2020 Apple MacBook Air

In March of 2020, Apple launched the latest version of its most affordable laptop: the MacBook Air. This new model debuted with a lower starting price tag, but more importantly, it includes important performance upgrades, more storage, and a completely new keyboard. Whether you’re working from home or searching for a lightweight travel laptop, the MacBook Air might be the right option.

Highlights of the 2020 MacBook Air

2020 MacBook Air 2019 MacBook Air 2018 MacBook Air
Display Retina Retina Retina
Max Processor 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
Max Storage 2TB SSD 1TB SSD 1.5TB SSD
Keyboard Backlit Magic Keyboard Full-size keyboard Full-size keyboard
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 617 Intel UHD Graphics 617

Performance Upgrades

The new MacBook Air comes with a big performance upgrade. The top-level model comes with a 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. That’s a considerable boost from the 2019 version, which was available with a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i5. This version runs up to two times faster than the 2019 version.

Do more at the same time with the new MacBook Air. Along with the faster processor, it comes with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory. Configure it with up to 16GB of memory for extra speed. This helps the computer handle multiple programs at the same time. Plus, since the new version features LPDDR4X memory, it’s faster and more power-efficient than the previous version’s LPDDR3 memory.

The new MacBook Air also comes with upgraded graphics. The 2020 model comes with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which can run up to 80% faster than the Intel UHD Graphics 617 in the previous generations. Feel free to use programs that are heavy on graphics, such as playing games or streaming movies — the new MacBook Air offers a faster, smoother experience.

Two Times More Storage

With the 2020 update, Apple tackled one of the most important components of the MacBook Air: storage. The new version starts with a 256GB solid-state drive, which is double the previous generation’s 128GB option. If you need more storage, you can configure the new MacBook Air’s SSD to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. That’s an important upgrade, particularly for people who work with large photo or video files — it bumps up the maximum storage capacity by 1TB, which is enough to hold 500 extra hours of video or 6.5 million PDF document pages.

New Keyboard

One of the first things you’ll notice about the new MacBook Air is that it features Apple’s new Magic Keyboard. Under each key, a scissor mechanism delivers a precise, stable up-down movement. When you tap a key, it travels just 1 millimeter — that means that it’s easier and more comfortable to write emails or churn out lines of code. Your keystrokes are nearly silent, creating a quieter, more pleasant typing experience.

When you’re working after dark or in a low-light environment, the backlit Magic Keyboard kicks into gear. Its ambient light sensor detects the amount of light in the room. Then, it adjusts the brightness behind each key to help you see clearly.

The new MacBook comes with Apple’s Force Touch trackpad. It’s designed for precise clicking no matter where your finger lands. Plus, since you can use different amounts of pressure, this trackpad helps you do more. Since it’s 20% larger than MacBook Air models without a Retina screen, you have plenty of space for your favorite multi-touch gestures. Use the trackpad to pinch, rotate, zoom, and more.

How Does the 2020 MacBook Air Compare to Previous Generations?

2020 MacBook Air 2019 MacBook Air 2018 MacBook Air
Display 13.3-inch Retina with True Tone technology 13.3-inch Retina with True Tone technology 13.3-inch Retina
Max Processor 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz, with 8MB L3 cache 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, with 4MB L3 cache 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, with 4MB L3 cache
Max Storage 256GB PCIe-based SSD configurable to 2TB SSD 128GB PCIe-based SSD configurable to 1TB SSD 128GB PCIe-based SSD or 256GB PCIe-based SSD configurable to 1.5TB SSD
Onboard Memory Up to 16GB, 3733MHz LPDDR4X Up to 16GB, 2133MHz LPDDR3 Up to 16GB, 2133MHz LPDDR3
Keyboard Backlit Magic Keyboard with Force Touch trackpad Full-size keyboard with Force Touch trackpad Full-size keyboard with Force Touch trackpad
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics with support for Thunderbolt 3–enabled eGPUs Intel UHD Graphics 617 with support for Thunderbolt 3–enabled eGPUs Intel UHD Graphics 617 with support for Thunderbolt 3–enabled eGPUs
Battery 49.9‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery with up to 11 hours wireless web and 30 days standby 49.9‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery with up to 12 hours wireless web and 30 days standby 50.3‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery with up to 12 hours wireless web and 30 days standby
Max Video Support One external 6K display One external 5K display One external 5K display
Operating System macOS Catalina macOS Catalina macOS Mojave

Secure Computing

The new MacBook Air comes with Touch ID — if you’re an iPhone user, you’re already familiar with this technology. Set up the system to recognize your fingerprints. Then, when you want to unlock the computer, just tap a finger on the sensor. This biometric technology makes it easy for you to get in and keeps unauthorized users out.

