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  1. #1
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice

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    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    I am looking to purchase a new MacBook Air sometime next week. My current MacBook Air is about five years old and is showing signs of needing to be retired as a daily driver.

    Before I go ahead and buy a new computer, a few questions, mostly related to items related to hardware I do not own yet...

    1. I have plenty of reasons to get the USB-A adapter, including a mouse, a laser printer, an external hard drive, and a pair of iPod Shuffles. I have no plans to give up any of these items (not a fan of wireless mice). Apple's website doesn't list the USB-A adapter as being compatible with the latest MacBook Air and only lists the multiport adapter as being an option. I don't need the bulk of this adapter, nor do I need the video connections. Does this smaller USB-A only adapter actually work?

    2. Can these adapters support USB hubs in case I need to run multiple devices at once?

    3. What sort of cable will I need for power and to connect an iPod touch and iPhone? I prefer to sync on computers.

    4. I have the standalone versions of Word and Excel 2019, purchased last year directly from Microsoft. These are NOT the 365 versions. They're also not part of Office; I only bought these two programs (no PowerPoint). When transferring them over, will there be anything I need to do in order to deactivate them on the old MacBook Air?

    5. I don't need the bells and whistles of some of these modern computers. I have no plans to use Touch ID and don't use it on my iPhone at the moment. I don't like the gestures on trackpads. I don't even use passcodes and don't let my computers prompt me for passwords when I wake them up. Is it just as easy to turn these things off as it was on previous hardware?

    6. What's the RAM recommendation from everyone in 2020? I use my machine mostly for Word, Excel, Keynote (this is why I didn't buy PowerPoint), photo editing, email, Skype, and light web use. I sync my iPods with a Mac. I don't use it for intense graphics, games, etc. Skype is probably about as intense as I get. UPDATE: I am likely also going to buy the standalone version of FileMaker Pro for this. I should also mention I don't do subscription software and only buy standalone software.

    7. How has the reliability on these models been? I like the Air because, again, I don't need a whole lot aside from a laptop that can actually hold a charge for a decent amount of time. I'm trying to decide if I should set aside some funds for AppleCare. I also like the Air because it's gold. I know that seems like a petty reason to choose it, but I've had two silver Airs in a row and am tired of the color, nor do I like space gray.

    8. One last question--do Apple stores accept checks or cash?

    I know this is a lot. I haven't bought a new Mac in a long time and frankly would be happy using my tangerine iBook from 2000 as my primary computer (yes, with OS 9 and Office 2001) if it weren't for the expectations of using modern computers online.
    Last edited by Scott Baret; 02-27-2020 at 02:40 AM.
    Education is life.

  2. #2
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Two questions for you:

    1. What are you using at the moment?
    2. Have you considering purchasing something pre-owned?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice

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    I'm using a MacBook Air, 2014 model. It was purchased the day after the 2015 came out. It's the 11" model, low end version.

    I'm only considering new purchases.
    Education is life.

  4. #4
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    Rod's Avatar
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    Apart from the fact that you can get a gold one I'm not sure a new Mac Book Air is going to align with your preferences.
    To start with it will be running the latest macOS which is Catalina. This OS does not run 32bit applications and I have a feeling you may have some of these.
    How are you planning to transfer your data from your old device to the new one?
    You can obtain a number of third party multi adaptors for the USB-C port that provide multiple USB-A connections but a single adaptor could be used for an AC powered USB hub which I think might be more suitable for your needs given the power requirements.
    Your Microsoft Office products will need to be uninstalled on your old device using their uninstaller and installed new on the new device from MS assuming they are registered versions entering your CD Key should enable you to activate/ register them on the new device.
    I'm not sure if Apple accept either cheques or cash. I imagine because a credit card provides a recognised verification of ID, plus a financial status check and as such is probably mandatory.


    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    Don't be an April Fool: WORLD BACKUP DAY MARCH 31st

  5. #5
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    DOn't forget Apple Refurbished are the same as "new".

    Refurbished Mac - Apple
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.
    PS: When there is an accident or error, is the tool to blame or is the fool to blame?

  6. #6
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    IWT's Avatar
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    Re Question 6:

    8 GB absolute minimum, 16 GB better.

    This is a personal opinion based on 2020 Macs which will ship with Catalina, but your demands on the machine will clearly have a bearing too.

    You presumably want to future-proof your Mac as much as possible and that’s why I would go for 16 GB and as I understand it, the RAM has to be pre-ordered because you can’t upgrade it after purchase on the Mac you are considering.

    Ian
    Ian

  7. #7
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice

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    The good news is that all of my programs are 64-bit. I did check on all of them after reading about Catalina's requirements when it came out.

    For data transfer, it will likely be the external hard drive. I already use it for backups and have the installers for Word and Excel on there; I backed them up when I bought the programs from Microsoft.

    I do want to clean out the music library to get rid of things I haven't listened to in a long time. Does it transfer well between iTunes and the new Catalina app? I'm considering downloading Catalina for the old Air right before I set the new one up just to ease in the transition there. (Usually I wait a while so the bugs can be worked out; this is about the longest I've gone between updates now, mostly because I knew a new machine would likely be in the works).

