Best Mac for Students

Best Mac for Students


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Students who are getting ready to return to school this fall or even start a new college journey will benefit from having the right technology at their disposal. Between the desktop and the laptop Macs, MacBook Pro laptops, and even iPads, sorting through hundreds of different configurations to find the ideal device for school can be a daunting task.

AppleInsiderWhether you’re a college student starting classes this August or the parent of a child in elementary school who needs a budget-friendly Apple computer for remote learning, is breaking down your options to find the best MacBook for students. From the longest battery life to the smallest battery size, there’s something for everyone. lowest Apple prices We’ve got you covered when it comes to machines that deliver best-in-class performance.

September MacBook Deals for Students

  • Gray 13″ MacBook Pro (Intel Core i5, 8GB, 256GB)
  • $949
    ($350 off for B&H EDU members)
  • Silver 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel 1.4GHz Core i5, 8GB, 256GB) $949($350 off for B&H EDU members)
  • Gray 13″ MacBook Pro (Intel Core i5, 8GB, 512GB) $999($500 off for B&H EDU members)
  • Silver 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel 1.4GHz Core i5, 8GB, 512GB) $999($500 off for B&H EDU members)


Best Performance Laptop: 16-inch MacBook Pro

Best performance MacBook Pro for students

The Intel processors in the 16-inch MacBook Pro remain, and when configured with higher-end processors and graphics, it is still the fastest Mac laptop in most cases. Users who want an M-series processor in their MacBook Pro with a large display will have to wait a little longer.

Students who require a little more power, such as artists and designers, will find it here with ease. With a native resolution of 3072 by 1920, the large 16-inch screen provides plenty of workspace for programs like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. With the option to upgrade to a Core i9 processor, you’ll always have extra processing power, no matter what project you’re working on.

Students have a variety of memory and graphics options depending on the programs they will be running. For most students, the base 16 gigabytes of memory will be more than enough for general use, and it will also save them money. If a student intends to do a lot of video editing or 3D modeling, they can pay extra for either 32 or 64 gigabytes of RAM.

The 16-inch MacBook ProWhen working in programs like Maya or AutoCad, however, power users may find that upgrading to the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M option gives them better results. Graphics are also available in a variety of options. The base model comes with an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, which is more than enough for most users.

We recommend upgrading storage to at least 1TB, if not more, for students in creative majors such as digital arts and design. That way, you won’t have to deal with storage caps during finals week. An iCloud account is recommended for multi-device users, especially students who alternate between working on a MacBook Pro and an iPad.

This is still the best overall option for users who require the largest portable display, the most versatility, and the ability to connect to multiple external monitors. An Intel-based MacBook Pro is required for users who require Windows via Bootcamp or prefer multiple monitors.

As always, prospective students should consult their academic advisors to determine what type of computer will best suit their needs.


  • High performance
  • Long battery life
  • Big screen


  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Huge footprint

Best Budget-friendly Notebook: M1 MacBook Air

The M1-based MacBook Air is budget friendly while remaining powerful for students

The M1-based MacBook Air is cost-effective while still providing adequate performance for students.

The MacBook Air with an M1Your notes and videos will be displayed in brilliant colors on the 13.3-inch retina display, which has a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels. In terms of single-core performance, the processor is competitive with Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro. With a student discount, you can get a new MacBook Air for $899.

On the side, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, allowing you to charge your device while also connecting an external drive or peripheral. Because of the M1 processor, this laptop can only connect to a single external display with a resolution of up to 6K.

Customers can customize the system. Your back will thank you as you move around campus during the day because it is only 2.8 pounds. Apple Silicon MacBook Air with 8GB or 16GB of RAM and internal storage ranging from 256GB to 2TB.

The MacBook Air is one of the best MacBooks for the money because it has no fan and a slim and light chassis. The M1 also has a long battery life of up to 20 hours on a single charge, so you’ll have plenty of juice left over no matter how long the school day is.


  • Low price
  • Lightweight
  • Small form factor


  • Only two ports
  • Fanless design limits peak processing

Best Portable Computer: 13-inch MacBook Pro

Whether you commute, live in a dorm, or simply want to take your MacBook Pro to class, the new MacBook Pro is the best all-around option.

13-inch MacBook ProIt combines portability with enough processing power to handle almost any project that most students will face. ..

This makes it ideal for writing papers or using your college’s course management system, and the gorgeous retina display makes it perfect for watching Apple TV+ shows. Its small size allows it to fit easily into most backpacks and laptop bags, but the native resolution of 2560 by 1600 provides plenty of work space.

To be safe, we recommend at least two terabytes for users who save a lot of music or video files. There are several storage options available for this MacBook. We recommend that students upgrade to the one terabyte storage option, which allows them to store papers, projects, and photos without worrying about running out of space.

Because the 13-inch MacBook Pro has a fan, it can run at higher loads for longer without throttling, and it has 8 cores instead of 7 for better multi-core performance. The M1 processor has changed the way students should choose their MacBooks. This means that students working on video games or film editing will be able to complete larger projects faster than the fanless MacBook Air can.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with 8GB or 16GB of RAM and internal storage options ranging from 256GB to 2TB. Only two Thunderbolt 3 ports are available, and you can only connect a single external monitor with a resolution of up to 6K.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is ideal for users who require multiple monitors, external GPUs, or Windows emulation.

If you’re unsure about which upgrades to choose, your academic advisor or a professor in your field of study should be able to guide you.


