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The best cheap Apple laptop deals in 2020

cheap Apple laptop deals
(Image credit: Apple)
Cheap Apple laptop deals: Quick links

Our guide to the best cheap Apple laptop deals of 2020 is here to help you find the best prices on Apple's quality devices. Here, you'll find the best deals on the latest models of the MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro. And yes, we do know that the word Apple isn't exactly synonymous with 'cheap', but rest assured that there are bargains to be had, and they're right here on this page.

Apple is constantly updating its range of MacBook laptops, it's most recently introduced a new MacBook Air for 2020, and has updated its MacBook Pro 13-inch model so that all models now include the Touch Bar. The 15-inch MacBoo Pro has also been pretty much phased out by Apple, with the introduction of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The good news for those looking for a cheap Apple laptop is that once Apple introduces a brand new version of a  machine, older models often get a price cut.

Read on for some buying advice, or jump straight to the deals. Alternatively, if you’re not completely settled that it's a MacBook you want, take a look at our guide to the best MacBook Pro alternatives or the best laptops for graphic design

What is the cheapest Apple laptop on the market?

Typically, the MacBook Air is the cheapest Apple laptop on the market. The other popular range is the MacBook Pro. 

Apple has recently released a new 2020 MacBook Air model, with a new Magic keyboard and some welcome inner improvements. This makes the MacBook Air a really decent and affordable option to consider for designers and artists. 

The previous 2019 and 2018 MacBook Airs had been more slow, incremental changes, although the 2019 MacBook Air also brought with it a price cut. Apple has done this again with the 2020 model, with the starting price of $999 / £999  making it even cheaper than the previous year's model – which launched at $1,099 (£1,099). This was a surprise, but a welcome one. And all these newer models also mean that you can now pick up the 2019 and 2018 or even older models for less.

Where can I find a cheap Apple laptop deal?

It's worth considering Apple's official refurb store, where Apple sells its older models at a discount of up to 15%. They have new batteries and screens, so you won’t see any scratches and they look as good as new, plus you get a year’s warranty. Stock availability varies, but it’s a great way to find some brilliant deals on Apple's laptops, including the 12-inch MacBook that Apple no longer lists on its front-facing store.

There's also some great savings to be had on the latest hardware as well, with some excellent recent Apple laptop deals. To make things easier, we've scoured the internet to find the best cheap MacBook Pro deals and MacBook Air deals – so if you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop then you’re in the right place.

Our system checks the prices of every MacBook model at all major, reputable online retailers, so you can be sure that the deals you see here are the very best you’ll find. But if you’re not fully sold on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, take a look at our best MacBook Pro alternatives for some great prices on other machines.

Cheap MacBook Air deals

MacBook Air with Retina display (2020) deals

Macbook air 2020

(Image credit: Apple)

The latest MacBook Air (2020) features quad-core processors for the first time, giving it way more power than before. The graphics have also had a significant upgrade, as they now have Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which improves overall graphics performance. 

Other significant improvements include the introduction of a Magic keyboard, meaning that those who complained about typing on the previous scissor mechanism can rest easy – typing is a much smoother experience now. There's also better storage, with 256GB available rather than 128GB, and 8GB RAM as in the 2019 version. 

The base configuration of the newest MacBook Air comes with intel Core i3 or i5 processors, but if you pay a little more to upgrade the specs of the MacBook Air, then you can get yourself a really decent machine, with a Intel Core i7 . 

This is still a cheaper option than going with the MacBook Pro, and when you consider that the MacBook Air is so super-sleek and super-portable, it becomes a pretty tempting offer. The best deals on the latest MacBook Air aren't exactly hard to come by – it's so new we're not seeing many discounts on it yet, but below are the best prices available in your area right now.

MacBook Air with Retina display (2019) deals

MacBook Air 2019

(Image credit: Apple)

The second to newest MacBook Air arrived in mid-2019 and replaced the 2018 model, the latter of which was the first update to the line in a good few years. In contrast, the 2019 MacBook Air refresh wasn't a huge update. It did, however, swap in Apple's improved third-generation butterfly keyboard, which Apple introduced in the more expensive models of the early 2019 MacBook Pro after numerous reports surfaced of faulty keyboards in older MacBooks. 

Apple also added True Tone technology to the Retina display and shaved $100 (£100) off the price in 2019, although it did introduce a slightly slower SSD in the MacBook Air at the 256GB capacity, which probably helped keep the price low.

Like the previous model, the 2019 MacBook Air has an 8th-generation Core i5 processor, a 13-inch high-resolution Retina display, built-in touchID, a modern Force Touch trackpad, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. With a small 128GB SSD and 8GB of memory, the entry-level specification is fine for light computer use, but we’d absolutely recommend upgrading the storage to 256GB when purchasing to avoid running out of space later on.

