7 Tips And Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Your MacBook Air

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The Apple MacBook Air is a marvellous piece of kit. Powerful, slim, lightweight and dearly loved by its owners, for all the super-thin Windows notebooks from Dell, HP et al, you can credit the MacBook Air for changing the way we think about laptops.

And in even better news, if you opt for a refurbished MacBook Air – one that's been returned to the manufacturer, refurbished, tested and checked, before being sold with a 12-month eBay guarantee – you can save up to 50% off the cost of buying new.

 Where we can, we’ve included manufacturer-refurbished gear in our links to help you make savings. So with that bonus in mind, here are seven ways to get the most from this ultra-thin notebook. 

1. Turn It Into a Desktop PC



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Did you know your MacBook Air is capable of acting like a desktop Mac? This means instead of buying an expensive iMac or Windows 10 PC, you can simply add a large monitor, keyboard and mouse to your existing set up, which is far more cost effective.

The Thunderbolt port on your MacBook Air also makes it possible to add an external display (although you’ll probably need an adapter), while also adding wireless Bluetooth accessories. And with 4K monitors more affordable than ever, you can even do it on the cheap.

2. Protect the RAM



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Is your MacBook Air’s limited memory slowing productivity? Are your dreams haunted by those dreaded spinning beach balls? Sometimes, the 4GB RAM available on some models just isn’t enough, and there’s no way to manually upgrade. There are, however, ways to lessen the burden.

These include only using one web browser; closing unused apps; deploying a tool such as Memory Clean to free up unused memory; running off mains power when available; checking the activity monitor in utilities (to see if any particular apps are causing undue strain); and finally, uninstall Flash. This may be a nuisance while browsing the web, but you’ll notice a big difference in efficiency. 

3. Run Windows 10… On a Mac!



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Apple fans are notoriously defensive of proprietary macOS (formerly known as Mac OS X), their machine's operating system: Once you go Mac, you never go back, so they say. However, some of us like a little variety in life.

Using a piece of software called Boot Camp (other virtualisation programmes are available) to run Microsoft’s Windows 10 on an Apple MacBook Air, once purchased and installed, you can act as if you own your very own PC. 

4. Use Fullscreen Apps



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If you’re using the 11-inch MacBook Air, screen real estate is limited – especially if you’re editing photos or documents. In newer versions of Mac OS X, it’s possible to make most apps fullscreen (hence hiding the dock, which takes up about an inch of valuable eye area).

After tapping the green dot in the top left corner of the app window, you’ll have more space to work. And to move seamlessly between apps, swipe the trackpad with a four-fingered gesture.

5. Add More Storage Space



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In this era of iClouds and streaming, the need for physical storage on a laptop has decreased. However, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly 128GB is filled with photos, documents, apps, phone and tablet back ups and much more.

So, to save yourself from ferrying a huge external hard-drive around with you, there are tiny options like the San Disk Ultra Fit, which stays in at all times – and these affordable fellas can double your available storage. 

6. Eek Out the Most Battery Life



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The MacBook Air’s main selling point over a MacBook Pro, for example, is increased portability offered by its lightweight, slimline design. And by being conservative with your battery life, you can go through the whole day without weighing your bag down with a bulky power adapter. You can do this by lowering the brightness; closing unused apps; turning off Bluetooth while not in use; avoiding power-hungry apps (games and video-editing software, for example); or tweaking the Energy Saving preferences.

You can also make sure your operating system is up to date, while switching on 'Ask To Join New Networks' in network settings prevents your Mac from constantly scanning for available networks.

7. Buy a MacBook Air Case



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Despite being Apple’s most affordable laptop, the Air still doesn’t come cheap. So, you’ll want to protect it. There are a number of plastic or rubberised MacBook Air cases you can pick up that will protect it from scratches, marks and perhaps even the odd spill. They’re affordable, won’t cramp your style – or add too much girth to your super-slim machine, either.

Looking for More Top Tips for Buying Tech?



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Find out which smartphone is right for you, and check out our ultimate guide to refurbished tech for some brilliant budget tricks. 
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