Best Mac For Programming, Coding, Software Development – Buyer’s Guide

Apple devices are great in terms of performance when compared to windows based devices. This is because Apple uses high tech and the latest components for its device build. If you are a coder and looking for the best mac for programming then this guide will help you to get in-depth detail of each apple device that is best suited for coding.

The developers are always in search of faster machines that will improve their productivity and save time. Time is money for programmers as they spend a lot of time on development. If you are an app developer or programming of any language like JAVA, JavaScript, Kotlin, and SWIFT – this guide will help you to choose the best mac laptop for you.

You might have a question in your mind that which is best for programming mac or Widows?

Mac devices are great for programmers, the only reason is because of quick compile and builds time. Your work performance will be increased after using a mac. If you are using a Windows device before, you will love mac after using them.

Best Mac For Programming 2020

Many developers tend to use Windows PCs they as typically provide more choices and are as strong as Macs, even without the price tag. Our team uses both Macs and Windows machines, and even our own developers have divided apart between the choice of their preferred system.

There are some key factors that you should know:

  • the faster the processor – speed up the compilation/build time
  • the more RAM – your mac won’t start functioning memory swap (8GB is Minimum Recommended)
  • super speed drive (SSD) – the quicker load the code in ide
  • the bigger screen size – increase your productivity – help you to see much numbers of the line at a time

MacBooks are also great for coding and software development. If you want to develop macOS or iOS app then mac is your only choice. Mac Runs on UNIX based operating system thus more user friendly for developers. You can also do python coding on mac to build any app you want.

In this post, we are simply talking about Apple’s best product as of 2020, comparing each product in its line-up with potential candidates for the seasoned app developer. Also check our detailed buyer guide best mac for programming and for programmers on MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and iMac Pro. Also, check our recommendation list for the best monitor for MacBook Pro, best Mac for video editing.

Product NameImageDetailsScore (10)Price
Apple MacBook Air
Latest Model - 2020
Best For UnderBudget
Best Macbook For Video EditingDisplay Size (Inches): 13.3
Display Technology: Retina display with True Tone
CPU: Tenth-generation Intel Core i3/i5 processor
GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 256/512 Super SSD
Battery: 11 hour
Color: Space Gray/ Silver/  Gold
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C
Speaker: Stereo Speakers
8.5
Apple MacBook Pro 13'
Previous Model

Apple MacBook Pro (15" Retina, Touch Bar, 2.4GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Vega 20 Graphics) - Space GrayDisplay Size (Inches): 15.4
Display Resolution: 2880×1800 
Display Technology: Retina 
CPU: 2.4GHz 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor
GPU: Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory
RAM: 32 GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Battery: 10 hours
8
Apple MacBook Pro -15'
Latest Model - 2020
Are mac good for gamingDisplay Size (Inches): 15.4
Display Resolution: 2880×1800 
Display Technology: Retina 
CPU: 9th‑generation- 6 Core - Intel Core i7/i9 processor
GPU: Radeon Pro 555x Graphics with 4GB of memory
RAM: 16/32 GB
Storage: 256/512 Super SSD
Battery: 10 hours
Color: Space Grey/Silver
9
Apple MacBook Pro -16'
Latest Model - 2020
Best Macbook For Programming 
Are mac good for gamingDisplay Size (Inches): 16.4
Display Technology: LED Backlit Retina Display
CPU: 9th‑generation- 8 Core - Intel Core i7/i9 processor
GPU: Amd Radeon Pro 5500M with GDDR6 memory
RAM: 16/32 GB
Storage: 512GB/1TB Super SSD
Battery: 11 hours
Color: Space Grey/Silver
Ports: 4 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type c
Speaker: 6 Speakers with Advanced Woofers
10
Apple Mac Mini
Best Portable Solution
Best Mac For ProgrammingCPU: Quad-core i3 / i5 8th-generation Intel Core processor
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 128 GB/ 256 GB Ultra Fast SSD
GPU:  Intel UHD Graphics 630
Ports: 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports/ 1 HDMI 2.0 port/ 2 USB 3 ports
    9
    Apple iMac
    Latest Model - 2020
    RECOMMENDED
    Display Size: 21-inch
    Display Resolution: 4096×2304 
    Display Technology: Retina 4K
    CPU: 3.0 GHz 6-Core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor / 3.6 GHz Intel Core i3 processor
    GPU: Radeon Pro 570x Graphics processor / Radeon Pro 555x Graphics processor
    RAM: 8/16/32 GB
    Storage: 1TB SSD
    Extras: Magic Mouse/Keyboard
    9
    Apple iMac Pro
    Latest Model - 2020
    Best iMac For Programming
    Apple iMac Pro (27-inch with Retina 5K Display)Display Size: 27-inch
    Display Resolution: 5120×2880
    Display Technology: Retina 5K
    CPU: 8-core Xeon W processor
    GPU: Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics with 8GB of HBM2 memory
    RAM: 32GB
    Storage: 1TB SSD
    Ports: 4 Thunderbolt USB Type C/Four USB 3/ SDXC Card Slot/10GB Ethernet/3.5 mm Headphone Jack/Stereo speakers/4 Mics
    10

