MacBook Air

Best Mac for Writers iMore 2020

Apple Macs are ideally suited for various tasks, including writing. If you're looking for a new computer to help you write your next term paper or first best-selling novel, you'll notice there are a lot of different models on the market. Our favorite for writers is the 13-inch MacBook Air (2019). There are other noteworthy models we've gathered to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.

Best Overall: MacBook Air (2019)

MacBook Air

At 2.75 pounds, the 13-inch 2019 MacBook Air is the lightest MacBook currently on the market despite having the same screen size as the smaller of the two MacBook Pro models. Along with being less weighty, the MacBook Air provides two more hours of use between charges, although actual performance depends on what you're doing.

The entry-level price for the MacBook Air is appealing. However, it comes with drawbacks, starting with having an older and slower processor and less robust graphics card. It also contains fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports than most of the MacBook Pro models. None of these disadvantages should affect you if you're mainly using the computer for writing and similar purposes.


  • Same screen size as 13-inch MBP
  • Up to 12 hours of wireless web between charges
  • Price


  • Only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
  • Not as powerful as MBP models

Best Overall

MacBook Air (2019)

Save money and still get a Mac

Whether for work or school, this is a great MacBook for writers and almost everyone else too.

Best Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

2019 MacBook Pro 13-inch

When it comes to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, $500 separates the base and most complete package. Add more memory, storage, and a better processor, and the price can jump even more. Despite this, the smaller of the two MacBook Pro models has a lot going for it.

At just over three pounds, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is only slightly heavier than the MacBook Air. For this, you receive a better processor and graphics card, more storage availability, and a Touch Bar. On the downsize, adding an even better graphics card or more storage suddenly pushes this model past the $2,000 mark, which might make you reconsider buying a 13-inch versus 15-inch model.

If you're comfortable with the 13-inch screen size and less concerned with price, you should buy this model over the MacBook Air. Otherwise, stick with our first choice.


  • Better internals than MacBook Air
  • Great mobility
  • Much cheaper than the 15-inch MBP model


  • You can't upgrade the graphics card
  • Price can rise quickly as you add components

Best Alternative

13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

A step up

There's much to love about this model, which offers better internals than the MacBook Air.

Best Premium: 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

MacBook Pro

If you're looking for a MacBook with the largest possible display, this is the one to get. The 15-inch MacBook Pro features a Retina display with True Tone and comes with at least 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory. Upgrades cost more, of course, and these could set you back thousands of dollars extra if you're not careful.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro is a terrific choice for writers looking for the flexibility of a laptop with a larger display. However, if screen-size is much less important, you can save a lot by going with a 13-inch model.


  • Apple's best MacBook Pro to date
  • Graphics boost, upgrades
  • Up to 32GB of memory available


  • Most expensive MacBook Pro on the market
  • Still only a 15-inch display

Best Premium

15-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

When screen size matters

If you're okay with the price, no doubt this is the MacBook to get. Happy writing!

Best Desktop: 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K

2019 iMac

Our favorite iMac of 2019 also makes our list of the best Macs for writers. Featuring a Retina 4K display and 1TB Fusion drive, this workhorse computer will provide you with years of service. Long a popular choice with families, the 21.5-inch iMac is a practical choice that won't break the budget, even for the most expensive model.

The model recommended here includes a 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with a Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz by default. For $200 more, you can add a 3.2GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with a Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz.

If a desktop computer is in your future as a writer, this is the one you should get, case closed.


  • Great price
  • Plenty of add-ons
  • Retina 4K display


  • Obviously, not portable
  • Would you rather have a 27-inch model?

Best Desktop

21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K

Comfy size

The entire family will love this Apple desktop computer. Even after all these years, the iMac design remains breath-taking and lights up any room.

Bottom line

Whether for school, business, or home use, a Mac is a great choice. For writers especially, you can't go wrong, no matter the model you select. Our favorite, the 2019 MacBook Air, offers a terrific Retina display in a portable frame that won't break the bank.

Available in space gray, gold, and silver, the MacBook Air is the lightest Apple laptop on the market and also the one that offers the most battery life between charges. It's also the thinnest so you can bring it with you at any time.

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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