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SOLVED: Macbook Air 2015 or Macbook Pro 2012 for IOS Development

Forums > 100 Days of SwiftUI

Hi all! My current situation only allows me to get either a Macbook Air 2015 or a Macbook Pro 2012. I'm still torn on which to get which is why I would like input from others. My priority is the macbook that can code better. I will most probably use this macbook as my workhorse to learn swiftUI from scratch until i'm able to (hopefully) secure a job (im looking at half a year to a year). I will list out all the specs below.

Things to take note are that storage on both are upgradable but ram is upgradable only on the macbook pro 2012. If things start to slow down and I need an upgrade or more storage I should be able to upgrade.

Macbook Air (11- inch, Early 2015) MacOS: Monterey 12.4 Processor: 1.6 GHz Dual-Core intel Core i5 Memory: 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 1536 MB Storage: 121 GB Flash Storage (Upgradable) Latest compatile xcode version: xcode 13.4 Concerns: will the hardware be good enough to code on? Will it overheat?

Macbook Pro (13- inch, Mid 2012) MacOS: Catalina 10.15.5 Processor: 2.5 GHz Dual-Core intel Core i5 Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 (Upgradable) Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB Storage: 240 GB SSD SATA Drive (Upgradable) Latest compatile xcode version: xcode 12.4 Concerns: will the MacOS get outdated soon?

Im deeply grateful for all the help and input from you guys! <3


So, I think we're approaching the point at which there is real risk to investing in Intel based systems. Apple supported Rosetta during the PPC to Intel transition for four years. We're rapidly approaching the three year point, and Apple has finished transitioning all product lines to M series SOC's. Because of this, you're likely looking at a year of support left for Rosetta 2.

While end-users won't really care too much, developers utilize the new features released for XCode annually. These features are often tied to new MacOS releases, and there's a good chance that Apple will stop supporting Intel macs within the next year or two. At that point, you might be limited to utilizing the last XCode release compiled for x86, and that might hinder short-term development workflows.

I strongly, strongly suggest anyone looking to get into Swift development now looks for (at least) the new M1 Macbook Air which Amazon has for a low at $690. If you're worried about upgradability, just know that this is dead in the new Apple Dev enviornment. The only upgradability that now exists is at time of purchase -- and that will extend to all future products in the ecosystem.

For development purposes, I'm using an 13" M2 MBA in a 512/8 configuration. I have all the enviornments installed that I need, and while 8gb sounds like a pitance of an amount, Swap Memory is arguably as fast as non-integrated DDR4 found in Windows laptops and the impacts to my worflow have been nonexistent. This configuration currently runs for $1029 on Amazon Renewed, though you can get a base model 13" from Apple directly for $999 with an Education or Corporate discount.

While the SSD is smaller than I would recommend for development, if you're only using XCode and not looking to do too much else in the short-term, 256/8 is a perfectly fine configuration.


Thanks so much for the input! Appreciate it. I will deffinitely look into investing in an M1 Macbook as soon as possible


Choosing between a MacBook Air (2015) and a MacBook Pro (2012) for coding purposes involves considering various factors. Here's a breakdown based on your provided information:

MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2015): Pros:

More recent release, so potentially better longevity in terms of software support. Lightweight and portable, which can be advantageous for learning and coding on the go. 8 GB of RAM is reasonable for general coding tasks and learning SwiftUI. Concerns:

The 1.6 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and Intel HD Graphics 6000 may not handle more resource-intensive tasks as well as the MacBook Pro. 121 GB of storage might fill up quickly, so you'll likely need external storage or consider upgrading. MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012): Pros:

Upgradable RAM is a significant advantage for future-proofing and handling more demanding tasks. The 2.5 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 provides a bit more processing power compared to the MacBook Air. Already upgraded to a 240 GB SSD, which is faster than traditional hard drives. Concerns:

Being an older model, it might receive macOS updates for a limited time, potentially becoming outdated sooner. Heavier and less portable than the MacBook Air. Recommendations: Coding Performance:

For coding and learning SwiftUI, either should be adequate, but the MacBook Pro might handle heavier workloads more comfortably due to the upgradable RAM. Portability:

If portability is crucial, the MacBook Air is the better choice due to its smaller size and lighter weight. Future Software Updates:

The MacBook Air has a more recent release and may receive macOS updates for a longer period. However, the MacBook Pro's upgradable RAM can offset some of its age-related limitations. Storage:

The MacBook Pro has a larger SSD, which is beneficial for storage and performance. Additional Tips: Overheating:

Both models are designed to handle regular usage. However, coding can be resource-intensive, so monitor temperatures and consider using cooling pads if needed. Upgradability:

Both laptops allow storage upgrades, but only the MacBook Pro allows RAM upgrades. This can be a significant factor in extending the lifespan of the MacBook Pro. Considering your priorities, if portability is not a significant concern, and you're comfortable with potentially needing to upgrade RAM in the future, the MacBook Pro (2012) might be the more versatile option. However, if portability is crucial, and you don't mind potential limitations in performance down the line, the MacBook Air (2015) could be a good choice.


I've faced a similar dilemma with my website. For coding, the MacBook Pro 2012 allows RAM upgrades, but the Air 2015's specs and potential longevity might support newer software longer. Consider the Air for smoother performance and longevity.


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