MacBook Air 13-inch (2020) | Guide

by | Apr 25, 2021

The MacBook Air 13-inch has been a staple in Apple’s laptop lineup for years. The M1 chip is the latest processor from Apple, and it’s designed to be powerful enough to manage any task you throw at it. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about this machine before deciding on whether or not it is suitable for your needs.

MacBook Air 13-inch (2020)

New Powerful Apple MacBook Air 13-inch M1

Apple refreshed the entry-level MacBook Air- 13inch in November 2020, adding Apple's newly designed M1 Arm-based chip to replace the previous outdated and underperforming Intel chips. The new M1 chipset brings meaningful speed improvements across all aspects of operation with up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, 5x faster graphics capabilities, and 9x faster machine learning functionality than before. Before now, MacBook Air's have employed many chips for CPU, security, and I/O, but Apple's work to integrate these chips has been the factory why the M1 chip is so much faster and efficient than the Intel-based MacBook Airs. Apple has been utilizing Intel chips for Mac computers since 2006.

MacBook Air 13-inch M1

MacBook Air 13-inch M1 Design

The M1 MacBook Air goes through the same design that Apple has been using for years now with a uniform rectangular shape, aluminum body, and slim bezels around the display. The models come in silver or space gray color. It is 16.1 mm thick, weighing 1.8 pounds, making it 0.2 lbs lighter than a Macbook Pro.

Retina Display

The M1 MacBook Air features a 13-inch Retina display with 2560×1600 resolution and 400 nits brightness ( 100 nits dimmer than the Macbook Pro). The screen can also support vivid colors that are easy on your eyes thanks to its True Tone technology, which matches the ambient lighting's color temperature to the ambient lighting providing a more natural viewing experience.

The True Tone feature uses a multi-channel ambient light sensor included in the new MacBook Air models, which can determine your room's brightness and what temperature it is. After detecting this information, your Mac automatically adjusts to match color and intensity for an even more natural view that cuts down on eyestrain without compromising performance.

New Magic Keyboard

The M1 MacBook Air features a new Magic Keyboard with an improved scissor mechanism that is more reliable than the previous butterfly mechanisms. The keyboard offers up to 1mm key travel, providing stable typing and comfortable use, thanks to its minimalist design. The MacBook Air doesn't come with the Touch Bar, so if you are looking for that feature, you might be more interested in the MacBook Pro 13-inch.

 MacBook Air 13-inch Trackpad

The MacBook Air 13-inch has a Force Touch trackpad that is revolutionary in its design. Instead of physical buttons, the user can press anywhere on the pad to get an equal response. The Taptic Engine powered by magnets provides tactile feedback when using the trackpad, which allows for light clicks and deeper presses or “force clicking” as different gestures like offering up definitions for highlighted words, so you don't have to look them up yourself! This innovative system will take your Mac experience into an entirely new dimension!

FaceTime Camera

Apple's M1 MacBook Air has a 720p FaceTime HD camera, which is the same as in the previous model. This M1 chip drastically improves picture quality with better noise reduction and other features that help it take more precise pictures than ever before!

MacBook Air 13-inch M1 Performance

MacBook Air 13-inch M1 Performance

Many people have been asking how the new MacBook Air 13-inch stacks up next to its competition. I've reviewed laptops for a long time now, and in my experience, it can be not easy to gauge performance improvements outside of benchmarks. For example, this year, we saw an overall 10-15% improvement across all Macs from last year, which isn't evident until you put them side by side or run some tests on your computer.

The MacBook Air M1 has a crisp snap to everything, from loading apps and windows with ease. It's likewise more noticeable when you scroll through webpages in Safari—with faster load times and smoother scrolling! During Apple's “One More Thing” event last year, it was demonstrated that the laptop would wake up instantly after closing your lid or putting it to sleep. I didn't think it would ever be possible until the MacBook Air m1 and MacBook Pro M1— there are only about two seconds of lag now instead of minutes.

The key to all these performance increases is using software optimized for the SoC. The Apple M1 laptop has been designed with its specialized hardware, and it needs apps that are tailored just for it, so before you buy an M1 laptop, make sure your primary applications work on both Intel or Apple silicon. If they do, then this state-of-the-art device might be perfect for you!

