7 Best MacBooks for Programming & Coding (2022)

Have you ever noticed that almost every programmer uses a MacBook nowadays? If you are a programmer or developer, you cannot deny that Apple macs offer the best development environment. In Apple Macs, you do not need to load many things manually.

The macOS operating system is built on Unix, which powers many servers and file systems. Unix offers many essential tools used in development. macOS has been certified as Unix by Open Standard Groups. Ubuntu, Mint, and all other modern versions of Linux are based on GNU rather than Unix. But the question is, which MacBook is best for you? Apple keeps on upgrading its MacBook models every year, and it has been a bit confusing for some buyers to choose the best one for themselves. To resolve your confusion, we have made a list of the best MacBooks for programming and coding.

Best MacBooks for Programming (2022)

best macbook for programming

1- MacBook Pro 16″

(Best MacBook for Programming)

I would start my list with the 16″ MacBook Pro, a perfect device for programming and coding. As I have been working as a freelance developer for five years, I use MacBooks for iOS app development and coding most of the time. I must say that this device is one of the best options for programmers. It has much better specifications compared to the previously launched 15″ MacBook.

It comes with a superfast M1 Pro (16 core GPU) or M1 Max (32 core GPU) chip. The M1 Pro and M1 Max deliver a phenomenal performance, taking battery life to almost 21 hours. You can easily do 8K video editing, render complex 3D scenes, or compile codes. Further, it delivers up to 4 times faster graphical performance and 5 times faster machine learning.

This amazing MacBook comes with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD storage that can be further upgraded up to 64 GB and 8 TB, respectively, depending on your need. Moreover, you can connect it to two screens with a resolution of 6016×3384 or four screens of 4096×2304 resolution. In addition to all this, it has a great audio system comprising six speakers and force-canceling woofers. It also gives you a fantastic video call experience with its 1080p FaceTime HD camera.

Pros

  • Amazing 16″ Liquid Retina display
  • Long battery life of 21 hours
  • Up to 4 times faster graphic performance due to up to 32 Core GPU
  • 16 core neural engine delivers up to 5-time faster machine learning
  • Wonderful video call experience with its 1080p FaceTime HD camera

Cons

  • A bit heavy

Specifications

  • Processor:     Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU
  • Operating system: Mac OS
  • RAM/Storage: 16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD
  • GPU: 16 core GPU

Apple MacBook Pro 16″ is one of the best laptops for creative professionals. It provides the best environment for coding and development. If you want the best Mac for coding with all the basic tools available, you must go for it.

2- Mac Mini 2020 (M1 Version)

If you are just at the start of your career and don’t have too much budget, this mac mini 2020 M1 version will be the best choice. It comes with a powerful M1 chip and an 8-core CPU, making it one of the best MacBooks for fast coding and development. Moreover, it has 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, which can be further upgraded to 16 GB and 2 TB, respectively.

Further, it comes with an 8-core GPU which provides up to eight times faster graphic performance for games and other graphic-intensive applications. Additionally, its 16 core Neural Engine makes it one of the best devices for advanced machine learning.

In addition to all this, the portability of the Mac mini will also be a massive advantage for you. You can easily unhook it and carry it anywhere.

Pros

  • RAM and SSD can be upgraded up to 16 GB and 2 TB, respectively, which makes it the best choice for developers
  • Eight times faster graphic performance with an 8 core GPU
  • One of the best devices for advanced machine learning due to its 16 core Neural Engine
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • Fewer USB-C ports
  • Some users complain about the speaker quality

Specifications

  • Processor: Apple M1 Pro with an 8-core CPU
  • Operating system: Mac OS
  • RAM/Storage: 8 GB RAM/512 GB SSD
  • GPU: 8 core GPU

This laptop combines all the best features for programming and development. Further, you can also upgrade its RAM and SSD according to your need. It will be the best choice for you if you are searching for the best Mac for programming, which is also budget-friendly.

3- MacBook Pro 14″

If you are a game developer, graphic designer, or VR developer, you need a much better Mac. It must have at least 8 to 16 GB RAM, a good processor, and a discrete GPU. For game development, MacBook Pro 14″ will be an excellent option for you.

This MacBook comes with an M1 Max or M1 Pro chip and up to 10-core CPU, which is up to 3.7 times faster performance to complete your tasks superfast. Moreover, its 32-core GPU makes it an excellent choice for game development and graphic-intensive applications. Also, it comes with a 16-core Neural engine which delivers up to eleven times faster performance in machine learning.

The RAM and SSD storage is upgradeable up to 64 GB and 8 TB, respectively. Hence you can easily upgrade the RAM and storage according to your use. In addition to all these excellent features, this amazing laptop also provides you with a long-lasting battery run time of 17 hours.

