MacBook (2015–2019)

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MacBook with Retina Display.png
The MacBook (2015 version) in gold with ISO keyboard
Also known as12-inch MacBook, Retina MacBook
DeveloperApple Inc.
Product familyMacBook family
Release date
  • April 10, 2015; 6 years ago (2015-04-10) (original release)
  • June 5, 2017; 4 years ago (2017-06-05) (last release)
Introductory priceUSD $1299, CAD $1549, Euro €1449, GBP £1249
DiscontinuedJuly 9, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-07-09)
Operating systemmacOS
CPUUp to 1.4 GHz Intel Core i7
PredecessorMacBook (2006–2012)
Related articles

The MacBook (marketed as the new MacBook, known colloquially as the 12-inch MacBook or Retina MacBook) is a Macintosh notebook computer developed and sold by Apple Inc.[1] In Apple's product line it was considered a more premium device compared to the second-generation MacBook Air (at the time consisting of 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models that were larger and heavier, while lacking the high-resolution "Retina" screen and having thicker bezels), and sat below the performance range MacBook Pro.[2]

It was introduced in March 2015. It was more compact than any other notebook in the MacBook family, and includes a Retina display, fanless design, a shallower "Butterfly" keyboard, and a single USB-C port for power and data. It was discontinued in July 2019, being largely supplanted by the second generation MacBook Air with Retina display.


The MacBook was announced at an Apple special event on March 9, 2015, and was released a month later on April 10. It employed Intel's Broadwell Core M processors at a TDP of around 4.5 Watt to allow for a fanless design and a logic board that is much smaller than in previous MacBooks. It had a similar appearance to the MacBook Air, but was thinner and lighter, offered (at the time of introduction) more storage and memory and a higher-resolution 2304×1440 Retina display, but lower processor and graphics performance.[3] The MacBook has at times been available in space gray, silver, and gold finishes.

USB-C on MacBook

The MacBook has only two ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a single, multi-purpose USB-C port; it was the first Mac with USB-C. The port supports transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, and can be used for data, and audio/video output, and charging; it was the first MacBook without MagSafe charging. Apple markets an adapter that can provide a full-size USB connector, and a "Digital AV Multiport Adapter" with a charging pass-through, full-size USB port, and HDMI output.[4] Although Thunderbolt 3 technology uses USB-C connectors, the MacBook's USB-C port does not support Thunderbolt. It was one of only two Macs, along with the 2012 Mac Pro, to not support Thunderbolt since it was introduced to Macs in 2011.[5] Thunderbolt devices, such as storage media and the Apple Thunderbolt Display, are not compatible. Shortly after the MacBook's introduction, various companies began announcing cables and adapters for the USB-C port.[6]

Despite its small size, it features a full-sized keyboard and a large trackpad. The MacBook introduced a new "Butterfly" keyboard, with traditional scissor mechanism keys replaced with a new, Apple-designed butterfly mechanism, making the keyboard thinner and, as Apple claims, individual keys more stable. The keyboard's backlight no longer consisted of a row of LEDs and a light guide panel, but instead used a single LED for each key.[7] It also introduced the Force Touch trackpad, a solid-state trackpad that measures pressure sensitivity, and replicates a click with haptic feedback. The trackpad was later brought to the Magic Trackpad 2 and the 2015 MacBook Pro. A similar technology (3D Touch) is also used in the Apple Watch and introduced with the iPhone 6S.

The aluminum enclosure was 13.1 mm at its thickest point at the hinge end.[8] The battery was custom-designed to fill the available space in the small enclosure. It uses a new 39.7 watt-hour lithium-polymer terraced battery cell which was advertised to provide "all day" battery life. Apple claimed nine hours of Internet browsing or ten hours of iTunes movie playback. The battery was improved in the 2016 refresh, with Apple claiming ten hours for Internet browsing, and eleven hours of iTunes movie playback.[9] The MacBook did not include any beryllium, BFRs, or PVCs in its construction. The display was made of arsenic-free glass and contains no mercury. It was made of recyclable materials such as aluminum and glass, meets Energy Star 6.1 standards, and was rated EPEAT Gold.

