Best Apple Laptop For College Student (Top 2020 Choices)

best apple laptop for college student

One visit to a local college campus is quickly going to show just how popular Apple laptop products are. It seems like the vast majority of students rely on a MacBook to get their work done. Some say it has to do with brand recognition, but others just simply like what they bring to the table.

Along with the brand name, the defining feature of Apple MacBooks is the operating system. It is considered to be a more user-friendly option compared to windows, and liberal arts majors in particular get a lot of use out of the creative tools on MacBooks.

best apple laptop for college student

Choosing The Right MacBook For College

It can be challenging for some people to find just the right ​Apple laptops for their particular needs when going off to school. There are so many factors to consider, and not everyone will know exactly what they need to be looking for in the beginning.

The first step is to consider the major and classes on the schedule. Some people simply won't be able to use a MacBook because they are in a major that requires certain software only available for windows. If that is the case, it makes no sense to invest in an expensive piece of equipment.

How much time is spent on the computer is also something that is very important. If the majority of work is going to be done on the laptop, investing in a dependable option might be the best way to go. A good screen is also going to be essential, because staring at a subpar screen for hours and hours can be frustrating to say the least.

Specifications might not be that big of a deal right now, but shopping for college means looking towards the future. Most people who are purchasing a laptop now are going to try to use the same laptop for all or at least most of their college career. Buying a little bit more expensive model right now could make it future proof.

Finally, consider battery life if the laptop is going to be used quite a bit in class. No one wants to have to carry around their charger everywhere they go. It is very easy to pick up and go with a laptop when it is not constantly needing a power cord. Don't fall into that trap.

Below is it look at the best Apple Macbook option in each price range. Remember that Apple products are going to be a little bit more expensive in general, so don't expect any major deals here. Which one is the best Apple laptop for college student? What about a laptop for teachers?  It depends on price.

Budget - Apple MacBook Air

CPU - ​Dual-core 8th-Generation Intel Core i5 Processor | RAM - ​8GB memory | Hard Drive - ​​​256 GB ​Fast SSD Storage | Graphics Card - ​​Intel UHD Graphics 617 | Screen - ​13.3-Inch Retina Display with True Tone | OS - ​MacOS | Battery Life - Up to 1​2 hours | Weight - ​2.75 lbs


  • ​LED-backlit display with IPS technology
  • ​Two Thunderbolt 3 ports

​What We Liked

  • ​Efficient
  • ​Easy to use.
  • ​Plenty of power in a small package

What Needs Work

  • ​Some users reported that it runs a little hot at times.

The MacBook Air has been out for years now, and it is the lightest and most affordable MacBook for college students right now. It might not have the same specifications as some of the other models, but it does the job for the vast majority of people. Most are not going to even use some of the other tools that are available on more expensive options, so why pay for in the first place?

The first thing to note about the MacBook Air is that it is very easy to carry around all day long. Sometimes, people can't even forget that it is in their backpack. It weighs less than most books, and that is great for people who are constantly walking around campus and trying to stay as lightweight as possible. The MacBook Air has come a long way in the last few years, and the specifications now are still pretty good. No one should expect the best of the best, but it performs at a high-level and is able to multitask very well.

If there is one knock against the MacBook Air, it is that the screen is not going to be as sharp as some of the other options. In order to get the sharpest screen available, and upgrade is going to be needed. That might not make that much of a difference to some people, but certain majors will need very sharp screens.

In particular, those who like to take photos or shoot video will need an extremely sharp screen to see every single detail. Without a sharp screen, they might not be able to perform at the highest of levels.

If possible, sample the MacBook Air in a store before purchasing. This is going to be the best way to really get a feel for just how everything works. There is always the option to invest in an external monitor if detail is super important, but that is going to eat into the savings by going with a budget model.

For standard college work, the MacBook Air is going to be more than fine. They upgraded the models fairly recently, so this should be able to last for at least a few years. It might not be able to carry a freshman all the way to their graduation, but it's still a solid choice for college students.

Mid - Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch

CPU - ​2.4 GHz 8th-Generation quad-core Intel Core i5 Processor  | RAM - ​32 GB| Hard Drive -​ 256 GB ​Ultrafast SSD | Graphics Card - ​​Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | Screen - 13 inch Brilliant Retina Display with True Tone technology | OS - ​MacOS | Battery Life - Up to 10 hours | Weight - 3 lbs


  • ​Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • ​Force touch trackpad
  • ​Apple-designed keyboard

​What We Liked

  • ​Vibrant screen
  • ​​Plenty of processing power

What Needs Work

  • ​Some users reported issues with the battery at times.

