MacOS vs Windows OS – Who Wins the Best OS Title?Donna Marie Padua
Most people may not realize it but an operating system is the most important software running on any computer. Whether it is a Mac OS, Linux, or Windows OS, an operating system serves to be the brain of your computer.
What does it do?
Well, you computer’s memory, processes, apps, software, and hardware are all managed by the operating system. It works by seeing to it that all programs are getting what they need from your computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, and storage. It is basically a bridge that lets you communicate with your computer without having to learn the computer’s language which we know is in the form of “codes.”
So overall, a computer without an operating is plain USELESS.
Types of operating systems
Operating systems usually come pre-loaded on any computer you buy. Most people use the operating system that comes with their computer, but it’s possible to upgrade or even change operating systems. The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. But the most used OS these days are Windows OS and Mac OS so our comparison today will focus on these 2 operating systems.
Modern operating systems use a graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced gooey). A GUI lets you use your mouse to click icons, buttons, and menus, and everything is clearly displayed on the screen using a combination of graphics and text.
Each operating system’s GUI has a different look and feel, so if you switch to a different operating system it may seem unfamiliar at first. However, modern operating systems are designed to be easy to use, and most of the basic principles are the same.
Microsoft’s operating system is called Windows OS and the very first version of it was released in the mid-80s. There’s already been numerous versions of Windows and the most recent one is Windows 10 which was launched in 2015. Windows 8 was what came before it, released in 2012 while Windows 7 was rolled out in 2009. Then there’s also Windows Vista which was released in 2007.
Microsoft announced previously that it will no longer launch another edition of its Windows OS and will rather stick with Windows 10 with 2 updates every year.
Windows OS comes pre-loaded on most new PCs, which helps to make it the most popular operating system in the world.
Mac OS (previously called OS X) is a line of operating systems created by Apple. It comes preloaded on all Macintosh computers, or Macs. Some of the specific versions include Mojave (released in 2018), High Sierra (2017), and Sierra (2016). The OS that Apple will be releasing this 2019 is called Catalina.
According to StatCounter Global Stats, Mac OS users account for less than 10% of global operating systems—much lower than the percentage of Windows users (more than 80%). One reason for this is that Apple computers tend to be more expensive. However, many people do prefer the look and feel of Mac OS over Windows OS.
Now that you have an overview of what these 2 operating systems are, let’s look into how they differ when it comes to performance and other features.
Both operating systems offer clear and polished setup processes. You can use both without signing in to an account with Apple or Microsoft, but both offer a richer experience if you do. You’ll miss out on syncing machines, voice assistants, app roaming, messages, and a whole lot of other goodies by not signing in.
Microsoft lets you install the Windows OS conveniently with your voice using Cortana. Apple installs updates through the System Preferences instead of in the Mac App Store. Both automatically recognize and install drivers for standard hardware peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and storage.
2. Getting Started
Both operating systems offer login options that go beyond the traditional act of simply signing in on your desktop. If you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can easily sign in to your Mac using your finger. Or you can log in with your iPhone or Apple Watch if they are close enough to the computer.
But Windows OS offers Hello with several biometric login options. Face login is probably the coolest and is available on most higher-end PCs, including all Microsoft Surface devices. Windows Hello also supports fingerprint readers, available on laptops such as the HP Spectre 13. If you don’t have hardware that’s compatible with either of those features, Windows will also accept a PIN.
Once you’ve booted the OS, Windows has the Start button and menu to access your most-used apps, settings, and documents. There’s nothing similar in macOS, but you can pin frequently used apps to your Dock, head to the Applications folder, or set up your desktop with icons for your most-used programs and files. You can also use Launchpad icon to page through and start apps.
The better OS in this category? It’ll have to be Windows OS.
3. Hardware Choices
Apple offers some great computer hardware options, but the selection is dwarfed by the massive availability of a diverse array of Windows PCs. And that’s not to mention non-traditional options like the HoloLens, VR headsets, and the Raspberry Pi, which can all also run Windows 10. There’s also a more diverse array of Windows-friendly peripherals available.
As for internal components—things like the CPU, graphics card, and storage—there’s no contest. Windows OS gives you a lot more leeway in configuring a system with the components you want, and more flexibility to upgrade later.
So this round goes to Windows OS too.
4. Native Apps
Both operating systems have a wealth of utilities and apps that are preloaded in the operating system. There’s decent mail clients, calendars, calculators, photo and video viewers, photo editors, voice recorders, screenshot tools, apps for maps, news, weather, camera, and contacts, and they have their own web browsers too.
Microsoft’s unique apps include Sticky Notes, Translator, Skype, and Xbox gaming apps. Of course, Mac OS also has its own apps like superior video editor, streaming music service, and preview utility. It also throws in the awesome GarageBand music composition app and a full productivity suite.
