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

M2 Macbook Pro 13 Inch Close Up Of Touch Bar
M2 Macbook Pro 13 Inch Close Up Of Touch Bar (Image credit: Gerald Lynch / iMore)

In many respects, there shouldn't be a 13-inch MacBook Pro in 2022. The recently introduced MacBook Air (2022) is very similar to this year's MacBook Pro. The 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) is far superior to the 13-inch MacBook Pro models. And yet, Apple continues to offer one because it does appeal to many.

MacBook Pro (2020) vs. MacBook Pro (2022): Breaking it down

If you're set on buying a 13-inch MacBook Pro, there are critical differences between the previous and current model. However, those differences might not 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:

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
Space Gray
Resolution2560 by 1600 pixels2560 by 1600 pixels
SecurityTouch Bar with Touch IDTouch Bar with Touch ID
CPU8-core M1 SoC8-core M2 SoC
Storage256GB SSD
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

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.

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

M2 Macbook Pro 13 Inch Close Up Of Display

M2 Macbook Pro 13 Inch Close Up Of Display (Image credit: Gerald Lynch / 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, if you're solely comparing the MacBook Pro (2020) and MacBook Pro (2022), the latter is the right choice for most people. It offers the latest Apple silicon and, in the long-term, will be the one supported by Apple longer. 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 do manage to find a great deal on the 2020 model though, 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)?

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.