MacBook for battery life
Battery efficiency has improved dramatically with the arrival of the first Apple silicon MacBooks. Of these, the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) offers the best battery life, although it’s not the best pick for most people because of its high price. Instead, our choice for the battery consensus is the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022), although it does come with significant drawbacks over our second recommendation, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022). Here’s a look at the best MacBooks for battery life. Which one is the choice for you?
Best Solution: 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)
With an integrated 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) version offers up to 17 hours of wireless web and up to 20 hours of Apple TV app movie playback between charges. The only MacBook with better battery life is the 16-inch model (see our third pick). However, that one is much more expensive.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) includes a system-on-a-chip (SoC) Apple M2 chip that consists of an 8-core CPU with four performance cores, four efficiency cores, a 10-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. In addition, you can get up to 2TB of storage and 24GB of unified memory.
If you’re purchasing a MacBook Pro solely based on battery life, choose this one. It was just updated for 2022 and should stick around for a while.
On the positive side, it is the only MacBook Pro that still has Touch Bar. On the negative side, unlike the 2022 MacBook Air (see below) and 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, this laptop doesn’t offer a MagSafe charging port or 1080p FaceTime HD camera.
- It’s much cheaper than the 16-inch model
- Includes Touch Bar … if you still want it
- Price can rise quickly as you add components
- Only offers a 720p FaceTime HD camera
- No MagSafe
Alternative: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
The best Mac for most people, the MacBook Air (2022), offers up to 15 hours of wireless web and up to 18 hours of Apple TV app movie playback thanks to its integrated 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery.
The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) has a 13.6-inch Liquid Crystal display and features the same SoC Apple M2 chip found on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022). You can also get up to 2TB of storage and 24GB of unified memory.
In previous generations, purchasing the 13-inch MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air often made sense. Not anymore. The 2022 MacBook Air offers many more features than the other model, including a MagSafe charging port, an all-new, larger display; less weight, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, more color choices, plus much more. Still, regarding battery life, the 13-inch MacBook Pro reigns, offering 20 hours between charges in many cases versus the 18 hours for the MacBook Air.
Another note: The MacBook Air can get very expensive as you add better internals, which is something to keep in mind.
- Least expensive MacBook
- Apple M2
- 18 hours of battery life
- Return of MagSafe
- Better battery life found on 13-inch MacBook Pro
- Can get expensive as you add options
Larger display option: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
The 16-inch MacBook Pro) received its Apple silicon update in 2021 — and it’s a great one. Apple promises up to 14 hours of wireless web and 21 hours of movie playback between charges. The latter is the best you will find on a MacBook of any kind.
Besides the largest display currently available on an Apple laptop, the 16-inch model packs a punch. You can choose from an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC. The base 16-inch MacBook Pro also comes with 16GB of unified memory, 512GB SSD storage, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port. Depending on the Apple silicon option you select, you can get up to a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and 64GB of unified memory.
On the apparent downside, this is an expensive laptop, and it gets even more costly as you add better specs.
What about the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)? Along with the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021), Apple revealed a 14-inch model last year. This laptop is identical to the larger model except for the display size — and battery life. This Mac provides a somewhat lousy 11 hours between charges for wireless web and a respectable 17 hours for Apple TV app playback. We recommend this Mac, which is one of our favorites of the year, but based on battery life alone, you can do better.
- Most prominent MacBook Pro display to date
- A powerful beast
- Expensive even for the base model
The best MacBook based on battery life is the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022), which provides up to 17 hours of wireless web and 20 hours of Apple TV app movie playback between charges. For this, and our alternative choice, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), you’ll experience the Apple M2 chip. This SoC chip consists of an 8-core CPU with four performance cores, four efficiency cores, 10-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine.
We recommend the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) only if you care for the bigger display. This model features M1 Pro or M1 Max and offers very good battery life between charges despite its larger screen size. It also comes with a lot of storage and memory options.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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