The mac vs windows

Most people get confused as to which laptop to get. Choosing an Operating system can be difficult. It depends on the fact that for what purpose you want to select the OS; for professional or frivolous use of your computer system. when choosing between the windows and Mac analyse windows vs mac os comparison, difference between mac and windows operating system and mac vs windows security. The following will also help you make up your mind:

Mac analyse windows vs mac os comparison

The mac vs windows

1. Macs are easier to buy.

 

There are fewer models and configurations of Mac computers to choose from than there are Windows PCs — if only because only Apple makes Macs and anyone can make a Windows PC.

Certain PC brands can have dozens of computers for sale, under the same (or similar) product names and model numbers. Unless you really know what to look for, picking a Windows PC can be daunting, especially if you’re browsing on sites like Amazon.

But if you just want a good computer and don’t want to do a ton of research, Apple makes it easier for you to pick. Just pick one that matches your budget and it’ll do great for you.

2. Mac computers are easier to get repaired.

upgrade mac ram

There are lots of places to bring a Windows PC to get repairs, but you mostly need to figure that out on your own: Different places have different prices, and you’ll need to find one with a good reputation too.

Meanwhile, nothing beats simply bringing a computer to the Apple Store, where the “Genius Bar” will take care of you. I’m speaking from my own experience, where I’ve had to bring both Windows PCs and Macs to get repaired, and it’s always been easier to get my Macs repaired.

3. Apple macOS can be simpler to use, but that depends on personal preference.

macos sierra

Windows 10 is a fantastic operating system with tons of features and functionality, but it can be a little cluttered. Apple macOS, the operating system formerly known as Apple OS X, offers a comparatively clean and simple experience.

4. The Apple ecosystem.

apple ecosystem

The Apple ecosystem is hard to beat. Combined with a Mac, devices like the iPhone, AirPods, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePods, and Apple TV, offer some kind of useful integration that makes certain things seamless and easy. So far, no other company or ecosystem has come close to the easy and smooth integration between Apple’s home-built devices.

5. Macs come with some great software for free.

The built-in software on Macs, like iMovie, Garage Band, and Image Capture, among others, is actually quite good and makes it easy work to edit videos, create music, or transfer photos from your camera. They’re a lot better than anything I’ve found preloaded on Windows PCs.

6. You might not want these free apps, but they’re nowhere near as offensive as the “bloatware” that comes with most Windows PCs.

windows 10 start menu

Windows PCs are often preloaded with a ton of so-called bloatware. These can be third-party apps you don’t want or need, and clutter up your system.

Even if you buy a fresh copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft, it’ll come with apps and games like Candy Crush Saga, which devalues the look and feel of Windows — in my opinion, anyway. You can always remove that bloatware, but the fact that it’s there in the first place leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

The preloaded software on Macs might not be everyone’s choice, either, but at least it’s less offensive.

7. New versions of macOS are always free.

macos high sierra free upgrade

Whenever Apple releases a new version of its operating system, it’s freely available to download and install on any Mac that supports it.

Windows 10 gets free updates, too, on a twice-a-year schedule.

But if you’re using an older version of Windows, including the still popular Windows 7, or the more recent Windows 8 or 8.1, you’re going to have to pay $120 or so to get current on Windows 10.

While Microsoft did offer that upgrade for free for the first year or so after Windows 10 came out, that time is long over.

8. Most Mac laptops have beautiful displays.

Macbook Pro

Macs have beautiful “Retina” displays that are sharp and vibrant. Windows laptops can also come with great displays, some of which are even sharper or better overall, but you have to really hunt through the great many models available to find one with a sharp screen.

That said, if a nice display is on your checklist, avoid the cheaper, lighter MacBook Air laptop. It uses Apple’s older displays that are nowhere near as nice as the more recent Retina models.

9. Mac laptops have the best trackpads.

macbook pro 2017

Few, if any, Windows laptops have mouse trackpads that are even close to the trackpads on Apple’s laptops. Any MacBook has a responsive mouse trackpad that just feels right. Windows trackpads can be unreliable and occasionally uncomfortable to the touch.

