M2 MacBook Pro (2022) vs M1 MacBook Pro (2020): Which should you buy?

When Apple introduced the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) earlier this year, many heads were shaking in disbelief. Many in the industry had expected Apple to discontinue this model after the 2021 introduction of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. But instead, Cupertino added an Apple M2 chip to the 13-inch version and called it a new model. Because the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) is very similar to the newer one, you might be wondering whether it's better to go with the older model — assuming you can find one at a significant discount. Keep reading for the answer. 

M2 MacBook Pro (2022) vs M1 MacBook Pro (2020): Breaking it down

If you're set on buying a 13-inch MacBook Pro, there are just a few differences between the previous and current models. And yet, those differences might not even mean much, depending on your situation. If you need improved performance, better memory options, and advanced audio features, the MacBook Pro (2022) is probably the one for you. Otherwise, you might still want to consider the older model, which will soon be available for a steep discount at places like Amazon. So here's a look at the differences:

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Header Cell - Column 0 MacBook Pro (2020)MacBook Pro (2022)
CostFrom $1,249From $1,299
Display13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology
ColorsSpace Gray,SilverSpace Gray,Silver
Resolution2560 by 1600 pixels2560 by 1600 pixels
SecurityTouch Bar with Touch IDTouch Bar with Touch ID
CPU8-core M1 SoC8-core M2 SoC
Dimensions0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches
Weight3.0 pounds3.0 pounds
Battery Life20 hours20 hours
Battery Adapters61W USB-C Power Adapter67W USB-C Power Adapter
Media engineHardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVCHardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW
Dolby AtmosYesYes
Spatial AudioNoYes
Headphone Jack3.5 mm headphone jack3.5 mm headphone jack with advanced support for high-impedance headphones
PortsTwo Thunderbolt / USB 4 portsTwo Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
Camera720p FaceTime HD camera720p FaceTime HD camera

M2 Macbook Pro 13 Inch Gaming With Ps4 Controller

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / iMore)

As you can see, the two laptops are nearly the same on many points, starting with the exterior design. Both laptops, for example, feature the same body, color choices, number of ports, and FaceTime HD camera. They also come with an 8-core CPU, a Touch Bar, up to 20 hours of battery life, Touch ID, and an identical 13.3-inch Retina display.

Inside, the MacBook Pro (2022) offers the Apple M2 chip versus the older Apple M1 chip on the 2020 model. The M2 is up to 1.4 times faster than the M1. This means better video editing and image processing performance, an improved gaming experience, and more. In addition, the M2 offers a 10-core GPU and up to 24GB of unified RAM on the MacBook Pro model. The media engine and audio features are also slightly better on the newer model.

M2 MacBook Pro (2022) vs M1 MacBook Pro (2020: Which should you buy?

13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)

(Image credit: iMore)

This is a tough decision because these are very similar devices. I would say that the MacBook Air (2022), one of the best Macs currently available, is a better choice because of its newer design and similar internals to the 2022 MacBook Pro. However, the latter is the right choice for most people if you're solely comparing the MacBook Pro (2020) and MacBook Pro (2022). This is because it offers the latest Apple silicon and will be the one supported by Apple in the long term. Plus, the price isn't that much higher than the older version, so if you're looking to buy a new laptop, you might as well go for the latest and greatest.

If you find a Black Friday MacBook Pro deal on the 2020 model, it should be considered if you're only looking for a laptop for lower-intensity jobs such as writing, spreadsheets, and web surfing. Remember, it comes with the same display as the newer model and many of the same internals.

What about upgrading from the MacBook Pro (2020) to the MacBook Pro (2022)?

13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)

(Image credit: iMore)

Unless your MacBook Pro (2020) has become very sluggish in performing your everyday tasks, there's no reason to upgrade to the latest model. As noted above, the models are the same in many ways, including the amount of storage available.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.