12 Apr Windows vs macOS: The Ultimate Comparison
The Windows vs. macOS argument has been going on for years. In general, both operating systems offer comparable capabilities. But enough of a difference exists for people to prefer one side to the other.
It all boils down to what matters most to you. Do you prefer an operating system that is simple to use or one that offers more flexibility? Is safety a top concern? How about compatibility with different systems? The answers to each of these queries will help you decide whether Windows or macOS is better for you.
The two most recent versions of these legendary operating systems, Windows 11 and macOS Ventura, are discussed below along with their key features. Our objective is to give you a summary of everything Windows and macOS have to offer so you may choose the OS that best meets your needs. You won’t find it here if all you’re looking for is OS validation.
Having stated that, let’s compare Windows and macOS to one another.
MacOS vs. Windows: Hardware
Apple machines alone run macOS. That indicates that it can only be used with computers like the MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro. Windows, on the other hand, may be used on anything from robust workstations to the tiny Raspberry Pi. If it can perform calculations, it probably runs Windows or can.
StatCounter(opens in new tab) estimates that 74% of PCs globally are Windows-based as of April 2022. This outpaces macOS, which makes up 15% of the total, with Linux, ChromeOS, and “unknown” making up the remaining 10%. Windows is now among the most widely used operating systems in the world as a result.
Additionally, Windows-based computers may be customized more than Apple-based ones. If you can customize an Apple product at all, you have significantly more freedom to alter its CPU, GPU, memory, and storage than you have with a PC.
You have the option to choose a machine that fits your budget because Windows is supported by more devices. Although Apple typically produces high-quality gear, some consumers may find the company’s prices to be prohibitive. In contrast, you may spend less than $500 on one of the top budget laptops, such the Microsoft Surface Go 2.
Having said that, picking a laptop from the top Windows laptops can be difficult. Due to the fact that different vendors make different machines, even those with similar or identical specs may operate differently. However, Apple produces its own hardware and software, making it easier to choose the right machine for you.
First-party apps: Windows vs. macOS
Both Windows and macOS have a plethora of first-party applications and programs available. With both, you’ll receive the essentials, such as a web browser, file explorer, calendar, voice recorder, video editor, widgets, cloud storage, and more.
Similar office tools are referred to differently in Windows and macOS. Apple’s iWork package includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote in place of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Microsoft Office. It’s difficult to determine which OS offers better office tools given how similar they are. Because there are more Windows computers in the globe, Microsoft Office is utilized more frequently. However, iWork is totally free, unlike Microsoft Office.
Third-party programs in Windows vs. macOS
Both Windows and macOS have online app stores where you can download third-party applications.
Both operating systems support a wide range of programs and can download and execute them straight from the web, albeit the Mac App Store is slightly more significant in terms of apps than the Microsoft Store. The promise that you can download files and applications directly to your device, rather than being constrained to what is available in an app store, is a key selling feature of a laptop or desktop PC.
On the other hand, Windows often has a wider selection of applications than Mac. In particular, this is true of PC games, which are often created for Windows PCs and hardly ever offer native Mac versions.
If you simulate a Windows environment on your Mac using software like Parallels, you can make any Windows-compatible program run on macOS, but doing so takes some work. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider the kind of software you need to use frequently and then check to see if it’s accessible on Windows, Mac, or both.
MacOS vs. Windows: Security/Safety
Windows is an open operating system, which makes it vulnerable to attacks from viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other dangerous malware. It should come as no surprise that Windows has to deal with so much malware given how common it is. Microsoft has done a great job recently of issuing security patches. The operating system will experience more threats due to the sheer amount of Windows users.
Because of corporate regulations and the smaller number of computers using Apple’s operating system, macOS, it is more secure than Windows. Because there are fewer PCs, less OS malware is being produced. However, as we previously stated, this does not render macOS malware-proof. On Macs, you’d still be wise to install antivirus software.
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MacOS and Windows compatibility
No firm can compete with Apple’s ecosystem in terms of interoperability and device integration. The corporation is able to make products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod function seamlessly with one another because it develops its own hardware and software.
For instance, you can reply to a text message you receive on your iPhone using your iPad or MacBook. You may also transfer files and photographs between different Apple devices with the help of services like iCloud and AirDrop. When a Mac or iPhone is in close proximity, the Apple Watch can unlock it, and tools like Stage Manager let you share work between Macs and iPads. Even using your iPhone as a webcam will be possible with the improved Continuity Camera.
The Windows platform doesn’t have as much interoperability as the Apple ecosystem since Windows PCs and devices supporting Windows are made by various firms. However, some integration still exists on Windows, despite the fact that you cannot transmit data between devices as smoothly as you could with Apple products.