The 2019 MacBook Air comes in three colours – Space Grey, Gold and Silver, and retains the thin wedge design that Air has always been known for, giving it a very desirable look and feel. Take a look at the best prices in your territory using the widget below.

MacBook Air with Retina display (2018) deals 

MacBook Air with Retina display (2018)

(Image credit: Apple)

Before the 2018 refresh, the MacBook Air hadn’t been updated in years, languishing behind all of Apple’s other laptop models with an ugly screen and weedy performance from older internal hardware. That made it very affordable, but it was badly in need of modernisation.

The 2018 update brought some of the sparkle back, reinvigorating Apple’s iconic design with an 8th-generation Core i5 processor, a 13-inch high-resolution Retina display, built-in touchID, a modern Force Touch trackpad, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Like the 2019 model, the 2018 MacBook Air comes in three colours – Space Grey, Gold and Silver.

It's worth noting that the 2019 MacBook Air update was a minor refresh, adding only a True Tone display and updated butterfly keyboard – although Apple did reduce the price by $100 (£100), which may have been because it introduced a slightly slower SSD.

Still, that means the 2018 MacBook Air is still a decent machine for light computer use – as long as you stick with models that have at least 256GB of storage. 

Cheap MacBook Pro deals

MacBook Pro 16-inch (late 2019) deals

MacBook Pro 16-inch (late 2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple debuted the 16-inch MacBook Pro in November 2019 (read our MacBook Pro 16-inch review), just a few months after refreshing the 15-inch MacBook Pro model (July 2019). It's currently the largest and most powerful notebook that Apple sells. It boasts a larger 16-inch Retina display surrounded by slimmer bezels, so it's basically the same dimensions than the 15-inch model, but with extra screen real estate.

Otherwise, the 16-inch MacBook Pro models are equipped with Intel's 9th-generation 14-nanometer Coffee Lake Refresh chips, which are the same chips that were used in the 15-inch models released earlier the same year.

The entry-level 16-inch MacBook Pro is powered by Intel's 6-core 2.6GHz Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, while the higher-end model features Intel's 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Core i9 processor with 4.8GHz Turbo Boost.

Apple offers two stock configurations cost $2,399 (£2,399) and $2,799 (£2,999). Both model tiers include Intel's built-in UHD Graphics 630, alongside either one of two dedicated graphics cards: an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of memory, or an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB memory. Both can also be upgraded to an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 8GB of memory.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro supports up to 64GB of RAM, which is double the maximum amount of RAM that can be had in the previous 15-inch models. Apple also introduced a new fan design in this model, which allows the laptop to run at a higher power for sustained periods of time.

Altogether, whichever tier you go for, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is an absolute beast of a portable machine that will make short work of all but the most demanding video rendering tasks.

Wondering whether to go for this or the smaller model? Explore our MacBook Pro 13" vs MacBook Pro 16" comparison.

MacBook Pro 15-inch (2019) deals

MacBook Pro 15-inch (2019) deals

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple updated its 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2019 with faster 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors, bringing eight cores to MacBook Pro for the first time. This ‌MacBook Pro‌ offers two times faster performance than a quad-core ‌MacBook Pro‌ and 40 percent more performance than a 6-core ‌MacBook Pro‌.

This model also comes with another update to Apple's Butterfly keyboard, which have gone through a few generations of tweaks now in response to reliability issues.

Otherwise, the base specifications for the other aspects of the 15-inch MacBook Pro didn't change from the 2018 models. You get the same display accompanied by AMD’s Radeon Pro 555X/560X-series or Radeon Pro Vega GPUs, with the top-of-the-range model configurable with the Radeon Pro Vega 16 or 20 chip. 

The RAM and SSD options include 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD on the base model, with 32GB of RAM and SSDs ranging from 512GB to 4TB available as upgrades.

The 2019 MacBook Pro 15-inch is no longer sold on Apple's front-facing online store, having been replaced by the redesigned MacBook Pro 16-inch (below), which was introduced later in the same year. That means there are some great deals to be had from third-party retailers, not to mention Apple's own refurb store.

MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018) deals

MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018)

(Image credit: Apple)

The 15-inch MacBook Pro will leave such a gaping hole in your wallet that it’s the last choice in terms of value for money on this list, but with the highest possible performance in any Mac laptop, this is what you really need for heavy-lifting in media editing and design software.

The two available 15-inch models have 16GB of memory as standard, with six-core processors, starting with a 2.2GHz (4.1 GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7, with either 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage.

This offers seriously fast performance that will go absolutely unused in day-to-day tasks like email, but will be brilliant for media work, with super fast exporting of video and plugins that just go like the clappers.

Unlike the 13-inch model, the 15-inch MacBook Pro also comes with discrete AMD Radeon Pro graphics, with 4GB of dedicated video memory, while the highest tier comes with even more powerful Radeon Pro Vega graphics.

