How to Use a Macbook Air for Gaming

By Grahame Turner

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Superdrive (see resources) or USB CD drive

  • Remote drive-sharing PC or Mac machine

  • Steam or game downloading service

  • Steam or Kongregate account

  • Bittorrent (optional)

The MacBook Air was designed for portability and ease of use, but nothing is stopping you from playing your favorite games at your coffee bar.
i working late_1 image by think jesters from

Before the first PC netbooks were released, Mac released the Macbook Air. One of the biggest questions, and initially one of the biggest drawbacks with the machine, was the conspicuous lack of an optical CD or DVD drive. MacBook Air owners couldn't watch movies and found installing their favorite games difficult. Or so they thought. There are ways to use discs on the Macbook Air, albeit indirectly. You can use an external CD drive, a CD drive on another computer, or download the games directly. Otherwise, there are always Flash games.


Connect the SuperDrive device or USB CD drive to your MacBook Air using the included USB cable. You can find the Apple Store product page for this item under Resources.

Insert the game disc into your external CD drive and wait for it to appear on the desktop.

Open the CD on your desktop and install the game. This is usually done by dragging the .app file into the Applications folder, but consult the help menu on your particular game if you have difficulty with this step.

Remote Drive

Insert the MacBook Air Remote Drive disc into the CD drive on the other computer, and install it. Go through the on-screen prompts to install the Remote Drive software on your CD-enabled computer.

Open Control Panel (on a PC) or System Preferences (Mac users). PC users can find this in the Start Menu, while it will be on the Dock for most Mac users.

Locate the DVD or CD sharing option. PC users will have a DVD or CD Sharing icon in their Control Panel. Mac Users will find this under the Sharing menu.

Check the box marked "Enable CD or DVD Sharing" or click to turn "CD or DVD" Sharing on. If you want the computer to always ask your permission before sharing the CD drive, check the box that reads "Ask me before allowing others to use my DVD drive."

Power on your MacBook Air and connect it to the same wireless network as the computer with the remote drive. Open a Finder window and locate "Remote Drive." Click it to bring up the shared CD or DVD. If you set the sharing computer to ask, you will need to approve the sharing before you can use the CD or DVD.


Download a game downloading service, such as Steam (see Resources). Alternately, you can find many games on the websites of developers and distributors of games. A Service like Steam simply puts all of those games in the same place.

Register for an account with the service or website you will be downloading from. The link for this form will be on the website you are browsing, and should be fairly prominent.

Search for a game you want to play. Look through game descriptions, screenshots and gameplay videos if you are uncertain about a particular game.

Click the "Purchase" or "Download" button to start the payment and/or downloading process. Note that some games will offer you a demonstration period before requiring you to purchase the game.

Complete the payment form using the on-screen prompts to input your name, credit card information, and other credentials. Submit the transaction, if you are purchasing the game, and click the Download link to start the process. Wait for the download to complete.

Install the game to your computer. Some games come with .dmg installers, while others need to be added to your Applications folder. If you're using Steam or a similar service, games may be automatically installed by the service.


There are also a whole host of Flash and browser-based games on the Internet. You can find a number of them at a site like Kongregate (see Resources), or with a simple web search. If you already know of a Flash or browser game you want to play, the MacBook Air is capable of playing it.


If you are unsure about a game developer and its website, do some research. Look up the game's name in a web search or large gaming website to see if they have a good reputation. Do not give any personal information to a website that does not offer secure transactions. If you choose to use BitTorrent to download games, be aware that some of these titles may constitute copyright infringement.