 

10. You can run Windows on Macs if you want.

windows 10 on mac

If you want all the benefits of a Mac but need Windows for certain situations, you can install Microsoft’s operating system on your Mac. Meanwhile, you can’t run macOS on anything other than a Mac computer from Apple.

You could always build your own “Hackintosh” out of available PC parts, but I wouldn’t really advise it. You’re limited in what parts you can use, and installing/updating macOS on a Hackintosh is a pain.

Both OSes offer clear and polished setup processes. You can use both without signing in to an account with Apple or Microsoft, but both offer a richer experience if you do. You’ll miss out on syncing machines, voice assistants, app roaming, messages, and a whole lot of other goodies by not signing in.

Microsoft lets you install the OS with your voice using Cortana. Apple installs updates through the System Preferences instead of in the Mac App Store. Both automatically recognize and install drivers for standard hardware peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and storage.

Both systems offer login options that go beyond the traditional act of simply signing in on your desktop. If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can easily sign into your Mac using your finger. Or you can log in with your iPhone or Apple Watch if they are close enough to the computer.

But Windows 10 offers Hello with several biometric login options. Face login is probably the coolest, and is available on most higher-end PCs, including all Surface devices. Windows Hello also supports fingerprint readers, available on laptops such as the HP Spectre 13. If you don’t have hardware that’s compatible with either of those features, Windows will also accept a PIN.

Once you’ve booted the OS, Windows has the Start button and menu to access your most-used apps, settings, and documents. There’s nothing similar in macOS, but you can pin frequently used apps to your Dock, head to the Applications folder, or set up your desktop with icons for your most-used programs and files. You can also use Launchpad icon to page through and start apps.

Apple offers some great computer hardware options, with gorgeous industrial design on Macbooks, optional 5K screens on iMacs, and the new, massively powerful Mac Pro (starting at $5,999). The issue is that selection is not only pricey, but it’s also dwarfed by the availability of an enormously diverse array of Windows PCs. To those, you can add nontraditional options like the HoloLens, VR headsets, and the Raspberry Pi, which can all also run Windows 10. There’s also a wider array of Windows-friendly peripherals to choose from.

As for internal components—things like the CPU, graphics card, and storage—there’s no contest. Windows gives you a lot more leeway in configuring a system with the components you want, and more flexibility to upgrade later.

 

The war between Mac and Windows devotees has been raging for decades, and last week we asked you to weigh in. Today we’re taking a look at the best arguments on both sides to offer a clear picture of why you might choose one platform over another.

This Post Represents How You Feel
We didn’t write this post to share our opinions on the Mac versus Windows argument, but rather to aggregate what you, the readers, feel as a whole. This post attempts to represent both sides of the arguments equally, but may be weighted more towards Windows users as Windows is the operating choice for the majority of Lifehacker readers. Please keep this in mind as you read and share your thoughts in the discussions.

Mac Hardware Costs Too Much for What You Get

Many feel the cost of a Mac is too high for what you get, but others justify the heftier price tag by citing top-tier support, higher quality hardware, and the benefits of the Apple ecosystem. Whether or not you feel those points are accurate, Mac hardware does come with a number of limitations when it comes to specifications. If you want a machine you can upgrade beyond the drive, RAM, or sometimes anything at all, it’ll cost you $2,499 for a Mac Pro. Reader (and systems administrator) Stego summarizes this problem nicely:

The kicker with Mac, however, is that only a limited selection of hardware is officially sanctioned, and they’re no longer the powerhouse machines of yore; few include dedicated GPUs, and those that do cost thousands of dollars (in other words, you can forget about a good gaming experience).

If you want a cheaper Mac made by Apple, you’re stuck with a computer you can’t do much to upgrade and likely won’t be able to use for gaming purposes. You can, of course, build a hackintosh to work around this problem. You can still use OS X, get more powerful hardware, and pay a lot less. That said, as Stego notes, the hardware isn’t officially sanctioned by Apple meaning you handle the repairs and compatibility could break at any point.