Pros

  • RAM and SSD storage are upgradeable up to 64 GB and 8 TB, respectively
  • Excellent choice for game development and graphic-intensive applications with its 32-core GPU.
  • Up to eleven times faster performance in machine learning with its 16-core Neural
  • Long battery life of 17 hours

Cons

  • The keyboard heats up under load

Specifications

  • Processor: M1 Pro or M1 Max chip with up to 10-core CPU
  • Operating system: Mac OS
  • RAM/Storage: 16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD
  • GPU: 14-core GPU

This MacBook offers you a perfect balance of performance, display, and a long-lasting battery. It will be a perfect choice for you, as it comes with all the necessary features for heavy coding, game development, and intensive graphics.

4- MacBook Air

Apple Mac Air was the first MacBook that came with Apple’s own M1 chip powered by 16 billion transistors. All the previous MacBooks had intel hardware. Mac Air provides brilliant power for game development and runs iOS apps natively. I added it to my top 7 list because of its excellent ability to handle Linux, java, and outstanding code compilation.

This stunning Mac comes with a beautiful Retina display of 13.3-inches. It has 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD storage, which is enough for most of the programming tasks. Its 16-core Neural engine delivers 9 times faster machine learning performance.

Also, it has an extremely long battery life of about 18 hours. In addition to all this, it comes with a 30W USB-C adapter and USC-C charge cable of about 2 m. Also, Apple gives you a one-year warranty and ninety days of technical support for this amazing device.

Although the MacBook air is very good at programming and coding, the MacBook Pro has a better GPU and delivers overall enhanced performance. If you are looking for a laptop for professional work, you should still prefer MacBook Pros.

Pros

  • Long battery life of 18 hours
  • Additional 30W USB-C adapter and USB-C charge cable
  • One year warranty and 3 months technical support

Cons

  • Webcam is not so good

Specifications

  • Processor:           M1 chip with 8-core CPU
  • Operating system: Mac OS
  • RAM/Storage: 16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD
  • GPU: 8-core GPU

With its 3.5 times faster CPU, 5 times faster graphic performance, and up to 9 times faster machine learning power, this thin and lightweight laptop can be a perfect choice for programmers and coders. You must take it if you are searching for the best MacBook for coding.

5- iMac 27″

Some people like to work at a well-defined place such as a desk. It lets you focus more and complete your work on time. For those people, the Apple iMac computer will be the best choice.

Being a programmer myself, I always prefer bigger screens. You will always have a lot of tabs open, having XCode, text editor, and many other applications running simultaneously. Apple iMac 27″ comes with a wide 27-inches 5K retina display and a nano texture glass option to minimize the glare of the screen. You can also connect extra monitors according to your requirement.

Moreover, this fantastic 27″ PC comes with a 3.1 GHz 10-core Intel core i9 processor that can perform heavy tasks such as layering multiple audios or code compilation within seconds. Further, its memory is configurable up to 128 GB, 2 times that of the previous generation.

Also, its SSD storage is configurable up to 8 TB providing superfast access to pro applications and massive files. It has AMD Radeon Pro 5000 graphics and 16 GB of GDDR6 memory for better graphic performance.

Pros

  • Wide 27-inches 5K retina display as well as a nano texture glass option to minimize the glare
  • Better graphic performance with AMD Radeon Pro 5000 graphics and a 16 GB of GDDR6 memory
  • Super fast processing with 3.1 GHz 10-core Intel core i9 processor

Cons

  • Only two thunderbolt ports
  • No touch screens

Specifications

  • Processor: 1 GHz 10-core Intel core i9
  • Operating system: Mac OS
  • RAM/Storage: 8 GB RAM/256 GB SSD
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5000 graphics

Apple iMac is an all-rounder computer with a perfect combination of all necessary heavy coding and programming features. Its powerful processor, excellent graphic system, and high upgradable memory make it the best Mac for developers.

6- MacBook Pro 13″

This Mac comes with a gorgeous 13.3 inches retina display having 500 nits for bright, vibrant colors and incredible picture detail. It uses Apple’s own designed M1 chip with an 8-core CPU which delivers about 2.8 times faster performance.

Moreover, its 8 core GPU performs five times faster in intensive graphic applications and Games. It comes with a 16 core Neural Engine that helps in advanced machine learning.

Its 8 GB unified memory makes sure every task you perform is super fast and smooth. Furthermore, this great laptop has incredible cooling agents in the system, that prevents it from heating up. It comes with the magic keyboard whose refined scissor provides comfortable, smooth typing. In addition to all this, this Pro MacBook has a significantly durable battery life of 20 hours.

