How Long Do MacBooks Last? [2023 Update]

CG Director Author Petar Vukobratby Petar Vukobrat   /  Published 

Apple MacBooks are some of the best and most sought-after laptops on the market — and, well, with good reason. They offer both stellar performance and incredible efficiency; it’s a mix seldom seen.

This venerable Cuppertino-based tech giant is amongst the most capable companies in the world, and its tremendous product stack — to say nothing of its trailblazing tendencies — speaks for itself.

These laptops, beautiful and capable though they are, don’t come cheap. That’s why one cannot help but wonder: how long do they last? That’s a hugely important question as most people only tend to buy a new laptop every four-to-five years or so.

It all depends on one’s use-case and profession, but still — laptops are often mighty expensive and, as such, are expected to last a while.

Fortunately, MacBooks are built to last many a year, and that’s true for older models as much as is it for newer, ARM-based ones.

They’re CNC machined from a single piece of aluminum. Their hinges are stiff and strong, their screens of high quality, and their chassis without even the slightest bit of creaking or flex.

MacBooks — They’re Built to Last

They’re built like a proverbial tank, is what they are, and that’s yet another reason why millions upon millions of users have been gravitating towards them for well over a decade.

Apple’s MacBooks feel different the moment you pick them up.

They’re astonishingly dense and their level of craftsmanship is, frankly, unparalleled. Quality control issues are extremely rare and, even when they do happen, they’re pretty easy to solve as Apple has some of the best customer support in the world.

Buying your MacBook of choice from a reputable retailer like Amazon or Best Buy is still advisable as they have the best return policies imaginable, but the point stands nonetheless.

MacBooks aren’t tested in accordance with any military-grade standard (unlike most ThinkPads), but they’re still amongst the best and most durable laptops on the market. They’re expensive, sure, but that sum of money is also buying you peace of mind.

That’s also why you can still find ten-year-old Macbooks on the second-hand market in either perfect or near-perfect condition. Small signs of wear and tear are, in most cases, unavoidable, but they’re nonetheless easy to live with.

To really damage its enclosure, you’d have to put it through something truly grueling. If you happen to drop it, it will, most likely, only exhibit a small dent on its aluminum casing. Most other laptops would crack and chip away into oblivion.

Most folks don’t even bother with buying any kind of third-party case or sleeve — they’re not a necessity.

A skin for its outer shell is, in most cases, more than enough, if not for protection then surely for customization and aesthetics.

Spectacular Build Quality

The only other brand that can really compete with Apple is, coincidentally, Razer — an OEM most known for spec’d out gaming laptops and RGB-infused peripherals. Its laptops follow much of the same formula manufacturing-wise and, well, it shows.

Apple’s MacBooks exhibit an astounding level of craftsmanship; to say that they’re in the minority would be an understatement.

That’s not to say that they cannot be damaged, of course, but they’ll nonetheless sustain the daily wear-and-tear which comes from a commuting life a lot more easily than most other products.

Which MacBooks Last the Longest?

That’s a very tough question to answer as, well, it all depends on the way in which you use your laptop.

Generally speaking, the M1 and M2-based MacBook Airs have the best shot at lasting you a while because they are passively cooled.

There’s no fan inside which means it’s impossible for any dust or debris to accumulate and, subsequently, affect your laptop’s cooling and overall performance. That means that there’s one less component that could, in time, malfunction.

Macbook Air Passive Thermal Design

Image Credit: Apple

You will have to replace the battery at some point, but that’s a fairly standard (and relatively simple) procedure that any certified Apple repair shop is capable of doing — for an acceptable sum of money (depending on your region).

Regular MacBook keyboards — as in: not butterfly ones — aren’t prone to malfunctioning, and neither is the Force Touch trackpad.

Apple has had its fair share of questionable design choices, but, as of late, it seems as though it has honed in on what makes a MacBook truly great and, as such, has minimized its number of flaws and deficiencies.

Replacements Parts Galore

Because Apple MacBooks are so popular, finding a replacement part is about as easy as possible.