    1- Apple Macbook Pro 13″,15″,16″ – Best For Programming

    Apple MacBook Pro Latest Model - Best Macbook for gamingApple’s best laptop product is Macbook Pro – came in three different sizes 13,15,16 inches. All have retina display technology. The body is not slightly thinner as compared with Macbook Air. In November 2019, the 16 inches edition was launched and 15 inches was obsoleted. The touchbar was available in the older non-touch-bar MacBook Pro only for the 15 inches. The MacBook Pro base model has been upgraded with some improved specifications along with the touch bar.

    The touch bar is typically like a marmalade, people love it or either dislike it. You probably use this as a convenient way to gain access to controls with the apps you want to develop, and we hope it will be useful to you.

    MacBook Pro can be better represented by its variety of versions – there are 4 super speed disk capacity choices (128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB) The RAM choice range from 8 to 32 GB on-board and 6 and 8 Intel Core processors.

    The 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor from the 9th generation can deliver up to 5.0GHz for Turbo Boost to give your work more computer power. You will play games on your machine without any questions together with 4 GB of Ram. The game environment would be fantastic in this entry as Genius Retina and Truetone technologies come together.

    One of Apple’s new edition for Macbook, with dazzling read/write capacity of 1 TB SSD. It’s not the cheapest MacBook so Why do we treat it as the greatest apple gaming computer? The explanation for that is that it has the highest market benefit. The other MacBook versions are not bad, but you won’t get such great storage capacity.

    The 13-in MacBook Pro is also a decent choice, still, you can get 16 GB of RAM and it offers your money a lot more strength than a marginally cheaper MacBook Air.

    2- Apple Macbook Air 13″ – Best For Coding

    Best Mac For CodingMacBook Air is Apple ‘s budget laptop, especially when you compare it with MacBook Pro. Yet after Apple has updated its hardware and its interior with a couple of long-awaited apps, it may not sound so horrendous to use MacBook Air for coding. If you want mac for web development then MacBook Air is a fine choice for you.

    The MacBook Air has sold steadily for over 12 years, first published at the beginning of 2008. It is one of the most popular Apple’s laptops, and with good cause. Apple has certainly been able to pack a lot of specifications and functionalities on a device that weighs just 3 pounds.

    In October 2018, Apple refreshed the MacBook AIR with some refurbishment and it’s much slimmer and lighter now, which will make it more attractive if you cart it. In July 2019 Apple updated the MacBook Air, but the update only added a true tone to the display instead of upgrading the details specification.

    In effect, the 2018/2019 MacBook Air is now very impressive, making it an appealing development and coding laptop. Perhaps the graphics card marginally lets you down-however if a better GPU is required now or in the future, you can still add an eGPU. We would suggest it as an alternative if you were going to get a MacBook Air for casual software development. Get the Mac with 16 GB RAM and have at least 256 GB SSD.

    Within the slim-light case, the 13.3″ Retina display is next level. It is not as strong as the MacBook Pro but it is also really simple, with 2560 x 1600 and outstanding color that is critical for ios development. The Processor powering it houses an intel core i5 processor that is capable of turbo boosting up to 3.6GHz and a 4 MB L3 cache. The standard frequency for the CPU is 1.6 GHz.

    It may not be the humph if you wanted it with a big programming project. You may anticipate the MacBook Pro above is good to boost compliance times. The battery life-12 hour longer than every other Mac, is one of the unique advantages of MacBook Air.

    3- Apple iMac 21.7″ – Best For Programming 

    Apple iMac (27-inch Retina 5K display, 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB) (Latest Model)When application creation is an integral part of your everyday life, whether you want a bigger computer to easily function from your office than we will suggest an iMac of 21.5 inches with Retina monitor. It has a strong CPU, retinal display screen, and a number of built-in ports to connect any other outlets you may require.

    iMac Pro is one of the best in terms of performance by apple – combined with high-end process and graphics card. This product is best suited for video producers and content creators. It came with a 5K retina display along with high tech memory and some extra storage. You won’t regret after buying it as it can run every video editing smoothly and quickly.

