Macbook Air

OK, I’m a relative Mac newbie, running Scrivener on Mac Mini (with El Capitan) for a few months now. I want to add a Macbook Air to my arsenal now. I’m looking at getting a refurb (as I did with the Mini). I have two questions at this point. This is the sort of machine I’m looking at:


  1. If I’m writing typical novel-length projects with Scrivener–mostly text, very few big files, few pix, few PDFs, etc.–will 4GB RAM run Scrivener comfortably? This is going to be a writing machine and nothing else.

  2. I’ve seen some grumbling online about the MBA taking a substantial battery hit from running El Capitan. Is that an urban legend, or is it a genuine problem?

THANKS for any thoughts,

I’m running an MBA 13" with just 4GB RAM (and have my main three apps (Scriv. TBx and DTPro) open nearly all the time) and I’ve never had a memory problem (except my own); same with the battery question: either it’s a myth or I’ve been incredibly lucky …

I’ve got 8G in my MBAir, and rarely have seen it use more than 4G with many applications open and running. Mind you, I don’t use Photoshop, or edit videos or anything that does use a lot of resources; I just typically have a lot of documents open in addition to a Scrivener project or four.

In short; I think 4 Gigabytes is plenty of RAM.

As for battery life; I haven’t noticed it being an issue after I upgraded the OS last year.

I have a late 2010 13" MBA with only 2GB RAM, 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo, slow bus speed and much less L2 Cache. With the various things that are loaded at boot up, and running GyazMail and Safari, I have roughly 400MB RAM free. I’ve never had any trouble running Scrivener; I use GraphicConverter 10 for photo editing on it, sometimes concurrently with Scrivener, Safari, etc. I also do video conversions on it with iFfmpeg, and occasional little bits of editing with iMovie, but I haven’t tried doing that with Scrivener running!

Scrivener is optimised to be very memory efficient, so unless you have a huge document with many big images and you try to open it all in “Scrivenings” view, you are really unlikely to run into memory problems.

I’m running the latest 10.11.6 and haven’t noticed any battery hit since I upgraded from 10.10 to 10.11; if anything I find the computer generally more responsive than with 10.10.

With the hardware you’re talking about, you really shouldn’t have any problems.


I have a MacBook Pro from 7 years ago (pre-retina, pre-core iX, pre-SSD), and it runs Scrivener absolutely fine. This is one of the reasons I got Scrivener. I was looking for a small app, does what MS Word can do, without making my computer vomit (as is the case with MS Word). Scrivener was simply a godsend, considering how much MORE it can do for a writer than what business-oriented MS folk created for us…

I’m using a MacBook Air with an i7 and 8Gb Ram. I can’t say I’ve noticed any problems regarding memory; most of the time it’s using around 4Gb of the available 8Gb. The fact that it has an SSD does help speed things up with any swapping out of memory so I doubt you’ll have a problem with the setup you propose.

As for battery life, I’ve not seen a significant difference since upgrading to El Cap. After two and a half years of regular use, the battery still has over 90% of its original capacity.

Many thanks for all the helpful input, folks. You’ve really helped me make the decision. I’ve been enjoying Scrivener so much on my Mac Mini, I’m really looking forward to having it on a sleek and dependable portable rig. Looks like the MBA will do the trick. Thanks again.