The finest Android phones support applications like Microsoft Launch and Phone Link. You may share files, web pages, and even SMS messages between devices, just like with an iPhone and a Mac. This is something, albeit not as comprehensive or user-friendly as Apple’s renowned ecosystem.
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Windows vs. macOS: frequency of updates
In particular, security patches, Windows receives significantly more updates than macOS. Although it’s beneficial that Microsoft often and quickly publishes security updates, it might be annoying to upgrade Windows several times a month (as is occasionally the case).
Even though upgrades improve Windows security, they may have unintended consequences. There are numerous PCs that can run Windows, as we already stated. Because of this, some changes might result in unanticipated issues. The attempt to fix these problems may result in further difficulties that call for additional fixes.
Although they don’t always function as planned, macOS updates perform better than Windows updates. Apple can take its time perfecting updates because it doesn’t release many of them. Additionally, the corporation can better ensure updates won’t result in many (or any) difficulties because it is delivering updates for the computers it manufactures.
Both companies currently deliver one major scheduled upgrade per year that adds significant new features. Microsoft used to deliver important upgrades more regularly, but now it releases once a year like Apple. The release of macOS Ventura for Macs and the next significant Windows 11 update are both anticipated for fall 2022.
User experience comparing Windows and macOS
For the majority of users, Apple built macOS to be intuitive. “It just works” is the company’s catchphrase, and for good reason. And not only for macOS, either. Apple’s operating systems, including iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS, and others, are all designed with the user experience in mind. You’ll probably find macOS easier to use if you’ve never used a computer before.
Windows, especially Windows 11, doesn’t appear to be unduly complex. When compared to macOS, there is a deeper pool of menus and choices. Because of this, troubleshooting can be difficult, but it also means that different solutions exist for every issue. Even when you look closely and find outdated windows and apps, Windows isn’t as attractive as macOS, but it does offer more versatility than what Apple permits.
For others, the macOS Dock and the Windows taskbar are contentious issues. The Dock icon of an app doesn’t open a window when clicked on in macOS. Instead, the app’s menu can be found in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen. Windows users who are used to viewing Menu options inside an app or program’s window may find this strange. The taskbar in Windows has more options. For instance, a taskbar button’s application window appears when the mouse pointer is over it.
Gaming on Windows vs. macOS
There is no competition in this section. Macs won’t cut it if you want to play intense video games on your computer. Despite having Apple Arcade and its own version of the Steam shop, the offerings on macOS are modest in compared to those on Windows platforms. There is no doubt that PC gaming is superior when you take into account system customization, which enables users to change components like graphics cards and CPUs.
You can play games purchased from the Microsoft and Xbox stores on Windows thanks to the Xbox app. The Xbox Game Pass membership service from Microsoft features hundreds of downloaded and streaming games from both its own first-party studios and outside publishers. Launchers for games like Steam and GOG also have strong libraries. On PCs, the emulation scene is also thriving.
Even though Apple lags behind in the gaming industry, it is working to improve the appeal of its platform. Thanks to the Apple M2 processor, macOS Ventura, and the Metal 3 API, things could soon change. With this, Apple intends to improve game visuals and make use of Apple silicon’s graphics capabilities. Given the popularity of games like Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky that are anticipated for Macs later this year, it appears Apple will finally offer top-notch gaming experiences.
However, aside from specialized home video game consoles, the best gaming platform right now is the Windows PC.
Which is better for you, Windows or macOS?
Because applications like Final Cut Pro are more widely used in the creative industries, Apple Macs are excellent for professional video and audio editors. Apple M1 and M2 CPUs put Macs on par with specialized workstations in terms of performance. Many software companies are envious of Apple’s interoperability between its products and services, and the platform’s security is virtually unmatched. Because to its simple interface, it’s also the easiest operating system for beginners.
Given the extensive support that Windows receives from game publishers and developers, it is the only viable option if you value high-end PC gaming. Even if the operating system can occasionally be confusing or vulnerable to the majority of malware attacks, Windows’ higher adoption rate and affordable hardware alternatives make it the best choice for the majority of users. Windows has a nice mix between simplicity and sophistication, but possibly not being as user-friendly as macOS.
We’ll refrain from naming a clear winner at the risk of disappointing you, dear reader. Both Windows and macOS have advantages and disadvantages. In terms of software and hardware modification, Microsoft’s operating system offers more freedom and is compatible with more devices. While Apple’s hardware selection is less extensive and more expensive than that of Windows PCs, you’ll receive a more honed experience that puts usability first. It all depends on what you want to use your computer for.