Can a MacBook Air Run Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a popular program that comes in handy to make digital images and designs. If you’re the owner of a MacBook Air and want to use the program, you might wonder – can a Macbook Air run Adobe Illustrator, or is the device not compatible?

All MacBook Air models can run Adobe Illustrator, however 2020 or newer MacBook Air models will perform best due to their more powerful M1 processor chip. For the ultimate performance, consider upgrading the built-in Memory from 8GB to 16GB.

You’ve come to the right place if you want to learn more about Adobe Illustrator and the Macbook Air. Read on to learn more about how this software works on the Air, if professionals use the Air, and more. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

How Does Illustrator Work on a Macbook Air?

If you want Adobe Illustrator on your MacBook Air, you will first need to download the software. The program doesn’t come automatically on any MacBook models.

To get Adobe Illustrator on your MacBook Air, you should:

  1. Head to the Adobe website
  2. Pay for the Illustrator program or Adobe Suite
  3. Download Adobe Illustrator 
  4. Log into the software on your MacBook

You can keep the Illustrator icon hidden or put it right on your home screen dock for easy access. Now that you know how to get access to Adobe Illustrator, it’s time to discuss whether the MacBook Air is the best MacBook for Illustrator?

Which MacBook is Best for Illustrator?

There are many MacBook varieties on the market. Some are equipped with more powerful hardware than the MacBook Air, however is all the added power necessary to run Illustrator?

Although Illustrator will run on any year MacBook Air, 2020 or newer MacBook Air models are best to run Illustrator because they come with the M1 processor chip.

The M1 processor chip is a lot faster than the previous processors, so you’ll have a more enjoyable experience using Illustrator.

If you plan to use Adobe Illustrator more frequently, you may want to consider upgrading the 8GB of built-in Memory to 16GB.

The upgraded Memory will keep Illustrator running fast as you create more complex design projects. Typically, the program can get “bogged down” and take more loading time if you run out of Memory. Although 8GB of Memory is sufficient, you will have much more peace of mind with 16GB Memory if you find yourself using the computer for other uses as well.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro for Adobe Illustrator

Although the MacBook Air is less powerful than the MacBook Pro, it’s also less expensive by hundreds of dollars. The MacBook Air is a solid option if you want to make Adobe Illustrator a part of your life, especially if you’re buying a 2020 or newer model with the M1 chip.

A 2020 or newer MacBook Air will perform nearly identical to the MacBook Pro when it comes to running Adobe Illustrator.

It is not necessary to upgrade computers from MacBook Air to MacBook Pro in regards to using Illustrator.

Do Professionals Use MacBook Airs?

Because MacBook Airs are so powerful nowadays, there are plenty of professionals that utilize MacBook Airs for professional purposes. Illustrators and graphic designers enjoy the portability of the MacBook Air, along with the storage space it provides. You can absolutely use the MacBook Air, whether you work from home or in an office.

In the past, professionals were more likely to opt for the MacBook Pro because it was more powerful, however the 2020 and newer models of the MacBook Air harness the same M1 processor chip that makes it just as powerful.

Is Illustrator Free on the MacBook Air?

Although free software would be ideal, Adobe Illustrator is not free on the MacBook Air. It’s not free on any Apple device, whether you’re investing in the Air or the more expensive MacBook Pro. If you want to illustrate, you need to be ready to pay a monthly fee for the luxury of the Adobe service.

If you want Adobe Illustrator, you can invest in the following account options:

  • A free trial: If you don’t want to pay, you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial of the service. Once it ends, you can determine if the service is right for you.
  • A basic subscription: A subscription for Adobe Illustrator will run you around $20.99 a month.
  • A student account: If you’re a student, you can get up to 60% off the base price for the service. Once you leave school, you will have to upgrade to the traditional cost.

These offer variety in what you pay for Adobe Illustrator, allowing you to determine what you are willing to pay for the features.

It would be ideal if Adobe Illustrator was free on the MacBook Air, but it’s the industry standard for many professions. You need to be ready to pay at least $20 a month for Adobe Illustrator on this device if you want it available to access whenever you need it.

Are There Illustrator Alternatives for the MacBook Air?

If you’ve decided Adobe Illustrator isn’t the best choice for you, there are several alternatives you can pick from on a MacBook Air. Let’s go over some of the most ideal affordable selections if you want to try out something else.

A few of the best alternatives for Adobe Illustrator on the MacBook Air include the following:

  • Placeit (my personal favorite)
  • Inkscape
  • Gravit Designer
  • Vecteezy

These will give you similar tools for a lower price.

Many of these choices even have free options available for users. You can test out a few and determine if there’s anything you like more than Adobe Illustrator. Of course, if you realize Adobe Illustrator is still your best option, you can always go back to the classic choice. The MacBook Air can handle it.


If you have a MacBook Air and want to run Adobe Illustrator, you can feel comfortable knowing the device can handle the software. MacBook Airs are now so powerful that you can easily use them for Illustrator professionally. The 2020 or newer MacBook Air models are going to be the best choice because they have the M1 processor chip, making them more powerful than ever. For the ultimate performance, consider upgrading the built-in Memory to 16GB to power through complex design projects with the same lightning fast speed.

If you find yourself needing a less resource-heavy editing software, consider online image editors like They are hosted on the internet so they require very little resources, and can even be used on a smartphone or tablet if needed.