Most countries are littered with certified repair shops and, if you happen to be tech-savvy, you can even do a few of the repairs yourself with parts bought from the second-hand market.

These laptops are as far from niche and obscure as it gets.

On the one hand, that’s not the greatest thing in the world as, no matter where you go, you’re bound to see them pop up — coffee shops, bars, airports, co-working spaces, and so on and so forth.

On the other hand, the fact that they’re so widespread and ubiquitous means that, should something go awry or malfunction, getting it repaired/fixed isn’t going to be all that complicated.

ARM-Related Conundrums

The one big drawback of ARM-based MacBooks is the fact that, essentially, none of its components can be swapped out or upgraded. Both the SoC and the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, and so is the storage — which, frankly, is unheard of.

Components of Apple’s M1 and M2 SOC

Moreover, with all ARM MacBooks relying so heavily on swap memory, the SSDs found within these machines — blazing fast though they are — probably won’t last as long as one would expect.

And, perhaps worst of all, they cannot be replaced, either by the end user or by a certified professional. That’s not necessarily the end of the world, but it sure is something worth noting if you plan on keeping your ARM-based MacBook for many years.

They’ve only been out in the wild since November 2020, so it’s still too early to make any kind of prediction.

To learn more about this topic, make sure to watch the following video:

Conclusion — How Long Do MacBooks Last?

As already said, there really isn’t any surefire way of predicting the lifespan of an Apple MacBook (or any other laptop, for that matter).

Still, based on empirical evidence, it’s fair to say that, on average, a MacBook can easily last for six, seven, or even eight years, with only the battery needing to be replaced once it racks up a high number of cycles.

Other issues can pop up, but they’re nowhere near as frequent as they are with other laptops and OEMs.

Another key point is that these ARM-based machines are so stupendously powerful that, unlike in the past, you won’t need to upgrade in, say, five years’ time.

You won’t lack in power, as your MacBook of choice is all but guaranteed to deliver a stellar level of performance — in spite of its age.

Apple’s own silicon is far more advanced and efficient than “traditional” x86 processors. That wasn’t, sadly, the case with older Intel-based MacBooks, as they were — more often than not — starved for power and were thermally limited.

Apple SoC vs x86 Power

Image Credit: Apple

Their processors ran way too hot and couldn’t really deliver a “Pro” level of performance.

And so, if you bought, say, a Core i5 MacBook Air a few years ago, you’re probably no longer all that impressed with its performance.

It still works, sure, and it can get the job done, but it’s nowhere near as snappy or efficient as what Apple currently has on offer.


Let’s go over a few potential questions regarding this particular topic:

Can I Replace My MacBook’s Battery?

You can always replace your MacBook’s battery, although it’s definitely advisable to have a certified technician do the procedure. It’s not rocket science, but it’s best not to risk it.

This holds true for older Intel MacBooks as well.

How Long Do MacBooks Last on Average?

There’s never any rule as to how long a laptop will last as, essentially, it depends on way too many variables and factors.

Still, on average, a MacBook should last for six or seven years (if not even longer), without exhibiting any glaring issues.

Can Apple Silicon MacBooks Be Upgraded?

They cannot. In fact, only their batteries can be replaced and that’s it.

You can still replace their screens, hinges, keyboards, trackpads, and so on, but no internal component like the processor, GPU, or even storage can be replaced or upgraded further down the line.

That’s why you really need to think twice before making any kind of investment as buying the wrong SKU is going to result in a very specific kind of regret — you’ll have to sell your existing MacBook and invest in a new one.

Over to You

Have you ever used one of Apple’s MacBooks and, if so, how long did it last? Did you ever have to get it fixed for whatever reason?

Let us know in the comment section down below and, in case you need any help, head over to our forum and ask away!

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Petar Vukobrat

I first sat down in front of a Pentium II in 1999 and it feels like I’ve been sitting in front of a computer ever since.

And, well, until mankind comes up with something better and more entertaining, that’ll keep being the case.

If you have any questions — or just want to talk about all things PC and Apple — leave a comment down below!


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