Macbok M1 air or pro

Hello guys,

It’s upgrade time here and I’d really appreciate your help.

I’m a psychoanalyst seeing my patients via Skype and Google Meet during the pandemics. I’m in doubt between the new MacBook Air and Pro.

Besides seeing patients, I just use the Macbook to watch movies and writing.

Any suggestions?

If you watch movies, Pro. The screen is brighter and the speakers are better.


But the Air is guaranteed to run silently forever, whereas the Pro is apparently inaudible when operating normally. I’d certainly research the Skype/Meet use case for fan noise before going that route.
Both are fully capable of performing your tasks.


I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did: I got the Air because this is my secondary machine and it’ll be used for travel. I love that it’s utterly silent. Also, if the choice is between a better equipped Air and a lesser equipped Pro (that is, if you’d forego a RAM or storage upgrade on the Pro because it costs more) then I’d go with the Air. Otherwise they’re both fantastic machines and I think either would be fine for your use. (If you use it for long periods without plugging in, that favours the Pro)

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For Skype and movies the Air is totally fine.

If you’re happy to watch films on a small screen I assume (maybe wrongly) that you’re not that bothered by the small benefit of the Pro’s screen, and if you are, buy a cable and plug it into a fancy TV or use AirPlay!

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I tried both, and found the Air is perfect for my needs. Videoconferencing is great on it, as is watching media. I always use headphones when using a laptop, so the speaker upgrade doesn’t make a difference to me, and the screen is more than good enough.

I much prefer typing in the Air due to the profile, I found the hard edge of the Pro uncomfortable for longer writing sessions.

Any I love that I can do intensive coding sessions and not have a fan kick in.

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Oh, I see.

Doesn’t the Air heat a lot without fans?

I’d be surprised if your videoconferencing could trigger the fan on the Pro. Take a look at this short, entertaining video by Joanna Stern in which she tries to make the Pro make some noise.

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I’m an iOS developer, have Zoom and Teams meetings, and went for the Air. No fan, performance is excellent as is the weight.


What a great video! Thank you!

Thank you for your opinion!

I live in Thailand and use the Air on my lap without air con using Final Cut Pro.
The only time I’ve noticed heat that wasn’t equivalent to having a tray of marking on my lap was when it was plugged in AND doing the initial setting up.

It is as good as hype. Actually it’s better because I didn’t believe it would be cool in ambient temperatures of 35 deg C. ymmv

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For clarity, I completely agree with @cornchip .
As long as the machine behaves as intended, you won’t notice the fans by all accounts, so there’s no reason to avoid them. The counterpoint is not that “no fan” is better, it is that “no fan” is an equally viable option.

The fan does not affect the working temperature of the machine much as far as I can tell, it affects how hard the machine can work at Apple’s chosen Mac temperature.
What a great pair of machines!


Yes! I should likewise chime in to say that I don’t think you can make a bad choice here.

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The Air w/ 512GB and the Pro w/256GB are the same here in Brazil.

Maybe I should buy the Air, given the extra storage space?


I have the Pro and I did manage to make the fans go with an unoptimised video transcode. Compared to the fans in my 2016 model I had a couple of years back it’s really not that loud. I have external hard drives that are louder. We’re used to “rocket ship” fan noises, but I don’t think that’ll even be possible on (current) M1 hardware.

The one other benefit of the Pro is longer battery life. I think it’s 20 vs 17 watching video. Not a lot in the scheme of things but it is a difference.

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I have a Pro.

Fan never ran during: mail, web, text, write, video conference, stream, …

I got the fan spinning for quite a while: huge photo imports, encoding huge video files… I guess the Air would throttle.

Yep it was powerful enough to run OBS, SnapCamera, Zoom, and Chrome for 2 hours for me without dropping frames, crashing, or anything. The Air is an absolute beast.

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Thank you! I can’t decide between an Air w/ 512 SSD or a Pro w/ 256…

I went for a pro with 2TB SSD and 16GB. It was replacing a 2013 MBP 15" so a gigantic leap forward for me.
It’s my primary machine and I haven’t had any fan noise even when doing 3D CAD rendering.
Definitely a +1 for the pro if that’s any help. But either way well worth it!
As an aside the battery life is truely astonishing. I can easily get around 10-14 hours of work done using CAD software.