The Mac vs. PC debate is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to computers. This page gives a comparison between computers running Apple's macOS and those running Windows. We are looking to help users who are interested in buying a new computer, not dictating which brand is the 'best.'
The best format when you want to share a hard drive between a Mac and a Windows PC is ExFAT. Both operating systems can read and write to that external hard drive format. You can share and watch the same videos and photos. Listen to the same MP3s.
Mac - Traditionally, Macs have had fewer security vulnerabilities. Also, in overall numbers, Macs receive fewer viruses than PCs running Windows. However, these numbers can be misleading as Apple's computers only account for less than 10% of the market share. Consequently, PCs show that they not only have more vulnerabilities, but if one were looking to infect or illegally access the most computers, PCs are the easy target.
PC - More people today are using computers running some version of Microsoft Windows, which makes it a smarter target for attackers. That being said, Windows computers have had more security vulnerabilities than Apple computers in the past.
Bottom line: While newer versions of Windows have made significant improvements in security, most malware is created for PCs. Therefore, you're less likely to run into security issues with a Mac. Mac wins in this category.
Mac - Although many people may argue, 'you get what you pay for,' when compared to a PC, an Apple computer, along with its peripherals, is far more expensive. However, Apple computers are built well, with high-quality components, whereas all PCs are not.
PC - Nearly all PCs, including their peripherals, are far less expensive when compared to a new Mac. They are especially cheaper when it comes to customization of the computer's components.
Bottom line:PC wins this category.
Bottom line: This section is even as you're comparing apples and oranges. Both macOS and Windows 10 are clean, fast, highly capable operating systems. In this category, it comes down to personal preference and the user's specific needs. This category is a tie.Note
Windows is put onto PCs by multiple manufacturers, most of which add some form of bloatware. That being said, bloatware is removable. Either way, that doesn't mean that Windows 10 is an inferior operating system.Tip
Mac users can use Boot Camp to run Windows on their computer. PC users can also install Linux on their computer and use it in conjunction with Windows or as an alternative to Windows.
Bottom line: The number of software titles for Mac has grown over the years. However, Windows dominates the computer software market share, and developers are more likely to create software for PCs because of its larger user base. Furthermore, there are 100s of free programs available for PC that are not available to Mac owners. PC wins this category.
Mac - Newer models of Macintosh computers are known for their exceptional quality across their entire line, including both laptops and desktops. Mac's offer a very compact profile regardless of form factor and are aesthetically pleasing.
PC - PCs have always been highly customizable, from cases to internal components, to monitors. As such, there are many different levels of build quality. Therefore, while you can get very high-quality components for a PC, you can also get those that are of poor quality.
Bottom line: While the quality of PC components can be as high, if we are to rate quality across the board, Mac wins this category - but situationally.
Customization and upgrades
Bottom line: Apple machines may be customized with several options. All their computers come pre-built and are only manufactured by Apple. PCs, however, have more pre-built options, due to a higher number of manufacturers. Furthermore, for those who want to build a computer, the options for customization are exponentially higher. PC wins this category.
Bottom line: Traditionally, Macs were faster to boot up than PCs. However, with the advent of Windows 10, PC boot times have decreased dramatically. In some cases, Windows 10 performs faster than macOS. That being said, these differences are negligible when compared to hardware. The single biggest component in reducing boot time is the type of hard drive a computer has. Both Macs and PCs have SSDs available to them, but those who build PCs have much faster options. PC wins this category - but situationally.
Bottom line: In the past, Mac certainly had the advantage here because Apple was their sole manufacturer of these computers. Consequently, Apple only had to create one set of drivers. PC, on the other hand, not only has many different pre-built manufacturers, but many interchangeable components as well, which required numerous drivers. However, in recent years, all devices are plug and play in Windows and no longer require the user to install drivers. This category is a tie.
Bottom line: Over the years, computer game companies have shown increased support for Macs. However, Windows owns 90% of the market share, and as such, developers are far more likely to create games for that operating system. Additionally, because (built) PCs are much more customizable, their ability to run computer games is higher. Except for the Mac Pro, there aren't any Macs that keep up with a PC running a mid-range graphics card. PC wins this category.
Match font with keyboard word for mac pro. Bottom line: Apple strives to make its Mac product line as sleek and compact as possible. To do so, they continue to further integrate their parts. Thus, when their desktop computers need to be repaired, they usually require more than one part to be replaced. Most desktop PCs on the other hand, have easy access to any part of the computer by removing a side panel. Laptop repair costs between the two platforms would be more similar, but Mac is still more expensive. PC wins this category.
Bottom line: When it comes to desktop and laptop computers (not mobile devices), Mac offers no touch screen capability, only the Touch Bar on some MacBooks. PC wins this category.
Not all PC's are the same - There are many PC manufacturers, and thousands of models of computers, which means not everything mentioned above applies to every PC.
My Apple can run Windows - Microsoft Windows can run on Apple computers using Boot Camp, which means not everything above may apply to your Mac. In the case of gaming, you may be able to run the latest games on your Mac using Boot Camp. However, Boot Camp is not perfect, and it does not mean every game can run on your computer since PC games are not developed with Apple hardware in mind.It's also not unlikely to encounter problems and have performance issues.
Windows XP is not Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 - Windows XP is over 15 years old. Comparing a Windows XP computer to a new MacBook with OS is like comparing a Ford Pinto to a Ferrari. If you are trying to decide between purchasing a PC or a Mac, make sure you are comparing the latest models and that they have similar hardware components.
Windows Migration Assistant transfers your contacts, calendars, email accounts, and more from a PC. It migrates this data to the appropriate places on your Mac. After migrating data to your Mac, authorize your computer for iTunes Store purchases. It’s important to authorize before you sync or play content that you download from the iTunes Store.
