Can Macbook Air Run Photoshop?

Yes, many recent Macbook Air models can run Photoshop with no problem at all, but models from the older generations no longer meet the minimum system requirements to run Photoshop. 

The Macbook Air was originally designed to be an ultraportable lightweight laptop, but as technology improved over the years, it gradually got more and more powerful. This process got a huge boost recently thanks to the Apple M1 and M2 chips that are found in the most recent Macbook Air models.

The Macbook Air is now almost an ultraportable/workstation hybrid, and many people want to push its capabilities as far as possible by using it for Photoshop and other resource-intensive tasks. 

Key Takeaways

  • Macbook Air models released in 2018 and later meet the minimum system requirements to run Photoshop.
  • Upcoming versions of Photoshop may have higher system requirements. 
  • More recent Macbook Air models using Apple’s M1 or M2 chips will offer the best Photoshop performance.

Photoshop System Requirements for macOS

Every app you’ve ever used has some basic system requirements, and Photoshop is no different – except that its system requirements are usually a bit higher than typical programs like office apps or web browsers. 

Adobe has provided two sets of system requirements for Photoshop: a set of basic minimum specifications that Photoshop requires to run and a set of recommended specs that provide an ideal user experience. 

Of course, if you customized an M1 or M2 Macbook Air with the maximum available RAM and storage space, you should have an even better experience than what you get with the ‘recommended’ level system specifications.

MacBook Air (M2, 2022), 8 GB memory.

Photoshop Minimum System Requirements for macOS

  • macOS Version: macOS Big Sur (version 11.0) or later
  • Processor: 2 GHz or faster 64-bit Intel processor, or Apple Silicon M1/M2 processor
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage Space: 20 GB of available storage space
  • Display Resolution: 1280 x 800 
  • Graphics Card: 1.5 GB graphics memory with Metal support (see a full list of Mac graphics cards that support Metal here)

Photoshop Recommended System Specs for macOS

  • macOS Version: macOS Big Sur (version 11.0) or later
  • Processor: 2 GHz or faster 64-bit Intel processor, or Apple Silicon M1/M2 processor
  • RAM: 16 GB or more
  • Storage Space: 50 GB of available storage space on a fast SSD, plus additional drives/storage space for use as scratch disks
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher 
  • Graphics Card: Metal support and 4 GB graphics memory for high-resolution Retina displays (see a full list of Mac graphics cards that support Metal here)

Check Your Macbook Air Tech Specs

If you want to confirm that your Macbook Air has the ability to run Photoshop, the best way to be certain is with the System Information window. Open the Apple menu, and click About this Mac

A window will open displaying your current macOS version and your Macbook Air model type, as well as your processor, RAM, and graphics information. 

Take a close look and compare that information with the information from the previous section. As long as your Macbook Air meets or exceeds all the system requirements, it can run Photoshop!

Keep in mind that Photoshop is a very resource-intensive app that likes lots of RAM, fast storage, and a powerful CPU – and the Macbook Air is designed around maximizing portability and battery life. If you need to do serious work in Photoshop on a laptop, a Macbook Pro is often a better choice than a Macbook Air. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re one of the many people who don’t obsess about computer hardware specs the way some of us do, all this tech jargon can get confusing very quickly. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Macbooks and Photoshop to help clear things up a bit.

Which Macbook Air Versions Can Run Photoshop?

This is a quick list of the Macbook Air versions that meet or exceed the minimum system requirements to run Photoshop (as of 2023):

  • MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2019)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)

You might be able to run Photoshop on a MacBook Air (13-inch, 2017), but I don’t have one available for testing. Even if you were able to install and run Photoshop, it would probably run quite slowly, so I don’t recommend trying it out – unless you just want to see if it can be done, of course! There’s nothing wrong with experimenting. 

You can always try installing the free trial of Photoshop on your Macbook Air to see how well it runs before purchasing a subscription. 

Can a Macbook Air 8 GB Run Photoshop?

As long as your Macbook Air with 8GB of RAM has a fast enough processor and enough free storage space, you should be able to run Photoshop, but you may not get an optimal experience. 

Photoshop will often use as much RAM, processing power, and storage space as you have available, which means that entry-level Macbook Air configurations may experience slow performance

If you want to try using Photoshop on your Macbook Air before purchasing a subscription, you can download a free trial of Photoshop to make sure that everything works properly. 

A Final Word

Hopefully, you now have answers to all your questions about running Photoshop on a Macbook Air! Remember that Photoshop is a very resource-intensive program, and the Macbook Air is intended as an ultraportable machine for light usage. You won’t get the same level of performance that you’d get from a Macbook Pro or one of the desktop Macs, but most recent Macbook Air models can handle a light editing workload without any trouble.

Enjoy your ultraportable Photoshop experience!

About Thomas Boldt
Thomas started his Photoshop career way back in 2000. After exploring Photoshop 5.5 in a high school computer lab, he developed an enduring passion for photography, design, and technology that carried him through a Bachelor of Design degree and into the wild world of tech startups.

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  • Naresh Pillai

    Our photo app open but when i click to operate it get disappear what to do? kindly guide me sir

    • June

      Hi Naresh, did it show any message when it quit?