MacBook Pro 2019 vs MacBook Pro 2018: What's the difference and should you upgrade?
The newest and fastest
The 2019 MacBook Pro is mostly just a slight spec bump and change in the keyboard, with all the same storage and graphics options as the 2018 model; however, if speed is the most important factor to you, the newest MacBook Pro is the way to go.
- Faster processor
- Butterfly keyboard made from new materials
- More expensive
Last year's model
Last year's MacBook Pro is still a top performer when it comes to battery life and if you already have one, it's likely going to last you a few years yet depending on your needs; however, it is now slower than the newest model.
- Slower Processor
- Older keyboard materials
This isn't a complete redesign and brand new MacBook Pro that has been the subject of rumors for a while now, but the 2019 MacBook Pro is a boost in processing speed and the butterfly keyboard got a material upgrade that hopefully can eliminate some of the problems we've seen with the keyboard on the older model.
The slight differences
When you're looking at the spec sheet, you'll notice that the processor is really the only difference. The base storage on all models (new and old) start the same and can be upgraded to the same 4TB SSD, and the graphics options also start with the same base congifurations and the upgraded options are the exact same.
|Header Cell - Column 0||MacBook Pro 2019||MacBook Pro 2018|
|OS||macOS Mojave||macOS Mojave|
|Display||15.4-inch Retina Display with True Tone||15.4-inch Retina Display with True Tone|
|Processor||2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor; upgradable to 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor||2.2GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor|
|Graphics||Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory||Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory|
|Storage||256GB SSD (Available up to 4TB SSD)||256GB SSD (Available up to 4TB SSD)|
|Ports||Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)||Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)|
|Battery life||Approx. 10 hours||Approx. 10 hours|
The slightly modified butterfly keyboard in the MacBook Pro 2019 is the real wildcard here that you can't see on the spec sheet. While the keyboard hasn't been redesigned in any big way, the new materials ideally will prevent some of the well-documented issues people have been having with the butterfly keyboard featured on the 2018 MacBook Pro. Of course, its hard to really say if the issues are going to be resolved without months and months of testing the new materials in the 2019 MacBook Pro, so we don't know just yet whether or not the keyboard is actually an improvment.
Should you upgrade?
When it comes to upgrading from the MacBook Pro 2018 to the MacBook Pro 2019, that's going to come down to a personal choice. The MacBook Pro 2019 is faster on paper, and if your workload requires as much speed as you can squeeze out of your machine, it's likely worth the upgrade, especially if you'll take advantage of the optional eight-core Intel Core i9 upgrade option.
For the average consumer, who uses their MacBook Pro 2018 for everyday use and doesn't require the fastest machine possible, you likely don't need to upgrade
Now, if you're looking to buy MacBook Pro, or you're planning on upgrading from an older model of MacBook Pro — say the 2017 version or older — the 2019 MacBook Pro is an excellent option. Its new processors will be faster, and if you have the extra cash, you can tack on some impressive storage options as well.
Fastest MacBook Pro
More speed for the well-seasoned pro
The 2019 MacBook Pro is faster than last years model and comes with all the same add-on options for graphics and storage. While the new materials in the keyboard could improve the quality of life of the MacBook Pro, it's too early to say the keyboard is going to be any better.
Same old reliable MacBook Pro you know and love
While the processor is a tad slower on the 2018 model, it has all the same extra add-ons you can buy, meaning if you don't care about having the fastest machine, you can save a bit of money by purchasing the older model.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.