Why do so many Software Developers prefer Macs (7 Majors Reasons)

The tech industry as a whole is split into two groups when it comes to mobile devices and laptops: either you support Android or iOS and Windows or Mac. For either an expert or a regular user, there is no middle ground.

Personally, I like to use Mac. I am therefore familiar with both platforms, and if I had to choose, I would still choose Mac. And it’s not just me who has experienced this. The majority of programmers favor Macs over PCs.

In the 2016 Stack Overflow developer survey, the OS of preference for programmers, 26.2% of programmers chose Mac. Second place went to Windows 7 with 22.5%.

Source: Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2016 Results

7 Major reasons why developers prefer Macs

Mac is based on Unix

MacOS is recognized as a Unix operating system by The Open Group. This means that macOS offers a fully functional native Unix environment, which is extremely advantageous for programmers, particularly in web development. We see, most web servers that host all of our favorite websites or web applications are powered by Unix-like OSes, just like the majority of the internet.

As a result, using a Mac to develop, test, and run your programmers ensures that they will work as intended when used in real-world servers. Furthermore, macOS provides us with access to the Unix-based terminal, which is far more efficient than Windows’ Command Prompt or PowerShell because it is built on MS-DOS.

The Unix terminal allows us to develop in almost any programming language without the need for a specialized IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Here, we can develop new programs, test them by running them, call other programmers, connect to other computers, and even call programs on other computers.

The terminal occupies a significant percentage of a programmer’s time, and macOS offers a feature-rich, engaging terminal.


Mac has better stability and security

We’ll frequently need to download several scripts and code snippets if we’re a coder. For research, we might also need to install a number of programs. What does it matter if you unintentionally download malware or a virus?

Since Mac is built on Unix, it has an operating system that is much more dependable and secure than Windows. For hackers and other bad people to exploit, there aren’t as many opportunities.

So long as we avoid making any human errors, which a programmer is less likely to do, we should be okay. Installing third-party antivirus software on our Mac can improve our security if we want to be extra cautious.


Mac’s UI and UX are accessible

Because programmers are also people, we like a slick, contemporary operating system.

For myself and many other programmers, the user interface and experience design on macOS is more streamlined, cutting-edge, and logical than on Windows.

Every macOS software uses the same design language, creating a seamless and engaging user experience. The user interface of some Windows components is currently being updated, but some components still have a Windows 7-era aesthetic.

The lack of consistency gives the OS the appearance of being unpolished and a work-in-progress rather than a finished product that is ready for use.


Mac Has Top-Notch Support

Both the hardware and the software for Macs are under Apple’s control. Additionally, they only make a few numbers of Macs each year. Because of this, the tech titan can guarantee long-term support for its product, which is something other laptop makers can’t always guarantee.

For starters, our Mac will always have the most recent version of macOS installed. Additionally, we are entitled to technical support from Apple Retail Stores for a minimum of five years following the date that our specific model was last made available for purchase. At the same time, repair components are accessible for up to seven years. This kind of assistance won’t ever be available for PCs.

First of all, laptop makers frequently disregard any models that were introduced more than two years ago. We won’t get any more problematic for our system driver updates or bug patches as a result. Another major complaint is that parts are not as readily available or as easily repaired from support centers as they are with Apple.


Creative support system

Although coding makes up the majority of the work, web development encompasses much more.

Web developers frequently need to work with vector graphics, logos, symbols, photos, and possibly even promotional videos because of the visual component of websites, web apps, and even native JavaScript apps (Electron, React Native, etc.). Keep in mind that there are numerous independent contractors in this industry offering “all-in-one services,” so anything is feasible!

And so, macOS is the ideal option for those kinds of tasks. Consider the fact that several pieces of creative software, most notably Adobe CC, support Windows.

However, as we’ve already established, it is not based on Unix, making programming on it extremely challenging. Linux, on the other hand, is based on Unix, but it has significantly less creative software support. You’ll be alright if you use programmers like Inkscape, Gimp, and Blender, for example, but macOS clearly wins this category.


Various browsers are supported in Mac

As you may be aware, Microsoft Edge recently switched to the Chromium browser, leaving only Chromium, Mozilla’s Gecko, and — you guessed it — WebKit as the three main web browsers.

Firefox is available for both Linux and Windows users to download, and Chromium-based browsers are widely used. Although WebKit is open-source, there aren’t many browsers that use it (examples include Midori Browser). The finest WebKit experience is actually only available on Safari, which is exclusively on macOS.

Therefore, if we have macOS, we can easily test our ideas on the most recent iterations of all major browsers. Given the numerous issues with WebKit compatibility, it won’t be sufficient for production testing, but it’s still a pleasant benefit.

Keep in mind that Safari still holds a sizable portion of the market, and even if we use Midori for all that testing, there is no mobile iOS debugging available anywhere else but macOS.


Mac has history in programming

Not all Apple laptops and PCs were Unix-based. The biggest shift was brought about by the 24th of March 2001 introduction of Mac OS X. This change also occurred at the same time that web development began to advance in sophistication and complexity along with the expansion of the internet.

You see, back then, developers of web technologies need a platform that offered all the required tools. Windows didn’t pay much attention to this market. Then the Mac arrived, bringing many programmers in with its Unix-based OS and access to sophisticated and well-made development tools like text editors, package managers, etc.

Over time, more programmers gradually began to switch to Macs, which sparked additional interest in making Macs developer-friendly, which in turn attracted more programmers towards mac.


Final words

Currently, one could say that using Mac instead of Windows is just a matter of preference because Windows is “good-enough” for programming. And while this is somewhat true—I still sometimes use Windows at home, but mainly I use it for gaming—the history of the Mac is one of the reasons why developers(including me) still like prefer it over PCs today.