It’s time to buy a new computer – but just which operating system should you choose? While some consumers opt for niche brands like Linux, almost 90% of consumers opt for either a Mac or a Windows desktop.
Windows dominates the market quite considerably, however, Mac has been steadily increasing its market share over the last few years. Is now a good time to ride the Mac wave? Or is Windows the best option?
It’s impossible to make an objective call as to which is better as both have their perks based on different personal needs. Using this guide, you can decide whether Mac or Windows is the right option for you.
Factors to consider when choosing between Mac and Windows PC
What OS are you currently using – and are you willing to migrate?
If you’ve used Windows for decades, you’re likely to already be familiar with it. Similarly, if you’ve been a Mac user all your life, you may find that you’re more used to this operating system.
Not a lot of people are prepared to switch to a new operating system – while there are many similarities between how the two operate, there are also many noticeable differences.
Transferring files and ensuring that software is compatible can also be an issue. In the past, both Apple and Microsoft have made it very difficult to access each other’s files and programs on each other’s operating systems.
However, both companies have eased up on this within the last decade, making certain programs available for Windows and Mac.
Virtual machines programs like VirtualBox have helped with this – you can read all about these programs at sites like https://www.howtogeek.com/187359/5-ways-to-run-windows-software-on-a-mac/.
It’s also worth understanding how files systems work by reading guides such as this one https://setapp.com/how-to/apfs-mac-os-extended-exfat-whats-the-difference to help you efficiently transfer files. There are many migration tools and services that can also help.
Do you need it for work? And if so, what does your work involve?
Both Mac and Windows desktops are used in professional settings, but each one has traditionally catered to a specific type of work.
Mac computers have long had a reputation for being better suited to art and graphic design. For a long time, there were certain esteemed graphic design programs that were only available on Mac and not on Windows. This has since changed, but many long-term designers still prefer Mac.
Windows has long been renowned for its Office Suite, which has made it the popular option in offices when it comes to tasks like word processing and creating spreadsheets. Nowadays, it’s possible to use Office Suite on most Apple devices, but many offices still prefer to use Windows.
It’s worth considering compatibility with other devices and programs. If you use an iPhone for work, owning a Mac could allow you to transfer your work between your phone and PC seamlessly. Microsoft sells smartphones but they’re a lot less popular.
The advantage that Windows PCs have is that they’re typically compatible with a lot more third-party software – the likes of macOS Catalina cannot be used with many apps as listed here: https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/apps-wont-work-catalina-3698142/.
Which costs more?
If cost is a big determining factor, you may want to opt for a Windows PC. On average, Windows machines are 40% cheaper than their Mac equivalents.
Apple has been bringing down the price of its machines in recent years to make them more affordable, but the cheapest new machine you’re going to currently find is the Mac Mini Desktop at $699.
Windows PCs can be purchased for less than $500 – however these don’t always come with a monitor, so make sure to factor this into your budget.
Which is more innovative?
Both Apple and Microsoft are fast at adopting the latest technology and even creating innovative features of their own. However, Apple tends to integrate this new technology into their latest models faster than Microsoft. As a result, those looking for cutting-edge features tend to gravitate towards Macs.
Windows 11 and MacOS Monterey are the two latest OS options, which you can compare here: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/windows-11-vs-macos/. Both are very new and so are only compatible with a limited number of machines, which leads to the next point…
Which has more variety of models?
If you want the option to choose from a vast range of different models, Windows may be the better option. Windows 11 may still only be compatible with a very limited range of machines, however, Windows 10 is compatible with hundreds of machines from various makes ranging from HP to Dell.
Apple prefers users to run Mac OS on Apple devices only. You can use Mac OS on other machines, but it’s not easy to do – you won’t find HP or Dell machines for sale with iOS already installed on them (it will almost always be Windows).
Which is more secure?
Both Apple and Windows take security very seriously. However, Mac computers tend to typically be more secure simply for the fact that there are fewer viruses created to infect Mac computers – the majority of viruses are targeted at Windows computers. This could be something to consider if you’re eager to keep your files secure.
It’s worth noting that while both operating systems have their own in-built security software, it’s still worth installing third-party security software on each device for extra protection.
Both Windows and Mac have fairly robust solutions, but they’re still not as effective at fending off malware as the likes of McAfee and Norton.
So, should you opt for Mac or Windows?
To summarise, Mac tends to be better for:
- Design work
- Innovative features
- Compatibility with other Apple products
Windows meanwhile tends to be better suited for:
- General office work
- Choice of models
- Compatibility with general software
Most people stay loyal to one operating system. However, migration is becoming more popular and easier – don’t be afraid to switch from Mac to Windows or Windows to Mac if you think the added perks could benefit you.