Windows vs. Mac: 8 Key Differences and Pros and Cons for Each

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Windows vs. Mac: 8 Key Differences and Pros and Cons for Each

Night or morning? Sunrise or sunsets? Windows or Mac? Classic “this or that” questions like these have sparked debates and arguments for years. While choosing between Mac and Windows largely comes down to personal preference, there’s no denying that each operating system (OS) has pros and cons.

If you own an iPhone, purchasing a Mac as your next computer offers better integration. If you and your family have an Android phone with a Windows OS, buying a Windows machine might make more sense. 

Which one you choose may depend on what you value most. For example, do you want the best gaming rig, or do you need to save some money? Points like these can be the defining factor when deciding which to buy.

So, let’s look at the key differences between Windows and Mac to illuminate their differences and help you make a more educated decision.

Windows vs. Mac: Side-by-Side Comparison

PriceLower upfront, less resale valueHigher upfront, more resale value
Who Makes It?AppleDell, HP, Samsung, Acer, and more
CompatibilityEasily integrates with Apple products, but can use PC filesIntegrates with other Windows products, but not compatible with Mac products
Most Popular AppsFinal Cut Pro, iMovie, FaceTime, iTunes, Time MachineMS Office, Internet Explorer, Media Center
Internet BrowsersChrome, Firefox, Safari, OperaFirefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera
MaintenanceApple Store and AppleCare, which can be a paid extended warrantyAlmost anyone with the know-how
CustomizationLimitedAlmost endless
Where to Buy AppsApp StoreMicrosoft or Windows Store
Interfaces withKeyboard, trackpad, mouse, etc.Keyboard, trackpad, mouse, etc.
Best Value
HP Pavilion Plus 14 inch Laptop PC
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Features Performance Mode for extra power
  • 14-inch 2.8K OLED display 
  • 8 GB RAM memory
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Great Performance
Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-inch Silver, Mid 2022
  • Uses Apple's new and improved Magic keyboard
  • 13.3-inch Retina Display
  • 8-core M2 CPU
  • FaceTime enable HD camera and excellent, studio level microphone.
  • 10-core GPU for amazing graphics
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Please note: As of July 19, 2023, the HP Pavilion Plus 14 inch Laptop PC is out of stock on Amazon. Check back for availability.

Windows vs. Mac: What’s the Difference?

While the debate between Windows and Mac is seated in deeply rooted biases, many people are unsure how each differs or are similar. So, let’s break down their key differences in detail.

Initial Setup

When looking at how easy or involved the out-of-the-box initial setup is, it’s important to note that it’ll be easier to set up a new computer using the same OS you’ve been operating in the past. Both are relatively easy to set up when compared to the other but they work differently. When it comes to easy setup, it largely comes down to which one you’re more comfortable with. 

All that being said, both Windows and Mac machines have a relatively easy setup process. You don’t have to have an Apple or Microsoft account, but signing up with one makes it easier to sync apps and software. In addition, both operating systems will automatically recognize and install drivers for mice and keyboards. 

You can set up Windows using your voice and choose between business or personal use, while macOS lets you install through the App Store or System Preferences. 

Operating System

macOS, once called iOS, is generally considered the more stable OS than Windows. One reason may be that Macs are shipped with macOS apps, but PCs include Windows and third-party apps. Unfortunately, most users don’t use much of the included software on Windows machines, and some apps may contain malware. 

Another reason Macs are considered more stable when compared to Windows is the fact that most hackers target PCs. Their concentrated target on Windows machines may be because they tend to be more popular. However, the number of macOS users has increased in recent years. 

It’s notable that Windows machines and Macs can run Linux, while PCs cannot run macOS, Macs can run Windows. 

Beautiful Display
Apple MacBook Air 13.3" with Retina Display, M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 7-Core GPU, 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD, Space Gray, Late 2020
  • MacBook Air 13.3" with Retina Display
  • 30W USB Type-C Power Adapter, USB Type-C Charge Cable (2m)
  • Apple 1 Year Limited Warranty with 90 Day Technical Support
  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
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02/02/2024 04:28 pm GMT

User Interface

When it comes to the user interface (UI), Macs and Windows are very different. Whether one is easier to use over the other is a personal preference. 

Macs have a Launchpad, which houses the apps and makes it easier to launch the ones you use most often. In addition, the dock that usually sits at the bottom of the screen can be hidden, holds the icons of your favorite apps, and is easily customizable. In addition, you can create as many desktops as you need, which helps reduce clutter. 

Windows includes an interface that has live tiles, which are boxes that appear on the screen. These tiles get updated when the apps do and can be moved around as needed. 

Mac Mini M2 vs iMac
macOS tends to have a much simpler user interface that some users find easier to navigate, but many Windows users prefer the no-frills setup of their computer.


While Windows machines typically are seen as not as secure as Macs, that’s mainly because most malware was focused on Windows 20 to 30 years ago. In addition, because more people were using Windows machines, more people were also opening malware-ridden files, primarily contained in emails and accessed through nefarious links. Today, Microsoft takes excellent care to improve Windows security, including taking anti-malware and hacking measures. 

While Macs appear to be safer, they’re not immune to hacking and malware attempts. Recently, we’ve become aware of Meltdown and Spectre, hardware vulnerabilities in modern software where most everybody has been affected. I’s essential to run antivirus software on Macs and Windows machines. 


You can get some good hardware options, which typically have eye-pleasing designs. Some Macs are compatible with 5K screens. However, Apple hardware tends to be expensive, especially compared to Windows machines. 

