How Long Do Macs Last?

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Are you trying to decide which laptop best suits your needs? Read on if you’re considering a Mac and asking yourself, “How long do Macs last?”

You’re fresh out of college, a graduate who’s had the same laptop since their high school career ended. You’re starting to experience some serious problems with your laptop. Which makes sense, considering that the average laptop lasts around three to five years at the most.

You’ve thought long and hard about upgrading to a Mac from your old Windows laptop, but you’re not sure if it’s worth the investment. You don’t want to lose your new laptop as quickly as you lost your old one. “How long do Macs last?”, you ask. There are many metrics by which you can answer this question. Here’s what you need to know.

Mac Life Expectancy By OS Updates

To answer the question “How long do Macs last?”, let’s first look at the part of the Mac most likely to expire faster than any other. In order to run well, your Mac will need to be capable of supporting the latest release of macOS. The current operating system, Big Sur, is due to be supported until near the end of 2023.

However, you don’t necessarily need to have Big Sur, as both Catalina and Mojave, the last two operating system versions, are still receiving software updates from Apple. So, if your Mac is capable of running Mojave, you should be able to keep its security and malware protection up to date until the end of this year. (Although you’ll experience serious security risks after that point.)

If you wanted to save money on a Mac by buying used, you can get Mojave-compatible MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air models dating back to mid-2012. Just take care when browsing online to ensure that your model is still supported.

Mac Life Expectancy By Hardware

The second metric by which you can measure MacBook life expectancy is how long its hardware can remain active. Now, some hardcore Mac fanatics swear that they’ve seen Mac computers last for a decade or longer. As long as the computer still functions, we see no reason to doubt those numbers.

However, Macs are notorious for being expensive to repair, especially when looking at older models. Apple still services Mac models for up to five years after the model leaves production. Once it passes that threshold, Mac considers the machine “vintage”. It will be harder from that point on to have it repaired.

Apple still services these “vintage” models between the ages of five and seven, assuming that they can find the required parts. However, once a model exceeds seven years of age, neither Apple nor its authorized servicers will repair or service it. Since a standard new Mac release will be sold for around a year, the hard limit on Mac’s hardware is around eight years.

Your mileage may vary on this, as a well-tended Mac might last you for longer than eight years. However, should anything happen to your machine, you’ll need to eat the cost of a replacement, as you won’t be able to get it repaired.

Does Usage Play a Role?

Now, you might be wondering, “Does my usage play a role in how long my Mac lasts?” The answer? Absolutely! Let’s examine how long you might expect your new Macbook to last based on how much you use it.

With Heavy Usage…

With heavy usage, your MacBook should last between five to seven years.

What qualifies as heavy usage? Video editing, animation, editing, and gaming all qualify, as each of these tasks is CPU-intensive. All of these tasks put greater wear on your laptop’s parts and get outstripped by the breakneck pace of updating technology.

With Moderate Usage…

With moderate usage, your MacBook will last you between five and seven years as well. Although, you should still see a greater lifespan than you would with heavy usage.

What qualifies as moderate usage? Daily web browsing, paper writing, and occasional use of the Mac for gaming or other CPU-intensive purposes would count.

With Light Usage…

If you only use your MacBook for two to three hours per session less than half the days of the week, you might get close to seeing the decade-long lifespan proclaimed by die-hard Mac fans. Even if you think your usage qualifies as “light”, it’s more than likely moderate at the lowest.

So If My MacBook’s Old, Do I Need to Get a New One?

While we’ve discussed the hard limits of Mac software and hardware above, you may find yourself wondering if you need to get a new model once yours reaches those limits. Even if your Mac has reached the ages listed above, it might not need to be replaced right away. Even if your Mac has been slowing down and lacks memory lately, you might not need to buy a new one.

Your MacBook could be slowing down due to high memory usage. If so, try this out before you buy a new laptop, and see if it improves your performance. If the issue is instead due to an overload of old files, take a moment to clean out the system and get rid of files that you no longer need.

If the concern is speed or memory, you might be able to upgrade your RAM or storage on certain models. However, you’ll need to contact a professional to handle this upgrade and make sure that your MacBook is compatible with the new parts.

How Long Do Macs Last? Let’s Review

So, how long do Macs last on average? The answer depends on whether you’re looking at them from the perspective of software, hardware, or usage. However, no matter which angle you tackle the question from, the consensus seems to be five to seven years. This gives you a solid two years on the average laptop lifespan, making the extra expense in getting a new MacBook well worth the initial investment!

If you found this article about the average lifespan of a Macbook helpful and would like to read more like it, check out our blog today for more tech content like this!

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