Which Is Best? Mac vs Windows Operating Systems

MacOS vs Windows. Mac vs PC. If you’re in the market for a new computer, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is which operating system (OS) do you prefer? Overall, there are many options to choose from, but two operating systems are generally favored, Windows and Mac.

The Windows OS was created in 1983, and its most current version is Windows 10. The Mac OS was created in 1984, and its most current version is named macOS High Sierra. Since their inception, both operating systems have outcompeted their rivals because they are extremely user-friendly and technologically advanced.

Although it’s easy to favor Windows and Mac over other operating systems, putting them head-to-head is a bit more difficult. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so choosing between them can be very difficult.

Only you can decide for yourself which operating system is best for your needs. Your friends, family and the internet might try to persuade you one way or the other, but you should not let these opinions influence you too much. Both operating systems are top-notch, but one will likely cater to your needs better than the other.

Below, you’ll find information on both operating systems. After you finish this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what operating system is right for you.

User Interface

One of the main differentiators between Windows and Mac operating systems is the user interface. The user interface is comprised of systems that allow a user to communicate with an operating system. For example, a computer’s keyboard and mouse are two components of its user interface.

Windows 10 users generally interact with the system through File Explorer. With this tool, you can quickly browse and open every file you have stored on your computer. Another commonly used feature is called Quick Access, which automatically populates your frequently accessed folders and files, so they are easier to find. Another largely used system is the Windows Control Panel. This tool allows users to change settings and customize their systems.

Instead of using File Explorer, Mac users communicate with their system through Finder. This tool helps users find and organize their files. Overall, there is one main difference between the Windows 10 and Mac search tools—Quick Access. If you want your Mac to show you your frequently accessed folders and recent files, you’ll need to add them to your favorites bar. Mac’s system doesn’t auto-populate in the same way the Windows system offers.

A screenshot of Quick Acess on Windows operating system

Although reading about the two user interfaces is helpful, the best way to decide between the two is to try them out. If you live near a Best Buy, you can simply visit the store to demo the operating systems. For individuals that do not live by a Best Buy, the best plan of action is to call local stores and see which ones will let you demo the systems.

Virtual Assistance

If you have a relatively new smartphone, you’re probably familiar with a voice-activated assistant. Apple’s Siri, the voice-activated assistant, is also present on their computer operating system. On the other hand, Windows comes with Cortana, its own voice-activated assistant.

Cortana’s main purpose is to help with productivity. The assistant can read your emails, search your contact list and help you stay on top of your calendar. Additionally, the more you use Cortana, the more the system learns about you. The assistant stores information about you in Notebook and learns about the things you care about—among other preferences.

If you need Cortana to answer more general questions, it can do that, too. The system simply pulls information from Bing to answer your inquiries and understand your follow-up requests. Overall, Siri is better at answering questions and follow-ups than Cortana. However, only Cortana can understand typed questions and requests. Siri requires that its users speak out loud.

Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, can help you with a variety of tasks, from calling people to providing weather forecasts. In some ways, Siri has a personality, as she tells jokes and many users feel that they grow to know Siri as they user her assistance more for everyday tasks.

Again, the best way to determine what virtual assistant is right for you is to test them both out. If you do not have access to these systems, you can learn more about Cortana here and Siri here.

Total Cost of Ownership

As you consider Windows and Mac operating systems, you’ll find that they are often associated with specific devices. For example, PC computers generally have a Windows OS, and Apple computers generally have a Mac OS.

Historically, PCs have been less expensive than Macs, which leads select users to favor them overall. The important thing to understand, though, is that although upfront cost is very important, selecting a computer on this criterion alone can be a big mistake.

Instead, computer shoppers should compare the total cost of ownership associated with both devices. On a basic level, both types of computers will need power and internet, so the costs are more or less the same. On a more technical level, users should consider the applications they want the computer to possess. For example, if you want to use Microsoft Office, you’ll need to buy and install it on all Apple computers; It will come standard on PC computers.

Another cost you’ll need to consider is technical assistance. Investing in fraud prevention services, data back and online support is extremely important, especially when you buy a new device. Depending on how familiar you are with an operating system and how much technical computer knowledge you have may influence the price you need to pay to keep your computer up and running.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the actual cost of computers. To help make things a little less complicated, according to IBM , they save between $273 – $543 per year using Mac computers compared to PCs. Overall, for the average user, the total cost of ownership for a Mac is often less than a PC.

One Unique Advantage

If you are one of the 85.5 million iPhone users in the United States, Mac’s OS will offer you an additional benefit. Since Apple is responsible for both Macs and iPhones, the two devices are designed to work in perfect harmony. For example, you can use a Mac computer to take calls from your phone and send text messages.

The phone integration benefit is so sought after that Windows 10 is starting to roll out a similar offering. Today, you can actually use Windows 10 to send text messages through an iPhone. However, the device is not currently able to take calls from the iPhone.

Another unique benefit of the Mac OS is that it allows you to connect with your iPhone through Universal Clipboard. With this feature, you can copy text on one device and then paste it in the other.

Your Ideal OS

When buying a new computer, your main comparison will be between the Windows and Mac operating systems. A similar question that you’ll need to answer is what type of computer you’d like—a PC or a Mac. These questions are often discussed at length, and you’ll find many sources and opinions that will lead you to believe that one choice truly is better than the other.

When all’s said and done, the best way to decide between the two systems is to see which one is a better fit for you, though. Each offers unique advantages, so you should choose the option that performs well in the areas you’ll be using the most. For example, if you are interested in saving and editing photos on your computer, then an Apple computer with a Mac OS will be your best bet. Alternatively, if you’re interested in an option that’ll automatically learn about your preferences and optimize its offerings for your behavior, a PC with Windows 10 will be your best bet.

The choice between a Windows and Mac OS is hard to make. Frankly, for some, there is no best alternative. This is why many users don’t form an allegiance to either system. Instead, they simply go with the one that makes the most sense at the time.

At this point, you are at a fork in the road. You need to choose between the two systems, but remember, this choice doesn’t have to last a lifetime. Think about what your needs are now and use the information presented above to choose a system.

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About the author

Photo of Erik Fullmer

Erik Fullmer

Erik was raised in many places but has long since called Utah home. Rooted in mountains, he spends a lot of time with his dogs in the mountains and in the winter he skis… a lot.

Erik is actively earning the necessary certifications and training to become a certified AMGA Ski Guide.

With over a decade of content writing experience, Erik finds passion when writing for the tech and outdoor recreation industries.