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MacBook Pro: The biggest and baddest Mac laptops

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Apple's premium laptop comes in 13- and 16-inch screen sizes. Each model includes 2-4 USB-C ports for charging, accessories, and data transfer. Higher-end models also include the Touch Bar.

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MacBook Pro has been the product name for Apple’s high-end laptop since early 2006 when the transition to Intel processors began. Now, that Pro naming has carried forth as Apple has moved to its own silicon. The latest fourth and fifth-generation Pro Apple notebooks bring dramatically more power with lower heat generation and better battery life thanks to the ARM-based Apple silicon. Keep reading for a brief history of the line and a breakdown of the current lineup.

MacBook Pro history

The first generation MacBook Pro followed in the style of the PowerBook G4 that came before it, but used Intel processors rather than PowerPC chips.

The second generation of the MacBook Pro was the first to really separate itself from the products before, with a unibody enclosure. The third-generation MacBook Pro introduced the retina display as well as MagSafe 2.

Perhaps the most controversial version of the MacBook Pro is the fourth generation. While the third generation received some backlash for the removal of ethernet and the optical drive, the fourth generation was a complete rethinking of the device peripherals. No more MagSafe, no more USB-A ports, and only the 13-inch model kept the function keys. Instead, this redesigned MacBook Pro opted for all Thunderbolt 3 ports and headphone jack. In place of function keys, the MacBook Pro gained an OLED Touch Bar. In late-2020, Apple introduced the M1 chip and updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The ARM-based processor brought down power consumption and increased performance.

In October of 2021, Apple introduced the fifth-generation MacBook Pro with not one but two updated versions of the M1 chip, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The move walked back some of the decisions from the previous generation, adding back an HDMI Port, MagSafe charger, and SD card reader while removing the Touch Bar.

The 2020 13-Inch MacBook Pro

In late 2020, Apple introduced the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro as the latest update to the fourth-generation MacBook. The MacBook features the same look as previous MacBooks, but like the MacBook Air and Mac Mini, switched to Apple silicon.

Apple’s M1 chip brought ARM architecture to the MacBook line, and this was the first MacBook without an Intel processor.

The M1 chip is a unified design with an 8-core CPU and an 8-core CPU. The processor integrated memory on board, limiting the device to either 8GB or 16GB of unified memory. The 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro is configurable with between 256GB and 2TB of storage and features a Magic Keyboard, rather than the problematic butterfly keyboard.

13-inch MacBook Pro specs

Base Configuration$1,299.00

  • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard – US English
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

Max Configuration$2,299.00

  • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 2TB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard – US English
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

13-inch MacBook Pro pricing

The price for the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro starts at $1,299. Upgrading this base configuration to 16GB of memory adds $200 to the price. Likewise, each step above 256GB of storage – 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB – will add $200 to the price. A fully specced out 13-inch MacBook Pro will run you $2,299.

You can configure your own 13-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s website.

Current 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

In October 2021, Apple brought a brand new design to the MacBook Pro line. Apple increased the screen size on the 13-inch, making it a 14-inch, and shrunk the bezels on the 16-inch. This fifth-generation notebook addressed many complaints of the last generation. MagSafe returned, in the form of an improved MagSafe 3, while the MacBook also regained an HDMI port and an SD-card slot.

Also gone is the Touch Bar. Instead, the standard row of function keys return. The latest MacBooks also bring a ProMotion display that was first introduced on the iPad Pro, with a variable refresh rate and mini-LED backlight.

The 2021 MacBooks aren’t without a controversial feature, as while the display has been made larger there is now a large notch for the 1080P FaceTime camera. While FaceID would have been a nice addition in exchange for this small chunk of the screen, there are some reasons this is not totally practical.

14-inch MacBook Pro specs

Base Configuration$1,999.00

  • Apple M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 67W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

Maximum Configuration$5,899.00

  • Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 64GB unified memory
  • 8TB SSD storage
  • 96W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

14-inch MacBook Pro pricing

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999. The base model includes 16GB of memory, 512GB of storage, and an M1 Pro processor with an 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU. There are multiple versions of the M1 Pro processor available, while jumping to an M1 Max processor will cost $500 more, and requires you to jump up to 32GB of memory – a $400 upgrade. Going with the M1 Max processor means you can configure up to the full 64GB of memory, an $800 upgrade.

You can configure up to 8TB of storage in the 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro. Upgrade costs are as follows:

  • 1TB SSD Storage – $200
  • 2TB SSD Storage – $600
  • 4TB SSD Storage – $1,200
  • 8TB SSD Storage – $2,400

You can configure your own 14-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s website.

