Apple MacBook Air (2020) vs MacBook Air (2019): What’s the difference?

(Pocket-lint) – The MacBook Air received its annual update, with the 2020 model doubling the base storage and introducing a newer keyboard mechanism compared to the 2019 model. But is there something else different? Here’s a quick comparison between the 2020 and 2019 MacBook Air models.


Design and display

  • Both models: 13.3-inch Retina display (2560 x 1600 resolution)
  • 2020 model: 40g heavier than the 2019 version, at 1.29kgs
  • Both Models – Gold, Silver, Space Gray Finish Options
  • Both models: 15.6 mm thick, same design.
  • Both models: 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Both models: 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports

At a glance, the 2020 and 2019 MacBook Air models look identical. The same scale, the same color options, the same display – it’s all the same.

However, there is some subtle difference. The 2020 model is 40g heavier and can also support an external 6K monitor (6016 x 3384) instead of the 5K support of the 2019 model.

In terms of ports, the 2020 Air sticks to its guns – that means the usual two Thunderbolt 3 ports, this time with no additions. The headphone jack is also in place.

That doesn’t mean any improvement for the FaceTime camera either – it still only supports 720p.

Keyboard and Trackpad

  • 2020 Model: Magic Keyboard with Redesigned Scissor Mechanism
  • 2019 model: 3rd generation butterfly mechanism keyboard
  • Both models – Large trackpad with Force Touch
  • Both models: Touch ID fingerprint login

This is where you can see the biggest change. The 2020 Air uses a magic keyboard, the same type you’ll find on the 16-inch MacBook from late 2019 . It’s a major change, as the redesigned scissor mechanism here we find far superior to the butterfly mechanism on previous Air keyboards, which should mean less ghost typing. That said, we thought the keyboard on the Air 2019 was much better than the 2018 model.

Elsewhere, both models have the same large touchpad design with dual-layer Force Touch control, plus Touch ID fingerprint login. However, there is no Face ID facial recognition login yet.


  • 2020 Model: Base Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i3 (1.1GHz Dual Core)
  • 2020 Model: Maximum Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i7 (Quad Core 1.2GHz)
  • 2019 Model – Processor Option Only: 8th Gen Intel Core i5 (1.6GHz Dual Core)
  • 2020 model: 8GB base RAM (16GB upgrade), 256GB base storage (2TB max)
  • 2019 model: 8GB base RAM (16GB option), 128GB base storage (1.5TB max)
  • 2020 Model: Intel Iris Plus Graphics / 2019 Model: Intel UHD Graphics 617

The 2020 Air also raises the base spec a bit too, doubling the storage from 128GB to 256GB. It is also possible to upgrade to 2 TB, instead of 1.5 TB, if you want to spend the extra money.

On the processor front, the Air 2019’s standard Intel Core i5 processor turns into an Intel Core i3, which also brings a £ 100 / $ 100 / € 100 savings – the 2020 MacBook Air isn’t that expensive, despite to have more storage on board.

That said, it can make the 2020 model more expensive, as the processor can be upgraded to an Intel Core i7 model, if you want the extra boost and double the cores for some more computationally demanding applications and processes.

Battery life is an area where we’re not sure how these models will compare – the 2020 Air should last longer thanks to newer, more efficient processor hardware, unless of course you choose to upgrade from more powerful processor. However, some suggest that the newer model will offer a slight decrease in battery performance.



  • MacBook Air 2020: from £ 999 / $ 999 / € 999
  • MacBook Air 2019: From £ 1,099 / $ 1,099 / € 1,099

The new Air does not bring a definitive redesign, nor more ports to enhance the experience. What it really does, though, is bring all the goodness from before, plus more storage and a better keyboard, for less money.

It positions the Air in a more sensitive spot, providing the changing times of Apple’s lineup, not to mention how the iPad Pro could affect customer choices as well.


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