This seems to be the popular choice for students going to college. It is still fairly affordable, especially if the upgrades or not used. It is a step up from the MacBook air, but is it worth the extra investment? For most people, the answer is yes. However, those who don't use that much better off with them.

With the MacBook Pro 13 inch is that it does have the upgraded screen. This is pretty noticeable when looking at the two screen side-by-side. The shower screen is going to make those long study sessions a little bit more tolerable.

The keyboard is also a bit of an upgrade, as it just feels more natural compared to the MacBook Air. A few generations ago, MacBook took a step back with their keyboard. They have since fixed that issue, and now it is a defining feature even when compared to options from other companies.

New technology has made its way into the MacBook Pro line as well. The Touch Bar is a nice feature, although they have still not fully put it to great use just yet. It also has touch ID for very good security. This comes in handy around college campuses, since that is relatively prevalent.

The MacBook Pro is going to be a little bit heavier and bulkier than the MacBook Air, but most people are fine with the trade off. It is going to be able to handle a lot of intensive tasks thrown it away. The MacBook Air struggles with some of the more intensive tasks, because it doesn't have the power.

Don't be afraid to try out the two options to see if the price difference is worth it. Some ​students are going to be very adamant about getting the MacBook Pro, and it is more likely to last for four years or more. However, another thing to consider is the bigger screen. Speaking of the bigger screen, the full breakdown is below.

High - Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch

CPU - ​9Th-generation 8-Core Intel Core i9 Processor | RAM - ​32 GB| Hard Drive - ​​512 GB ​Ultrafast SSD | Graphics Card - ​Radeon Pro 560x Graphics with 4GB of video Memory | Screen - 15 inch Retina Display with True Tone technology | OS - Chrome | Battery Life - Up to 1​0 hours | Weight - 4 lbs


  • ​Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • ​​Force touch trackpad
  • ​​Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports

​What We Liked

  • ​Lots of power
  • ​​Fast processing

What Needs Work

  • ​Some users reported issues with cooling.

​Students who are used to smaller laptops are going to think that the MacBook Pro 15 inch is incredibly large. It might not seem like that much of a difference, But 2 inches with a laptop screen is pretty major. It makes a lot of sense for people to get the bigger model not only for screen real estate, but for some of the added features as well.

Since the MacBook Pro 15 inch is a little bit larger, it has the ability to stuff more technology underneath the hood. That means that people should be very aware of the fact that a MacBook Pro 15 inch is going to be faster, more powerful and a better machine overall compared to the MacBook Pro 13 inch. The screen resolution is relatively the same, but the larger screen is going to allow people to see more detail.

Some people who are in college don't like the fact that the screen is very big. Since the screen is big, the laptop is a little hard to carry around. Some people who use a laptop like this don't necessarily take it with them everywhere they go. Instead, they might only travel with it when they have an important class, or they are about to study for a long period of time.

The top end model does come at a pretty high price, and that is what scares a lot of people off. College students are on a budget for the most part, and it might not be worth the extra power to pay that amount of money. The truth of the matter is, only certain majors are going to need this level of power anyway. Working with video is something that can really take up a lot of memory on a computer, so having a powerful computer like this can be very helpful.

Anyone who just has a lot of files to store and use also could benefit from an Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch. Other than that, a lot of it comes down to personal preference. Some people feel like the 15 inch screen is the perfect size to really enjoy working hours and hours on projects. Others feel it is a little bit too obnoxious, and therefore not worth the money. Just like with the MacBook Air, there is always the option to get an external screen for additional real estate as well.

Macbooks For College Conclusion

At the end of the day, all three best Apple MacBook options are going to be great for college students. They are all very powerful computers, and everyone is going to have a good time using them. It also helps people fit in and look like they belong in college, since so many other students have the same computer. The top Apple laptops for college students comes down to personal preference.

To stand out from the crowd, make sure to customize the Apple MacBook a little bit. This is going to allow a little bit of personality to be shown, and also scare away some potential thieves in the area. Always make sure to encrypt all information on the computer as well. There are some pretty nice the safety features on MacBooks these days, so it is becoming increasingly difficult for devious minds to take advantage. Still, with an investment like this, it's important to take the time to make the right decision, and protect the valuable asset.

Looking to upgrade and need cash?  Take a look at our article on where to sell your laptop for cash.

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