The M1 system on a chip helps to bring all of the most critical components (such as CPU, RAM, and controllers) into one chip. The advantages are numerous – it's faster, more power-efficient than its predecessors – but there is also some compromise: for example, you can't upgrade your memory!

M1 MacBook Air 13-inch 8-core CPU 

8-core CPU in M1 is the highest-performing CPU Apple has ever built. It combines four performance cores and four efficiency cores to deliver the world's best CPU performance per watt for single-threaded and multithreaded tasks. This results in a quantum leap in performance — all of these performance gains also use less power.

The performance cores are the world's fastest CPU core for low-power silicon — and M1 has four of them, uniting their efforts for a massive boost in performance.

The four efficiency cores produce an outstanding performance for daily tasks using just 10% of the power. The efficiency cores are ideal for running lightweight tasks, allowing the performance cores to undertake the most demanding workloads. The M1 chip is leading the pack for the energy-efficient PC, but at the same time, it's breaking records in performance. 

M1 MacBook Air 13-inch 8-core GPU

The 8-core GPU is 5x more quickly than the last MacBook Air, allowing tor projects such as complex 3D rendering. The MacBook Air M1 is five times faster in a Windows comparison. The GPU in the M1 chip brings the world's fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer comparable to the MacBook Air M1.

It highlights eight powerful GPU cores tasked exclusively with making graphics smoother, quicker and 8K video plays seamlessly. Unbelievable graphics performance in Final Cut Pro renders a timeline up to 6x faster. Affinity Photo is capable of editing photos up to 4x faster. Games are blazing fast with super-smooth frame rates and higher fidelity. The MacBook Air M1 comes in two different models, one with a 7-core GPU and another with an 8-core GPU.

MacBook Air 13-inch M1 Performance

M1 MacBook Air 13-inch Unified Memory Architecture.

One of the many features of the MacBook Air M1 is the unified memory architecture that unifies high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool, minimizing the copying between multiple memory pools for dramatic performance improvement beyond the complete system. The MacBook Air M1 supports up to 16GB of unified memory, with the base model shipping with 8GB.

M1 MacBook Air 13-inch Neural Engine

A new, more advanced Neural Engine in the MacBook Air M1 is 9x faster for machine learning tasks. Apple states the 8‑core GPU, machine learning accelerators, and the Neural Engine, and the M1 chip is designed to excel at ML tasks. The Neural Engine has a 16-core design that can perform 11 trillion operations per second and machine learning accelerators, which allow Ml-bases tasks significantly faster.

M1 MacBook Air 13-inch Ports

The MacBook Air M1 features two USB-C ports with support for USB 4 and Thunderbolt 3 with transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s and USB transfer speeds of 10Gb/s. With Thunderbolt 3, the MacBook Air M1 supports a single 6K display.

The M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro M1 is restricted to one display up to 6K resolution, but utilizing DisplayPort adapters, the MacBook Pro M1 can run up to five displays. This is only achievable when using a mix of 4K and 1080p displays as the Thunderbolt ports can't run five 4K displays.

MacBook Air m1

Available Models

There are currently 2 standard configuration 13-inch MacBook Air M1 models available from Apple:

  • $999 – Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 7-Core GPU
  • $1,259 – Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 8-Core GPU

Build to Order Options

M1 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB storage:

  • 16GB RAM: +$200
  • 512GB SSD:  +$200
  • 1TB SSD:  +$400
  • 2TB SSD:  +$800

M1 13-inch MacBook Air with 512GB storage:

  • 16GB RAM:  +$200
  • 1TB SSD:  +$200
  • 2TB SSD: +$600

MacBook Air M1 13-inch Price

The MacBook Air was designed to be everything you want in a notebook—and more. It’s the world’s thinnest notebook, with a stunning Retina display that goes edge-to-edge. And it weighs just three pounds!

With up to 18 hours of battery life, your MacBook Air can go wherever you do for an entire day without stopping to recharge. That means one less thing on your mind so you can focus on what matters most — like work or play.

Plus, when it’s time to power up again, a quick 15-minute charge will get you another two hours of use. So if there’s something important going down at 9 pm (like Game of Thrones), no problem. You have plenty of juice left in the tank.

MacBook Air M1 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD 

This MacBook Air on sale is available in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.

MacBook Air M1 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD 

This MacBook Air on sale is available in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.

