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What is a good Mac Laptop for Photo Editing in 2024?


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  • What Mac Laptop do you recommend for editing photos in 2024?
  • My 2017 MacBook Pro is dying, and I need to replace it. I want to stay with Macintosh, what do you recommend?
  • I recently updated to PS CC 2024, and now my 2016 MBP runs so slow, how would you configure a new one?
  • Brian, for the Love of __________! Just tell me what Mac Laptop to buy!!!


This is the January 2024 edition of this article. Yes, it is being written in December 2023, but with the new year a few weeks away, now is a good time to publish this article. :D I've also been inundated with requests from people who: 

  1. Have Extra Money burning a Hole in their proverbial "Pocket."
  2. Photographers / Legit Business Owners who need to spend some cash in December for Tax Purposes. ;)

I'm sure there are other reasons, and I've delayed this article long enough. So without further ado...

This is how I would configure a MacBook Pro in 2024. I will give my thoughts and reasons why in a comment below the main portion of the article. One thing that has not changed, is Apple still wants you to "Go Big or Go Home." Meaning, you can go with a cheaper option, but ultimately, you are either penalized OR are guided into a more expensive model to get a particular upgrade. Also the other thing that still is the same, is you MUST configure the Mac Laptop with all upgrades and features you'd like AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE!!!

I can not stress this enough!!

There are no "fixing" things at the Apple Store after the fact. If you do not choose the correct configuration at the time of purchase, you are returning the Mac Laptop or canceling the order and starting all over again from scratch. So save yourself the stress. The reason is, PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING CONFIGURATION-WISE IS BUILT INTO ONE SINGLE CHIP!! Things like the CPU, RAM, Video Processor (GPU) and Hard Drive Controller Chip is built into the M3 Processor. This is why Apple calls the M3 (and M2, M1,) a "System on a Chip." So if you mess up and choose the wrong thing...again, there is no going back!!

Unfortunately, I can only show you photos and tell you what to click on, the Apple Website does not carry over the configuration that I prefer in a link. Here is how I would configure a Mac Laptop that's "Good for Photo Editing" in 2024:

  • First, head to Apple's Website. I will save you a few clicks, and we will start in the MacBook Pro section.
  • Click "Buy."
  • Select "16 Inch."

  • Choose your color, either the new "Space Black" or the Traditional "Silver" version.

  • The click the "Select" Button in the Column all the way on the RIGHT. Regardless of country, this will ALWAYS be the most expensive option. Currently in the United States, at the time of this writing, this price is $3499.

  • Now comes time to upgrade a few things. I realize that even the base $3499 model is "fine" for the current versions of Photoshop CC, I build my Desktops / Laptops with a 7-8 year lifespan in mind. As I've stated above, there is no upgrading ANYTHING after the initial purchase!! The Apple products of today are glorified iPads, meaning you aren't adding extra RAM in a few years, or replacing the Video Card in 5 years, or adding a second internal Hard Drive, there is nothing to upgrade. It's all built into one single "System on a M3 Chip!"
  • Select the M3 Max Chip with 16-Core CPU, 40-core GPU for $300 more. This will give us more choices when it comes to RAM configuration than if we stayed at the base level. Remember, "Go Big or Go Home!"
  • I would increase the RAM to 64GB, it only adds $200 and at this level of spending isn't a big deal and like I have said, there is no upgrading after the fact.

  • For Hard Drive Storage, you can leave it at the default 1TB option. If you want to go higher, that's fine. You can never have "Too Much" Hard Drive Space, but in reality...even in 2024, 1TB is fine for a Main Hard Drive.

  • If you chose everything from my recommendations, your configuration should look like this at the top:

  • Now the only option left is to chose your Keyboard Language and click "Add to Bag." If you want to add additional software, that's completely up to you. For this documentation, we are going to skip adding Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.
  • At this point, you are given a VERY IMPORTANT CHOICE...AppleCare+. Yes, you WILL be adding AppleCare+!!! The reason is simple, Apple is the only one who fixes their products. Mac Laptops are very expensive, and I've seen a lot of repairs and people having issues with them. Apple does not sell parts to 3rd party repair shops, and even "Authorized Repair Centers" are extremely hard to come by in 2024. So do yourself a favor and add AppleCare+!

