2018 MacBook Air Retina display spec changed to 400 nits, but hardware is unchanged

in Current Mac Hardware edited April 2019
Apple has made a quiet change to the MacBook Air's specifications on its website, with an update to the Apple website revealing the 13-inch Retina-equipped model's panel has changed from 300 nits of brightness to 400 nits.

The most recent iteration of the MacBook Air was previously listed as having a 300-nit display, far below the 500 nits of brightness the MacBook Pro models are capable of outputting. However, the Compare tool on the Apple website shows there has been an unannounced change in the specifications for the MacBook Air with Retina.

Spotted by Reddit user "cheesepuff07," the compare tool lists the model as having a 400-nit panel instead of 300 nits. Earlier listings for the exact same comparison shows the same results, but with a 300 nit brightness for the model, indicating the change was made since March 29.

Sources within Apple have told AppleInsider that the posted specifications were updated in response to changes made in macOS 10.14.4. When pressed for what specific changes prompted the hardware spec revision on paper, Apple pointed us to the release notes for macOS that said that the release adjusted default screen brightness.

From a service standpoint, the screen part number is unchanged and there remains only one part for replacement. In regards to sales stock, there is no differentiation in MacBook Air models since release, both points strongly suggesting that the hardware has not changed.

AppleInsider has asked more questions of Apple, and will update should we get a response clarifying the matter.

The change in the specs appears to have only been made to the model with the Retina display, as the cheaper MacBook Air 13-inch with the "widescreen display" still lists its brightness at 300 nits.

One investigation discovered the MacBook Air's screen brightness was capped at 234 nits, far below the 300 claimed by Apple, lower than the 336 nits of brightness recorded for the previous generation, and considerably less than the MacBook Pro equivalents.


  • Reply 1 of 10
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    What happened to candela?
  • Reply 2 of 10
    jas99jas99 Posts: 124member
    Nice job, Apple!
  • Reply 3 of 10
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 464member
    If I were purchasing a new Air I would research and be certain there is no hardware change and if there is be certain to get the newer model. That is a pretty steep speck bump from software only.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    rayboraybo Posts: 42member
    Turn it up to 11....
  • Reply 5 of 10
    kennmsrkennmsr Posts: 99member
    Sounds like some “nit” picking to me. 
    edited April 2019 doozydozen
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Still says 300 on compare on the UK website
  • Reply 7 of 10
    How about it is IPS panel (vs. plain TFT LCD). That means it is more acurate colors as used by professionals in publishing and photo editng.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,274member
    Wonder what's the reason behind it.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,905member
    Hey, a bit OT... but can someone with one of these (new MacBook Airs) try out ScreenFlow or Handbrake set to HEVC output to see if the T2 really accelerates the video encoding? In theory, it should, but I'd love to know.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,122member
    Has anyone tested this and the battery life impact yet? Just odd that Notebookcheck measured mid 200 nits rather than the 300 advertised, and now 400 is unlocked in software. I'd like to confirm if it does hit 400, or if it was just a "default brightness" fix as the change notes said. 
Sign In or Register to comment.