Can You Use a MacBook Air for Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful editing software that allows users to alter and change images to their liking. If you are using a MacBook Air as your device, you might wonder – can you use Adobe Photoshop on the MacBook Air, or is it incompatible?

All MacBook Air models can run Adobe Photoshop, 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.

Those looking to learn more about using Photoshop on a MacBook Air are in the right place. Read on to learn more about how the software works on the laptop, how you can get it on the Air, and more. There’s a bit to go over, so let’s get going!

How Does Photoshop Work on a MacBook Air?

If you want to use Adobe Photoshop on your MacBook Air, you’ll first need to download to the device. Adobe Photoshop does not come by default on any Apple computers.

To put Adobe Photoshop on your MacBook Air, you should:

  1. Go to the Adobe website
  2. Purchase either the Adobe Suite or Photoshop individually
  3. Download Adobe Photoshop
  4. Enter your information and log in to the program

Once you log in and have the software downloaded, you’re ready to roll.

You can put the Photoshop icon right on your home screen dock or keep it hidden and out of the way. Now that you have Photoshop downloaded on your MacBook Air, let’s go over how to use it.

Which MacBook is Best for Photoshop?

There are several different MacBook models available. Some of these offer more powerful hardware than others, but how much power do you really need to run Photoshop?

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

Apple’s M1 processor chip is much faster than the previous processors, so you’ll have a more enjoyable experience using Photoshop.

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

The upgraded Memory will keep Photoshop 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.

Do Professionals Use MacBook Airs?

Because MacBook Airs are so powerful nowadays, you’ll find many professional graphic designers using MacBook Airs to do their work. The devices are more than capable to handle graphic design programs like Photoshop, all while being compact and portable.

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 Photoshop Free on the MacBook Air?

Adobe Photoshop doesn’t come automatically on your MacBook Air, and it’s not free. You will need to pay for the program before you download it and take advantage of the features. What are the payment options available to users? Let’s talk about a few you can invest in ford work or play.

You have these three options if you want Adobe Photoshop on your Macbook Air:

  • A free trial: On all Adobe programs, you get access to a free trial for 30 days. During this time, you can determine if Photoshop is something you want to put your money into for the future.
  • A basic subscription: A monthly subscription for Adobe Photoshop will run you about $20 a month.
  • A student account: Students get up to 60% off of a subscription, and your school might already offer the program for free. Check with your university for the best results.

Although it would be nice if Adobe Photoshop was free, there are good reasons why it’s not. The software is the industry standard for many professionals, and its ease cannot be beaten. You’ll be hard-pressed to find most of the features Adobe Photoshop offers anywhere else, on any different system.

Are There Photoshop Alternatives for the MacBook Air?

Although you might fall in love with Photoshop at first, you might later determine that it’s not the right choice for you. If this happens, you might wonder – are there any Photoshop alternatives for the MacBook Air? Let’s talk about a few.

Some of the best alternatives for Photoshop on the Macbook Air include:

  • Placeit (my personal favorite)
  • Affinity Photo
  • Sketch
  • GIMP
  • Pixelmator Pro

These will give you similar features to Photoshop.

Many of these alternatives have subscription plans that are cheaper or free, a much better deal than Photoshop. Although the Adobe program is the best of the best, these will give you similar features if you find yourself looking for something different.


If you have a MacBook Air and wonder what it can do, you can feel comfortable knowing the laptop is powerful enough to run Photoshop. You can take the lightweight laptop with you and open up Photoshop anywhere, whether you’re working in the middle of a train station or at the office. 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.