Windows Has More Software

Illustration for article titled Mac vs. Windows: Your Best Arguments

As reader Chris Vician mentions, Windows has “[t]ons of software. Just tons of it.” If app stores offer any indication, he’s right. The Windows Store already has over 50,000 apps despite its youth whereas the Mac App Store had a little under 14,000 at the end of its second year. Of course, the Windows Store is also a store for tablet apps, so those numbers may not be a perfect measurement. Mac users could also make a quality-over-quantity argument, but that’s largely a matter of personal opinion. From our standpoint, as bloggers who sift through many downloads on each platforms, you’ll find plenty of crappy downloads regardless of your platform. While what software you love and use may matter the most when choosing a platform, Windows unquestionably offers more options, at least when it comes to bigger apps like music players, video players, IM clients, and other things of that nature.

Of course, both Windows and OS X have their own standout apps that aren’t available on the other.

Windows Offers Greater Flexibility

Illustration for article titled Mac vs. Windows: Your Best Arguments

Although OS X doesn’t suffer from Apple’s “walled garden” philosophy as its mobile counterpart iOS, it’s hard to argue that Macs offer as much flexibility as Windows PC. From a hardware standpoint, most Windows PCs let you upgrade whatever you like whereas Macs do not. Windows users also have the benefit of everything being made specifically for them. With software, you’ll find Apple drops compatibility with old applications far faster. Reader Stego explains:

Windows is the mainstay of PCs everywhere. 98% of us grew up on PCs, or use PCs on a daily basis, either at home or at work. Windows is flexible in that regard, running everything from the latest games to ancient DOS Payroll software for corporations. You can buy a pre-built PC with Windows from hundreds of vendors, or build your own from scratch with thousands of different parts. Given time, you can build a PC that fits all of your needs perfectly. That flexibility, though, comes at a price.

That price is, of course, higher maintenance.

Macs Have Fewer Viruses and Require Less Maintenance

People used to argue that Macs had no viruses. Some still do, although that statement is no longer true. Nevertheless, far fewer viruses exist for Mac and most Mac users get by just fine without any antivirus protection. While this may not last forever, and Apple doesn’t have the best reputation when handling security issues, fewer viruses is a current and legitimate perk of OS X. Windows, on the other hand, suffers from more than just a few security exploits as reader Stego explains:

With Windows, you have to stay on top of driver updates, security patches, Anti-Virus software (still recommended for the Mac, mind, but it’s a particular problem with Windows), etc. Windows is easily bogged down with clutter, bloatware, and memory munchers.

Even though Windows can require a bit of maintenance, not every PC features bloatware (such as the ones you build yourself) and requires more updates than a Mac. Microsoft also handles security issues better and created Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows Defender in Windows 8) to combat viruses easily. While we feel Microsoft’s offering fell behind its competition, plenty of free antivirus software exists and works great. Additionally, viruses don’t account for some of our primary security concerns nowadays. As reader Strife Caecus points out, social engineering attacks and browser-based traps largely contribute to the overall problem:

What about social engineering attacks—where people are tricked into clicking on a link to install something malicious? Or installing extra browser toolbars? Or how about phishing sites? Is it assumed that the average Mac user is less likely to be duped by a social engineering attack?

From our standpoint, Mac users aren’t more or less likely to fall for social engineering attacks and don’t know of an accurate way of measuring that likelihood. While viruses still offer a considerable threat to Windows, security issues may become platform-agnostic in the future and render this argument irrelevant.

Both Platforms Work Well for Designers

Illustration for article titled Mac vs. Windows: Your Best Arguments

Back in the 80s and 90s, Macs had a legitimate reputation as the first choice for designers because the selection of design applications was superior to what you could get on Windows PCs. Nowadays you often see Macs in design firms likely due to their aesthetic or just out of habit. Both Windows and OS X feature plenty of great design apps, and high file compatibility between both platforms. As a result, you’ll find more people who prefer designing on Windows despite the stereotype. Reader Scruffy Kitty prefers Windows for design due to its speed, device compatibility, and better multi-monitor support:

[I’m a p]rofessional graphic designer who weirdly prefers Windows. I often find with my Mac that I use at work slow and not fantastic at multitasking. It is an iMac, fairly new, and it chugs through things my similarly priced laptop (currently running Windows 8) does with ease. I had to buy a $30 adapter so I could use my Cintiq with my iMac at work, and god help me if I wanted to switch between the screens with iMac one running Photoshop and the Cintiq running Illustrator without having to wait an endless amount of time for it to stop stalling. I’ve lost a lot of time at work waiting for my computer to start working and have learned that if I’m going to work on any hi-res art I should just bring my laptop in and transfer the files over when I’m done.

