Can You Run Cubase On A MacBook Air in 2024? (Explained)

Curious if your MacBook Air can handle Cubase in 2023? With technology evolving rapidly, staying updated is crucial. 

Beginners and pros alike who are equipped with the MacBook Air often wonder if their system can handle Cubase 12 Pro

In this article, we’ll explore system requirements and valuable tips, all enriched by real user experiences. 

Let’s get into it.

Can You Run Cubase On A MacBook Air?

Yes, the Cubase Pro 12 will run pretty well on the MacBook Air. With that said, if you run a lot of plugins and effect chains, the MacBook Air will start to struggle. 

Cubase is a professional music production software and as such needs a powerful computer to run it. This is because it uses a lot of big VST/AU plugins that are resource-intensive. 

The 2023 version of the MacBook Air is an efficient computer for music production and other tasks. But the more tasks and open applications you throw at it, the more it will become slower. 

This is mostly due to the plugins that are used in a project. If you rely a lot on third-party plugins in a project, your session might become slower or even fail to load altogether. 

The best way to avoid this is to understand the minimum requirements for running Cubase Pro

You have to make sure your MacBook Air can comfortably meet the minimum requirements for at least opening the Cubase application.

Beginners often have one question that comes up. It’s whether you can effectively run professional music production software like Cubase on a MacBook Air. 

The MacBook Air is known for its sleek design and portability, but can it handle the demands of software like Cubase 12?

What are the System Requirements for Cubase 12 on MacBook Air?

To answer this, let’s delve into the system requirements for Cubase 12 on a MacBook Air. As of 2023, Cubase 12 has relatively moderate requirements. 

A MacBook Air equipped with at least an Intel Core i5 or an Apple M1 chip, 8GB of RAM, and ample storage space can handle Cubase 12 with ease. 

This is a great relief for producers who prefer the convenience of a MacBook Air for music production.

System Requirements for Cubase 12 on MacBook Air

Operating systemmacOS Big Sur 11 or latermacOS Monterey 12 or later
ProcessorApple siliconApple silicon
CPU cores4 or more8 or more
RAM8 GB16 GB or more
Free disk space1 GB for core installation70 GB for full installation
Display resolution1440 x 900 at 100% UI scaling1920 x 1200 at 100% UI scaling
Graphics cardGraphics card with Metal supportGraphics card with Metal support

For an optimal experience, ensure that your system meets or exceeds the following specifications:

Can You Run Cubase On A MacBook Air

Operating System:

Upgrade to macOS Monterey 12 or later to enjoy the latest features and seamless performance enhancements. 

While macOS Big Sur 11 is the minimum requirement, stepping up to macOS Monterey will undoubtedly elevate your user experience when producing music.


The power of Apple silicon is remarkable for speed and responsiveness. It embraces the future of processing technology. It’s designed to make your tasks more efficient and your interactions more fluid.

CPU Cores:

To empower your workflow and run multiple instances of VST/AU plugins, a minimum of 8 CPU cores is recommended. 

These cores collaborate harmoniously to productions tasks smoothly and effortlessly. This ensures that multitasking and audio project collaboration is a breeze.


Boost your system’s capabilities with a minimum of 16 GB RAM. More ram ensures seamless multitasking, efficient application management, and effortless performance. 

With ample memory at your disposal, you can run huge third-party AUs effectively. 

Free Disk Space:

Allocate a generous 70 GB of free disk space for the full installation. While a core installation only requires about 1 GB, providing more space will enable you to install samples and stock plugins without limitations.

It’s best to choose an installation that offers you the entirety of what Cubase 12 has to offer.

Display Resolution:

Witness your production projects come to life on a 1920 x 1200 display with 100% UI scaling. 

While 1440 x 900 is the minimum requirement, the recommended resolution ensures that your Cubase visuals are sharp, vibrant, and visually stunning.

Graphics Card:

Utilize a graphics card with Metal support to unlock a world of vivid graphics and seamless rendering. From crisp visuals to fluid animations, your Cubase projects will thrive with the aid of cutting-edge graphics technology.

Does Cubase Work Well On MacBook Air?

Yes, Cubase works well on MacBook Air. The MacBook Air M1 is one of the best laptops for music production when starting. This is thanks to its powerful Apple Silicon chip and long battery life.

In my experience, Cubase performs remarkably well on a MacBook Air. 

After a lot of research on forums and the online community, many producers can run Cubase easily on the MacBook Air. 

The advancements in technology have allowed for the efficient optimization of music production software. This has made it feasible to compose, edit, and mix tracks seamlessly. 

Gone are the days when you needed a bulky desktop computer for music production. A MacBook Air can be a powerful tool for your creative endeavors.

Is The Apple M1 Chip Good Enough For Cubase 12?