16-inch MacBook Pro specs

Base Configuration$2,499.00

  • Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • 140W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

Maximum Configuration$6,099.00

  • Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 64GB unified memory
  • 8TB SSD storage
  • 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • 140W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

16-inch MacBook Pro pricing

The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499. There is only one M1 Pro processor available on the 16-inch MacBook, and that’s the highest version 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU version of the M1 Pro processor that is a $300 upgrade on the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Of course, you can also step up to the M1 Max processor with either a 24-core or 32-core GPU, a $200 and $400 upgrade respectively (which also requires the $400 upgrade to 32GB of memory). The memory and storage options are all the same as the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

You can configure your own 16-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s website.

Differences between 13-inch,14-inch, and 16-inch models

The 2021 MacBook Pro lineup is a refreshing change. The return of ports and physical keys make the laptops more versatile, while additions like an XDR display and hardware acceleration for ProRes improves the experience but is harder to quantify for the average user.

13-inch14-inch16-inch
ProcessorM1M1 Pro / M1 MaxM1 Pro / M1 Max
Memory8GB / 16GB16GB / 32GB / 64GB16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Storage512GB, 1TB, 2TB512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Screen2560×1600 pixels 3024×1964 pixels; ProMotion3456×2234 pixels; ProMotion
Weight3.0 pounds (1.4 kg)3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)M1 Pro: 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg)
M1 Max: 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg)
Size (Width x Depth)11.97 x 8.36 inches (30.41 x 21.24 cm)12.31 x 8.71 inches (31.26 x 22.12 cm)14.01 x 9.77 inches (35.57 x 24.81 cm)
Height0.61 inch (1.56 cm)0.61 inch (1.55 cm)0.66 inch (1.68 cm)
Base Price$1,299.00$1,999.00$2,499.00

The $1,999 starting price for Apple latest computer is a harder pill to swallow than the $1,300 13-inch Pro from last year. For an average user, the superb M1 MacBook Air will likely suffice (and that sub-$1,000 price is hard to pass up).

But the 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are exactly what they need to be, a return to function-over-form that will truly meet the needs of professional users.

Best USB-C and Thunderbolt displays for Mac [New for March]

Best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays for Mac BenQ

USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have really expanded over the last couple of years. While Apple’s Pro Display XDR isn’t the best fit for most Mac users at $5,000+, it also offers the more affordable Studio Display. And there are also lots of solid choices from LG, Samsung, BenQ, and more. Let’s look at the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays available in the $400-$1,600 range.

Update 3/24/23: BenQ has launched a trio of new 4K USB-C displays at affordable prices.

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Review: Moshi iVisor tames glossy iPad + MacBook with outdoor-friendly matte screen protectors

Years ago, Apple offered the MacBook Pro with an anti-glare display, but save for the nano-texture Pro Display XDR, matte screens are nowhere to be found in Apple’s lineup today. Moshi aims to fill that gap with its iVisior lineup of matte screen protectors, which I’ve been using on both my MacBook Pro and iPad Pro for the last several weeks.

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Exclusive: New 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models will both use M3 chips; refreshed MacBook Pro is also in the works

exclusive: New 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models will both use M3 chips, refreshed MacBook Pro also in the works

We’ve been hearing rumors about a new MacBook Air for a while, but some details about it remain unclear. 9to5Mac has now heard from independent sources that Apple is indeed working on a new generation MacBook Air in two different sizes: 13-inch and 15-inch.

More than that, the company also plans to introduce an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro. What will these laptops have in common? They will be powered by the M3 chip.

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Best MacBook trade-in values following the new Macbook Pro launch

Best MacBook trade-in values 2023

The new M2 Pro and Max MacBook Pro laptops have arrived with a range of impressive upgrades. And we could see an all-new 15-inch MacBook Air launch as soon as this spring. Whether you’re ready to upgrade now or are curious how much you could get for your current laptop, here’s a look at the best MacBook trade-in values. You can also get a 10% cash bonus from our official trade-in partner Decluttr with code “9TO5MAC“.

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M1 Mac Linux 6.2 support for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Studio, Mac mini

M1 Mac Linux 6.2 | MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini

M1 Mac Linux 6.2 support is now available – an achievement that Linux creator Linus Torvalds originally saw as an impossible task. It can be run on the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chips.

Torvalds had long wanted an ARM laptop capable of running Linux, and when the M1 MacBook Air came out said that it would have been the perfect machine but for the fact that Apple wouldn’t allow another OS to access the GPU and other elements …

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M2 Pro vs. M2 Max in real-life video work, using the 16-inch MacBook Pro

M2 Pro vs. M2 Max specifications

One of the decisions you need to make when buying a MacBook Pro or new Mac mini is the chip: M2 Pro vs. M2 Max. We’ve seen what Apple has to say about the differences, and how they stack up in benchmark rankings.