Many designers still prefer Apple hardware and OS X for their workflow. Because Macs are stereotypically seen more as the choice for artists (regardless of whether or not that’s actually accurate), software companies often target Macs for design-related tools. Additionally, OS X offers excellent font management out of the box and other built-in tools like Preview for quick conversion and other tasks. Both platforms have their pros and cons, but when it comes to the design argument you won’t find a clear winner on either side. Like with most things, personal preference will dictate your choice here.

Windows Offers a Better Gaming Experience

As mentioned earlier, official Apple hardware offers a paltry selection of graphics cards. While you’ll find more and more popular games—including several unique titles—available for OS X, if you want a bleeding edge gaming experience you won’t get it from a Mac. Few people elaborated on this argument, likely because it speaks for itself: You’ll find fewer gaming options, hardware, and tools to fine-tune performance when using a Mac. Even if you build a hackintosh and get a powerful GPU, you’re still fairly limited in regards to what you can do with it when running OS X. Oftentimes, the same game will just run better in Windows than it will in OS X.

Neither Operating System Is Easier to Learn

Illustration for article titled Mac vs. Windows: Your Best Arguments

Macs have a reputation of being the more intuitive choice. Apple would certainly like us to believe that, but if you ask a handful of Windows users you’ll find that they consider the platform more intuitive in many ways. We believe it comes down to more what you’re used to, or—if new to you’re a brand new computer user—how your personal sensibilities affect your approach to either operating system. Reader Strife Caecus offers a detailed explanation:

Learning the GUI [Graphical User Interface] for either operating system didn’t seem to be any more difficult. My assumption is if a user barely knows how to turn on a computer, they’re going to go through the same growing pains learning what and how to click on things. And if learning a UI [User Interface] is a struggle to begin with, then one will definitely have some issues switching from one OS to another.

I’ve spent most of my years in Windows’ UI. However, switching to a Mac or Linux UI wasn’t difficult considering I already understand the operations of a UI. Were there some Mac-specific functions that annoyed me? Sure. Such as the one-button approach compared to the two-button PC approach. However, that’s been resolved several years ago as now you can right-click on Mac for context menus. Sometimes, I accidentally open the Mac Dashboard, but aside from that, I do like using the gestures on the Mac Magic Mouse or the Trackpad.

In my opinion, if you can learn the [Windows] UI, you can learn any UI. Many users are now used to the familiar Start Menu and taskbar icons. The right-mouse button opens an extra menu of options and the scroll-wheel scrolls the page in various applications. With the advent of Windows 8, came the Start Screen. I approached the interface willing to learn since people in the future will be asking me how to use it. Many others have approached it much like Sweet Brown’s famous meme statement…”Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Nowadays, I switch between it and the Desktop. Yes, I do spend most of my time on the Desktop. Much of my productivity is done here compared to the Start Screen. While I don’t have the hatred for the Start Screen like many others do, I do understand the frustration of such an interface if you’re a keyboard and mouse user (with or without a touch screen).

So why does OS X get such a great reputation for having an intuitive user interface? Some may claim Apple’s hype and marketing as the reason, but multi-platform user and reader jamescobalt explains why he prefers OS X’s approach:

Personally, after about a decade of using both side by side, I find the user experience of OS X to be substantially more intuitive than that of Windows 7 and 8. There are some things that were confusing to me, but namely because I grew up on Windows. For example, if I wanted to change the name of a file I had open, I assumed I needed to Save As or close and rename in the file manager. Someone not familiar with this Windows-specific workflow might instead see the name of the file at the top of the window and double click on it to make it editable. That’s how it works in OS X. It’s more naturally intuitive, but it’s not intuitive at all of you live in a Windows ecosystem.