ON SALE
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
9,283 Reviews
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
  • All-Day Battery Life – Go longer than ever with up to 18 hours of battery life.
  • Powerful Performance – Take on everything from professional-quality editing to action-packed gaming with ease. The Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU delivers up to 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation while using way less power.
  • Superfast Memory – 8GB of unified memory makes your entire system speedy and responsive. That way it can support tasks like memory-hogging multitab browsing and opening a huge graphic file quickly and easily.
ON SALE
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
9,283 Reviews
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
  • All-Day Battery Life – Go longer than ever with up to 18 hours of battery life.
  • Powerful Performance – Take on everything from professional-quality editing to action-packed gaming with ease. The Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU delivers up to 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation while using way less power.
  • Superfast Memory – 8GB of unified memory makes your entire system speedy and responsive. That way it can support tasks like memory-hogging multitab browsing and opening a huge graphic file quickly and easily.

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Video Reviews and Unboxings

Finish

  • Space Gray
  • Silver
  • Gold

Price

  • $999
  • $1,249

Display

  • 13.3-inch Retina display
  • 2560-by-1600 resolution
  • 227 pixels per inch
  • 400 nits brightness
  • Supported resolutions, scaled:
    • 1680 by 1050
    • 1440 by 900
    • 1024 by 640
  • Wide color (P3) support
  • True Tone technology

Size and weight

  • Height: 0.63 inch (1.61 cm)
  • Width: 11.97 inches (30.41 cm)
  • Depth: 8.36 inches (21.24 cm)
  • Weight: 2.8  pounds (1.4 kg)

Chip

  • Apple M1
    • 8-core CPU (4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores)
    • 8-core GPU or 7-Core GPU
    • 16-core Neural Engine

Battery and power

  • Built-in 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • Up to 17 hours wireless web
  • Up to 20 hours movie playback through Apple TV app
  • 61W USB-C Power Adapter

Memory

  • 8GB unified memory
    • Configurable up to 16GB unified memory

Storage

  • 256GB SSD
    • Configurable up to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB
  • 512GB SSD
    • Configurable up to 1TB or 2TB

Charging and expansion

  • A pair of Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports capable of:
    • Charging
    • DisplayPort
    • Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s)
    • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s)

Keyboard and trackpad

  • Magic Keyboard and trackpad with:
    • 65 (U.S.) or 66 (ISO) keys including 4 arrow keys in an inverted‑T arrangement
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Force Touch trackpad for precise cursor control and pressure‑sensing capabilities; enables Force clicks, accelerators, pressure‑sensitive drawing, and Multi‑Touch gestures

Wireless

  • WiFi
    • 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 networking
    • IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compatible
  • Bluetooth
    • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity

Camera

  • Built-in 720p FaceTime HD camera

Video support

  • Supports simultaneously full native resolution with millions of colors while also connected to one external display supporting up to 6K resolution at 60Hz refresh rate
  • With Thunderbolt 3 digital video output:
    • Native DisplayPort output over USB-C
    • VGA, HDMI, DVI, and Thunderbolt 2 output supported using adapters (sold separately)

Audio

  • Stereo speakers with high dynamic range
  • Wide stereo sound
  • Three-mic array with directional beamforming
  • Single 3.5mm headphone jack

Operating requirements

  • Line voltage: 100V to 240V AC
  • Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz
  • Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
  • Storage temperature: −13° to 113° F (−25° to 45° C)
  • Relative humidity: 0% to 90% noncondensing
  • Operating altitude: tested up to 10,000 feet
  • Maximum storage altitude: 15,000 feet
  • Maximum shipping altitude: 35,000 feet

Operating System

  • macOS

Accessibility

  • VoiceOver
  • Voice Control
  • Zoom
  • Reduce Motion
  • Increased Contrast
  • Siri and Dictation
  • Closed Captions
  • Switch Control
  • Text to Speech

Built-in apps

  • Photos
  • iMovie
  • GarageBand
  • Pages
  • Keynote
  • Numbers
  • Siri
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • FaceTime
  • Messages
  • Maps
  • News
  • Stocks
  • Home
  • Voice Memos
  • Notes
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Reminders
  • Photo Booth
  • Preview
  • Music
  • Podcasts
  • TV
  • Books
  • App Store
  • Time Machine
  • QuickTime Player
  • Find My

In the box

  • MacBook Air with M1 processor
  • 30W USB-C Power Adapter
  • USB-C Charge Cable (2 m)

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