Question to those with older Mac computers, 2014 and older

Hardware & Accessories

Hey and good morning.

I possibly have the possible possibility to pick up an older MacBook Air 2014. It's not the top of the line model, I think it has an I5 and 4 gigs of ram built in.
I think if I convince my local apple retailer long enough I might get a ram upgrade to 8 GB, but the question is another one.
who of you people still has an older machine in use and can tell me about how smooth the thing runs? The MBA is not supposed to become my main computer system, I have my Asus with windows on my desk for that. the MacBook is supposed to be my mobile companion to check mails, do office work, browse the web, play media of all kinds and other lighter work.
So, what are your experiences? I'm looking for those owning 2014 models or older, possibly also MBA users.

Greetings Moritz.



Submitted by Dennis Westphal on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I'd advice against buying a Macbook from 2014. I used to use one from 2015. While it mostly ran okay VoiceOver seemed to take a long time to react to every keystroke and switching the voice to another language or altering any VoiceOver settings took a while to the point where it really annoyed me. Honestly you are better of using a iPhone or iPad for those tasks.

After using a Mac since 2012 I honestly was shocked how much quicker it is to use NVDA on Windows to the point where I honestly question the value of Macs for the blind in general. However that is just my opinion and I don't know if there have been significant speed upgrades in newer models. That said take it with a grain of salt.

Submitted by mority on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Huhu Dennis.

Ok, thanks for your answer.
This was exactly what I feared that voice over will be mostly a slug to use and workflows often are stopped by VO not responding.
Problem is, a newer MacBook isn't really an option due to finantial situation, the Touch bar on newer computers and the unreliable butterfly keyboard since the 2016 models which you possibly heard about as well.
I was also thinking iPad, problem would be which one to choose.
I thought about the newest iPad air 3 because the air 2 seams to be a bit slow in 2019 together with the newest iOS, or look if I can get a cheaper iPad pro from last year or so.

Greetings Moritz.

Submitted by Garry Turkington on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Can't comment on the older MBA but I got a new iPad Air this year for very similar usage patterns and I think it's great. In fact the performance has been a really pleasant surprise. So if you think an iPad could work for your anticipated usage I'd recomment trying out the new iPad Air.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I have a mid-2013 MBA and it is still running like new. This is the only Mac I've had. VoiceOver has been very responsive, and I recently grabbed myself a copy of the Apple version of Bit Defender. I started out on OS X Mavericks and am now running the latest build of Catalina, and I have to say that VoiceOver just keeps getting better. Same with the iPhone 7 that I got in March of last year. But to each his own. I have no experience with Apple's newer Macs, but if you want to get one go for it.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My MBAira is a 2014 release but the reg number says it's a mid 2013 model. Go figure. I love mine. 8 gigs and an SSD drive. It should do what you want it to, baringno keys fly off like mine. I've like the f and i keys I think j, k, and l are next alone with e, and r. But otherewise good luck.

Submitted by CuriousNetEntity on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I don't have a MacBook, but I do have a 2012 Mac Mini that is my only computer. If you can put an SSD in a Mac I believe it will be just fine. If you have to stick with a hard drive I wouldn't recommend it. I found mine very sluggish before I made that change. Later I also upgraded the RAM from 4 to 16 GB, but that didn't actually seem to have any affect on my Mac Mini's speed and performance. I only added the RAM because I am also running a Windows virtual machine on it and we all know what a memory hog that can be. The only other thing I know is that everyone loves the older Macbook's keyboards and absolutely hate the new ones.

Submitted by Scott Duck on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My wife has a 2014 13 inch MacBook pro which she uses for her daily work machine, doing video editing, internet research, and word processing. She loves it. I have used it and it is plenty fast. The 2015 models are the same as the 2014s, except for the track pad. I have a 2015 13 inch MacBook Pro, which is my only computer. I do serious word processing with it as well as quite a bit of sound editing and web research. I also manage a website. I would highly recommend the MacBook Pro over the iPad if you want to do any kind of serious productivity work. Someone mentioned not getting it if it does not have a SSD. That isn't a concern here. By 2014, all MacBook Pros had SSDs. I would go for it.

Submitted by CuriousNetEntity on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I should have read every reply before writing mine. Have you considered the iPad Mini 5? I have the 4 and wish I had the 5. It has the fastest processor for the best price. The others are just buying more screen. Maybe you actually want more screen, but it isn't very helpful for VoiceOver users. Even my dad who uses zoom finds the iPad Mini the most convenient size for holding up to his face while using. I would think an iPad would work for most things you mention, but they aren't great for editing. They do make keyboard cases for the iPad Mini but I've heard plenty about incosistant behavior of VoiceOver when editing. I've experienced it a bit with a keyboard but far more with a braille display. At least there is a return period with most stores so you can see if the iPad works for the things you need it for.

Submitted by mority on Wednesday, October 23, 2019


The reason basically is the less than relyable keyboard. i suppose almost anyone on here noticed, but apple has severe problems with the new keyboard with keys becoming unresponsive and the keyboard needing to be repaired multiple times.
So, my max is an MB from 2015, I have to see how big the MBP 2015 compared to the MBA 2014 is, I think after the 2012 models, they got thinner.
Thanks for your answers so far.

greetings Moritz.

Submitted by mority on Thursday, October 24, 2019

I could possibly also look for a 13 inch MacBook pro with a decent CPU and storage space, problem there would be that I can't avoid the darn TouchBar. Yes, I suppose it's doable navigating the bar with voice over, but I do prefer a keyboard with my functions keys beeing there.

Greetings Moritz.

Submitted by ray h on Thursday, October 24, 2019

I am writing this email from a mid 2012 MacBook Air, running os 10.14.6 (just haven't done the latest update yet). It has 8MB of ram, a 2 gHz Intel core I7 processor, and the original SSD. It works like a charm for everything I do. Admittedly I'm not doing video editing or other highly intensive tasks, but I love this machine and I won't replace it until it dies.
As for choosing an iPad instead, I have to first say I'm totally blind, so bigger screens for me are pointless and, indeed, make it harder to navigate. THat's why I almost always use my iPhone when not using the computer. With that background, the keyboard and speed of the computer wins over my phone and wins bigger over my iPad.