New 13-inch MacBook Airs have quietly been upgraded with one of the 15-inch model’s most useful features
It appears that Apple has sneaked in an upgrade for new 13-inch MacBook Airs, adding Bluetooth 5.3 support – matching the capabilities of the recently-released 15-inch MacBook Air.
When the latest model of the 13-inch MacBook Air launched last year, it supported Bluetooth 5.0 – however, some eagle-eyed visitors to Apple’s website have found that the specifications page for the 13-inch model now lists Bluetooth 5.3 (as spotted by MacRumors).
This is good news for people looking to buy the smaller MacBook Air, as Bluetooth 5.3 is the latest version of the wireless tech, and brings faster connectivity and improved energy efficiency, so connected Bluetooth devices should perform better and have increased battery lives – as long as they support Bluetooth 5.3.
Only an upgrade for some
Support for Bluetooth 5.3 means the 13-inch MacBook Air now offers similar connectivity to the newer 15-inch model, so if you would rather get the smaller model, you’re no longer having to sacrifice Bluetooth 5.3.
Many of Apple’s high-end devices offer Bluetooth 5.3, such as the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) and new Apple Watch models, so it’s good to see the 13-inch MacBook Air join their ranks. When it comes to Apple’s headphones, the latest AirPods Pro support Bluetooth 5.3, though Apple has been reluctant to include Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE) or use LC3 (Low Complexity Communication Codec) for audio. This means even if you pair up the AirPods Pro to the MacBook Air, you won’t get the full benefit of Bluetooth 5.3, which is frustrating.
The Bluetooth 5.3 compatibility upgrade is also a hardware update, so it looks like only new MacBook Airs will get it – if you bought a 13-inch MacBook Air last year with Bluetooth 5.0 support, then you won’t get this upgrade.
Despite Bluetooth 5.0 being a few years old now, it’s still fine for most people, so don’t despair if you already have a MacBook Air. For people looking to buy a new one, however, this is a nice free upgrade to one of the best laptops money can buy.