    For you, iMac is a good choice. With its excellent build quality, high-performance display, the base model provides more benefits to you. The 4 GB Radeon Pro 570 GPU will give you the best game development experience.

    This new iMac has the latest processors, faster memory, and superb graphics. You get a screen with a great Retina screen. 500 nits of brightness and 1 billion color eye-popping view. The builtin processor of the 8th/9th generation provides turbo boost up to speeds of 4.6 – 5.0 GHz.

    The iMac may bring a further boost to your buck as it doesn’t seem to entice you even before you start to add additional features, including a Solid-state drive and thus more RAM.

    Display quality may also important for you, particularly if you plan on doing programming and software development along with watching videos, displaying images, or recording and uploading photographs via your Apple computer. When that makes it sound like you, then this is yet another excuse for not wanting a mac without retina display – older iMac Models 2012 etc. All the other Latest Macs with a screen having Retina display can show a significant increase in visual quality. You will love using them and your visual will appreciate you.

    4- Apple iMac Pro 27″ – Best For Software Development

    Apple iMac Pro Best iMac for ProfessionalsA 4-core iMac is striking enough. Nevertheless, an iMac with 8, 10, 14, or 18 cores is a whole different thing. Enable Turbo Boost to up to 4.5GHz, with iMac Pro providing the strength and versatility to combine multi-core computing with the output of a single thread. The processor processes even more data even more easily with vector instructions and an integrated cache architecture from AVX-512. What ensures that the next five-smart device can be made, modified up to 8 K footage, picture manipulated or audio effects generated real-time — all with lightning speed.

    Apple has only produced a single device for specialized graphics and processors. iMac Pro is the strongest device by apple, as it has a high-quality storage space with outstanding memory and a 5 k Retina monitor. This device is good for game developers and software development. In short, your creative workflow is powerful and speedy to work properly.

    Programming or Coding experience will be great along with GUI development. If you are coding related to highly extensive graphics work this mac will be a good choice for you.

    5- Mac Mini – Best Portable Solution – Cheap Solution

    The Mac mini is Apple ‘s standard device variant. It’s never been really big or bright, but for stuff like Web surfing, movie viewing, and small workloads still, it was fine. Nevertheless, since in the eighth generation, Intel launched quadcore and semi-core CPUs, it has become its own superpower that has no bulky cooling solutions. The latest mac mini is known as an inexpensive Apple Machine, but at least at this cost, it works well and best for ios and app development.

    With a 6-core configuration along 3.0 GHz base clock, the Intel Core i5 CPU has turbo-boost of up to 4.1 GHz. It works really well and is much faster than anticipated in programming and coding. There is also an Intel UHD 630 integrated video card that allows you to power up GPU. You have 8 GB of DDR4 memory, so the Mac Mini will quickly be modified in order for you to add further to the chart if you need more then 8 GB of RAM. This is Apple ‘s budget machine, so you can use it easily for web software development.

    For Mac Mini, the compact machined body provides an SSD of 256 GB. The job result is great as long as customers start complimenting Apple’s SSDs. When you have a small budget, but you need the right Mac to write code, then the Mac Mini is a decent choice at the end of the day. An external monitor can be easily connected to it. It’s pretty easy.

    Best Mac For Coding – Buyer’s Guide

    Each apple device varies from others in terms of performance, price, screen size, portability, RAM, CPU, storage space, battery life, ports, and peripherals. We are going to look at everyone in detail.Best Mac For Programming and Coding

    CPU

    If you want to choose among different generations of Macs, the Mac processor is important to take into account. Whilst you may not have to get the fastest coding machine, you would like to make sure you get the best machine for your money, especially considering an older Mac, nearly new or reconditioned. Don’t presume all Apple-sold Macs have the same hardware model within them. Some macs were updated in 2019, while some were revised in 2018, and some are not updated since 2017 (for example iMac). An older generation processor may have an impressive GHz look, but a more recent GHz processor can actually be quicker.

    The latter aspect is the sort of processor to take into account. You require an 8-core, 6-core, quad-core, Core i7/ i9, or is there enough of a dual-core, i5, or even an i3 as in the 2018 Mac mini. Or you Looking for Xeon workstation as in the iMac Pro or Mac Pro.

    We can automatically monitor what is later on-it’s fair to assume you don’t need something as strong for programming as iMac Pro or Mac Pro. It’s less clear to pick among a dual-core, a quad-core, or a 6-core processor (or if you want to switch to an i7 chip or even an i9 chip). You ‘re definitely going to be ONE with a dual-core i5 coding system or even the i3 in MacBook Air entry stage, although it won’t hurt to have a more efficient Mac if you have resources to spare.

