Is MacBook air good for mechanical engineering? (solved)

Is the MacBook Air good for mechanical engineering?

we hear from a lot of people that the MacBook Air might be not a good choice for mechanical engineers, Is that right?

In this article, we’re going to respond to this question to finally give you a full summary, of what are the pros and cons of owning a MacBook Pro as a mechanical engineer. So keep reading.

is MacBook air good for mechanical engineering?

MacBook air is not a good option for mechanical engineers due to the software limitation it has. in other words, it doesn’t support many applications that mechanical engineering need or use in their daily life. But on the hardware side is still an amazing device that has many advantages.

we’re going to discuss the pros of using MacBook air as mechanical engineers and what are the cons too.

The cons of using MacBook air for mechanical engineering

We’re going to list the 10 important drawbacks that make MacBook air a terrible device to use for mechanical engineering.

1 – You will face problems running CAD

CAD is essential software that mechanical engineers use, it very important. So as a mechanical engineer student you will need to use it to learn and prepare yourself to learn all its features and tricks.

But if you think to use MacBook air to run CAD, it won’t be a perfect idea. Because not all cad versions are supported by MacBook air, in addition, many features in CAD don’t work properly.

So you might face a lot of problems and hardships running CAD with your MacBook air.

2 – it doesn’t support Solidworks

The second thing which is terrible about MacBook air is it doesn’t support Solidworks especially if you have an M1 apple silicon chip processor. Mechanical engineers use Solidworks heavily in their jobs.

As a mechanical engineer you won’t have any solution, in this case, the only thing is to find another alternative program to Solidwork. So instead of focusing on how to enhance your level in solid work you waste a time looking for alternatives.

Most mac users in this case install or BootCamp to the windows operating system in their MacBook. But unfortunately, you can’t do that with a MacBook Air, because it simply does not allow you to install windows.

So if you don’t have a MacBook pro or windows laptop in this case, you are handcuffed.

3 – FEA

FEA is another great software that mechanical engineers use to analyze how a design reacts under real-world conditions. In other words, is a tool that allows them to test their designs before going to practical tests.

as a mechanical engineer, you will need to use this software to test your designs, but unfortunately, if you want to run this program on your MacBook air, you can’t. Simply because it is not supported in iOS operating systems.

In other words as a MacBook air owner, you can’t install FEA on your laptop. But for MacBook pro users the only thing they do is to BootCamp to windows which is impossible with a MacBook air.

4- excel and word

if you like to work in Microsoft word or excel you are not allowed with MacBook air, which means you can’t install the famous application like:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Excel
  • One note
  • PowerPoint

the only solution that you have is to use some cloud service like Microsoft 365 which requires form you to stay connected along the time. But you will never have features the same as windows laptops because they are better than the cloud.

5 – VBA

The second thing that some mechanical engineers don’t know is, that they will use some programming ide. In other words, they need to learn some programming and Visual Basic is one example.

The most famous programming software isn’t supported by the MacBook air, so you will find a big hardship if you want to learn programming as a mechanical engineer student.

you could read this article: 18 facts that CS students don’t know about MacBook Air

6 – Matlab

Matlab is supported by MacBook air but it doesn’t work effectively line windows laptops because Matlab basically is written in the windows operating system which gives windows the advantage over iOS in MacBook Air or MacBook pro.

So to solve this issue you have 2 solutions:

  1. buy a windows laptop to run Matlab on its full power
  2. buy a MacBook air windows CPU, not an M1 silicon chip

so it is important to run Matlab to its maximum power as a mechanical engineer.


The last program that you, unfortunately, can’t run with your MacBook air is ANSYS which is software used to solve numerical mechanical problems that a mechanical engineering design could face.

This technic is called FEM or finite element modeling package which treats:

  • heat transfer problems
  • fluid problems
  • acoustic problems
  • electromagnetic problems
  • vibration problems

This technic is very important in mechanical engineering, so it important to use the ANSYS software if you are a mechanical engineer or a student who wants to expand his knowledge in this domain.

But this software is not supported on MacBook air.

8 – Storage

MacBook Air has a standard version came with 256GB of storage that cost $899 if you benefit from a discount student, if you don’t you need to pay $999.

The problem is that 256GB is not enough for a mechanical engineer student who takes a lot of pictures or downloads videos. You will mostly need to have an external drive or…

choose an expensive version of the MacBook Air of the following ones:

  • MacBook Air 512 SSD storage cost $1199
  • 1 TB MacBook air for $1359
  • 2 TB MacBook air for $1719

9 – lack of ports

The other bad thing about the MacBook Air is a lack of ports in other words you don’t have:

  • USB ports
  • Ethernet port
  • HDMI port
  • SD card reader

So you are forced to buy a dock or a converter to plug with a MacBook air if you need to run or use your favorable ports.

10 – you can’t drive more than one monitor as a mechanical engineer

The last thing that we will talk about MacBook air, is the limitation of running only one monitor. In other words, if you want to run dual monitors with your MacBook air to enhance productivity, that is impossible.

So it will be frustrating for mechanical engineering who loves to work with dual or multiple monitors.

The pros of using MacBook air for mechanical engineering

We’re going to list 5 important advantage that makes MacBook air good for mechanical engineering.

1 – price

Which makes a MacBook air an appealing laptop is its price, it is the cheapest laptop and the most powerful laptop of its generation if we make a simple comparison between what is in the market today we find.

This was an example of a test we made for a laptop competition you could find out more about in this article.

MacBook Air is cheaper according to other models in the market, not only that but is more powerful thanks to the last M1 silicon chip that the iPad has released.

2 – silent

The other great thing that makes MacBook air interesting is the silence, in other words, they don’t come with fans. it is completely silent(we’re talking about MacBook air M1 chip, not Intel).

you could watch this video to see more details about this subject.

3 – portable

the other thing that makes students like mechanical engineers ask this question is if a MacBook air good for them or not is its portability.

– MacBook Air is lightweight it doesn’t exceed 1200g

  • finner, it doesn’t exceed 16 mm thinner than any notebook
  • has a great battery autonomy, we find that it lasts around 10 hours in intensive use and 6 hours for gaming

4 – powerful

it has a powerful CPU that can run respectively heavy programs, we made a test of CPU power and in this link, you can find its results.

5 – the last version of the MacBook Air is getting better

The MacBook air version is getting cheaper and better in 2 aspects:

  • 1 they have today the most powerful chip in the world M1 it beats i7 and i9 it is so effective
  • 2 they become cheaper and cheaper with a time before 2 or 3 years MacBook air was costing $1200 instead of $900 today.


regrading of the powerfulness that MacBook air has but the major issue that makes it a bad device for mechanical engineering is a software limitation.

In other words what does matter if you have a powerful CPU but you can’t run:

  • CAD
  • Solidwork
  • FEA or ANSYS

So as a recommendation, if you love apple devices or are an apple consumer is better to opt or look for the MacBook Pro with the intel version at least it allows you to BootCamp to windows when you are stuck at something.

Or buy a Windows laptop if you don’t care about Apple products, this will the second option.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.