No readers who argued a user interface preference for either operating system found it without fault, and you’ll find plenty of apps on both platforms that try to offer missing features provided by the other. Yet again, personal preference wins out when you’re used to a certain way of getting things done. New computers should try both and see what they prefer, as both require a learning curve and one may feel more intuitive than the other based on their own sensibilities.

What About Linux?

Illustration for article titled Mac vs. Windows: Your Best Arguments

Although we’re focusing on Macs and Windows PC in this post, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that Linux exists. In the initial discussion, many readers noted that they liked OS X because it provided a UNIX-like experience without the lack of commercial software they found on Linux. Some readers still preferred Linux, however, because it offered more customizability but many turned to Windows to find power user features. Basically, those of you who preferred Linux tended to fall into a niche that desired total control and didn’t require commercial software.

The Bottom Line

You can discuss the pros and cons of Macs versus Windows PCs in great detail, but here’s what it comes down to according to you. Most of you recommend Macs for the following reasons:

  • Macs offer a more straightforward approach to computing with fewer maintenance tasks
  • Macs have fewer viruses and security issues (with the caveats mentioned in the relevant section above, of course)
  • Macs can provide a UNIX-like experience and also have commercial applications
  • Macs software, on average, focuses more on its user interface and making your experience enjoyable than Windows software does
  • Other Apple devices work best with Apple computers

Conversely, you recommended Windows PCs for these reasons:

  • Windows PCs provide lots of flexibility and customization (with both hardware and software)
  • Windows PCs offer support for cutting-edge hardware
  • Windows has more software available than any other platform
  • Windows offers great backwards-compatibility
  • Windows provides a great gaming experience thanks to great hardware support and lots of games
  • Windows offers better options for music production
  • Windows is the same platform most of the world uses

On average, you felt both platforms were equal in the following categories:

  • Ease of learning
  • Good for designers

And with that, we end our first official Flame War. We’ll be back next month with a new topic, so stay tuned. As reader Frank Fusco pointed out, this was one of the most civil flame wars he’s ever seen. We agree. A big thanks goes out to everyone who contributed so much by keeping it both civil and interesting. While we couldn’t included everyone’s opinion in this post, we spent quite awhile looking at what you had to say.

I dread the disgruntled comments, emails, and tweets headed my way because of this comparison, but hear me out. People on both sides of the OS war probably just aren’t aware of what the other side has to offer, and some of them may be curious about it.

In the spirit of full disclosure, like more than 80 percent of the desktop and laptop world, I am primarily a Windows user. I am, however, an iPhone devotee, and as a software reviewer, I have lots of experience on Macs. I’m not a Mac or Apple hater by a long shot.

Rather than just framing this as an argument for one side or another, I’ll simply work my way through the standard operating system features, comparing Microsoft and Apple’s offerings along the way. Yes, each category will have a winner, and we’ll tally the points up in the end, but your choice of OS involves much more than just features, hardware and software support, and capabilities. It involves what the people around you use, your ecosystem (including your smartphone and tablet), your business needs, and your personality.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section at the end of this article, whether you’re a Windows or a macOS fan. Let us know why you’re in your particular camp.

Setup Experience

Setup Experience

Both OSes offer clear and polished setup processes. You can use both without signing in to an account with Apple or Microsoft, but both offer a richer experience if you do. You’ll miss out on syncing machines, voice assistants, app roaming, messages, and a whole lot of other goodies by not signing in.

Microsoft lets you install the OS with your voice using Cortana. Apple installs updates through the System Preferences instead of in the Mac App Store. Both automatically recognize and install drivers for standard hardware peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and storage.

Winner: Tie

Logging In and Getting Started

Logging In and Getting Started

Both systems offer login options that go beyond the traditional act of simply signing in on your desktop. If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can easily sign into your Mac using your finger. Or you can log in with your iPhone or Apple Watch if they are close enough to the computer.

But Windows 10 offers Hello with several biometric login options. Face login is probably the coolest, and is available on most higher-end PCs, including all Surface devices. Windows Hello also supports fingerprint readers, available on laptops such as the HP Spectre 13. If you don’t have hardware that’s compatible with either of those features, Windows will also accept a PIN.

