Which color MacBook should you buy? Here’s how to pick

The MacBook Air on a table in front of a window.
Digital Trends

Apple’s MacBook laptops come in a range of colors, and selecting which is right for you can be a tricky business. Sure, it’s perhaps not as important as deciding which chip to pick or how much memory you should buy, but it’s still a vital part of the equation. After all, you’re going to see that color every time you reach for your MacBook. You don’t want it to be something that fills you with regret.

But how should you pick a MacBook color? And what do the colors even look like in the first place? We’ve got the answers to those questions in this guide. We’d also advise you to go to an Apple Store to take a look at the MacBook colors in person, as some can be hard to appreciate just by browsing Apple’s website.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Apple’s selection of MacBook shades and work out which is right for you.

Silver: look on the bright side

A person plays Stray using a PlayStation controller on a silver 13-inch MacBook Air.
Apple

Let’s start with a simple one: silver. Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro come in silver, so you’re not locked out based on your choice of laptop. Apple has been making Macs in this shade for years, and it’s proved to be extremely popular.

It’s light, bright, and classy, and is a clear indicator of Apple’s build quality (it very clearly does not scream “plastic”). It doesn’t get all scratched up and is a great choice if you want that metallic sheen without picking anything too dark like the MacBook’s Space Gray and Midnight options.

It’s also far less kitschy than Apple’s gold MacBooks (which are no longer with us), yet still exudes quality. It says you want first place — while looking like you don’t mind settling for the silver medal.

Space Gray: strictly business

Apple MacBook Pro 14 front view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

As with the silver option, both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro come in Space Gray (although you’ll only find it on the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro, not those with the M3 Pro or M3 Max). The name of this color sells itself short — it’s not the anonymous, boring tone you might expect it to be. It’s more like gunmetal, with a degree of shine and lightness if caught in the right light.

Despite that, it has an air of “business executive” about it. It seems to say: “I like to have fun, but only at the weekend and within strict limits.” Then again, that same serious vibe gives off a strong air of performance.

Seriously, though, it’s just a color, I don’t think it actually says that much about whoever buys it. But if you want a darker shade that falls between Silver and Midnight, it’s a really strong choice. It’s as classic a color as Apple has ever offered, and remains a popular choice for that reason.

Space Black: the new champion

The MacBook Pro open on a table in front of a couch.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

For years, the MacBook Pro stuck religiously to two tones: silver and Space Gray. Then in 2023, Apple introduced something entirely new: Space Black. Despite the name, it’s not actually true black, but more like a very, very dark gray.

Yet, it’s so much more than that sounds. We’ve written before about how we are absolutely smitten with it, and our reviewer called it “the best MacBook color Apple’s ever designed.” It’s deep, luscious, and quite unlike any other MacBook you’ll see.

Apple hasn’t just daubed a thin layer of paint on top of a silvery aluminum chassis either — like all of Apple’s laptop colors, it’s anodized, which gives it a tough and scratch-resistant top surface. Apple also says this color comes with an anti-fingerprint treatment, so it should be adept at shunning smudges.

Note that you can only get Space Black with an M3 Pro or M3 Max MacBook Pro. Still, it’s the option to pick if you want your MacBook to stand out without being overly showy and gaudy. It’ll catch the eye, but remain coy while doing so.

Midnight: dark and mysterious

Macbook Air (2022) sits on a desk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Midnight is potentially one of the most interesting MacBook Air colors (it doesn’t come with the MacBook Pro). That’s because its effect seems to change depending on the viewing angle. At certain positions, it looks extremely dark, almost close to the space black MacBook Pro color. At others (particularly when the light shines on it), it takes on a brighter hue, appearing to be a metallic mid-to-dark navy blue. You can blame Apple if you end up spending more time oohing and aahing over it than working on it.

This is one color you definitely need to head to an Apple Store to see. The images on Apple’s online store don’t nearly do it justice and make it out to be a rather plain dark blue with none of the shine you see in real life.

Going to an Apple Store will also let you analyze the surface of a Midnight MacBook Air. After all, you’d think a dark color like Midnight would be a fingerprint magnet. Apple, however, says the M3 version of the midnight MacBook Air comes with a “breakthrough anodization seal to reduce fingerprints,” and there’s hope that it will also cut down on scratches at the same time.

Either way, midnight is an intriguing MacBook color, and one that you won’t want to make a judgment on based solely on online images.

Starlight: the wildcard

A person holds a MacBook Air at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in 2023.
Apple

Even though Apple no longer sells an outright gold MacBook, it clearly didn’t want to give up on the color entirely, as evidenced by the Starlight colorway. While only available for the MacBook Air, this tone offers hints of the gold option without being quite so, well, crass.

It’s what might be called “champagne” in another situation, and looks like the silver MacBook took on a slightly yellowish, goldish tinge. This is another one you need to see in person — as you can probably gather, it’s tricky to describe its exact shade — but there’s definitely a certain appeal to it.

All that’s to say it’s a much more subtle variation on the gold and Rose Gold tints that Apple has used in the past. If silver doesn’t quite do it for you, but you still want something that has a degree of lightness to it, you’ll want to check out Starlight.

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