Are Apple Macs Slower? It May Be Time to Switch to Windows

The Apple versus Windows discussion tends to get some strong opinions from both sides. Many creatives swear by Apple and consider them to be the only option, and this is mostly due to the operating system. Preferences aside, it would seem that Macs are sometimes the slower and worse option for creatives. 

If I'm not mistaken, most photographers and videographers tend to use the Adobe suite software for editing and post-production. As much as I like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere Pro, I wish they were better optimized; unfortunately, they remain relatively slow. I can appreciate how it's probably difficult to do that for Windows due to the vast number of configurations on the market. Even so, it seems Apple Macs are still the slower option in comparison. In a recent video by Linus Tech Tips, they demonstrate why and how Macs continue to remain the slower option. It would seem that this is actually intentionally implemented by Apple. Sebastian discusses how most people that buy Apple products are interested in the look and feel as opposed to the raw performance. For creatives in our industry, this is a problem, because the "Pro" models from Apple are not in fact for professional users. 

Personally, I'm not surprised by this because, in my experience, Apple has sometimes neglected the professional market. I can appreciate how they have other priority markets that are more profitable, but this doesn't help me, and for that reason, I now continue with Windows. 

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Andrew Eaton's picture

Oh god... this argument... firstly its not a F***k*ng religion. whatever works for you. Also can you get good support for it, at reasonable price, when you need it... :-)

Usman Dawood's picture

Oh man you need to chill man. Also I didn’t call it a religion. When I said strong opinions you went straight to 11 lol.

Andrew Eaton's picture

Hahahaha wasn't aiming at anyone in particular, just too many people see mac vs pc as nearly a religious thing and bang on and on about it :-) as below :-) The thermal throttling is a problem for all vendors, good video, I have a laptop that has good cooling and does it less. its just loud and eats though the battery... two things mac users couldn't cope with :-)

G R's picture

I use an apple computer. I'm not a pro, I'm a hobbyist, so I might feel differently if I were an actual pro editing sessions all the time. I've always had Mac computers, my high school used mac computers, so that's what I learned on. At this point, I don't want to switch and learn a new operating system, but I completely agree that the Mac computers seem to not be geared toward pros (at least the current lineup). I'm satisfied with my 2015 MacBook Pro, but again, I'm not a full time professional photographer and if I was I would probably be disappointed.

Deleted Account's picture

Used a Mac Pro in the studio for many years. I ended up replacing it with a Windows PC system at about 1/4 the cost with twice the performance.

The Mac sure looked more pretty.

Fools and their money are soon parted.

Can U's picture

Reminds me of when I went to sell my "Windows PC system" and I couldn't even get 1/4 what I paid. My sister wouldn't even take it for free. No problem selling my mac (Which was the same age) for about 65% of what I paid for it. Pro's and Con's in everything.

Dominic Deacon's picture

This is true. Macs are massively more resellable. But this is not because of any particular quality of the Mac. Stats show they are only averagely reliable so no safer buying one of those used than a used PC. The actual reason is that Macs are so expensive, and some people just have to have one, so used is the only way they can do it.

Robert Escue's picture

That is because you found someone willing to pay a premium for an older Mac. The only one I would consider spending money on is the 2009 MacPro with the four drive bays and the PCIe slots. Anything else in my mind is a waste of time and money.

Motti Bembaron's picture

And #Gary Fray's conclusion is true again:"Fools and their money are soon parted". Apple is NOT more reliable or better than Windows machine when old. it is a perception and for some, perception is reality.

Sean Scarmack's picture

*Insert beating a dead horse meme* (Glad to see you guys trying to come up with new material)

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you, we're doing pretty well too.

Bjarne Solvik's picture

I changed to Mac when Windows 7 update stoped working on my PC. I am quite good with Mac, I have no problems with speed, 16 GB ram and a i7 or whatever, works fine.
The upside compared with Windows 10 is that Mac OS is more mature. Working with two screens work better on Mac, resizing of windows on Windows is bad. I do have a Surface book with pen I don't use for editing. I would like to test HP Zbook X2, it's powerfully and 100 percent Adobe RGB monitor. But my Mac is fine. I first had the keyboard replaced, then the screen, so I would say the crap quality is the biggest issue. Luckily I have 5 years warranty where I live.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

What is keyboard shortcut to send a window to other monitor on Mac?

Bjarne Solvik's picture

I don't know? What is it on Windows?

Dave Dundas's picture

Windows key + left (or right) arrow. Moves app to next window in either direction. Built into the OS (Windows 10, and I think, back to 7).

Deleted Account's picture

ctrl 1, ctrl 2, ctrl 3…… it depends how many monitors you have

Bjarne Solvik's picture

Actually I was referring to the way windows handles two monitors with different resolution and color calibration. Not so good. If you open on one screen and move to the other, windows don’t change size of menus . Getting the calibrated colors also is problem, from screen to screen. So that works better with Mac.