So the winner in this round? TIE!
5. Search Engine
The search box in Windows 10 displays at all times, and typing in it pops up a panel with file, app, and web results. Both search features will do math, show you the weather, stock prices, and sports results, or find nearby restaurants without breaking a sweat.
Both OS also now lets you search with your voice, with Cortana on Windows OS and Siri on Mac OS. With the May 2019 Update, Windows follows Apple’s strategy of separating the voice search from typed searches, separating out the Cortana icon from the search bar.
So the winner? Both!
6. Compatibility with Third-Party Software
Apple used to be very strict on what software it allows to be installed on its devices. But at present, it has become more flexible like Windows OS.
Windows OS is compatible with most custom business applications since there are more Windows users compared to Mac users. Meanwhile, Mac OS is more prevalent in the creativity tools and apps, although Windows also has tons of video editing and photo editing software that it supports. Plus, it’s a fact that most software today makes Windows OS as their main OS requirement.
Both operating systems have their own app store where installation and updates can be downloaded. Sadly though, app developers haven’t given the attention to these desktop stores the way they have to their mobile counterparts.
Anyway, app installation in the Windows OS operated computer is more straightforward than those that run in Mac OS.
For us, the winner in this round is Windows OS too.
7. User Interface
Both operating systems let users customize the user interface very easily. They both offer options to customize the desktop backgrounds with photos or themes, screen item sizes, and screen savers too. Dark modes are the new rage although Windows included a new Light theme to Windows 2019.
Both OS come with excellent, plug-and-play multiple monitor support, though Windows offers a bit more control. With Windows, you can span program windows across the multiple screens, whereas in Mac OS, each program window can only live on a single display.
Overall, in this round, we have a TIE!
8. Mobile Device Integration
Microsoft is a bit slow in integrating Windows OS with mobile devices. Android devices in particular are well served by Windows with the Launcher and Your Phone apps, which let you share documents and web pages and conduct SMS messaging across devices.
Apple’s integration between Mac OS computers and iOS devices is more natural and easier. Mac OS Notifications panel allows you to send SMS by syncing to your iPhone. All photos can be shared across devices in Apple Photos and you can transfer almost anything through AirDrop. You can also take video calls between synced devices. Apple Watch is yet another piece of the integrated ecosystem that Windows can’t match.
The obvious winner? Mac OS!
9. Alternate Input
We are talking here about Touch, Pen, and Dictation. While Apple has finally introduced touch capability in its Mac OS, it is only available on Macbook Pros. Meanwhile, Windows 10 has always had full touch screen support since it launched Windows 8. There’s also a Tablet mode which lets you switch between using the screen and keyboard for inputs.
Pen input is another input method in Windows. The support for styli on touch screens is robust, with incredibly good handwriting-to-text conversion. You can use a pen anywhere you enter text.
You can use your voice for text input in any app in both OS. To do this in Mac OS, you have to specifically enable it. Once voice dictation is turned on, you can access it by double-tapping the Fn key. In Windows 10, just hit Windows Key-H (for hear) and you’re off and dictating. Both work in any text field.
So obvious, the one with more options for input wins – Windows OS!
10. AI Virtual Helpers
So now, we go to the Cortana and Siri Battle.
Cortana arrived on Windows 10 before Siri made it to the Mac. Both AI can open apps and web pages through voice command and so much even control smart home devices. Both can be used to set reminders, send emails, and search the web.
Both can be invoked by voice. But Siri can’t log out of or shut down the computer which Cortana can. Another advantage of Cortana is it can send requests to Amazon’s Alexa. Although there have been so many complaints against the Cortana which made Microsoft decide to put an option to turn it off for those who find the AI weird.
Siri is impressive when it comes to iPads and iPhones but surprisingly, it still needs improvement when it comes to being used in the Mac.
So the winner in this Siri vs Cortana battle? Windows OS’ Cortana!
11. Taskbar vs. Dock
With Mac OS, when you click on a running app’s Dock icon, its window doesn’t appear on the screen. When you click on an app’s icon in the Dock, you may just see its menu at the top, but no program window.
The Mac OS uses a mouse-over magnification for emphasis on your selection. But the Windows OS taskbar is more functional. You just hover the mouse over an open taskbar button and you will see be given a thumbnail overview of the program. Also the Taskbar Jump Lists lets you see the recently opened files as well as the frequently used actions in that program.
We like Windows OS better in this part.
12. Desktop Management
Windows Operating System makes it easier to arrange windows on the screen. Want an app to take up exactly half the screen? Snap it to the left or right edge. How about have it display on a quarter of the screen? Snap it to any of the screen corners. If you run apps side-by-side, the border between them can be resized. If you want to show or switch to the desktop behind any running apps, click to the very far right of the taskbar. The conveniences go on.