On April 19, 2016, Apple updated the MacBook with Skylake Core M processors, Intel HD 515 graphics, faster memory, longer battery life, faster storage[10] and a new rose gold finish.[11]

On June 5, 2017, Apple updated the MacBook with Intel Kaby Lake m3, i5, and i7 processors (previously known as m3, m5, and m7). It featured the second generation butterfly keyboard, which introduced new symbols for the control and option keys. It also features faster storage and memory.[12]

On October 30, 2018, Apple quietly eliminated two color options (rose gold and the original gold) and added a new color option (new gold) to match the MacBook Air's 2018 color scheme.[13][14]

On July 9, 2019 Apple quietly discontinued the MacBook line.[15]

On June 30, 2021 Apple added the MacBook to its "vintage products" list, making it eligible for only limited product support.[16]


A side view of the MacBook

Externally, the MacBook follows the design of the MacBook Air with a tapered aluminum enclosure. It has a flush screen with black bezels similar to the MacBook Pro. The Apple logo on the rear of the display is glossy and opaque, rather than backlit and white as seen on every Apple notebook since the 1999 PowerBook G3 and 2001 iBook.[17][18] It is the thinnest and lightest notebook Apple has produced to date, 0.52 inches (1.32 cm) at its thickest point, and 2.03 pounds (0.92 kg).

The letters on the MacBook's keyboard and the model name at the bottom of the screen bezel are in the San Francisco typeface, whereas previous notebooks made by Apple used VAG Rounded.[7]

Apple's introduction of a gold MacBook finish had been cited as an example of positioning itself as a luxury-style brand. The choice follows the introduction of the gold iPhone 5S after Apple found that gold was seen as a popular sign of a luxury among Chinese customers.[19]


Reception for the MacBook was mixed. Critics praised the design and overall quality of the product, with some regarding it as a potential successor to the MacBook Air, as the Air had an aging design and low resolution screen.[2] However, Apple continued to offer the MacBook Air while selling the MacBook at considerably higher price. Several described the MacBook as a limited first-generation proof-of-concept design for early adopters, and recommended against buying the MacBook until it reached greater maturity, and its price dropped sufficiently for mainstream adoption.[20][21][22][23][24][25] The slow performance of the Intel Core M processor was regarded as the new MacBook's main deficiency, relative to the cheaper and faster MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.[26] Among the other criticisms of the new MacBook are the lack of various popular ports, particularly USB Type-A ports, and that it only contains a single port which limits data transfer and overall convenience without the use of an adapter.[27]

The keyboard received considerable criticism as being poor for long-term use: developer Marco Arment described the notebook's build and small size as "absolutely amazing, revolutionary, and mind-blowing... until you need to use the keyboard for something."[28] He also criticised the trackpad as worse than on previous MacBooks, and said that he would be returning the model he had bought.[29]

A report by AppleInsider had claimed that the updated butterfly keyboard fails twice as often as previous models, often due to particles stuck beneath the keys.[30] Repairs for stuck keys have been estimated to cost more than $700.[31] In May 2018, two class action lawsuits were filed against Apple regarding the keyboard issue with one alleging a "constant threat of nonresponsive keys and accompanying keyboard failure" and accusing Apple of not alerting consumers to the issue.[32][33] In June 2018, Apple announced a Service Program to "service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge".[34]

Technical specifications[edit]

Vintage Discontinued
Model Early 2015[35] Early 2016[36] Mid 2017[37]
Release date April 10, 2015[1] April 19, 2016[11] June 6, 2017[38]
Model identifier MacBook8,1 MacBook9,1 MacBook10,1
Model number A1534
Display LED-backlit widescreen glossy, Retina Display
12" Retina, 2304 × 1440 (16∶10), 226 px/in, with millions of colors (supported scaled resolutions: 2880 × 1800, 2560 × 1600 (default), 2048 × 1280)
Video camera iSight (480p)
Processor 1.1 GHz (M-5Y31) 2-core Intel Core M Broadwell processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.4 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache1
1.2 GHz (M-5Y51) 2-core Intel Core M Broadwell processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache1

Configurable 1.3 GHz (M-5Y71) 2-core Intel Core M Broadwell processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache1[14]

1.1 GHz 2-core Intel Core m3-6Y30 Skylake processor (cTDP Up mode, Turbo Boost up to 2.2 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache
1.2 GHz 2-core Intel Core m5-6Y54 Skylake processor (cTDP Up mode, Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache
Configurable 1.3 GHz 2-core Intel Core m7-6Y75 Skylake processor (cTDP Up mode, Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache
1.2 GHz 2-core Intel Core m3-7Y32 Kaby Lake processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.0 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache

1.3 GHz 2-core Intel Core i5-7Y54 Kaby Lake processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache
Configurable 1.4 GHz 2-core Intel Core i7-7Y75 Kaby Lake processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache

System bus N/A 4 GT/s OPI (max. theoretical bandwidth 4 GB/s)[39]
Memory 8 GB 1600 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM 8 GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM 8 GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM

Configurable to 16 GB of RAM at time of purchase only

Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5300 with LPDDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory Intel HD Graphics 515 with LPDDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory Intel HD Graphics 615 with LPDDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
Flash storage 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe/PCIe 2.0 ×4, 5.0 GT/s[40] 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe/PCIe 3.0 ×2, 8.0 GT/s[40] 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe
Wi-Fi Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, up to 1.3 Gbit/s)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.2
Peripheral connections USB 3.1 generation 1 over USB-C, up to 5 Gbit/s (for power, converts to USB Type-A and video out via separate adapter)
Headphone audio jack (supports iPhone headset with remote and microphone)
Video out USB-C DisplayPort 1.2 Alternate Mode

(max. 4096 × 2304} @ 48 Hz or 3840 × 2160 @ 60 Hz [41])

USB-C DisplayPort 1.2 Alternate Mode

(max. 4096 × 2304 @ 60 Hz [41])

Power 39.7 Wh battery
29 watt USB-C power adapter
41.4 Wh battery
29 watt USB-C power adapter
Weight 2.03 pounds (0.92 kg)
Dimensions (width × depth × thickness) 11.04 in × 7.74 in × 0.14 in–0.52 in (280.42 mm × 196.60 mm × 3.56 mm–13.21 mm)
Colors Space Gray, Silver, Gold Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold; in 2018, Rose Gold and Gold (original) were replaced with a new Gold
Keyboard Butterfly mechanism Second-generation butterfly mechanism
Minimum operating system OS X 10.10 Yosemite OS X 10.11 El Capitan macOS 10.12 Sierra
Latest release operating system macOS 11 Big Sur macOS 12 Monterey

Supported OSes[edit]

Supported macOS releases[edit]

OS release Model
Early 2015 Early 2016 Mid-2017
10.10 Yosemite 10.10.3 No No
10.11 El Capitan Yes 10.11.4 No
10.12 Sierra Yes Yes 10.12.5
10.13 High Sierra to 11 Big Sur Yes Yes Yes
12 Monterey No Yes Yes

Supported Windows versions[edit]

Windows version Model
2015/2016 Mid-2017
Windows 8 [Note 1][Note 2] [42][43] Yes No
Windows 8.1 [Note 3] [42][43] Yes No
Windows 10 [Note 4] [44][43] Yes Yes
  1. ^ Windows 8 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 5.0 to 6.0. This includes OS X 10.11 and earlier.
  2. ^ Only 64-bit versions of Windows are supported for Windows 8 and later.
  3. ^ Windows 8.1 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 5.1 or later, running macOS High Sierra or earlier. Later versions of macOS no longer support Windows 8.1.
  4. ^ Windows 10 can only be installed on Macs with Boot Camp 6.0 or later. It is the only supported version of Windows on macOS Mojave and later.

Timeline of the MacBook family

AirPods ProiMac ProiPad ProApple WatchiPadiPhoneMac ProMacBook Pro#Fifth generationMacBook Pro#Fifth generationMacBook Pro#Fifth generationMacBook Pro#Fourth generationMacBook Pro#Fourth generationMacBook Pro#Fourth generationMacBook Pro#Third generation (Retina)MacBook Pro#Third generation (Retina)MacBook Pro#Second generation (unibody)MacBook Pro#Second generation (unibody)MacBook Pro#Second generation (unibody)MacBook (2006-2012)#2nd generation: Aluminum UnibodyMacBook Pro#First generationMacBook Pro#First generationMacBook (2006-2012)#3rd generation: Polycarbonate UnibodyMacBook (2006-2012)#1st generation: PolycarbonateMacBook AirMacBook AirMacBook (2015–2019)MacBook AirMacBook Air

