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How long do MacBooks last?

MacBooks can last a long time if you treat them right.

Published onFebruary 13, 2024

apple macbook air 15 inch lid
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

MacBooks can be expensive pieces of kit. While buying one provides a solid and portable office and creative platform, it’s not a purchase you’ll want to make often. Thankfully, MacBooks are designed to last, provided you treat them kindly. Below, we take a look at how long a MacBook should last before you have to upgrade.


Based on Apple's guidance, the useful life of a MacBook should be between five to seven years. However, these devices can last much longer if proper care is provided.


How long do MacBooks last?

15 inch Macbook Pro product shot

Devices aren’t built to last forever. Even though we wish this were the case, it’s usual for a product to start showing signs of deterioration a few years into its lifespan. In the case of Apple’s best laptops, this depends on how you use and treat the device. While most of us at Android Authority are using recent models, some of us only just upgraded from devices launched as early as 2015.

In reality, we can gauge a MacBook’s useful life based on Apple’s own recommendations. Laptops that were distributed over five years ago but no more than seven are classed as “vintage.” Vintage laptops might still be serviceable in certain countries up to this point, but you might find it difficult to source replacement parts. Laptops that were distributed over seven years are dubbed “obsolete” and are no longer eligible for hardware support.

Find a list of some vintage and obsolete MacBooks below.

Examples of “Vintage” MacBooks

  • 2016 MacBook (12-inch Retina)
  • 2016 MacBook Pro (13-inch)
  • 2016 MacBook Pro (15-inch)
  • 2015 MacBook Air (13-inch)
  • 2015 MacBook Pro (13-inch Retina)

Examples of “Obsolete” MacBooks

  • 2015 MacBook (12-inch Retina) and older
  • 2014 MacBook Pro (15-inch, Retina) and older
  • 2014 MacBook Air (13-inch) and older
  • iBook series
  • PowerBook series

In short, your MacBook’s realistic and useful lifespan should be at least seven years. But, if you’ve looked after the device throughout its life, it can last much longer.

It’s also important to note Apple’s software update policy. macOS Ventura, launched in 2022, can run on MacBooks launched as far back as 2017. Older MacBooks will be limited to older macOS versions, so if running the latest software is important to you, you might consider buying a new device more regularly.

Of course, if your machine is too old to warrant keeping it, consider trading in your MacBook for a new model.

How to know if your MacBook is reaching the end of its lifespan

2020 MacBook Air review keyboard

While Apple’s vintage or obsolete classification is a reasonable indicator of a MacBook’s lifespan, it isn’t the only factor you should consider.

Here’s a more pragmatic answer: Once your MacBook struggles to serve you adequately, it’s reaching the end of its lifespan. This is true regardless of its age. Your MacBook may be less useful once it presents annoying physical problems, like an ailing keyboard, a bulbous battery, or random shutdowns. Additionally, older devices may lack the CPU and GPU horsepower required to meet your processing requirements. This isn’t just true for MacBooks. If you own any device and it can no longer do what you bought it to do, it’s time to consider upgrading.

That said, just because a device can’t serve your primary purpose doesn’t mean you should trash it. You might successfully repurpose older laptops as dedicated music recording stations, Photoshop studios, and more.

Can you upgrade a MacBook?

MacBooks aren’t as user upgradeable as other laptop brands. In theory, most MacBook models made in 2017 or earlier may have limited upgrade options, be it RAM or the storage drive. However, users cannot upgrade newer MacBooks that rely on Apple’s silicon.

Some noticeable upgrade examples include the 2012 MacBook Pro models. According to iFixit, the 15-inch model is among the easiest to service in Apple’s lineup. Some additional RAM and a newer 2.5-inch SATA drive should boost its speed dramatically. This is a great way to extend the device’s lifespan a little further.

How to make your MacBook last longer

2020 MacBook Air review laptop inside manila envelope2

You’ll have to upgrade your MacBook eventually, but you can delay this inevitability by looking after your current machine. There are a few practical ways to keep your MacBook in tip-top condition.

Take proper physical care

The obvious applies here. If you want your MacBook to last a week, never mind a few years, practice giving it proper care. Not dropping it, not carrying it by the screen, not smashing it into objects while carrying it, and using it within Apple’s suggested operating conditions are just some ways to avoid physical damage.

Consider getting a MacBook cover if you are particularly rough with your devices. Many options are available, from truly tough cases to trendier fashion-first shrouds.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to keep your MacBook clean. Do not spill any liquids on the keyboards, and keep the ports clean and free of debris where possible. Set up a weekly cleaning and maintenance schedule.

Using it as a desktop machine?

If your MacBook rarely (if ever) leaves your desk, there are a few things you should consider.

Prevent wear and tear on the keyboard and touchpad by using an external keyboard and mouse. Plenty of great MacBook accessories out there will enhance your productivity while safeguarding the health of your investment.

Keep that battery fresh and cool

The battery is a common failure point on MacBooks, so keep it healthy and happy. This means regularly checking the battery health, keeping it within operating temperature, and replacing it when it shows signs of swelling.

Notably, keeping the charger in good shape is also important. Don’t charge your laptop with a frayed charging cable or faulty brick.

Upgrade hardware

If you own an older MacBook that can be upgraded, consider refreshing it with new hardware where you can. As mentioned above, older MacBooks are often user upgradeable, at least regarding RAM and storage.


Yes, easily. MacBooks can last well beyond 10 years if they’re treated correctly. However, it’s unlikely that such an old device will keep up with today’s modern multitasking and processing demands.

You should replace your MacBook Pro if it’s no longer doing what you need it to. This will be different for every user.

According to Apple’s classification, yes, a MacBook from 2015 is outdated and “obsolete.”

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