Touch ID also connects to your Apple Pay system for easier online shopping. When it’s time to check out, just touch the sensor — the system uses your stored credit card information to pay. That way, your data stays safe, and you don’t need to enter card details or billing information. Plus, since Touch ID works with Apple's T2 security chip, your data is fully encrypted.

Retina Display

Flip open the new MacBook Air, and you’ll discover Apple’s legendary Retina Display. This proprietary screen packs in a high density of pixels. As a result, you can see details of a website, photo, or video in perfect clarity. With support for millions of colors, the Retina display makes every image look its best.

The MacBook Air also features True Tone technology. This system senses the color temperature of the room you’re in. Then, it shifts the white tone to match, so your screen always looks natural and true to life.

Advanced Communication

Every 2020 MacBook Air comes with a front-facing FaceTime camera. The high-definition 720p camera sends out a crisp, clear image to one person or a whole group. If you connect your iCloud account, all of your iPhone contacts are automatically available.

Built into the MacBook Air, powerful speakers create bright, loud sound. In fact, compared to non-Retina models, you’ll get two times the bass and 25% more volume. To help your friends and co-workers hear you on the other end, the MacBook Air uses three microphones for better voice capture.

How Does the 2020 MacBook Air Compare to Similar Laptops?

2020 MacBook Air Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 XPS 13 Touch
Display Resolution 2560 x 1600 2256 x 1504 1920 x 1080
Max Processor Quad-core Intel Core i7 Quad-core Intel Core i7 Intel Core i5
Max Storage 2TB SSD 1TB SSD 2TB SSD
Size (height x width x depth) 0.63 in. x 11.97 in. x 8.56 in. 0.57 in. x 12.1 in. x 8.8 in. 0.46 in. x 11.9 in. x 7.8 in.
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel UHD Graphics

Lightweight Size

One of the most important features of the new MacBook Air is its size. As its name suggests, this computer is easy to carry — in fact, it weighs in at just 2.8 pounds. The secret is the slim aluminum shell, which is durable, tough, and remarkably lightweight.

For environmentally conscious users, the MacBook Air is an eco-friendly choice. The metal exterior is constructed from 100% recycled aluminum. Apple’s unique engineering process results in a 6000-series material that produces emissions that are 47% lower than non-Retina models.

Smart Programs and Apps

The 2020 MacBook Air ships with Apple’s macOS Catalina operating system. With native apps such as the Safari internet browser, Apple Mail, and iMovie, you can tackle everything from email to video editing. You’ll also get FaceTime video chat software, a calendar, Messenger, and more.

If you use any other Apple products, macOS Catalina makes connections a breeze. It links all of your devices together, so you can start a task on one and continue it on another.

2020 MacBook Air Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 XPS 13 Touch
Display 13.3-inch LED Apple Retina with 2560 x 1600 resolution at 227 ppi 13.5-inch PixelSense with 2256 x 1504 resolution at 201 ppi 13.3-inch InfinityEdge Touch with 1920 x 1080 resolution
Max Processor 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10210U
Max Storage 256GB PCIe-based SSD with up to 2TB SSD Removable SSD with up to 1TB 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD with up to 2TB
Size (height x width x depth) 0.63 in. x 11.97 in. x 8.56 in. 0.57 in. x 12.1 in. x 8.8 in. 0.46 in. x 11.9 in. x 7.8 in.
Weight 2.8 lb. 2.84 lb. 2.7 lb.
Connections 2 x Thunderbolt 3, 3.5-mm headphone jack 1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A, 3.5-mm headphone jack, 1 x Surface Connect port 1 x USB-C, 3.5-mm headphone jack, 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Operating System macOS Catalina Windows 10 Home4 Windows 10 Home
Camera 720p FaceTime HD camera 720p HD f2.0 camera 2.25-mm webcam
Battery Life 11 hours of wireless web 11.5 hours 19 hours, 24 minutes

See the manufacturer site for details.

Not quite ready to invest in the new MacBook Air? Don’t worry — Apple offers other versions of this lightweight laptop with many of the same great features. Be sure to check out the space-gray, gold, and silver finishes that are available on 2018 MacBook Air models and newer models.

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