  • Smaller size
  • M1 runs without limits with a fan
  • Best combination of size vs performance


  • When compared to similar MacBook Air models, the starting price is high.
  • Only one external monitor

Best Desktop Mac: 24-inch iMac

For many people, the portability and versatility of a MacBook is appealing, but nothing beats a dedicated desktop setup. ‘The’ 24-inch iMac The M1 processor not only has a beautiful design that will stand out in any workstation, but it is also extremely powerful.

Boot camp will leave you without Windows virtualization, but this should only be an issue for a few students. The 24-inch iMac, like the M1-based MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, can run most applications smoothly, even if they were designed for Intel machines.

Because this thin desktop only weighs 9 pounds, you can use it at your desk or take it to the library with you. This updated Apple desktop is ideal for students due to its updated design.

Customers can order either a Magic Mouse or a Magic Trackpad at checkout, but not both. Color-matched accessories are included with the purchase of the 24-inch iMac. Touch ID may or may not be included in the included Magic Keyboard, depending on the model.

Older iMac models are also available for students who still use Intel-based applications and virtualization. ‘The’ 21.5-inch iMac and 27-inch iMac Both have older designs, but they do have some useful features, such as support for multiple external monitors.


  • Powerful M1 processor
  • Thin and light design
  • Color-matched accessories


  • No option for larger display with redesign
  • Attach only one external monitor due to M1
  • Minimal port options with only two Thunderbolt ports

Best Desktop Mac on a Budget: Mac mini

2018 Mac mini

The Mac mini is a great option for college students on a budget.

The Mac miniYou wouldn’t bring it to class, and you wouldn’t be able to do much with it once you got there, but its small size is useful when you need to move where you set up your work. Although it’s classified as a desktop, it’s small enough to be moved around easily. It also shows how capable the tiny Mac for students can be.

However, you will need to purchase a separate screen, keyboard, and mouse or trackpad. Even though the entry-level model now has 256GB of SSD storage, that’s still not a lot.

You can connect two monitors to this Apple Silicon-based Mac because it has an additional HDMI port. This is the cheapest Mac on the market, but thanks to the M1 processor, it can compete with even the most expensive 16-inch MacBook Pro.


  • Semi-portable in small casing
  • Choose your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse
  • Many ports


  • 256GB at entry model is untenable
  • Less ports than Intel variant
  • Only two monitors, one HDMI, and one Thunderbolt port are available.

iPad Pro, the Mac Alternative for Education

Apple's Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro

Apple’s Magic Keyboard enhances the iPad Pro

You might want to try an iPad for school if your coursework can be completed via a web app and you don’t require any specific desktop-based applications. If you’re using an iPad for schoolwork, you’ll almost certainly need a keyboard and trackpad, which will increase the overall cost.

Of course, buying the iPad as an add-on device and using it as a small note-taking tablet is also an option. Apple Pencil Alternatively, you can use it as an extended display for your Mac. SideCar.. The iPad, on the other hand, can significantly improve any workflow if you decide to use it.

As a reminder, the iPad can only run apps that are downloaded from the App Store. App StoreAs a result, you’ll want to make sure you can do your classwork on the iPad before buying it.


The 10.2-inch iPadTo keep the price down, it doesn’t have a retina display and lacks some of the more pro-level features. The A10 Fusion chip in the current iPad is still supported by Apple. It works with Apple’s Smart Keyboard and the first-generation Apple Pencil. iPadOS and can easily run modern applications.

‘The’ This is the ideal device for a new student, and Apple promotes it as a device for educational markets. base model For $329, you can get 32GB of storage, but it’s recommended that you upgrade to 128GB for $100 more.

iPad Air

The iPad AirIt has a 10.9-inch laminated display and is compatible with Apple’s second-generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard. is the best iPad from Apple that still has Touch ID. With the new flat-sided design, its A14 Bionic chip provides a similar experience to that of the pro models.

If you don’t want to spend more on the pro models or just want to use it as a secondary computer, you’ll probably want the iPad Air. ‘The’ iPad Air starts at $599With 64GB of storage, it’s a good idea to upgrade the memory to the next tier, just like the base iPad. The 256GB version costs $749.

iPad mini

The iPad miniis essentially an iPad Air with a 7.9-inch display crammed into it. You can get 64GB for $399, or upgrade to 256GB for $549. This model uses the A12 Bionic, which excels in smaller displays. Although there is no Smart Keyboard, the Apple Pencil first generation is compatible.

The iPad mini is a device that can be used in a variety of ways. You can use it as a miniature computer by attaching a keyboard, or you can carry it in your pocket with the Pencil and use it as a portable digital notepad.

iPad Pro

The iPad Prois Apple’s flagship tablet, which the company touts as a capable Mac replacement. You could use it as a second display or a notepad like the other models, but given that these devices are more expensive than a MacBook Air or Mac mini, you’ll probably want to use it for more.

Apple’s Silicon M1 chip, LiDAR camera, and, in the case of the iPhone, the

12.9-inch iPad ProApple also sells a special iPad Pro keyboard called the Magic Keyboard, which has scissor-switch keys and a trackpad in a slim case. The iPad Pro is distinguished by its new Liquid Retina XDR Display. When you pair this with the Apple Pencil 2, you’ll have a laptop/tablet combo that can take any shape you need on the fly.

The 11-inch iPad Pro For a $500 upgrade, you can get up to 1TB of storage in either. is $799, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 128GB of storage is $1,099

For a $200 price increase at purchase, all 2021 iPad Pro models can be configured with cellular. Support for 5G is new for 2021.

Best Mac for students depends on individual needs

We wish all of the students out there the best of luck as they begin their fall semester studies. Finally, the best MacBook for students — or even the best iMac or iPad Pro — is determined by the individual’s needs, which include grade level, college major, learning environment (remote vs. in-person), and budget.

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