Once you’ve booted the OS, Windows has the Start button and menu to access your most-used apps, settings, and documents. There’s nothing similar in macOS, but you can pin frequently used apps to your Dock, head to the Applications folder, or set up your desktop with icons for your most-used programs and files. You can also use Launchpad icon to page through and start apps.

Winner:Windows 10

Hardware Choices

Hardware Choices

Apple offers some great computer hardware options, with gorgeous industrial design on Macbooks, optional 5K screens on iMacs, and the new, massively powerful Mac Pro (starting at $5,999). The issue is that selection is not only pricey, but it’s also dwarfed by the availability of an enormously diverse array of Windows PCs. To those, you can add nontraditional options like the HoloLens, VR headsets, and the Raspberry Pi, which can all also run Windows 10. There’s also a wider array of Windows-friendly peripherals to choose from.

As for internal components—things like the CPU, graphics card, and storage—there’s no contest. Windows gives you a lot more leeway in configuring a system with the components you want, and more flexibility to upgrade later.

Winner: Windows 10

Included Apps

Included Apps

Both operating systems offer a wealth of built-in utilities and apps. You get decent mail clients, calendars, calculators, photo and video viewers and editors, screenshot tools, voice recorders, and web browsers, and apps for maps, cameras, news, weather, and contacts.

Microsoft throws in nifty Sticky Notes, Skype, Translator, and Xbox gaming apps. But macOS includes a superior video editor, a preview utility, and a streaming music service. It also throws in the awesome GarageBand music composition app and a full productivity suite.

Winner: macOS

Third-Party Software Compatibility

Third-Party Software Compatibility

Both platforms have had time to develop rich ecosystems of software and services. Custom business applications are more likely to be supported on Windows, and macOS is prevalent in creative fields. That said, you can find plenty of good general business software for Macs, and Windows actually boasts more options in some creative areas, such as video editing and photo software.

Both operating systems offer app stores that manage installation and updating, but sadly the app developers haven’t given the attention to these desktop stores the way they have to their mobile counterparts. On a related note, I still find it odd that some macOS apps makes you drag a disk image to the Applications folder, and that’s just one of at least three different ways to install apps on a Mac. Windows app installation is more straightforward.

Winner: Tie

Interface Customization

Interface Customization

Both operating systems offer decent leeway for customization, but we are past the days of drastic interface overhauls. That said, both OSes offer choices in desktop backgrounds, screen item sizes, and screen savers. Dark modes are the new rage, and both Mac and Windows offer them. Mac’s version is a bit more systemwide, with some older Windows dialogs still not darkened. The Windows 10 May 2019 Update adds a Custom option, which lets you decide whether you want dark or light mode for system elements, apps, or both.
Both OSes come with excellent, plug-and-play multiple monitor support, though Windows offers a bit more control. With Windows, you can span program windows across the multiple screens, whereas in macOS, each program window can only live on a single display. If you’re truly gung-ho on interface customization, I recommend Linux, which offers a selection of completely different user interface shells.

Winner: Tie

Search

Search

The search box in Windows 10 displays at all times, and typing in it pops up a panel with file, app, and web results. My Mac-loving colleagues swear by Apple’s Spotlight feature, but I’ve never found it satisfactory. Both search features will do math; show you the weather, stock prices, and sports results; or find nearby Thai restaurants without breaking a sweat.

Both OSes also now let you search with your voice, with Cortana on Windows and Siri on macOS (see the AI Helper section below). With the May 2019 Update, Windows follows Apple’s strategy of separating the voice search from typed searches, separating out the Cortana icon from the search bar.

Winner: Tie

Alternate Input: Touch, Pen, and Dictation

Alternate Input: Touch, Pen, and Dictation

Apple finally introduced some touch capability in macOS, but it’s only available on certain Macbook Pros through the Touch Bar. Windows 10 has always had full touch screen support, and it offers a Tablet mode that lets you switch between using the screen and keyboard for inputs (provided, of course, that your laptop is equipped with a touch panel). There’s a good selection of convertible laptop/tablets on the market to take advantage of this. I use my Surface Go exclusively as a tablet.

Pen input is another win for Windows. The support for styli on touch screens is robust, with incredibly good handwriting-to-text conversion. You can use a pen anywhere you enter text.

