MacBook Air M2 RAM

Tried to order new MacBook Air, but it’s not shipping yet.

Here’s the question.
It comes with 8 Gb RAM, like the previous model.
For an additional $200, RAM can be increased to 16 Gb.
For another $200, RAM can be increased to 24 Gb.
Though I usually max out RAM, $400 seems like a lot of money for only 24 Gb. I’m tempted to go with 16 Gb.
I don’t do video…lots of Photoshop though.

In the past, I often increased RAM on Mac Minis and MacBooks through OWC (self installed).

Any thoughts/advice?


If you search this forum you’ll find that lots of folks, me included, have been head over heels happy with the performance and capability of our M1 MacBook Air with 16GB memory.

What system are you coming from? Did you have 16GB? Did you feel cramped for space? As far as photogaphy goes, I haven’t had any problem running Photo Mechanic, Capture One, and Affinity Photo on a 16GB machine.

1 Like

I agreed with @karlnyhus , 16Gb is probably enough unless you are runging VM or other memory intensive applications. However, keep that in mind that once you bought the machine, there is no upgrade path to internal components

You are likely to keep the machine long enough that some new software will come out to make the max RAM more useful and/or you will want to do some software multi-tasking that benefits notably from increased RAM.

You will pay a lot more for a replacement computer in the future than you will to max out RAM now.

Over decades of buying computers, I cannot begin to count the number of times I concluded “I cannot possibly ever outgrow the specs of this computer.” Every time I have said that to myself, I have proven myself wrong sooner than I would have thought.

1 Like

This may be true for you and me, but it is worth noting IMO that it is not necessarily true for everyone.


OP seems cost sensitive, otherwise I would agree with you and recommend buying as much memory and SSD as is available. :slightly_smiling_face:

What computer are you coming from? How much swap are you typically using?

I’d be more likely to upgrade RAM to 24GB if coming from a newer Mac and finding swap noticeably annoying.

24GB is actually a pretty useful threshold. A lot of people who want 32GB (+$400 from 16GB on the Pros) are only running somewhere between 16 and 32GB worth of programs.

Unless you buy a new Mac every 2-3 years, I would max out the RAM. Future-proofing is worth a lot. I find myself buying new Mac every 2 years or so (thank you, Apple trade-in program!), but my wife maxes out her RAM and storage and keeps 3-4 years.

I am one of the people who had issues with only 16GB of RAM on the M1. YMMV. Only you know how much you actually use now (check activity monitor sporadically if you’re unsure). The RAM on Apple Silicon is faster and feels faster, but it is still the same amount of RAM. If 16 wasn’t enough before, it will not suddenly be enough now.

If you want to use the MBA for some years, 8GB seems to be, from my point of view, not enough, to assure the future use without expectable problems for newer software, and more resources those Apps might need.
So, if you have a budget, you don’t want to stress, I would go with the 16GB at least. Maybe a smaller SSD/HDD, as it is much easier to add an external drive. The RAM could not be changed, once the MBA is in your hand.
If the question goes more into the direction if the Max-Out of the RAM is “worth” the extra money, and you still can buy your lunch, if you spent it, I would always go full in with the RAM on my machines.
RAM is the essential Ingredient that keeps a Mac happy and running, so I had never a System (I had to pay for) with less than the maximum possible RAM (even during my dark ages of using a PC).

Your use of Photoshop may mean that you need to buy as much memory as possible. I regretted buying 16 gb ram for my 2021 MacBook Pro because Lightroom, which I previously used a lot, would slow things down, Everything else I use runs fine. My solution has been to drop my Adobe subscription and use DxO Photolab instead.

Thanks to all who gave advice. I maxed out RAM at 16 Gb with my 2001 M1 MacBook , so I’ll likely do the same with the Air. Budget not a problem.

Computers usually end up with my kids or grandkids after a few years.

As David Sparks said, it would be nice to have a fun color. Too bad.

I’ll go with 24 Gb. It’s replacing a Mac Mini (Pre M1) with 32 Gb. If it lasts another year with 24 vs 16, it’s worth it. They end up with my kids and grandkids anyway. Thanks for your thoughts.

1 Like

My M2 MacBook Air was supposed to arrive Aug 2 thru 9… Happy say mine arrived early and I picked mine up yesterday.