XDA Basics: How long do MacBooks last? How long are they supported?
Apple recently introduced the MacBook Pro 2021 models, including the all-new MacBook Pro 14-inch and a major upgrade for the 16-inch model. These two MacBook Pro models are powered by the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets, which are incredibly powerful relative to their power consumption. Because of that, the new models promise both fantastic performance and great battery life, which you can’t really get anywhere else. But if you’re spending at least $1,999 – and up to $6,099 – on a new MacBook Pro you want to know it’s going to last you for a long time.
Thankfully, Apple is pretty good at supporting its devices with software updates over time. Its iPhones, for example, usually get major iOS updates for at least five years after they’ve launched. That’s fantastic compared to most of its competitors. And for macOS and Macs, the story is similar.
How long will my MacBook get updates?
Apple tends to support its devices for quite a few years once they’ve been launched. Let’s take a look at the latest version of macOS, for example. macOS Monterey is releasing on October 25th, and supported Macs go as far back as the late 2013 Mac Pro. For MacBooks specifically, there’s support for models all the way back to early 2015. It’s been well over six years since those models launched, yet they’re still supported.
This isn’t a one-off situation, either. The previous version of macOS, Big Sur, supported MacBook models as old as the mid-2013 MacBook Air. macOS Catalina, released in 2019, supported MacBooks from mid-2012 onward. Apple is fairly consistent with its support, so there’s no reason to worry.
It’s also worth noting here that Apple has been transitioning from Intel-based MacBooks to its own Apple Silicon processors. This started last year alongside the release of macOS Big Sur, but both Big Sur and now Monterey support numerous Intel-based models. That just goes to show that even an architecture shift doesn’t seem to break Apple’s long-term support. We could also be looking at even longer-lasting support with the transition to Apple Silicon, but of course we’re still a ways off from finding that out.
And of course, even if your MacBook is no longer getting major updates, you can technically still use it, and apps usually continue to support older versions of macOS for a while longer. Older versions of macOS also continue to get security updates for a while after subsequent versions are released. macOS Catalina from 2019 has received an update as recently as September 2021, so even if you have a 2012 MacBook, you’re still supported in some capacity.
This is all to say that if you buy the new MacBook Pro, it can easily last you at the very least five years, and it’ll get new features and big updates for all that time. After that, you’ll still get security updates for a few more years, so you can keep using the same laptop for even longer.
If you had any concerns about support for the new MacBook Pro, we believe they should have been assuaged by now. If that’s the case, you can buy the new MacBook Pro 2021 models below. Aside from the new Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, the latest MacBook Pro brings back classic ports including HDMI, an SD card reader, and MagSafe charging. It’s a strong contender for one of the best Macs you can buy today. And if you’re worried about your laptop breaking physically, why not check out our list of the best MacBook Pro cases to help you keep it safe for the next few years?