If you're migrating from one Mac to another Mac, follow the steps to move your content to a new Mac.
Before you begin
To prepare for a smooth migration:
- Make sure that Windows is up to date. Migration Assistant works with Windows 7 and later.
- Make sure that you know the name and password of an administrator account on your PC.
- Connect your Mac and PC to the same network, such as your home Wi-Fi network. Or connect an Ethernet cable between the ports on your Mac and PC to create a direct network connection. Some Mac models require an Ethernet adapter, such as the Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter or Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.
- If you're using Microsoft OneDrive on your PC, follow Microsoft's instructions for uninstalling OneDrive before continuing. You can reinstall OneDrive after migration is complete.
Then use the check disk (chkdsk) utility on your PC to make sure that your Windows hard drive doesn’t have any issues:
- Right-click the Start button, then click Run.
cmdand press Enter. Command Prompt opens.
- At the prompt, type
chkdskand press Enter.
- If the utility reports that it found problems, type the following, where drive is the letter that represents your Windows startup disk, such as D:
- Press Enter.
- At the prompt, type
Y, then restart your PC.
- Repeat this process until the check disk utility reports no issues. If the utility can't fix every issue that it finds, you might need to have your PC serviced. Then migrate your data to your Mac.
Move your data
This section guides you through migration, post-migration, and what to do if the steps don’t work for you.
How to move your information from a PC to your Mac
- On your PC, download and install the appropriate Windows Migration Assistant, based on the version of macOS on your Mac:
- Windows Migration Assistant for macOS Mojave or later
- Windows Migration Assistant for macOS Sierra and High Sierra
- Windows Migration Assistant for OS X El Capitan or earlier
- Quit any open Windows apps.
- Open Windows Migration Assistant, then click Continue.
- Start up your Mac. Setup Assistant automatically opens the first time you turn on your Mac. If you’ve already set up your Mac, open Migration Assistant, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
- On your Mac, follow the onscreen prompts until you get to the migration pane of the assistant. Select the option to transfer your information “From a Windows PC,” then click Continue.
- When prompted, enter an administrator name and password.
- Click Continue to close any other open apps.
- In the migration window on your Mac, select your PC from the list of available computers. Then wait for the PC to show the same passcode that your Mac shows.
- When both computers display the same passcode, click Continue on your PC and Mac.
- Your Mac scans the drives on your PC to build a list of information to migrate. When the scan completes, select the information that you want to migrate to your Mac and click Continue. Learn about some of the data that you can transfer.
You can watch the progress and estimated time remaining on both the PC and your Mac. They tell you when migration is complete.
After you move your data
When migration completes, close Windows Migration Assistant on your PC. Then log in to the new user account on your Mac. The first time you log in to a user account migrated from your PC, you’re asked to set a password. You can use the same password that you used on your PC, or create a new password.
After logging in to the user account that you migrated, your computer for iTunes Store purchases. It’s important to authorize before you sync or play content downloaded from the iTunes Store.
If you have issues moving your data
- Quit all open apps on your PC, then try migrating your content again. For example, you can press Alt-Tab to choose an open application, then press Alt-F4 to quit it.
- If your PC doesn't appear in the Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant window on your Mac, make sure the computers are connected to the same network. You can create an network by connecting a single Ethernet cable between your Mac and PC. If that doesn't help, check for firewall software on your PC and turn it off. Firewall software can block network ports needed during migration. After migration completes, you can turn firewall software on again.
- If Migration Assistant doesn’t open on your PC, turn off any antivirus software on your PC. Then try to open Migration Assistant again. After migration completes. You can turn that software on again.
- If you still can't migrate your information successfully, you can use an external drive or file sharing to manually copy important data to your Mac.
What data can I transfer?
Migration Assistant lets you choose the data to move to your Mac. Here’s what moves over for specific apps and data types:
Email, contacts, and calendar information
Email messages, email-account settings, contacts, and appointments move based on which version of Windows you're using and which accounts you have.
Data from 32-bit versions of Outlook in Windows 7 and later move as follows:
- People move to Contacts2
- Appointments move to the Calendar app
- IMAP and Exchange settings and messages move to the Mail app
- POP settings and messages move to Mail2
Windows Live Mail
Data from Windows Live Mail in Windows 7 and later moves as follows:
- IMAP settings and messages move to Mail
- POP settings and messages move to Mail2
Data from Windows Mail in Windows 7 and later (excluding Windows 8) move as follows:
- IMAP settings and messages move to Mail
- POP settings and messages move to Mail2
- People move to Contacts
Bookmarks from Internet Explorer, Safari for Windows, and Firefox move to Safari.
Language and location settings, and custom desktop pictures move to System Preferences. Your web browser homepage moves to Safari preferences.
Photos and other images move to your home folder. You can then add them to Photos, or open Photos and let it search your Mac for photos to import.
Migration Assistant transfers your iTunes media as follows: music to the Apple Music app, videos to the Apple TV app, podcasts to the Apple Podcasts app, and audiobooks to the Apple Books app. What happened to iTunes?
Migration Assistant also moves these files:
- Files from the top-level folder of the currently logged-in user’s home directory
- Non-system files located in the Windows or Program Files folders
- Top-level folders located on the Windows system disk and other attached disks
1. Migration Assistant doesn’t support 64-bit versions of Outlook. You can manually migrate Mail, Contacts, or Calendars from Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 by signing in and entering the content on your Mac manually.
2. Migration Assistant transfers only the Mail or Contacts data that belongs to the logged-in Windows user. To transfer data from another user account, use Migration Assistant again while you’re logged in to another Windows account. Each time you migrate, your Mac creates a new user account.