Patrick Hall's picture

Even better is what is the shortcut to maximize a window on a Mac? It’s funny, I saw a Mac user working on our PC computer and they kept a dragging the corners to get the window fill screen. I just watched in horror

Deleted Account's picture

On Mac the window goes full screen with only one click, or ctrl+cmd+F

Mihnea Stoian's picture

the + button on the top right. for a mac user not to know that, it's sad.

Usman Dawood's picture

That's full screen, not maximize. The full-screen feature annoys me.

Brandon Hopkins's picture

"That's full screen, not maximize"

Depends on the app you're in. If a + appears when you hover over the green dot, then it'll Maximize. If it's two little arrows then it'll go fullscreen, in which case just press option and the + will appear. Adobe products seem to have maximize as default, while most others are fullscreen.

You can also just double-click the top bar of whatever window you're in and it'll maximize. Double-click again to go back to where it was.

Usman Dawood's picture

Ah I see. Thanks, man appreciate the info.

Robert Escue's picture

How to move a window to another monitor in Windows:

Lee Christiansen's picture

Like most things, the choices we make are often dictated by more than one aspect or feature.

I've no idea if a PC would outstrip my current Mac Pro. What I do know is that my old Mac Pro of 11 years is still running perfectly and with some gusto. I only upgraded because it made sense to get a new (refurb'd) MacPro when I required a chunk more graphics card and processors.

The Mac system is easy to maintain, (If my Mac starts to run a little "off" I can get it back to full speed in about 5 minutes).. The older style MacPros allow us to have multi hard drives inside the tower. The OS system is very very friendly - and stable.

Not forgetting, many of us pros have an insane amount of software tied up in our systems. Not going to be jumping ship just because a test shows a bit more speed the in reality I don't find it a big deal in the real world.

Putting a clock on a computer and suggesting that's the reason to change, is like counting the pixels on a new camera and suggesting we change brands because it has an extra there or four MP. I'm no Apple fan boy, but PC's gave me issues. I switched to Mac and the things just worked. A 2008 MBP laptop, a 2008 Mac Pro, a 2012 MBP laptop and a 2015 Retina MBP as well as a 2012 Mac Pro... all running without a hitch, every day all day and I'm not tearing my hair out wishing it was all faster. (With me running multiple screens, 4K and others for Capture One, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve...)

And if a PC does the same job for someone else, I'd not be measuring their performance with an egg timer to persuade them to change either.

We pick the tool that delivers and work with it. But these sort of daft posts are as archaic as the Sony vs Canon vs Nikon vs everything else posts.

Mike Robinson's picture


Casey McCallister's picture

I switched from a Mac last year. The speed difference is night and day. My Windows build is incredibly faster. However, having to use the Windows operating system is such a frustrating experience that logging into the computer is so annoying I yearn for the slower speeds of OSX. Usability and design were not considered in the slightest in the latest version of Windows.

JetCity Ninja's picture

poor hardware support is why i left wintel and UI elegance is why i'm stuck on macos.

Deleted Account's picture

Speed speed speed. Why would I want anything faster than it takes to make a cuppa tea when importing or exporting from LR. Chill,

David Penner's picture

How do you know if Apple is the best if you've never used a Windows machine? Lol

Rayann Elzein's picture

Haha indeed! That made me laugh :)

Mike Schrengohst's picture

We bought an HP laptop for my wife because it was so much cheaper than a mac laptop. She uses an iMac in her office. She hates the HP laptop. I have tried to use it and windows sucks big time. I have used macs now since 2006 and would not dream of trying to do editing, After Effects, Photoshop on a windows computer now. I have never had any trouble with my 3 iMacs or my 2 iPads. They just work - all the time. No I don't work for Apple......

Dave Dundas's picture

HP is the Skoda of laptops. Try a Dell or a Lenovo. Still half the price, and minimum of double the performance of the Mac.

Robert Nurse's picture

I've used Windows machines professionally as a SW developer for decades. For my personal use, it's been a mixed bag. Once, my Windows notebook needed repair and I borrowed my daughter's MacBook temporarily just for photo editing. I got sucked right in. I installed LR, PS and Wacom and just started right up where I left off. It seemed as though everything just worked without a lot of hand waving. Windows also has this ridiculous registry "feature" that, at least in prior versions, wasn't managed very well. So, over time, your beast of a machine would lose performance as the OS would have to trudge through that registry. There were all these registry "cleaners" that claimed to reclaim performance. But, I never fully trusted them. What seemed to always work was reinstalling the OS and my apps. But, of course, that was time consuming. I got my own MacBook solely for photo editing. But, I'd like something a lot beefier. With a Windows machine the choices are complicated as you got a gazillion vendors for everything. Hence, a cause of much ire. The choices under Macs are simpler, but you'll pay the price for that simplicity. Oh, what's a guy to do?

