The Windows versus macOS debate is one of the most intensely discussed topics in the personal computing community that has preceded even the infamous Android versus iOS discourse among technology reviewers and loyal consumers.
Note that both have remained the two most dominant desktop operating systems in the PC market. Microsoft Windows has maintained its lead for several years while macOS from Apple has expanded further its market share during the most recent years.
This article compares which one between Windows and macOS is better in terms of the following: user interface and user experience, product availability and accessibility, general system performance, features, security and privacy, and desktop gaming.
The Windows versus macOS Comparison: How Do These Two Compare Against One Another? Which Desktop Operating System is Better?
1. User Interface and User Experience
Both Windows and macOS are based on a graphical operating system approach to user interface in which users can interact with the system through graphical icons and other graphical elements. A graphical interface generally provides a good user experience.
However, different operating systems have different ways of implementing a graphical interface. Regarding the two desktop operating systems mentioned above, deciding which one is better all boils down to established preference and familiarity.
Both are considerably straightforward. Navigation is generally intuitive. But a seasoned user of Windows would prefer its user interface over macOS because of overall familiarity. Remember that this OS from Microsoft is most dominant across households and workplaces.
A user familiar with iOS or iPadOS would not have a hard time adapting to the user interface of macOS because the overall logic behind the design of the graphical interfaces of these operating systems is generally the same. They are more simplistic.
There is no clear winner between the two because preference is inherently subjective. However, it is important to note that macOS, iOS, and iPadOS provide a more coherent and streamlined overall user experience. The look and feel of these three are generally similar.
2. Product Availability and Accessibility
Windows outcompetes macOS when it comes to the availability and ease of access to Windows desktop and laptop computers. There is a large variety of options to choose from at different hardware configurations, intended use cases, and price points.
The variety of Windows-based devices comes from the fact that Microsoft licenses manufacturers to design, produce, distribute, and run its desktop operating system. Some notable brands include Asus, Lenovo, Huawei, Toshiba, and Dell, among others.
Consumers have more options if they choose a Windows-based operating system. Their option can be determined based on their budget or their intended use case. There are computers built for entry-level users and gamers and enthusiast-level users.
Note that user can also build and customize or upgrade his or her own computer system if he or she intends to use a Windows operating system. Hardware components, accessories, and other peripherals are readily available in the market.
On the other hand, a limitation in product variants is a notable disadvantage of macOS. Apple exclusively designs and manufactures devices for this operating system. Furthermore, although there are Mac desktops and laptops, these devices are relatively more expensive.
Mac devices are not readily configurable. Users cannot build and customize their Mac device from scratch. There is little to no option for upgradability. Windows definitely outclasses macOS when it comes to product variations, as well as the degree of freedom.
3. General System Performance
The system performance of a computer can be determined not only by its hardware components but also by the efficiency of its operating system, especially the degree of optimization between this operating system and the overall hardware.
A key aspect of the Windows versus macOS debate is performance. Note that both are generally similar. They are capable and efficient. However, as mentioned, optimization is a critical factor. A number of Windows-based computers do not perform well.
Some of these computers will be outrun by Mac devices, especially the entry-level ones or those that are manufactured by unpopular brands. The quality of a Windows-based device depends on the manufacturers and their respective hardware choices.
However, when it comes to overall reliability, Mac computers can either outcompete most Windows devices. Note that they can also outcompete or deliver the same performance level as high-end and enthusiast-level configurations of Windows computers.
The introduction of M series chips on Mac devices has even improved the overall performance and capabilities of macOS. Note that Apple has earned a reputation for designing systems with strong optimization between hardware and software.
4. Features and Other Functionalities
There is no clear winner between Windows and macOS when it comes to features and functionalities. Both desktop operating systems can deliver the standard use cases of a personal computer. But there are still some notable differences.
One advantage of macOS is that it has a straightforward user interface and a streamlined approach to file management. Installing and running software or application are similar in iOS and iPadOS. The same is true when it comes to deleting them.
In comparison, the file management system of Windows can be confusing. Installing a software will create a folder containing numerous files and sub-folders. A software folder essentially contains files or another folder buried within a folder.
Users of iOS and iPadOS devices or iPhones and iPads, as well as other Apple devices such as the Apple Watch and Apple TV, can readily take advantage of seamless cross-device integration. The overall workflow logic is also similar across different Apple platforms.
Multitasking is another strength of macOS, especially when compared with Windows. Windows also has a solid feature for running multiple applications and switching between different tasks. But Mac devices have dedicated software and hardware features for doing these.
The features and functionalities of Windows are also commendable. But when it comes to the extras, as well as additional value to the overall user experience, macOS is a clear winner. Note that this operating system also comes with free powerful apps.
5. A Note on Security and Privacy
One of the arguments within the Windows versus macOS debate is that the latter is more secure than the former due to the absence of malware and other security and privacy vulnerabilities. To a certain extent, there is some truth to this claim.
Mac devices are less susceptible to malware and other security issues. However, this only stems from the fact that there are more individuals and groups that are exploiting vulnerabilities in Windows because it has a larger market share and more users.
Remember that Windows-based desktop and laptop computers are more common in households and workplaces. What this means is that macOS remains vulnerable to these individuals and groups. Numerous incidents have demonstrated this fact.
The security of a particular operating system will still depend on two factors: the efforts exerted by users to keep their devices safe, as well as the support continuously provided by developers to keep their operating systems and other software secured.
Both Windows and macOS regularly roll out security updates and system upgrades. The same is true for third-party developers and their apps. There are also different anti-malware programs available to both desktop operating systems.
6. Desktop or Computer Gaming
When it comes to gaming on a personal computer, there is a clear winner between the Windows versus macOS debacle. Note that Mac devices are known for their performances. The M-series chips have made these devices even more powerful.
However, Windows remains the ideal operating system when it comes to PC gaming. There are several reasons for such. The first is that there are dedicated Windows-based devices and hardware components built for intense or high-end gaming.
The configurability of a Windows-based desktop computer also makes it more appealing to gamers who are more inclined to assemble their own machines for high-performance and even competitive gaming. Remember that upgradability is not available on Mac devices.
It is also important to highlight the fact that there are even gaming laptops available in the market. Several of these laptops have mid-range price points while others can compete toe-to-toe with desktop computer configurations.
Furthermore, another factor is that there are more game titles available for the Windows operating system. Some popular titles are also available for macOS. However, when it comes to varieties, the desktop OS from Microsoft has more options to choose from.
The aforementioned factors are the reason why Windows is better than macOS when it comes to gaming. There is a synergy among the upgradability of Windows-based devices, the availability of hardware components, the number of game titles, and gamer preference.