts with a 2.3GHz dual core Intel i5, and works its way there all the way up to a 2.3GHz 8-core Intel i9 in the 16-inch model (should your wallet allow it).

In basic terms, this means that the Pro is a powerhouse. The MacBook Pro series is scalable depending on what your needs (and budget) are. In a 100 meter race, the 16-inch Pro would be signing autographs at the finish line while the Air was still listening for the starting gun.

The premium Apple MacBook, with matching premium pricetag

Pros

  • Largest MacBook screen yet
  • Stuffed with killer specs
  • Future-proof for many, many years

Cons

  • Pricey
  • 16-inch screen could be overkill for some

Best for Portability: MacBook Air

If there’s one thing that Apple is famed for, it’s design. The company has been responsible for spawning thousands of imitators and a lot of modern tech devices owe their shells to Apple’s influence in some way. Most tablets look like iPads, most phones look like iPhones, and there certainly isn’t a lack of high-end laptops that look rather familiar…

Mac Air Mac Pro

Portability is a key element of Apple’s design philosophy, with its teams constantly shaving millimetres and ounces from line up. The peak of this was the launch of the original Air, which at the time was heavily advertised as being able to fit into an A4 envelope. It might have lost some impact today, but at a time when most laptops were knee-crushing behemoths, it was practically black magic. While there has been some friendly rivalry in recent years between the Air and MacBook models, with both vying to be the thinnest and lightest, the Air holds the current crown, and it is as svelte as an Instagram model’s airbrushed beach shot.

Weighing in at 1.25kg and with a height of 0.61-inches, it’s a great laptop for slipping into a bag (or A4 envelope, if you prefer). That’s not to say that the MacBook Pro is a chunky brick, by any means. It’s also been shaved down to a satisfyingly slim and compact shape, but the Air is the ultimate laptop for portability.

Best for Screen Quality: MacBook Pro

If screen quality is important to you, then you’ve come to the right brand. Apple’s laptop displays are hard to beat. Even the entry-level 2018 Air has now been bestowed its Retina display, with a 2560×1600 screen that is vibrant and offers stunning color reproduction.

It’s the Pro though that goes the extra mile, though. While the Pro models have the same Retina display as the Air, it’s notably brighter, and also offers ‘True Tone Technology’ on the Touch Bar Pro models. This is effectively a sensor that monitors your environment and then adjusts the display accordingly. It’s a familiar technology for mobile devices, but it’s still rare to find it on laptops.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro for College

If you’re stepping onto campus with either a MacBook Air or Pro under your arm, then you’ll be the envy of plenty of students. But, which one to opt for depends on what you’re studying.

For most students, the Air is a perfect fit, thanks to its lower price point and portability. Chances are that many of your textbooks will outweigh the Air – you’ll barely notice it in your backpack. Its snappy start time and long battery life mean that it’s a great companion during lectures, or throughout those late night study sessions.

Yes, the Pro can do all this, too. But, the caveat is that the Pro is notably more expensive, and likely to be overkill for most students. However, there will be some that find the extra graphical prowess and number crunching beneficial. Media students who are tackling video editing projects, or anyone taking on computer programming or graphic design, will find the extra muscle of the Pro beneficial.

If you’re not sure what sort of specs you’ll need for your course, check with the college ahead of time, who should be able to advise you on what most students use. You can also see our guide to laptop specs explained.

It’s also worth noting that Apple offers discounts for students, meaning that you can make a saving on a new MacBook. Check out its Apple Education site for offers.

More on this – see our guide to the Best Laptops for College

Mac

Mac Pro Reviews 2017

Verdict

Mac Air Vs Mac Pro 2020

Choosing between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro really comes down to two major factors – Budget and Need. If you go for the Pro, you’re getting a high spec machine that comes with a premium price tag, so make sure you’ll actually get the use out of it before investing. Consider it like a sports car. Yes, it looks great, and it goes fast, but if you’re only using it to drive into town a few days a week, you’re not going to feel the benefit of all those dollars.

Mac Air V Mac Pro

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