Daris Fox's picture

Windows losing performance is a thing of a past, Win 10 is a fresh install every 6 months if you allow it. It pulls all your files and settings a across, and with SSDs performance loss (if any) is imperceptible.

The biggest bug bear of Windows was the SXS folder due to legacy support which gobbles drive space but again Win 10 is a paradigm shift in how the OS manages files. If you also use Windows Store apps then you won't be using registry and legacy shims.

Almost all registry cleaners was snake oil from XP days and a lot of bull ****. Windows, since at least Vista days does registry optimisation on the fly. One advantage of the Registry and one of it's key advantages is that it helped make the OS hardware agnostic. Also most crud in the Registry was down to programmers who produced shoddy code and didn't clean up after themselves.

If you actually understood the underlying NT concept, you'll see that OS X and Linux have been bandaging concepts onto a ancient OS paradigm for 'nix like systems (prime example of this is systemd). Apple does a great job of hiding the system limitations. Considering that Windows is still using the same kernel and concepts 25 years later on vast array of platforms speaks volumes.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Am i still on a photography site?

Usman Dawood's picture

Are you suggesting computers that people use to edit their images are not relevant to the photography industry?

Przemek Lodej's picture

A quick comparison and its an absolute no brainer. My fiancee uses a MacBook Pro 15 as an alternative in studio recording ($3000) while on the move, but at home she uses a previous gen iMac. Re-configuring it to today's specs with comparable components (64GB RAM, i7) to my newly build custom PC it runs $6000!! My PC is roughly 1/3 the cost ($2075) with additional 1TB SSD drive, and a better nVidia RTX 2080 card and a 30" display. The new system flies like a rocket. Editing 500MB PS files is a breeze. Modeling and animating in Maya and zBrush is like ice skating through butter. To each it's own, but I will never understand why would anyone be willing to waste so much money on a system with identical specs.

Dan Barthel's picture

Apple has lost interest in the Mac in my view. And I'm a long time Mac user. My next computer will be the giant Microsoft slate. No more expensive than the iMac Pro, and a whole lot more functional. I can learn to close a window on the right.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

hope his voice change soon

Benjamin Skrainka's picture

There is a hidden cost to PCs: it takes much longer to get anything done with Windows because of the cumbersome user interface. With OS/X I am vastly more productive with the knowledge of a just a few gestures & shortcuts. Further, when I need the command line it has the full power of Unix/Linux. I am sure that the time I save more than offsets any potential cost savings.

Spy Black's picture

I've been working with Macs and PCs since 1989, and I appreciate the comedic elements of your comment...

Dave Dundas's picture

Same. Good chuckle.

Robert Escue's picture

I don't know why anyone thinks that a laptop is a good choice for a work machine. By its very nature a laptop limits the amount of CPU, GPU and disk you can have available (even with SSD's) because of their limited cooling abilities unless you buy a desktop replacement grade machine that basically defeats the point of owning a laptop.

I don't think it matters which OS you use because it comes down to personal preference over specific functionality advantages between Windows and macOS. What matters is how the OS and applications perform on the hardware you buy. for that reason I prefer a PC running Windows. I get the ability to expand and replace hardware far easier than a Mac and the applications I use run just fine. This is all about nothing.

Paulo Macedo's picture

Hey Robert. I've bought a Lenovo Legion Y530 to pair with my BenQ wide gamut screen.
It came with a lot of IO, including displayport and USB-C.
Now, as for specs, mine came with an i7 8870H with 6Cores and 12 threads, really quick munching through files, paired with 16GB of DDR4 and a GTX 1050Ti.
This for 1000€, which was cheap for the kind of machine I've bought.
As for space, it came with a 240GB SSD paired with a 1TB HDD.
Cooling? No problem, two big ass fans at the bottom rocking when you game, yes it becomes noisy, but still it's pretty neat when it comes to cooling the computer.

Spy Black's picture

If Adobe software is your primary concern, get a middle-of-the road PC with 6 or 8 cores, and as powerful a graphics card as you can afford. I'm not aware of any Adobe program that can make use of more than 6 cores. If you bought a fancy 16-core Mac for your Adobe suite, you've been had. Badly, I might add.

Zoran Grbic's picture

When are you going to finish the article? Publish the part that says something useful and really make it with while to read?

Guy Incognito's picture

This is always sure to be a calm and respectful debate...

I have no grievance with Macs or Apple in general, I still use my iPad Air although she does seem to be getting a little long in the tooth. I use Windows and build my own PCs because I enjoy it, I'm a gamer, and I have some other specific needs. I think I can get more bang for the buck building a PC and, despite my repeated attempts, Linux distros often just frustrate me.

The only problem I might have with Apple/Mac/OSX is that for the longest time it had this reputation as being for "pros" without anyone ever being able to explain what made using a Mac "pro". I think it was a triumph of marketing.

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