Macs are generally more expensive than Windows computers. So, it’s understandable that you want to know how long they last. In this post, we’ll explore the answers to the question: How long do Macs last?
Overall, as far as the hardware components are concerned, an average Mac would usually keep working for eight years. If it’s from a repair point of view, a Mac will last for seven years from the moment it’s no longer in circulation. Macs are normally available for around one year (or possibly longer).
Read on to learn more about how long Macs last, plus a few tips for making it lasts longer and signs that you need to buy a new one.
How Long Do Macs Last?
Laptops, in general, have a shorter lifespan than desktop computers. MacWorld says a typical MacBook Pro has a lifespan ranging from five to eight years. Some models could last for eight to eleven years if based on OS updates alone.
In the case of MacBook Air, experts suggest it has an average lifespan of five to seven years. However, if it’s going to handle heavy workloads most of the time (animation, editing, and/or gaming), there’s a higher chance of having a shorter lifespan by one to two years. Its RAM and memory storage space is just not built for heavy applications.
When we talk about “lifespan,” we’re talking about the following:
How long Mac laptops and desktop computers last depend on their operational lifespan. Operational lifespan refers to the amount of time a laptop can accomplish tasks, including running programs properly.
But here’s the thing: just because a Mac can run for seven or eight years, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work at the highest level during its final years. It may already struggle running the latest software programs.
Every time there’s a new version or update of a particular application, it can slow down your Mac. This usually happens because updates will increase the demand for your laptop’s hardware. In some instances, they could run different processes or enable new features in your Mac laptop.
Useful lifespan refers to the number of years a Mac can run sophisticated modern programs and meet or exceed their system specifications. If you’re only going to perform basic tasks (writing, streaming movies, create a standout work presentation, etc.), an older model is often enough.
However, it might not be capable of handling programs that place high demands on its components (CPU, RAM, graphics card, etc.).
Factors That Determine How Long a Mac Lasts
Several factors determine how long a Mac lasts, including:
1. Usage Habits
Avoiding bad usage habits can improve the lifespan of your device. One bad habit almost everyone is guilty of is leaving their laptops plugged in all the time. Others may ignore system errors, which could negatively affect a hard drive’s health.
2. Intended Purpose
Are you going to use it to run less demanding programs? Do you need it for graphics design or video editing?
This is the main contributing factor to a laptop’s lifespan. The better the components (processor, RAM, graphics card, etc.), the longer the average lifespan of your Mac.
You can check your MacBook’s hardware by clicking the Apple icon, which is in the upper left corner of your laptop. Choose “About This Mac” from the drop-down menu.
How to Make Your Mac Last Longer?
Taking care of your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is one of the best ways to make sure you get your money’s worth. If you want to be doubly sure it reaches its projected lifespan, check out the following care tips:
1. Free Up Drive Space
The hard disk drive (HDD) is a critical component of any laptop or desktop computer. On average, the hard drive of most Macs remains dependable for three to five years before it starts to wear out from overuse.
MacBook laptops don’t usually have much disk space, so it’s really not a good idea to hoard files and applications that you’ll never use. Low disk space can significantly affect a laptop’s system performance and cause applications you normally use to crash.
Thus, regular maintenance—that includes freeing up space on your hard drive—is vital. While it might take time, cleaning up your hard drive is usually easy. Mac’s “Storage Management” window provides suggestions to help you optimize your storage.
Identify Files Taking Up Room on Your Hard Drive
But before you do that, it’s a good idea to identify all of the files (system support, utility service, and hidden files) that are taking up room on your hard drive. Here’s how:
- Select the “About This Mac” from the “Apple Menu.”
- Then select the “Storage” tab to get a color-coded graph to help you identify large files, which you might no longer need.
How to Free Up Hard Drive Space Manually?
There are various ways you can free up hard drive space manually:
- Simply click to highlight a file you want to delete, and then drag it into the “Trash” can in the dock at the bottom of your screen;
- Click the “Optimize” button to get rid of all the movies and TV shows you already watched. Anyway, you can always download them again if you already have sufficient disk space; and
- If you have a lot of files that you can’t afford to delete, store them in Apple iCloud or an external storage device.
2. Prevent Overheating
It’s completely okay for a Mac to be slightly warm during normal operation. However, it’s a different story if it becomes too hot to touch. Overheating could cause irreparable damage to internal components (e.g., CPU and motherboard), which significantly shortens your Mac’s lifespan.
These are just a few tips for preventing your Mac from overheating:
Use External Cooling Devices
Technically, you don’t need an external device to keep your Mac from overheating. The Apple company designed their laptops to work without needing a separate cooling device, such as a cooling pad. However, it doesn’t hurt to have one, especially if you do many CPU, GPU, and RAM-intensive tasks.
Elevate Your MacBook
Raising a laptop allows proper ventilation, which in turn prevents overheating. There are different suggestions regarding the ideal laptop height and angle. A good rule of thumb is to elevate it five to ten inches above your desk and to put it on a stable, firm surface.