A new piece today looks beyond the benchmarks to how the two chips compare when used for real-life video work in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s not exactly a detailed comparison, but it does provide a pointer to the three usage cases likely to justify the M2 Max …

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Apple manufacturing in Vietnam expanding, likely including the 2023 Mac Pro

Apple manufacturing in Vietnam | Da Nang

Apple manufacturing in Vietnam is set to expand, as the Cupertino company continues working on reducing its dependence on China. The 2023 Mac Pro looks likely to be one of the products assembled there, which would mean Apple dropping the “Made in USA” tag used for the 2019 model.

Foxconn already makes iPads and AirPods in Vietnam, but so far hasn’t begun iPhone or Mac assembly in the country …

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M2 Pro and M2 Max benchmarked against every other current Apple Silicon chip

M2 Pro and M2 Max | M2 Max shown

The new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are so powerful that most reviewers said that they are actually overkill for most Mac owners, even most of those doing video work.

A new benchmark ranking shows how the machine stacks up against every other current Apple Silicon chip, from the A14 Bionic to the M1 Ultra (which still smokes the M2 Pro) …

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How to reset your MacBook or Mac desktop before selling or giving it away

How to reset MacBooks

If you’re ready to sell, trade in, or give away your Mac or wipe it for another reason there are different steps to the process depending on what Mac you have and what version of macOS you’re on. Notably, macOS Ventura and Monterey include a handy modern erase option like iOS. Read on for how to reset MacBooks and Mac desktops.

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This is the one Mac with Apple Silicon that no one should buy

buy m2 MacBook pro

By and large, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s current crop of desktops and laptops powered by Apple Silicon processors. The lineup is stronger than it has ever been, especially with this week’s launch of new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 inside.

But there’s one notable exception. There’s one MacBook that pretty much no one should buy, and that’s the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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2023 MacBook Pro SSD has performance drop similar to M2 MacBook Air

A quick look inside the base-level M2 Pro MacBook Pro revealed something I hadn’t expected to see – or, rather, that something I HAD expected to see was missing. Like the base level M2 MacBook Air, the base level of the latest 14″ MacBook Pro seems to feature fewer NAND chips – at a higher capacity – than the last generation. This results in SSD read and write performance that’s dramatically lower than the previous generation.

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Apple explains how M2 Pro Macs are ready for 8K displays

Mac mini with M2 Pro

With today’s availability of the 2023 Mac mini and MacBook Pro, two machines with the ability to drive 8K displays, Apple has published guidance on how to use these high-resolution displays with your Mac. In addition, these new Macs support higher 4K refresh rates up to 240Hz and expanded support for variable refresh rates (VRR).

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Tested: Brydge ProDock offers instant connectivity for desktop setups, at a price

Brydge ProDock review

The Brydge ProDock is effectively a modern take on a product Apple launched way back in the mists of time (well, 1992): The Macintosh Duo Dock. The idea is to be able to instantly switch between using a Mac laptop as a mobile and desktop device.

There have been a number of third-party takes on this idea. The Brydge ProDock is arguably the best of these – but also the most expensive …

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Apple updates M2 Max media engine specs to show upgrade from M2 Pro in new MacBook Pros

16" and 14" MacBook Pros with M2 Max and M2 Pro processors

When Apple first unveiled the new MacBook Pro earlier this week, some users were surprised by a supposed downgrade in the specs of the media engine. While the M1 Max was always listed as having two encode and decode engines, the spec sheet for the M2 Max was only listed as having one. This page has since been updated to reflect to reality of the machine.

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OLED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro screens are now an official project for Apple supplier

OLED iPad Pro | Existing models shown

We’ve long been expecting a switch to OLED iPad Pro screens, with MacBook Pro models to follow, and a new supply chain report says that the project has now been made official for an Apple supplier.

It says that Apple has asked “a domestic display company” to develop the panels – almost certainly a reference to Samsung, though LG will likely be a secondary supplier …

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MacBook Pro comparison: How the new M2 Pro/Max improves over the M1 versions

M2 MacBook Pro comparison

Apple has launched its next-generation MacBook Pro laptops powered by the new M2 Pro and M2 Max custom silicon. Along with a more powerful CPU and GPU, the new MacBook Pro machines support up to 96GB RAM, Wi-Fi 6E, 8K output via HDMI, and more. Read on for our in-depth M2 Pro/Max MacBook Pro comparison for how everything stacks up against its predecessors.

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