Pros

  • Five times faster performance in intensive graphic applications and Games with its 8 core GPU
  • Extremely long battery life of 20 hours
  • Good for advanced machine learning due to its 16 core Neural Engine
  • Comfortable and smooth typing with its scissor refined mechanism magic keyboard

Cons

  • Just two USB C ports
  • No touch screen

Specifications

  • Processor: M1 chip with 8 core CPU
  • Operating system: Mac OS 10.14 Mojave
  • RAM/Storage: 8 GB RAM/256 GB SSD
  • Graphics: 8-core GPU

This MacBook is one of the most popular Pro notebooks at apple. It fulfills all the basic multimedia editing and software development requirements and is considered one of the best laptops for programming.

7- iMac 21.5″

This desktop comes with an amazing 21.5-inch display having a resolution of 1920×1080. It will be a fine choice for you if you fancy a small screen all-rounder desktop. Its seventh-generation dual-core intel core i5 turbo boost processor provides superfast processing and increased efficiency.

Moreover, this fantastic desktop offers two thunderbolt USB-C ports for fast and smooth connectivity. It has 8 GB RAM and an ultra-fast 256 GB SSD. Also, it comes with Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, which makes it suitable for game and graphic applications. Additionally, Apple also provides you with a magic keyboard and magic mouse.

Pros

  • Gorgeous 21.5-inch retina display
  • Two thunderbolt USC-C ports
  • Superfast intel core i5 turbo boost processor

Cons

  • No HDMI ports
  • Screen borders are thick

Specifications

  • Processor: 3 GHz dual-core Intel Core-i5 processor
  • Graphics:                        Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • Operating system: Mac OS
  • RAM/Storage: 8 GB RAM/256 GB SSD

If you are looking for the best Mac for programming, which does not occupy too much space on your desk, this 21.5-inch iMac is perfect for you. It has enough RAM and SSD storage required for basic coding and programming. If heavy coding is not included in your job, you must buy this one.

Buying Guide

Apple is one of the topmost brands for computers, laptops, and mobile phones. It is best known for its excellent build quality. Especially when it comes to coding and development, no other brand can beat the outstanding features offered by Apple MacBooks.

You need something more than the basic specifications for professional programming and heavy coding. If you are a professional developer, I strongly suggest you go for a good Apple laptop or PC. The best mac laptop for programming must have the following basic specifications.

RAM

Professional programmers often need to run a lot of heavy codes and virtual machines. Simultaneously running all of them may need a lot of memory. A virtual machine takes almost the same amount of memory as the OS. Si, I would recommend that the best laptop for developers must have at least 16 GB of RAM.

Screen Size

Screen size becomes extremely important for programmers, as they have to open many tabs simultaneously. On bigger screens, you can read code easily and make adjustments. But for this, you must sacrifice portability.

Ports

Always check the number of ports, especially USB-C ports. Some MacBooks don’t have enough USB-C ports, and you may need hubs and adapters during programming.

Battery life

The Xcode eats too much battery, so your MacBook should have long battery life. The M1 chip laptops offer an exceptionally extensive battery life. If you want to avoid using the charger, again and again, you must go for the M1 series MacBooks.

FAQ’s

  1. What is the difference between Linux and Unix?

Linux and Unix are two important operating systems for programming. Unix was launched first and then Linux later. MacBooks run on Unix, which is more programmer-friendly.

  1. Is 16 GB RAM enough for programmers?

Unless you are doing heavy coding or massive virtualization, 16GB will be fine for you. But if you have to do heavy tasks such as Ruby development, safari, or Rubymine as IDE, you will need at least 32 GB.

  1. Can we do python programming on a MacBook?

Yes, MacBooks are a pretty good option for python programming. You don’t need to install the Xcode on a MacBook to run python.

  1. Which is the suitable OS for Mac development?

Mac OS is the best operating system for iOS development. It synchronizes the data and files with the Apple Cloud server for storage and easy sharing.

  1. Why should we prefer a Mac for macOS and iOS development?

You get membership in the iOS developer program. This program enables you to access app analytics, beta software, and modern app capabilities. If you developed an application using some other OS, you would still need a Mac for compiling and uploading it to the App store. Moreover, Xcode is an important tool for development that is only available on Mac.

Final Verdict

Programming and development is not an easy job. You need to spend hours continuously in front of the laptop. If you are a professional programmer, you should have an outstanding laptop that provides you with a comfortable and efficient environment to do your job with complete focus.

Out of all the laptops mentioned above, the following two are my favorite. I will strongly recommend these two if you want to buy the best Mac laptop for programming.

  • MacBook Pro 16-inch
  • iMac 27-inc

As I mentioned at the start, I am a professional developer, and I always prefer using MacBooks. Currently, I am using a MacBook Pro 16-inch for coding and development, and I am just in love with this incredible laptop. Also, I like the 27 inches iMac computer because of its stunning big screen and other impressive specifications.

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