    I have a hub as-is, as the old Air only has the two USB ports (and I'll often sync both iPod Shuffles, the iPod touch, and iPhone simultaneously).

    I'll use the money I saved on a car repair today for the extra RAM. I was leaning toward 16GB but wasn't sure at first if it would be worth it given what I usually do on a computer (I'm still slouching along with 4GB in the Air and honestly, the biggest slowdowns happen with Word 2019...brings back painful memories of Word 6 on a Mac LC).
    Education is life.

  8. #8
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Baret View Post
    I'm using a MacBook Air, 2014 model. It was purchased the day after the 2015 came out. It's the 11" model, low end version.
    Ok...good deal. Wanted to be sure you weren't using something "super ancient".

    One of my daily computers is a 2011 13" MacBook Air (4gig RAM & 250gig storage)...and it does pretty good. A 2014 MBA should be a lot better (2014 CPU scores are 2.5x faster than my 2011).

    Biggest downside to me with your 2014 MBA is the 11" display (too small for me). And definitely agree with IWT above...I wouldn't get anything with less than 8gig of RAM. 16gig of RAM would be better...since if you were to keep it for a few years (or more) then sell it...8gig of RAM in 3-5 years time may not be that attractive to buyers.

    HTH,

    - Nick
    Last edited by pigoo3; 02-27-2020 at 01:28 PM. Reason: updated specs
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    krs's Avatar
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    When I was looking for a new MacBook Air just over a year ago I really struggled...
    Because I wanted a new one with a 500GB SSD.

    But after looking at the specific interface requirements I needed to use it for its primary purpose - portability, connectivity and running older apps - I ended up buying a 2017 from the Apple store.
    It sort of defeats the benefit of portability if one always has to think to take different dongles to connect with the different devices companies all over he world use (where I go to give seminars and courses).

    Like anything else - decide what the computer will be used for and buy accordingly.
    I'm very happy with my purchase which I'm sure will be good for 5 years plus, I don't have to worry about keyboard problems, software compatibility or interface compatibility.

  10. #10
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    Rod's Avatar
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    Someone else can chime in on this but I'm a bit concerned about the compatibility of the iPod Shuffles. We have seen iOS issues with new macOS in the past but as I don't have one I can't comment. Are they relatively new devices?
    Catalina does not have an exact equivalent of iTunes. Syncing is now handled by the Finder while your music files will be stored in the Music app.
    I think your idea of upgrading your existing MBA to Catalina first is a good idea, as you say it will make transitioning from one device to the other a simpler process but, I would first make a backup of the device as it is if possible. If you have an external USB HD that could be used for a Time Machine backup (temporarily) it would be good insurance. Even better would be a bootable clone. It is such a handy device. If everything goes sideways you can erase the HD and restore the macOS and all of your data content just as it was for free.
    All the reputable developers of cloning software eg Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper all offer free, 30 day fully functional, obligation free trials.
    Last edited by Rod; 02-27-2020 at 09:40 PM. Reason: addit
    Don't be an April Fool: WORLD BACKUP DAY MARCH 31st

  11. #11
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    chscag's Avatar
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    Someone else can chime in on this but I'm a bit concerned about the compatibility of the iPod Shuffles. We have seen iOS issues with new macOS in the past but as I don't have one I can't comment. Are they relatively new devices?
    The iPod Shuffle has been around for many years. Apple no longer makes them. They typically hold 2 GB of music and are very small.

    IPod_Shuffle.png

  12. #12
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    Rod's Avatar
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    Yep, thats the thing I had in my minds eye. Are they compatible with Catalina's finder management scheme? I've never had one so my experience is limited to my old iPod Click Wheel player which had an iOS like an iPhone.
    Don't be an April Fool: WORLD BACKUP DAY MARCH 31st

  13. #13
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    Yep, thats the thing I had in my minds eye. Are they compatible with Catalina's finder management scheme? I've never had one so my experience is limited to my old iPod Click Wheel player which had an iOS like an iPhone.
    Yes, they are compatible with the Finder and Music app in Catalina. And so are the iPod Nano and iPod Touch.

  14. #14
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    Rod's Avatar
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    Okay, thanks, I really wasn't too sure about that. Another handy bit of info for the bulging personal data base.
    Don't be an April Fool: WORLD BACKUP DAY MARCH 31st

  15. #15
    Looking to Purchase MacBook Air Next Week - Need Advice
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Baret View Post
    I am looking to purchase a new MacBook Air sometime next week. My current MacBook Air is about five years old and is showing signs of needing to be retired as a daily driver.
    I'm curious what signs you are seeing that tell you that you have to retire your five year old MBA...?

    I have a couple of MBA's that are older than that, and I use them for all the same things that you do, and my MBA's are still fast and stable and I don't at all feel the need to retire them yet.

    It may be that you simply need to do some routine maintenance, or to tweek some software configurations, or make some other minor adjustments to make your MBA as good as new again. If you tell us what problems you are encountering we may be able to help you work around them. It would help if you tell us the specs on your MBA, such as how big the hard drive is and how full it is, are you running anti-virus software, are you running DropBox or similar, etc.
    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
    Mac OS X Routine Maintenance http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

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