You can use your voice for text input in any app in both OSes. To do this in macOS, you have to specifically enable it. Once voice dictation is turned on, you can access it by double-tapping the Fn key. In Windows 10, just hit Windows Key-H (for hear) and you’re off and dictating. Both work in any text field.

Winner:Windows 10

Voice AI Helpers: Cortana vs. Siri

Voice AI Helpers: Cortana vs. Siri

Cortana arrived on Windows 10 a good year before Siri made it to the Mac, and is still more capable in a few important ways. Both can open apps and web pages, tell you the weather, change system settings, do math, control smart home devices, set reminders, send emails, and search the web. Both can be invoked by voice. But Siri can’t log out of or shut down the computer, something I find very useful at the end of the day when I’m walking away from my PC. Cortana can now even send requests to Amazon’s Alexa.

Winner: Windows 10

Mobile Device Integration

Mobile Device Integration

Windows has been making great strides in integrating the OS with mobile devices. Apps for iOS and Android let you pick up on one device where you left off on another, even letting you send a web page from your phone to your PC’s browser. Android devices in particular are well served by Windows with the Launcher and Your Phone apps, which let you share documents and web pages and conduct SMS messaging across devices.

Despite these promising initiatives, Apple’s integration between macOS computers and iOS-running mobile devices soundly beats what Windows offers. The macOS Notifications panel lets you send text messages by syncing up to a nearby iPhone, all your photos can be shared across devices in Apple Photos, you can transfer almost anything with AirDrop, and you can even engage in video calling with FaceTime between devices. Apple Watch is yet another piece of the integrated ecosystem that Windows can’t match. For example, you can unlock your Mac when your watch is in proximity, and the same notifications flow to both.

Even more unification between macOS and iOS is coming, with universal apps that you’ll be able to buy on either platform and have it work on both, as well as on iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Winner:macOS

Taskbar vs. Dock

Taskbar vs. Dock

One of the most frustrating things for me about macOS occurs when I click on a running app’s Dock icon, and its window doesn’t appear on the screen. That’s because macOS is more document-based, while Windows is program-based. So when you click on an app’s icon in the Dock, you may just see its menu at the top, but no program window. In Windows, tapping a taskbar icon always brings up the associated program.

The macOS Dock has made strides over the past few years, with its nifty mouse-over magnification and Mojave’s new feature that displays the icons of recently used apps. But the Windows taskbar is more functional. Hover the mouse over a taskbar button and you’ll see a thumbnail miniature of its program window. Taskbar Jump Lists let you see recent files opened in the app or jump to frequently needed actions in that program.

Winner:Windows 10

Desktop and Window Management

Desktop and Window Management

This take could just be due to my greater experience with Windows, but whenever I work on a Mac, I’m frustrated by how program windows are managed and arranged. As mentioned in the Taskbar vs. Dock section, clicking on a Dock icon doesn’t always open the program’s windows.

Microsoft’s OS makes it easier to arrange windows on the screen. Want an app to take up exactly half the screen? Snap it to the left or right edge. How about have it display on a quarter of the screen? Snap it to any of the screen corners. If you run apps side-by-side, the border between them can be resized. If you want to show or switch to the desktop behind any running apps, click to the very far right of the taskbar. The conveniences go on.

Both operating systems let you create multiple virtual desktops. Windows now combines the desktop switcher with the Timeline feature (as shown in the screenshot above). This does clutter the Task View screen, but it can be damned useful if you’re trying to get back to a webpage or document for which you’ve forgotten the location.

And finally, my favorite Windows window-management trick: Hold and shake the mouse key on a window title bar to minimize everything else.

Winner: Windows 10

File Explorer vs. Finder

File Explorer vs. Finder

In recent Windows updates, the File Explorer has improved, with Quick Access being a favorite new feature. This makes it easy to find the last file you saved, no matter what it was or where you saved it. The Finder’s Recents folder does the same thing. Window’s File Explorer contains standard libraries for common file types such as Documents, Pictures, and Music. These are sort of metafolders to which you can add any other relevant folder. macOS doesn’t offer a similar capability.

