Do the older ones prefer iMac vs MacBook Air

The context… she would be helped doing her work I think with a Mac. I am going to buy her one for her birthday. We are both in our 50’s and have reading glasses and are very near sighted…

Do I get an iMac with a nice big display or a MacBook Air with a 13 inch display. ? She would mainly work just on her desk…

What do people prefer ?

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i use both. sounds like a Retina iMac she would prefer.


iMac for sitting at a desk. It’s what I have and I love it. Might want to look at a stand to raise it up a bit for ergonomics. The big screen counts for a lot.

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I think the iMac would work well.

You/she can also measure your preferred working distance from the monitor and have “computer glasses” made for that distance. If the glasses have progressive lenses, the center area will be larger, with the distance and close areas at the top and bottom being smaller.


I gave away my 24 in monitors and now work on an iPad Pro or 13 in MacBook. I use the MacBook on a riser that puts it at eye level.

The larger screens are great if you need several windows open at one time, but at the distance I see best I had to move my head to focus on off center items. These days I prefer to use one app at a time or two tiled side by side which allows me to keep everything in focus.

IMO, the best solution would depend on her eyesight and how she uses her computer.

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I use a MacBook Air, which is usually in clamshell mode connected to a 24” 4K monitor. I use computer glasses when using it that way.

When using it as a laptop, I usually wear the computer glasses if I’m set up at a table. If I’m actually using it on my lap, I can often get away with my regular glasses.

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BTW, 50 is not old :slight_smile:


iMac, I have bifocal contacts and then 2 different sets of additional reading glasses, one for books that are held closer to my eyes and one for computer work. While I like and use my MacBook Air a lot I find I have toreally get at the exact right position to be able to see the screen and it’s much more tiring for a long day of computer work.


After 40 years being heavily shortsighted (-12 diopter correction) and now slightly farsighted (+0.5) after cataracts surgery before my 50s, I am pretty convinced I prefer a computer desktop for regular work and an iPad for mobility.

On the other hand, while I love the iMacs form factor, I would much prefer a Mac Mini with an external display, if desk space is not a constraint. This way you can change computer or monitor in the future.

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So at least ten of us are over 50!


When I was 21 (just after the War of 1812) 50 seemed so far away. Still does – in the other direction LOL


Have you tried bringing this up with her?


I know what you mean. I was in high school when the Beatles first album was released in “High Fidelity” mono. I still have it.


72 and 75 here. Both of us have (and prefer) iMacs. We have a MacBook for travel (whatever that is!).

Also strongly recommend “computer glasses” measure the distance from your eyes to the screen and get a pair of glasses specifically for that distance!


I wear progressive lenses and found the 27” screen too tall for them. The new 24” iMac is perfect for me, much more screen space than a laptop but not too tall. I also have a 13” MBA for travel. The 13” is just too small for long term use.


i have progressive lens and find them impractical for use with 27” Retina iMac. Neck strain have to look “down”. Much prefer reading glasses set to focus at the distance of screen. while i have a 15in Retina Macbook which great for portable use i much prefer the big screen of the iMac.

Regardless of screen size go for Retina.

iMac and an iPad for lounging.


For old eyes, there’s no substitute for an actual, real computer monitor like the one on the iMac. Unless portability is a significant consideration, that’s the way to fly.


I’m turning 70 this month, nearsighted since age 10, progressives for a couple of decades, love my 27" retina display. Height and angle are critical to making it work, though.


Interesting you said that about 24". We’re considering replacing an ancient 27" iMac with a 24" M1 iMac. The former didn’t get much use but with Covid we’re home all the time and this would sit on a high use desk so WOULD get used.

My concern would be how much screen real estate we’d get. I guess the 24" must be higher res than an ancient 27".

Anyone made that switch?

And I agree with “ask her” and the assumptions you make about beingstuck at home now and traveling later. And traveling later could mean a MacBook later or, as some have said, an iPad.