Both operating systems let you create multiple virtual desktops. Windows operating system now combines the desktop switcher with the Timeline feature. This does clutter the Task View screen, but it can be damned useful if you’re trying to get back to a webpage or document for which you’ve forgotten the location.
And finally, my favorite Windows window-management trick: Hold and shake the mouse key on a window title bar to minimize everything else.
The Winner? Windows Operating System!
13. Explorer Tools
Windows has the File Explorer feature while Mac has its Mac Finder.
In recent updates that came to Windows 10, the File Explorer tool has improved a lot. The Quick Access feature makes it easier to find the last file you saved, no matter what it was or where you saved it. The Finder’s Recents folder does the same thing. Window’s File Explorer contains standard libraries for common file types such as Documents, Pictures, and Music. These are sort of meta folders to which you can add any other relevant folder. The Mac OS doesn’t offer a similar capability.
One Mac OS feature that Windows lacks is the ability to have multiple tabs in a Finder window. Finder also lets you quickly preview files in the Preview utility. Both display previews of documents on the right side of the Explorer/Finder windows, let you choose which app to open a file with and let you easily share files with a right-click.
So who wins? We think it’s another tie.
14. Security and Stability
Windows PCs have fallen prey to far more malware than Macs in the recent past, including ransomware, spyware, botnets, and good old-fashioned viruses. But Microsoft is constantly beefing up its security, pushing Windows Defender updates, and even introducing anti-ransomware measures. In fact, just recently, AV testing labs declared Microsoft’s Windows Defender as the strongest antivirus right now.
Macs have a much cleaner record, but they’re by no means immune to vulnerabilities. Just look at the recent Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which affect both operating systems.
And then there’s the issue of stability. Macs win on this count, too, mostly because Apple controls the hardware ecosystem. We’ve even seen blue screens on Microsoft’s own Surface computers.
For us, the winner here has to be Mac OS.
15. 3D and VR Support
Windows includes at least two apps that let you enter the world of 3D and VR. The 3D Viewer app lets you, well, view 3D models in a pair of goggles or on screen, and Windows’ Mixed Reality Viewer app works with VR headsets exclusively, giving you a virtual portal to VR apps. Two of the most popular VR headsets are HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and they only work on Windows OS. And we can’t forget the device that runs on Windows 10 called the HoloLens, which is all about augmented reality.
Apple has made some progress toward VR support. You can edit 360-degree video content in Final Cut Pro X with external enclosures for graphics cards that are VR-capable. Apple’s ARKit augmented reality only works in iOS for now.
For us, Windows OS bags the title in this round.
Hardcore gamers don’t even need to look at this section because this category has long been dominated by just one OS.
While there are plenty of excellent games available for Mac OS, and there’s even a version of Steam for the platform, Mac users can’t enjoy the level of internal component customization that’s possible with PC Gaming.
When it comes to game selection, there are many more top-level titles on Steam that are compatible with Windows OS than Mac OS. Even PlayStation games are available on Windows OS through Sony’s PlayStation Now service, and you can stream games to your PC through the Xbox app. With Play Anywhere, games you buy on the Microsoft Store can be loaded on either your PC or your Xbox console and you can play from these platforms games like Cuphead, the Halo series, both Forza series, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves.
Another good feature in Gamings with Windows is the Windows 10 Game Bar. You can launch this with Windows Key-G and you can start recording or streaming your gaming activities to Microsoft’s Mixer community. What else? Steam Proton offering support for more than 2,600 Windows games.
To emphasize it more, Windows OS wins another round here.
Both operating systems include a good deal of support for users with disabilities, but Microsoft has consistently made more of a priority of this. Both have screen magnification, text narration, Braille support, sticky and slow key entry, and voice input, but with Windows, a blind person can set up the system by voice. Microsoft has even added the ability to control the computer with your eyes, as shown in the photo above.
Microsoft has American Sign Language support by videophone and a free BeMyEyes app that “connects blind and low vision people with volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call.” At a Microsoft Build conference, one of the company’s developers, who is blind, demonstrated an AR app running on the HoloLens that described people’s emotions to him in real time based on their expressions, using the company’s Seeing AI technology. The company has even published a Seeing AI app for Apple’s iOS.
The May 2019 Update of Windows 10 goes even further, adding accessibility improvements like a new dashboard and more languages for Narrator, and drawing using only the keyboard in Paint.
The final round’s also won by Windows OS.
Summing up our results, Windows OS wins 10 rounds while Mac OS gets 2 points. In the remaining 5 rounds, there’s a tie!
Overall, the best OS in town this 2019 remains to be Windows OS. And what’s a better news? You can also install Windows OS on Macbook whereas Mac OS is only compatible on Apple devices. So Windows OS don’t only get to dominte the world of laptops but also Apple.