One macOS feature that Windows lacks is the ability to have multiple tabs in a Finder window. Finder also lets you quickly preview files in the Preview utility. Both display previews of documents on the right side of the Explorer/Finder windows, let you choose which app to open a file with, and let you easily share files with a right click.

Winner:Tie

3D and VR Support

3D and VR Support

Windows includes at least two apps that let you enter the world of 3D and VR. The 3D Viewer app lets you, well, view 3D models in a pair of goggles or on screen, and Windows’ Mixed Reality Viewer app works with VR headsets exclusively, giving you a virtual portal to VR apps. Two of the most popular VR headsets—HTC Vive and Oculus Rift—only work with Windows. And we can’t forget the device that runs Windows 10 called the HoloLens, which is all about augmented reality.

Apple has made some progress toward VR support. You can edit 360-degree video content in Final Cut Pro X with external enclosures for graphics cards that are VR-capable. Apple’s ARKit augmented reality only works in iOS for now.

Winner: Windows 10

Gaming

Gaming

Hardcore gamers don’t even need to look at this section. While there are plenty of excellent games available for macOS, and there’s even a version of Steam for the platform, Macs typically don’t allow the level of internal component customization that’s possible with PC Gaming.

When it comes to game selection, there are many more top-level titles on Steam that are compatible with Windows than macOS. Even PlayStation games are available on Windows through Sony’s PlayStation Now service, and you can stream games to your PC through the Xbox app. With Play Anywhere, games you buy on the Microsoft Store can be loaded on either your PC or your Xbox console, including exclusives like Cuphead, both Forza series, the Halo series, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves.

The Windows 10 Game Bar, summoned with Windows Key-G, lets you record or stream your gaming activities to Microsoft’s Mixer community. Even Ubuntu is getting stronger support for Steam games than Macs, with Steam Proton offering support for more than 2,600 Windows games.

Winner: Windows 10

Security and Stability

Security and Stability

This one is another no-brainer. Windows PCs have fallen prey to far more malware than Macs in the recent past, including ransomware, spyware, botnets, and good old-fashioned viruses. But Microsoft is constantly beefing up its security, pushing Windows Defender updates, and even introducing anti-ransomware measures.

Macs have a much cleaner record, but they’re by no means immune to vulnerabilities. Just look at the recent Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which affect both operating systems. Our security guru, Neil Rubenking, strongly recommends using antivirus software on Macs.

Both operating systems offer built-in VPN support, and all of PCMag’s top VPN service choices are available on both platforms, so that category is a wash.

And then there’s the issue of stability. Macs win on this count, too, mostly because Apple controls the hardware ecosystem (third-party drivers are a major cause of instability on Windows PCs). We’ve even seen blue screens on Microsoft’s own Surface computers. Those looking for the ultimate in stability, though, should check out Linux.

Winner: macOS

Accessibility

Accessibility Both operating systems include a good deal of support for users with disabilities, but Microsoft has consistently made more of a priority of this. Both have screen magnification, text narration, Braille support, sticky and slow key entry, and voice input, but with Windows, a blind person can set up the system by voice. Microsoft has even added the ability to control the computer with your eyes, as shown in the photo above.

Microsoft has American Sign Language support by videophone and a free BeMyEyes app that “connects blind and low vision people with volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call.” At a Microsoft Build conference, one of the company’s developers, who is blind, demonstrated an AR app running on the HoloLens that described people’s emotions to him in real time based on their expressions, using the company’s Seeing AI technology. The company has even published a Seeing AI app for Apple’s iOS.

The May 2019 Update of Windows 10 goes even further, adding accessibility improvements like a new dashboard and more languages for Narrator, and drawing using only the keyboard in Paint.


Winner: Windows 10

Apple macOS or Windows 10?

Apple macOS or Windows 10?

We’ve tried to be fair and objective, and as you can see from the sections above, in many cases the two operating systems are at parity. And you’ll have your own priority weights based on your OS needs. If gaming is everything to you, for example, then Windows is a no-brainer. If you’re a creative type, then you’re likely better off with a Mac. So, without further fanfare, here’s the final score tally:

3
Microsoft Windows 109
Tie5

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