M2 Macbook Air Starlight SideSource: Gerald Lynch / iMore

Best MacBook for teachers iMore 2022

Apple MacBooks have always had a place in classrooms thanks to their power and durability. The best MacBook for teachers remains the MacBook Air, which was just updated for 2022. It's also our best Mac overall. There are other noteworthy models we've gathered to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.

Best overall: MacBook Air (2022)

Macbook Air M2 Hands On Keyboard WwdcSource: Gerald Lynch / iMore

The MacBook Air for 2022 has received an incredible design change and updated internals, making this the laptop most teachers should purchase to start the new school year. Featuring an Apple M2 chip, the MacBook Air (2022) offers a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display for the first time and provides up to 18 hours of battery life between charges. It's also available in two fabulous new colors, Starlight and Midnight, although it's still available in Space Gray and silver.

The M2 chip makes this MacBook Air up to 1.4 times faster than the previous model. It includes an 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. The entry-level model comes with 8GB of unified memory, which can be increased to 16GB or 24GB. On the storage side, you can purchase one with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB.

This year's MacBook Air also comes with a MagSafe port that connects easily and quickly releases if the charging cable gets accidentally pulled. There's also an all-new 1080p FaceTime HD camera for those important video conference meetings with co-workers and parents. At just 2.7 pounds, this is the lightest MacBook Air you can currently buy, making it easy to transport to and from school.

If there's one negative about the MacBook Air (2022) is its price. For many years, this model started at $999. However, for 2022, the entry-level model is $1,199, which pushes it very close to the entry-level MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,299.

Pros:

  • Apple M2 chip
  • 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display
  • Up to 18 hours of wireless web between charges
  • MagSafe
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
  • Maximum storage is 2TB
  • No longer "cheap."

Best overall

MacBook Air (2022) in Starlight

MacBook Air (2022)

Fresh design, excellent internals

The MacBook Air is a great-looking device and a practical choice for most teachers today. It's also our favorite Mac of the year.

Best alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)

Macbook Pro 13 Inch With MSource: Apple

The recently updated 13-inch MacBook Pro is very similar to the MacBook Air (2022) in terms of its internals. However, critical differences on the outside keep this from being our favorite MacBook for teachers.

Like the MacBook Air (2022), the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) includes an Apple M2 chip. It has an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. You can purchase one with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage and up to 24GB of unified memory. This model also includes Apple's Touch Bar, which can be viewed as a pro or con, depending on your preferences. It's the last MacBook to have the Touch Bar.

But unlike the MacBook Air (2022), the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) features a 13.3-inch Retina display, a 720p FaceTime HD camera, and no MagSafe. It also weighs more at 3 pounds vs. the Air's 2.7 pounds.

On the positive side, you'll get up to 20 hours between battery charges on this model, so if battery life is most important, you may opt for this one.

Pros:

  • Same internals as MacBook Air
  • Apple M2
  • 20 hours between battery charges

Cons:

  • No MagSafe
  • Older design
  • Slightly smaller display

Best alternative

Macbook Pro Late 2020 13in Model

13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)

A step up

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

Best large screen: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

16-inch MacBook ProSource: Apple

Internally, the second-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) is the best MacBook you can currently buy. Like the 14-inch MacBook Pro (mentioned below), this model offers an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC with up to 64GB of unified memory and 8TB of SSD storage. That's a lot of storage for your photos and videos. In addition, you can get up to a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU.

But there's much more. The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with a Liquid Retina XDR display (3456 by 2234 pixels) with ProMotion technology for adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz. It's also packed with up to 21 hours of battery life between charges and comes with an all-new 1080p FaceTime HD camera with an advanced image signal processor and computational video.

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook models (2021), some of the best MacBooks available, also see the return of MagSafe, HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot, besides its three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports. If you're looking for any negatives, understand this is the heaviest MacBook Pro in many years (4.7 pounds). It's also costly, even at the base level.

Pros:

  • Latest and greatest
  • M1 Pro or M1 Max, you decide
  • 16GB to 64GB of unified memory
  • 512GB to 8TB of storage
  • A Liquid Retina XDR display

Cons:

  • Most expensive model
  • Heavy (4.7 lbs)

Best large screen

16 Inch Macbook Pro

16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Nothing better

The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro gives you the most power and performance, though the price tag is high.

Best for power users: 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Macbook Pro 14 InchSource: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore

This is the one to buy if you want everything on the 16-inch MacBook Pro but with a smaller display. In addition, it offers similar internals for less. Nonetheless, it's still an expensive computer, which is something to keep in mind.

Our best advice for teachers is to buy as much memory and storage as they can afford. And remember, you can't change these options after purchase since upgrades aren't possible. With this in mind, consider the option of an Apple M1 Pro with a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine that comes with 1TB of storage and at least 32GB of unified memory.

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Same great features as the 16-inch model

Cons:

  • Still expensive

Best for power users

14 Inch Macbook Pro

14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Versatility at a lower price

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is nearly identical to the 16-inch model except for the smaller display and price.

Teacher's pet

For 2022, our best MacBook for teachers is the MacBook Air (M2, 2022). It's the best choice for most educators. This incredible device offers Apple's new M2 SoC processor and includes Touch ID, Magic Keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. There's also a 1080p FaceTime HD camera and MagSafe. It's also pretty lightweight and has 18 hours of battery life, so you can continue your teacher planning uninterrupted.

If the Air doesn't have you convinced, perhaps the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) is a better match. There's a Touch Bar, two more hours of battery life, and a better GPU at the entry point. Finally, if money is less than an object and you want maximum internals, consider the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro models. They each feature a powerful M1 Pro or M1 Max chip.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

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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