With this kind of performance in a laptop, the 15-inch MacBook Pro can replace your desktop completely, notably outperforming any of Apple’s pre-2019 iMacs.

If you’re considering upgrading the storage, Apple offers up to 4TB, but this comes at such a high price that it’s much better value to stick to a more modest capacity and make use of a Thunderbolt external storage device. On the other hand, the memory upgrade to 32GB is definitely worth every penny if you’re looking at using the MacBook Pro for high-end media work.

Apple updated the 15-inch MacBook in mid-2019 (above), but the 2018 model is still a fantastic machine with enough power for most creatives and video editors.

MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar 2019 deals

MacBook pro 13-inch 2019

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple updated its 13-inch laptop in 2019, and these new updates make the 13-inch model feel like more of a decent option for creatives, rather than just the laptop you go for when you can't afford to get the 15 or 16-inch versions. 

The base model comes with a 1.4GHz quad-core 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, so better than the most basic MacBook Air model. Like the new MacBook Air, it has Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 8GB memory. There's 128GB SSD storage, and all models come with a Retina display and a Touch Bar and Touch ID – useful for if you keep forgetting your password.

Of course, you can upgrade all of this and end up with a speedier 2.4GHz processor and up to 2TB of storage at the top end. 

If you want the most power you can get in a MacBook, then you'll want to go for the 15 or 16-inch versions – get the 16-inch if you can afford it. But if you want a highly capable machine with lots of storage, then go for a slightly better than the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019) and that should suit you just fine.

MacBook Pro 13-inch without Touch Bar 2018 deals

MacBook Pro (13-inch without Touch Bar 2018)

The MacBook Pro used to come in three distinct flavours: 13-inch and 15-inch with the Touch Bar, and then another 13-inch model without the Touch Bar. If you’re unaware, the Touch Bar replaces the top set of physical function keys on most keyboards with touch sensitive buttons that change context depending on the application you’re using, although some have questioned how useful it is.

Apple no longer sells a MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar, but importantly, non-Touch Bar models are better value for money, although less powerful than models with one. The 2018 MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar uses a 2.3GHz seventh-generation dual-core Intel processor, either a Core i5 or a Core i7, and the entry-level model is priced in the same bracket as the MacBook Air.

128GB of storage is standard, so again the advice is to choose more if your budget can stretch to it. And you get 8GB of DDR3 memory, which can be upgraded to 16GB.

Bear in mind that once you start adding on extras to the entry-level MacBook Pro, the cost naturally skyrockets, which then makes the next tier up seem all the more attractive, given how it will offer significantly better all-round performance for media editing and give you more storage anyway. We’d suggest that option if you can afford it – it's simply better value if you’re after the best possible performance for your money.

MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar (2018) deals

MacBook Pro (13-inch with Touch Bar 2018)

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s cunning marketing team cleverly priced the 2018's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to make it much better relative value than an upgraded entry-level 2018 model. Crucially, it upgrades the seventh-generation Intel dual-core processor to a 2.3 GHz eighth-generation quad-core chip, which will make a massive difference in all media editing and design software, cutting rendering times by a whopping 50 per cent.

It has a few other neat extras too, with 256GB of SSD storage as standard, a True Tone display and more powerful Intel Iris Plus graphics, which will make a small improvement in some tasks. That makes its rather high asking price a tad easier to swallow.

Why not upgrade your storage with a hard drive or SSD? See the best hard drive and SSD deals.

MacBook deals

12-inch MacBook deals

12-inch MacBook

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s MacBook is the thinnest, lightest, most portable laptop it has ever made, coming in at under 1cm thick and weighing less than 1kg. It doesn’t have any fans and runs completely silently, and can manage 10 hours of battery life, making it a brilliant light machine for working on the go, travel and carrying into meetings.

It's designed to draw as little power as possible, with a lower performance M3 CPU, so the MacBook is better suited for word processing and email than graphic design and video editing.

Nevertheless it still looks the part on the outside, with a 12-inch Retina display and the same three Space Grey, Gold and Silver colours that the MacBook Air is available in. With the 2018 model, Apple also addressed a common criticism of its first-generation butterfly keyboards, making them more resilient against crumbs and dirt. And one nice point to mention is that the entry-level model has a generous 256GB of SSD storage.

Note that Apple stopped selling the 12-inch MacBook on its front-facing online store last year, but this has made for some really impressive third-party deals on the discontinued line, and refurbished MacBook models regularly appear on Apple's own refurb store, so be sure to keep an eye on it if you're thinking of buying one.

Also, just because Apple discontinued the 12-inch MacBook doesn't mean it'll stop supporting it, so you can still buy one without worrying that it will soon become useless.

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