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Apple's M2 MacBook Air Only Has 4 Ports. Here's What They Do

Apple's new MacBook Air has fewer ports than the 2021 MacBook Pro. Here's what to know.

Apple MacBook Air M2 2022, open, floating against a blue background
James Martin/CNET

This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple debuted a revamped MacBook Air powered by the new M2 chip at its annual WWDC keynote address Monday. The new fanless laptop comes in four colors, has a 13.6-inch liquid retina display, a 1080p webcam, and weighs 2.7 pounds (1.2 kilograms). A potential downside? The 2022 Air is pretty pricey and it has fewer ports than the 2021 Pro models

The ports on a given device determine the types of cables you can use and what you can do by plugging them in. For example, the new laptop lacks the Pro's SD card slot, HDMI port and third Thunderbolt port. Depending on what you'll be using your new MacBook for, fewer connection ports could be a dealbreaker. 

Here's everything you need to know about the new MacBook Air's ports and connectivity for 2022.

MagSafe 3 

What it does: The MacBook Air 2022 keeps the same MagSafe charging method as the Pro 2021. The MagSafe charger attaches to your laptop with a magnet. This means MagSafe will gently pop out of the port if there's excess pressure on the cable, making it far less likely that your entire set up will crash to the floor if you trip over the wrong cable. 

Where it is: You can find the MagSafe charging port on the left side of your MacBook Air 2022 near the Escape key. 

An image of both sides of the new MacBook Air ports

The new MacBook Air supports MagSafe charging, two Thunderbolt cables and high-impedance headphones.


USB-C Thunderbolt 

What it does: Thunderbolt cables have a few different uses like connecting to external monitors and USB devices, as well as providing enough bandwidth to connect with high-speed devices and extend your laptop's capabilities. While the Pro 2021 had three ports, the new MacBook Air has two Thunderbolt ports that support charging, an external display, Thunderbolt 3, USB 4 and USB 3.1 Gen 2. 

Where it is: Both Thunderbolt ports are on the left side of the MacBook Air 2022 next to the MagSafe port.

Headphone jack 

What it does: Headphone ports let you connect external headphones using a cable, rather than wirelessly with Bluetooth. You can also plug in legacy or specialty gear, like a microphone. Like the Pro, the new MacBook Air supports high-impedance headphones.

Where it is: You can find the new headphone jack on the right side of the laptop. 

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-On With Apple's New M2 MacBook Air