MacBook Pro 2019 vs MacBook Pro 2018: What's the difference and should you upgrade?

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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 MacBook Pro 2019MacBook Pro 2018
OSmacOS MojavemacOS Mojave
Display15.4-inch Retina Display with True Tone15.4-inch Retina Display with True Tone
Processor2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor; upgradable to 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor2.2GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
GraphicsRadeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memoryRadeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
Storage256GB SSD (Available up to 4TB SSD)256GB SSD (Available up to 4TB SSD)
PortsFour Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
Battery lifeApprox. 10 hoursApprox. 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.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

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.