Developers must have a laptop which has the latest technology. As a developer, you need to a lot of coding. For example, if you are a web designer who works on HTML, CSS, Python, etc., or if you are a software developer whose work is to make mobile apps using C++, Java you obviously need a laptop which has good programming quality.
If you are a programmer, you need a laptop which not only has good speed and storage, but also has a good keyboard for typing. It is very important that the laptop which you are using for programming and coding, should have the best processors. It should have the best version of SSD. There might arise a lot of issues while you are coding, so its very important that you have a laptop which saves your time as well.
Apart from the above requirements, your laptop should have a good keyboard and a comfortable display as well. The display matters a lot as when you are working there should not be much strain on your eyes.
Going ahead, whether you are an immediate programmer or a programming student, or even if you are the best coder, we will help you to find out the best MacBook for coding.
If you are thinking to purchase a MacBook, there are various factors which have to be thought upon. Some Mac laptops can be good for the purpose of developing an app than the other Macs. Some Macs can be very less expensive and offer a lot of facilities. While other Macs can provide many facilities at a just little extra cost.
The following questions can arise in your mind while purchasing a MacBook:
- Will this MacBook have a good environment related to coding?
- Does this MacBook come with future proof?
- Will this MacBook come in my budget?
The other requirements which have to be considered are screen, portability, CPU, RAM, battery life, storage, ports and peripherals. Let us discuss in detail about these requirements.
A coder will always need a big screen. If you are working as a software developer, you always will need to work on several programs and more than one window has to be opened at the same time, for example, a text editor, a web browser and an Xcode IDE (Integrated Development Environment). These are only a few of the programs. There will be a lot of benefits if you are using a large screen. If you are using a small screen for game development for example, it will be uncomfortable. You should also choose a MacBook which have Retina display. This will avoid any kind of strain on your eyes.
You will always want the fastest processor for the task of programming if you are paying a lot of money. It is not necessary that all the Macs which are designed by Apple will have same generation of processors in them. Some of the Macs have been updated in 2020, while some were updated in 2019, and there are some which are still not updated since 2017.
Now the question comes in mind that what type of processor you need to depend on. You might need 10-core, 8-core, 6-core, quad-core, Core-i7 or Core-i9. Or you can think about Xeon workstation which is provided by Mac Pro or iMac pro.
Coding should take less space. In case your Mac has a hard drive, Xcode builds will take a long time. Till July 2020, the Macs designed by Apple had hard drives, but this changed as new iMacs were introduced in August 2020. If you can afford Macs with 256GB or 512GB, you should buy that. Apple has increased the storage capacity in Macs from 128GB to 256GB and 512GB model’s capacity has increased to 1TB which has further option to be increased to 8TB.
- Battery life
When you are buying a Mac laptop for programming, battery life is very important to be considered. If you want to have a maximum battery life, then you can choose to buy MacBook Air as it offers 12 hours compared to 13in MacBook Pro which gives only 10 hours of battery life.
Best Mac laptop for programming
Before you purchase a Mac laptop, it is very important to consider the pros and cons of each type of Mac laptop. If you have to choose between MacBook Air and MacBook Pro or a Mac mini or an iMac, this article will be of great help to you.
- MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro is available in two sizes – 13in and 16in. Both of the sizes have a Retina display. The 16in model replaced the 15in model. It was launched in November 2019. Before July 2019, the 15in model used to have the touch bar feature and there was no touch bar in the older MacBook Pro. But since July 2019, all the MacBook Pro models have been updated with the touch bar feature. This touch bar feature is loved by some users while others hate it.
But if you are developing apps, this feature can be utilized very well as it helps you to access the controls. Hopefully, this will be a bonus point. If you keep open more than one window at a time, the 16in model will be more beneficial. One of the main advantages of the 13in MacBook Pro is that it has been updated to 16GB RAM as standard which is again a bonus point for the software developers to purchase it. With the advancement of MacBook Pro, you also have the 16GB RAM as a build-to-order option.
- MacBook Air
MacBook Air was first updated by Apple in October 2018. After that it was again updated in March 2020. This time 10th generation processors were added to MacBook Air. In addition to this, the price also became less. It was available at 999 pounds now. The main advantage was that it had no old processors and the Retina display feature was added to it. And now it also could be configured with 16GB RAM.
Macbook Air has become more demanding as it became to be considered more good for coding purposes. Sometimes the graphics card can be a problem. But if you require a faster GPU, you can attach an eGPU. For casual app development, MacBook Air can be a good option but for extensive coding, MacBook Pro is the best.
One more benefit of MacBook Air is that it has a battery life of 12 hours which is the highest in any Mac.
Macbook has been discontinued by Apple.
It was not helpful so much for coding purposes. In addition it had a slow speed in order to avoid overheating.
iMac is also available in two sizes like MacBook Pro. One is the 21.5in model and the other is the 27in model. They both come with high-res Retina displays. The 27in iMac models were updated in August 2020. New processors were added to the 27in iMac models. Now these models come with options of 6- and 8-core 10th generation processors. The 21in iMac models still have 8th generation processors whereas the entry level 21in iMac model comes with 7th generation processors.
We do not recommend the 21in iMac as it has not been updated since one and a half years. The cost of the 27in model starts from $1799 / £1799 . It can be very expensive according to your budget. But you get a lot of advantages for spending a lot for the iMac. They have greater value than Mac laptops.
If you are considering to get the 21.5in model, there is always an option to plug in an extra screen in case of need. We always advise you to update the RAM of this model to 16GB. You can get the 21.5GB model for £1249 / $1299.
Prices range from £1099 / $1099 / AU$1699
- Mac mini
Mac mini was not updated for a number of years. It was updated in October 2018. In March 2020, Apple doubled its standard storage and now it comes with an attractive package. It can be still considered as a good option for the developers though it’s not so cheap but the cheapest among Mac. There might be a need to consider the cost of keyboard, monitor or mouse.
Mac mini can be purchased at less price than the iMac. It is available at just £1099 with 3GHz 6- core i5, 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM. If you spend 180 pounds extra you can update to 16GB RAM. You might not like the graphics so much. But there is always an option to plug in an eGPU.