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Apple Inc. (March 9, 2015). "Apple Unveils All-New MacBook" (Press release). San Francisco. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Ackerman, Dan (July 9, 2019). "RIP 12-inch Apple MacBook, my misunderstood friend". CNET.
  3. ^ "Apple- MacBook". Apple Inc. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "6 things to know about the USB-C port in the new MacBook". PC World. IDG. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  5. ^ "About Thunderbolt ports and displays". Apple Inc. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Clover, Juli (March 11, 2015). "Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter". MacRumors.
  7. ^ a b Wright, Mic (March 9, 2015). "The new MacBook shows San Francisco is more than just the Apple Watch font". The Next Web. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  8. ^ "Apple - MacBook". Apple.
  9. ^ "Apple – MacBook – Tech Specs". Apple. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  10. ^ Cutress, Ian. "Apple Refreshes MacBook with Skylake-based Core M and New Rose Gold Color". AnandTech. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Apple Inc. (April 19, 2016). "Apple Updates MacBook" (Press release). San Francisco. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  12. ^ "MacBook - Technical Specifications". Archived from the original on June 10, 2017.
  13. ^ "Apple's 12-inch MacBook gets a new gold color (and ditches its old gold color)". CNET. October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Apple MacBook Specs (All MacBook Technical Specs) @". Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  15. ^ "Apple killed the 12-inch MacBook". Engadget. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  16. ^ Miller, Chance (June 30, 2021). "The 12-inch MacBook introduced in 2015 is now considered 'vintage' by Apple". 9to5Mac. 9to5. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Lowensohn, Josh (March 9, 2015). "Apple's glowing laptop lid is no more". The Verge. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Rossignol, Joe. "New MacBook Pros Don't Include Backlit Apple Logo or Power Extension Cable". Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  19. ^ Chan & Chen. "Cook Says Chinese Tastes Considered in Apple Product Designs". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  20. ^ Elliott, Melissa. "Concise "New Retina Macbook" Review". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  21. ^ Etherington, Darrell (April 9, 2015). "2015 MacBook Review". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  22. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (April 9, 2015). "The 2015 MacBook previews a future that's not quite here". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  23. ^ Wollman, Dana (April 9, 2015). "MacBook review: Apple reinvents the laptop again". Engadget. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  24. ^ Stern, Joanna (April 9, 2015). "Apple MacBook Review: The Laptop of the Future Isn't Ready for the Present". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  25. ^ Pierce, David (April 9, 2015). "Review: Apple MacBook". Wired. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Savov, Vlad (April 9, 2015). "MacBook Pro Review (2015)". The Verge.
  28. ^ Arment, Marco. "Quick impressions of the new stuff in the Apple Store today, which probably aren't useful since everyone can just go see for themselves now". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  29. ^ Arment, Marco. "Mistake One". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  30. ^ Wuerthele, Mike (April 30, 2018). "2016 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards failing twice as frequently as older models". AppleInsider. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  31. ^ Axon, Samuel (May 8, 2018). "Report: Butterfly MacBook Pro keyboards require more frequent, more expensive repairs". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  32. ^ Moyer, Edward (May 12, 2018). "Apple MacBook keyboard issue prompts lawsuit". CNET. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  33. ^ Heisler, Yoni (May 23, 2018). "Apple hit with another class-action lawsuit over the MacBook Pro keyboard design". Boy Genius Report. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  34. ^ Tibken, Shara (June 22, 2018). "Apple will fix sticky keyboards on some MacBooks, MacBook Pros". CNET. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  35. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  36. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016) - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  37. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Mid-2017) - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc.
  38. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017) - Technical Specifications". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  39. ^ Ganesh T S (May 9, 2016). "Choosing the Right SSD for a Skylake-U System". AnandTech. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  40. ^ a b Ryan Smith. "The MacBook's SSD: NVMe". Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  41. ^ a b "Using 4K displays, 5K displays and Ultra HD TVs with your Mac - Apple Support". June 23, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  42. ^ a b "Use Windows 8.1 on your Mac with Boot Camp". December 21, 2016. Archived from the original on September 6, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  43. ^ a b c "System requirements to install Windows using Boot Camp for macOS". Apple Support. December 6, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  44. ^ "Install Windows 10 on your Mac with Boot Camp Assistant". Apple Support. June 16, 2020. Retrieved August 21, 2020.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
MacBook (12-inch)
April 10, 2015
Succeeded by