There is a wide range of Windows PCs with an array of peripherals. However, Windows machines have much more availability and leeway when configuring CPUs and graphics cards, as well as greater flexibility for extras and upgrades. 

Best Overall
Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6
  • 14-inch Full HD, IPS Widescreen
  • Uncompromised performance, long battery life
  • 16GB memory and 512GB NVMe SSD capacity
  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor with Zen 3 Core
  • Streaming multiprocessors support DirectX 12 Ultimate

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02/01/2024 04:09 pm GMT

Apps and Software

When it comes to apps and software, some can be run immediately on both operating systems. While a new Mac arrives without third-party apps, Windows PCs have a few already installed. 

Both Windows and Mac can run Microsoft Office, Abode Suite, and OpenOffice. However, iWork, Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office, is only available on macOS. Additionally, both have various utilities, including email clients, calendars, photo and video editors, voice recorders, and web browsers. 


In general, Macs are easier on the wallet and stress factor when it comes to maintenance. Because Mac machines come with hardware and software, Apple only intends this software for Mac users. Also, they are stable and require less maintenance overall. However, it can be expensive if they do need servicing. New Macs include AppleCare for a limited time, but if you want to keep that service, you’ll have to pay a fee.

Windows need more routine maintenance. However, almost any repair shop can fix your machine in-house. 

Fantastic Response Times
Dell UltraSharp U3223QE
  • You can tilt, swivel, pivot, and adjust the height of the monitor
  • Brightness: 400 nits
  • 75 Hz refresh rate
  • 31.5-inch screen (16:9 widescreen resolution)
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02/01/2024 04:25 pm GMT

Best Uses

While both Mac and Windows machines are robust, how you use your computer may affect which one is best for you. 

While both operating systems offer great business software options, Macs focus on the creative side with the included iMovie and Garage Band. Macs are also the choice for computer programmers.  

Windows is more focused on general business software. However, Windows machines have powerful gaming abilities, and some of the most popular games are released for Windows only. 

Windows vs. Mac: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Macs typically cost more than Windows machines. 
  • Windows machines are usually at greater risk for malware attacks. 
  • Windows machines are easier to repair should something go wrong. 
  • Macs can run Windows, but Windows machines cannot run macOS. 
  • Windows is the more popular OS, and people use them worldwide. 
Ultra Fast
Apple MacBook Pro 13.3" with Retina Display, M2 Chip with 8-Core CPU and 10-Core GPU, 24GB Memory, 2TB SSD, Space Gray, Mid 2022
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13.3" with Retina Display
  • 67W USB-C Power Adapter - USB-C Charge Cable (2m)
  • Apple 1 Year Limited Warranty with 90 Day Free Technical Support
  • M2 chip makes the 13.3" MacBook Pro more capable than ever
  • Featuring a brilliant Retina display, a FaceTime HD camera, and studio-quality mics
  • Can rip through workflows with a more powerful 8-core CPU
  • Create stunning graphics with a lightning-fast 10-core GPU
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Great for Gaming
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 5 Intel Core i9-12900H, 14C, 16.0" WQUXGA (3840x2400) IPS 600nits, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD, NVIDIA RTX A5500, Backlit KYB, Fingerprint Reader, Windows Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core i9-12900H, 14C (6P + 8E) / 20T, P-core 2.5 / 5GHz, E-core 1.8 / 3.8GHz, 24MB
  • Memory: 2x 32GB SO-DIMM DDR5-4800 non-ECC; Storage: 2TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Performance NVMe Opal2
  • Display: 16.0" WQUXGA (3840x2400) IPS 600nits Anti-reflective, Anti-smudge, 16:10, 100% Adobe RGB, Low Blue Light, Dolby Vision, HDR 400, DC Dimming; Graphics: NVIDIA RTX A5500 16GB GDDR6 ECC
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 359.5 x 253.8 x 18.2 mm (14.15 x 9.99 x 0.72 inches) Weight:1.86 kg (4.1 lbs)
  • WLAN + Bluetooth Intel AX210 11ax, 2x2 + BT5.2
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02/02/2024 04:28 pm GMT

Windows vs. Mac: Which One is Better for You?

You should choose Windows if you…

  • Want more flexibility: Windows OS machines offer many uses and are more easily configurable for personalization. 
  • Are a gamer: Windows can require a lot of speed and memory to play some of the best games today. As a result, Windows gaming rigs are total powerhouses to meet this demand. 
  • Want a lower up-front cost: Even the most expensive Windows machines tend to cost less than most Macs. 

You should choose Mac if you…

  • Prioritize a better overall experience: Macs boast higher video and sound experience and a better overall typing experience. 
  • Can afford the price tag and want your machine to last longer 
  • Are tired of your Windows machine crashing: Macs tend to be more stable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PC or Mac better for working from home?

It’s important to note, though, that PC just refers to “personal computer,” which a Mac technically is as well. So, the question is whether a Windows or Mac computer is best for you, which depends on what work you do. Both operating systems are good for things like multitasking, Zoom meetings, and other work from home necessities.

Should I have a firewall on my Mac?

A firewall can protect your Mac from connecting with others while it’s online. However, a Mac can still allow access through the firewall for some apps.

Does Mac have built in antivirus?

Yes. A Mac has state-of-the-art antivirus software built into it.


Are Macs safer than Windows?

While nothing connected to the internet is 100% safe, Macs tend to be more secure than PCs.


Is it difficult to switch from Windows to Mac?

No. Most machines use the same file types, so you shouldn’t have much trouble transferring from a PC to a Mac. 


What lasts longer, Mac or Windows?

This depends on your usage and if you have a desktop or laptop. Typically, a Mac will last longer than machines running Windows.


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