Again, how long do Macs last? Based on OS updates alone, a Mac typically lasts between 8 and 11 years, depending on the model. In the case of MacBook Air, experts suggest it has an average lifespan of five to seven years.
However, if it’s going to handle heavy workloads most of the time (animation, editing, and/or gaming), there’s a higher chance of having a shorter lifespan by one to two years. Its RAM and memory storage space is just not built for heavy applications.
Don’t Place It on Your Bed
It isn’t good to place your laptop on your bed, blanket, carpet, couch, or any cushioning material. Doing this could prevent air from properly flowing to your laptop. This could result in heat buildup, which can eventually damage your Mac’s internal components.
Always place your Mac on a flat and level surface, such as your desk. As much as possible, it should be elevated a few inches on your desk and angled to let you see the screen easily.
Keep It Free from Dust and Grime
Dust and grime can clog up your laptop vents and fans, resulting in an excessively hot laptop. And if you don’t have a regular cleaning and maintenance routine, your laptop hardware will eventually suffer damage.
There are plenty of ways to keep your laptop clean all the time, such as:
- Using a can of compressed air to clean the air vents and keyboard. Remember to keep the can of compressed air 2.5 centimeters (approximately an inch) away from internal components, like the fan. Use even motions while spraying short bursts of air.
- Use a soft, clean microfiber cloth to clean sensitive parts of your laptop, like the screen.
- If you’re confident, you could open the panel to access the fan (or fans) and other dust-prone areas of your laptop. Just be aware that this could void your warranty.
Note: Macs are made from different types of materials, which have specific cleaning requirements. As much as possible, get a professional to check and clean your laptop.
3. Don’t Open Too Many Tabs
Whatever browser you’re using, it’s bad to leave many tabs open for long periods. This is especially true for Chrome, which is a CPU (Central Processing Unit) hog. (The CPU is the brain of a laptop. If it’s overtaxed, it could cause slowdowns and prevents you from running multiple apps at once.) So, do yourself a favor and close all those tabs you don’t need.
How many open tabs are too many? Opinions completely vary. Some experts say opening ten or more tabs at one time is too much.
You can identify which tabs have high CPU usage on Chrome by selecting “More Tools” from the menu. Next, open the “Task Manager” from the options.
4. Protect It from Lightning
Do you live somewhere that gets a lot of lightning storms? In the United States, Florida has had the most lightning injuries for the past five decades.
But lightning isn’t just harmful to humans. It can also damage electronic appliances and devices, including laptops.
The following tips will help you protect your Mac from damage due to lightning:
- Always watch the weather news, so you’ll know if there’s going to be a thunderstorm for that day. It’s better to be prepared than be sorry later.
- Once you start hearing thunder, immediately unplug your Mac and other appliances to protect them from electrical surge.
- Use a surge protector. MacBooks normally have built-in protection from electrical surge, but it doesn’t hurt to back it up with a stronger surge protector. This inexpensive device tries to block or limit abnormally high voltage that’s going to your laptop.
- If you experience a lot of thunderstorms and power outages in your area, you might want to get an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) device, also called as a battery backup. As the name suggests, it supplies backup power to allow your Mac to keep running for a short period, so you can save or upload your work and shut down properly.
5. Don’t Smoke Near It
Never let the smoke get near your Mac. One reason for this is Apple will void your warranty if they determined that the damage was due to smoking.
The second reason is it’s going to damage your Mac laptop. If cigarette tar combines with dust—or “tar dust”—it’s going to coat all of the internal components of your laptop.
If you let this brownish substance continue to build upon your laptop’s critical components, you’ll need more than a can of compressed air for cleaning. Eventually, your laptop’s going to slow down and fail before its average lifespan.
How Do You Clean “Tar Dust”?
- Leave it up to the professionals. If your Mac is still under warranty, make a reservation at an Apple Authorized Service Provider or an Apple Store to know what to do. You can also call Apple technical support;
- To prevent this problem from recurring, avoid smoking near your Mac. Don’t put the ashtray near the vents, so the dust doesn’t get sucked inside the laptop;
- If you love your expensive Mac so much, try quitting smoking; and
- Check and clean the fan (or fans) of your MacBook to ensure it’s still working properly. If there’s hot air blowing out of the vents, if there’s little to no air coming out, then dust and tar might’ve already accumulated on it or it’s broken.
Conclusion – How Long Does a Mac Last?
Overall, Apple laptops have a longer lifespan than their competitors—four to seven years. Other laptops from its competitors (Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft) has a prescribed life of between three and six years.
But, there’s no guarantee they’ll work flawlessly throughout those years. That’s why your main goal should always be buying a good-quality laptop that meets your system and hardware specifications and will last as long as possible.
The question of how long does a Mac lasts is indeed difficult to answer because different factors can affect it. But with proper maintenance (like the ones we mentioned in this post) and good usage habits, you might be able to extend its life for more than eight years.