Yes, the Apple M1 is sufficient for running Cubase 12 and its plugins. A lot of users noticed faster zooming and overall speed when running Cubase on an Apple M1 chip. 

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One of the key factors influencing the performance of music production software is the processor. With the introduction of Apple’s M1 chip, there were concerns about its compatibility and power. 

However, the M1 chip has proven its mettle. It not only runs Cubase 12 smoothly but also enhances its performance, ensuring faster rendering and reduced latency.

What VST/AU Plugins Are Compatible With The Apple M1 Chip?

Speaking of performance, many producers heavily rely on Virtual Studio Technology (VST) or AU (Audio Units) plugins to enhance their sound palette. 

The good news is that an increasing number of VST plugin developers are optimizing their products for the Apple M1 chip. 

This means you can expand your sonic toolkit while harnessing the capabilities of your MacBook Air.

VST/AU Plugins compatible with Apple M1 Chip

  • u-he Diva
  • Xfer Records Serum
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
  • Native Instruments Kontakt
  • FabFilter Pro-Q 3
  • Audio Ease Altiverb 7
  • Soundtoys FilterFreak 2
  • ValhallaDSP ValhallaDelay

Pros And Cons Of Cubase On A MacBook Air?


  • Cubase is compatible with Mac computers, including the MacBook Air.
  • Users on forums and platforms like Reddit have reported successfully running Cubase on their MacBook Air.
  • Cubase 11 and 12 have native support for Apple’s M1 Silicon Macs, including the MacBook Air.
  • Lightweight and portable, making it a convenient option for music production on the go.
  • The MacBook Air is very user-friendly, so you can get started with Cubase right away.
  • Has a long battery life, so you can work on your music projects for hours without having to worry about running out of power.
  • Very portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go.
  • Has a beautiful Retina display, which makes it great for editing audio and video.


  • The performance of Cubase on a MacBook Air may vary depending on the specific model and its specifications
  • The OS X version of Cubase Pro may work a little worse than the PC version, partly due to differences in hardware and software
  • Cubase 12 can’t run in M1 native mode if some key plugins are not M1 native yet, and it has to run on Rosetta
  • Some users have reported disappointing performance when using Cubase 12 Pro on their MacBook Air
  • Can be a bit expensive, especially the higher-end models with more RAM and storage.
  • Doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, so it may not be ideal for some demanding tasks like 3D rendering.

The above pros and cons of Cubase on MacBook Air should be taken into account if you’re looking into using Cubase on a MacBook Air.

See Also: Are Macs Good For Music Production in 2023?

Does Cubase 12 Run Better On A Mac Or Windows?

Cubase 12 runs well on both Macs and Windows PCs. With that said, some people believe that Cubase runs better on Macs. 

This is because Macs typically have more powerful CPUs and GPUs than Windows PCs. 

A common dilemma among music producers is choosing between Windows and macOS for music production

For sure both platforms have their merits, but Cubase 11 and 12 run smoothly on both operating systems. 

It’s more a matter of personal preference. I’ve found that the MacBook Air provides a cohesive ecosystem for creative tasks. And this makes the music production process more enjoyable.

It’s important to note that the performance of Cubase may be influenced by the specific hardware and software configurations of the computer. 

If you have a friend or colleague who has a Mac or a Windows PC, ask them if you can try Cubase on their computer. 

Beginners are encouraged to also download a trial version of Cubase and try it out on their computers.

How To Move Cubase From PC To Mac

If you’re considering transitioning from a PC to a MacBook Air, you might wonder about transferring your existing projects. It’s surprisingly seamless. 

Cubase offers project import and export options. These will allow you to move your projects along with their settings and plugins. 

The process is designed to ensure a smooth transition without losing any progress.

Moving Cubase from PC to Mac can seem like a daunting task, but it is a straightforward process.

Steps To Move Cubase From Pc To Mac:

  1. Back up your Cubase projects. This is important in case anything goes wrong during the transfer process. 

You can back up your projects to an external hard drive, a cloud storage service, or even just to a USB flash drive.

  1. Download and install Cubase on your Mac. You can download Cubase from the Steinberg website. 

Once you have downloaded the installer, run it and follow the on-screen instructions to install Cubase on your Mac.

  1. Copy your Cubase projects to your Mac. You can copy your Cubase projects to your Mac using a variety of methods, such as:
  • Copying them to an external hard drive and then connecting the external hard drive to your Mac.
  • Using a cloud storage service to store your projects and then downloading them to your Mac.
  • Using a USB flash drive to copy your projects to your Mac.
  1. Open Cubase on your Mac and import your projects. Once Cubase is open, go to File > Import > Project. 

Navigate to the folder where you stored your Cubase projects and select the projects you want to import. Click Open to import the projects into Cubase.

  1. Test your projects to make sure they work properly. Once your projects are imported, test them to make sure they work properly. 

