14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) vs. 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)

MacBook Pro 2021 Review
MacBook Pro 2021 Review (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

There has been some big changes made to the MacBook Pro lineup in recent years thanks to the introduction of Apple silicon in 2020. Two of those changes are presented here. On one side you have the 14-inch MacBook Pro that was introduced in 2021. On the other, the 13-inch 2022 MacBook Pro. Though both include the "Pro" label, only one of these deserves it as you'll read below. Both laptops are among our favorite Macs on the market.

14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) vs. 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022): Breaking it down

Macbook Pro 2021 Lifestyle

Macbook Pro 2021 Lifestyle (Image credit: Apple)

When it comes to the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021), nearly everything is better than the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022), from its display size and quality to its system-on-a-chip to its memory and storage options. The result is perhaps one of the biggest jumps between two MacBook Pro models in the history of the product.

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Header Cell - Column 0 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)
CostFrom $1,999From $1,299
Display14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display13.3-inch Retina
Resolution3024x1964 pixels2560x1600 pixels
SecurityTouch IDTouch Bar with Touch ID
CPUUp to 10-core8-core
GPUUp to 32-core10-core
Memory16GB M1 Pro
32GB M1 Pro
64GB M1 Max
8GB M1
8GB M2
16GB M2
24GB M2
PortsThree Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports
HDMI port
SDXC card slot
Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
Camera1080p FaceTime HD camera720p FaceTime HD camera
AudioHigh-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofersStereo speakers with high dynamic range
Headphone jack3.5 mm headphone jack with advanced support for high-impedance headphones3.5 mm headphone jack with advanced support for high-impedance headphones
Dimensions0.61 x 12.31 x 8.71 inches0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches
Weight3.5 pounds3.0 pounds
Battery Life17 hours20 hours
MagSafe & Fast ChargingYesNo

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)

On the 14-inch model, you'll find an M1 Pro or M1 Max, including CPU up to 10-core and GPU up to 32-core. This compares to 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU on the smaller model. Moving onto memory and storage, the 2021 model offers 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of memory vs. 8GB, 16GB, or 24GB on the 13-inch model. Storage sizes on the larger version include 512GB, 1TB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB. On the other, your choice comes down to 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 4TB.

Despite being a few months older, the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers significant exhancements not seen on the other one. Starting with the display, 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) has the first Liquid Retina XDR display on a MacBook Pro with a resolution of 3024x1964 pixels. On the 13-inch model, it's a general Retina display with 2560x1600 pixels. The 2021 MacBook Pro also includes a better FaceTime camera system. And yes, MagSafe is back on this model, alongside three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot.

There are a few areas where the 13-inch MacBook Pro bests the 14-inch model. First, the newer version is 0.5 pounds lighter. Second, it also offers three more hours of battery life between charges. However, it's the older model that comes with MagSafe, which provides fast charging up to 50% in just 30 minutes.

Finally, there's Touch Bar, a long-suffering MacBook Pro feature that's not found on either 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro, but remains on the 13-inch version. It's up to you to decide whether this is a pro or con.

14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) vs. 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022): Which should you buy?

13-inch vs. 14-inch MacBook Pro

13-inch vs. 14-inch MacBook Pro (Image credit: iMore (13-inchvs. 14-inch MacBook Pro))

It's obvious which of the two MacBook Pro models is better — and it's not the 2022 version. From a more prominent and better display to significantly improved internals, the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) is a cutting-edge beast that is now (along with the 16-inch model) the best MacBook Pro on the market.

And yet, there's no denying the cost of admission is much higher for the 14-inch model. At the entry point, you'll save $700 by going a little bit smaller. For that, you'll still receive an M2 series SoC and one excellent laptop.

Who should buy the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)?

For most folks, spend the extra cash and go with the newest model. As a result, you'll own the latest and greatest and have more ways to customize your purchase. Yes, you'll be spending more, but if more speed, memory, and storage are needed, it will be worth it.

Who should buy the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)?

If you're looking to save some cash, don't need 4TB or 8TB of storage or increased memory, and really like Touch ID, go with the 13-inch MacBook Pro. You'll get better battery life, which is the most important factor for some buyers.

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.