  • There are two choices, either purchase an Annual Subscription for $149 per year until cancelled or spend $399 for three years of coverage. Both are the same level of coverage, and you save $50 if you get the 3 year version instead of the Annual Subscription Plan for the same 3 years of coverage. That said, you won't get any notifications about your coverage expiring, unless your Country / State / Location has Laws that say otherwise. More details are written here. AppleCare information and the particulars are covered here
  • As to which one to buy? It depends on how long you plan on keeping the Laptop, and what type of person you are. If you are detail oriented and keep tabs on things, or are planning on replacing this laptop in about 4 years, than the "Three years of coverage" is fine. If you don't want to think about it, and plan on keeping your laptop running until current software no longer runs on it, then choose the Annual $149 Plan. Either way, CHOOSE SOMETHING!!
  • For this example, I'm going to go with the $149 Annual Plan, since it does cover the batteries. Lithium-Ion Batteries seem to have about a 4 year life-span, give or take a year and those suckers are not cheap. I also never recommend 3rd-party Batteries for ANY Laptop, Mac Laptops OR Windows Laptops. The Generic Batteries don't ever last 99.999999% of the time and the other .000001% of the time you get 6 months life out of them. It's just not worth it to install Generic Batteries, always go with OEM Batteries if you can, regardless of laptop type.
  • Warning! Not only do you have to choose which AppleCare+ to get, you must click "Add to Bag." Otherwise, it won't automatically register it with your Mac Laptop!!

  • Another Up-sell Page will appear. Choose any other add-ons that you might like. I did see a form fitting hard case that's meant for MacBook Pros, it's very much like a Phone Case, so if you plan on doing a lot of traveling with this laptop, that extra $54.95 might be worth it to you. But for this example, I'm going to skip the extras/up-sells/add-ons.
  • Now the fun begins and your wallet feels it...or your Credit Card...pick your poison. :D Click the blue "Review Bag" button.

  • If everything is set correctly, your bag should look something like this. MAKE SURE YOU REVIEW YOUR BAG AND PAY ATTENTION TO SEE IF APPLECARE+ WAS ADDED!!! I had to restart my configuration since the Apple Website glitched and AppleCare+ wasn't added at first. 

  • Again, you should see this added below your configuration:

    If you don't, something went wrong and I'd recommend starting over.
  • Of course, depending on your physical location, your local taxes will be different. For those living in the US, I'd expect to pay around $4500-$4600, conversationally speaking. For those living in Australia, I'd expect a price closer to $7000 AUD. Canadians...about $6000 Canadian.
  • Shipping is free, and at this price-point is should be, and personally...if you have the option to ship your fancy new MacBook Pro to a AppleStore, DO IT!!! No sense having a $4500-ish Laptop sitting on your Porch waiting for it to be stolen. Click the Blue Link to the closest Apple Store. Since I live relatively close to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the "Apple Park City" is automatically selected for me.

  • When I click that link, I'm given other store options, the Estimated Delivery Date and times the closest stores are open. 
  • Click "Confirm Your Store" and then "Check Out." Enjoy your Purchase!
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One very important thing!!

For those buying this laptop, Apple decided to change the Display Panel type, AGAIN! So you will need to purchase a new Calibration Device that is compatible with the new Mac Screens going forward. I recommend this model, the Calibrite Display Plus HL (CCDIS3PLHL).


Cost at the time of this writing is $339.00 (US Dollars.)

It's only money, right? :D

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Do I think you should spend this much money on a Laptop?

No. Absolutely not.

Unfortunately, people have a Love-Affair with Laptops, especially Mac Laptops. They can't be chained to a Desk!! They MUST be free to be able to move around!! I've even had one member ask about editing in a car while being in a passenger seat on their way to vacation! True story. Another one wanted to edit photos by the Pool when her kids were on Summer Vacation. You do not want to do either of those things. See the article titled, "The Light around your Computer" that Damien wrote for more information.

I realize that my configuration is WAY OVERKILL for PS CC 2024. With Adobe adding more-and-more AI Crap, with each-and-every update, amongst other Bloatware, this laptop is BEEFY. This configuration is meant to get the most years out of as I build my computers/laptops with a 7+ year lifespan in mind. Many Members here are now upgrading their computers/laptops from when I helped them build them in 2013...that's 10 years folks.
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