If you have any problems, you may need to adjust the settings in Cubase or update your plugins.

With that said, transferring Cubase from PC to Mac is a straightforward process. 

It involves using the ‘backup project’ function in Cubase, transferring user settings, and copying project folders. 

While there may be some differences in performance between the PC and Mac versions of Cubase, project files are compatible between the two platforms.

Can I Use Cubase on Multiple Computers?

Yes, you can use Cubase 12 Pro on multiple computers for your audio production projects. But you can only use one license of Cubase on one computer at a time. 

If you want to use Cubase on multiple computers, you will need to purchase multiple licenses.

Flexibility is essential for modern music producers. Fortunately, Cubase’s licensing allows you to install the software on multiple computers. 

This is particularly great news if you have a dedicated studio setup as well as a portable setup with your MacBook Air. 

You can work on your projects seamlessly, regardless of your location.

Cubase uses a system called eLicenser to manage licenses. The eLicenser is a small hardware dongle that plugs into your computer. 

The dongle stores your Cubase license and allows you to use Cubase on one computer at a time.

If you want to use Cubase on multiple computers, you can purchase a second eLicenser. You can then activate your second Cubase license on the second eLicenser. 

This will allow you to use Cubase on two computers at the same time.

You can also use Cubase Pro 12 without an eLicenser. This is called the Soft-eLicenser. The Soft-eLicenser is a software-based license that is stored on your computer. 

You can use the Soft-eLicenser to activate your Cubase license on up to three computers.

However, there are some limitations to using the Soft-eLicenser. You cannot use the Soft-eLicenser to activate Cubase on a computer that is not connected to the internet. 

Can I Use My Windows Licensed Cubase on a Mac?

Yes, you can use your Windows-licensed Cubase 12 or earlier on a Mac computer. If you’ve got a Windows-licensed version of Cubase, Steinberg offers cross-platform support. 

You can activate your license on both Windows and macOS systems. This means you don’t have to repurchase the software. 

This is a great option if you decide to switch to a MacBook Air for your music production projects.

Why Do Some Producers Prefer Using Cubase?

Cubase is a popular DAW used by many professional producers. You can find it used in many music production genres. 

There are several reasons why some producers prefer using Cubase, including:

These features include:

  • A comprehensive mixer with a wide range of options for mixing and mastering audio.
  • A powerful arrangement view that makes it easy to create and edit complex music arrangements.
  • A wide range of virtual instruments and effects plugins.
  • A flexible routing system that allows you to connect your audio and MIDI devices in a variety of ways.
  • Stability: Cubase is known for being a stable DAW that is unlikely to crash or cause problems. 

This is important for audio producers who need to be able to work without interruption.

  • Customization: Cubase is highly customizable, which allows producers to tailor the software to their own needs. 

This includes the ability to change the look and feel of the interface, as well as the ability to add and remove features.

  • Community: There is a large and active community of Cubase users who can provide support and advice to other users. 

This can be helpful for producers who are new to Cubase or who are looking for help with specific features.

As a seasoned music producer, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with various digital audio workstations (DAWs). 

Many producers gravitate toward Cubase due to its robust feature set, intuitive interface, and extensive virtual instrument collection. 

Cubase’s MIDI capabilities are highly regarded in the music production industry. This makes Cubase 12 Pro a go-to choice for MIDI arrangements.

Wrapping Up – Can You Run Cubase On A Macbook Air?

The answer to whether you can run Cubase on a MacBook Air in 2023 is a resounding yes. 

The MacBook Air’s compatibility with Cubase 12, particularly with the Apple M1 chip, has opened new doors for music producers. 

With the right specs and plugins, you can create professional tracks, whether you’re in your home studio or on the go.

FAQs – Can You Run Cubase On A MacBook Air?

  • Can I use Cubase 12 on an older MacBook Air model?

While it’s possible, it’s recommended to meet the system requirements for optimal performance. 

Older models may struggle with the demands of Cubase 12.

  • Are there any free alternatives to Cubase for MacBook Air?

Yes, there are free DAWs available, such as GarageBand, which comes pre-installed on macOS devices. Cubase’s advanced features make it a popular choice for serious music producers.

  • Can I collaborate with Windows-using producers if I’m on a MacBook Air?

Absolutely. Cubase’s cross-platform compatibility ensures smooth collaboration regardless of the operating system.

  • Are there any known issues with Cubase 12 on MacBook Air?

While Cubase 12 runs well on MacBook Air, some users have reported minor compatibility issues with certain plugins. It’s advisable to keep your software and plugins up to date.

  • Does using an external monitor with a MacBook Air improve Cubase’s workflow?

Yes, connecting an external monitor can provide more screen real estate for arranging tracks and managing plugins, enhancing your overall workflow.