    GPU

    GPU is not necessary if you are looking for the best MacBook for programming. Apple MacBooks, Air, arent come along with dedicated graphics card but there perform well for coding and software development. Unless you require highly extensive graphic related work, MacBook, Mac mini are good options for you.

    RAM

    Memory is critical when it comes to programming. Xcode requires a lot of resources so you would be failing quickly if you use some other software, like Adobe Photoshop, Premier, Final Cut Pro if you do have insufficient RAM.

    Old models of mac shipped with 4GB of ram which is considered to be sufficient especially when coding in xCode as it won’t be supported now. For the Latest model, 8GB is recommended and necessary to perform any development related task successfully. If you ask if you really can modify the RAM afterward on – or perhaps append more RAM to a second-hand or refurbished Mac – the answer is apparently no. No Macs have user-upgradeable memory, except for the 27 in iMac. RAM can be updated within iMac, iMac, and iMac Pro, by just a professional Apple-registered Professionals.

    Macs are known to be difficult to upgrade. In certain situations, it may be achieved, but it is generally never free, typically highly dangerous, and your guarantee would be canceled.

    Screen

    A large screen is among the most productive stuff for a coder. A browser, a text publisher, and the Xcode IDE ( Integrated development environment) will probably be available to you as a developer at once. You’ll need a large screen, or things get awkward (more when you use Unity3d, for example, to create games). With the largest display on any Mac, the 27 in iMac is one of the best 5K monitor displays you can get. Actually it’s easier to select a 27-inch iMac if you choose a 5K monitor than a single 5K screen.

    The question here is does developer require 27-inch mac for coding? It’s not accurate. Nothing can stop you from plugging one (or more two) external monitors into any Mac if you want to use a large screen. If you’re searching for a compact Laptop, a different computer is a smart option. In this way, you can see wherever and when creativity arrives, and gain while you’re at your desk from a larger computer.

    When picking the best Macbook for coding, Retina displays are a big improvement when it comes to the panel size on a desktop. A display with Retina is not only beautiful, but it is also able to view scaled resolutions-so that you can scale up the resolution and see much more in Xcode or other ides. There is currently a retinal display available for all Mac laptops, including the MacBook Air. Old Macbooks and air don’t have Retina Display.

    Storage

    You will not have to store too much for your code as your code ought not to fill up any space – if your code does – check your code. We strongly suggest against such a Mac with a hard drive, such that iMac and Mac mini entry-level and also some older secondary models are not good options.

    If your Mac does have a hard disk, you will notice that code compilation/build takes a long time. Thus, go for an SSD Mac-you can still get an external storage unit if you really are afraid you have not enough capacity. When you are willing to handle it, we will encourage you to not to consider every Mac that has 128 GB of SSD and to go for 256 GB or 512 GB of SuperSpeed Drive (SSDs).

    It came as a complete surprise when Apple had upgraded Mac mini in 2018 because the Mac Mini would be the first efficient system. One advantage in terms of its capacity is the 2 TB SSD, not just for the device but also for the developers – you will like it.

    Battery Life

    If you’re trying to buy a Mac laptop for software development, battery capacity is one to take into account. Programmers criticize that Xcode and other programmers software eats a lot of battery and therefore expect to use the charger a lot. The MacBook Air offers 12 hours, compared with the highest possible battery life for 13 in MacBook Pro and 11 hours for 16 inches MacBook Pro.

    Our suggestion is also don’t buy the older MacBook Air 2012-2017 without a retina display technology (it was stopped by Apple) – in this case, it is worth losing two hours of battery life to the best mac display on a Pro.

    Ports

    The ports offered by apple can be another consideration that matters or can not matter to you. If you are app developer then you need to debug your app on real device so you have to connect it via a wire. Thus you have to consider the number of ports first. Mac laptops coding are well-known because of their ports lack. Apple has sacrificed on ports to keep them laptop size small and thin so that the now new models of MacBook have just 2 USB C Type ports that are used for every connectivity – even for charging.

    Final Verdict

    So, that was all about the buyer’s guide related to the best mac for programming. You must consider all aspects before making the order especially the RAM and CPU. For space, you can easily extend your storage capacity with the help of external storage devices. GPU is something that doesn’t matter at all in ios development. Check out our these recommendations: apple gaming computer, best gaming monitor

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    ABOUT EDITOR

    Alexander is a 25 years old blogger from Planet Earth. He is writing mutiple tech blogs since 3 years. He is also a professional iOS Engineer and currently doing Masters in Information Security from NUST.

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