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Lifelong Windows user: My thoughts on switching to MacOS (2023)

My thoughts on transitioning from Windows to MacOS: exploring the ecosystem, hardware choices, user experience, and final decision.
Sid Metcalfe

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


November 26, 2023


I’ve been a die-hard Windows user for as long as I can remember, but MacOS has always had me interested (also becaues of many colleagues using it). The promise of a more stable and intuitive ecosystem, alongside the convenient integration with other Apple products, has given me pause more than once.



Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Initial Curiosity and Transition Challenges

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I’ve always been curious about MacOS. After years of navigating Windows’ intricacies and considering my familiarity with its ecosystem, the prospect of switching to MacOS was both intriguing and daunting. My initial motivation came from a simple place of curiosity, bolstered by the allure of synergy between MacOS and other Apple products.

However, transitioning to a new operating system is not without challenges. It’s akin to learning the dialect of a language you already speak — you understand the fundamentals, but the nuances can throw you off balance. Here are my main takeaways from pondering the switch:

  • Comfort Zone: There’s a certain comfort that comes from years of using Windows. Every command, shortcut, and feature is deeply ingrained in my muscle memory. This familiarity equates to efficiency, and disrupting that workflow was my greatest concern.

  • Learning Curve: MacOS comes with its own set of gestures, keyboard shortcuts, and system behavior that differs greatly from Windows. The absence of certain features, like a taskbar for easy multitasking, represents a hurdle for new users.

  • Software Compatibility: As a gamer, I was particularly worried about the gaming capabilities of MacOS, which are notoriously limited compared to Windows.

On the flipside, some aspects of MacOS captivated my attention:

  • Integration: The way MacOS integrates with other Apple devices seemed almost magical. Airdrop, seamless message synchronization, and the ability to unlock my Mac with my Apple Watch were features I was excited to explore.

  • Aesthetics and Stability: The user interface of MacOS is famously sleek, and from what I heard, the operating system itself is quite stable — a seductive proposition for someone tired of Windows’ occasional unpredictability.

Despite these salient points, doubts lingered:

  • Hardware Restrictions: Mac’s closed hardware ecosystem means less ability to upgrade or customize, a significant departure from the modularity I enjoyed with my bespoke PC builds.

  • Cost and Value: The price point of Mac hardware is undeniably higher. Investigating the justification for this investment took substantial research.

As I see it, the Pros of switching to a Mac include:

  • Enhanced security and privacy.

  • Long-term OS and hardware support from Apple.

  • Intuitive and clutter-free user interface design.

  • Excellent battery life and efficient system performance, especially with the new M3 chips.

The Cons that hesitant me a bit are:

  • Potentially steep learning curve for OS adjustments.

  • Limited availability of games and fewer options for hardware upgrades or repairs.

  • Higher initial financial investment without the definite promise of a proportional productivity return.

In my experience, Windows has been a rock-solid partner in all my computing endeavors. It has withstood the test of time with rare hiccups or crashes. But perhaps the greatest draw to MacOS for me was not what seemed like a necessity but rather an opportunity to broaden my horizons and reinvigorate my daily computing tasks. Reflecting upon this desire to explore new systems, I penned down my thoughts and experiences in Dilemma: Keeping my current M1 Macbook Pro versus upgrading to the M3 (2023). After all, comfort shouldn’t be a barrier to evolution. And so, with a mix of trepidation and excitement, I took the first step towards what could be the next chapter in my digital life.

Exploring the MacOS Ecosystem and its Synergy with Apple Devices

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I’ve spent countless hours nestled in the Windows ecosystem, and I must say, the transition to MacOS initially presented a learning curve. But once I navigated past the initial unfamiliarity, I discovered a realm of synergy with other Apple devices that was both intriguing and useful. Here’s a rundown of my experiences thus far:

  • Integration: The seamlessness between MacOS and other Apple devices is remarkable. Features like AirDrop and Universal Clipboard genuinely enhance productivity, allowing for a smooth transfer of files and snippets of text between devices.

  • Continuity: Picking up where I left off, whether it’s on my iPad or iPhone, is a breeze. I can start an email on one device and finish it on another, or answer a text from my Mac, which is handy.

  • Security & Privacy: Apple’s closed ecosystem offers a tighter grip on security, which gives me peace of mind, especially when dealing with sensitive information.

However, it’s not all rainbows; the lack of certain software and games that are commonplace in Windows is palpable.

Now, let’s delve a bit deeper:

Integration Capabilities

  • iMessage & FaceTime: Communicating from my Mac using the same apps I do on my iPhone has streamlined my workflow.

  • Handoff: Switching between the Mac and an iPad is incredibly seamless due the Handoff feature.

  • Apple Watch Unlock: Using my Apple Watch to unlock my Mac feels like a small piece of the future - no password typing required.

Device Ecosystem Considerations

  • iOS App Availability: Many iOS apps are now available on MacOS, bridging the gap further between mobile and desktop computing.

  • Apple Ecosystem Services: Services like iCloud and Apple Music work nigh flawlessly across devices, keeping my documents and media in sync.

Despite this impressive integration, a few aspects still stick out. The MacOS experience can sometimes feel a touch too controlled. Customization options that I’m accustomed to on Windows are not as readily available on MacOS. Additionally, for gaming or certain heavyweight applications, performance can fall short compared to a dedicated gaming PC setup.

For links to important sources, Apple’s own support pages provide a wealth of information on using MacOS and getting the most out of your devices, while the MacRumors forums offer a community-driven troubleshooting experience. For developers, GitHub repositories specific to MacOS provide an insight into the open-source projects that enhance the Mac experience even further.

The transition from Windows to MacOS is undeniably marked by both charms and challenges. While the MacOS system doesn’t offer the raw horsepower for gamers or customized tinkering that Windows does, the ecosystem it provides is powerfully cohesive and user-centric. It’s clear that for those deeply embedded within the Apple device network, this ecosystem unlocks a level of convenience and functionality that’s hard to match elsewhere.

Hardware Considerations and the M3 vs. Gaming PC Dilemma

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Selecting the right hardware for any tech enthusiast is akin to choosing the perfect ingredients for a master chef — success hinges on quality, compatibility, and future-proofing. For me, the decision between an Apple MacBook Pro with the sparkling new M3 chip and a custom-built gaming PC boils down to several crucial considerations:

  • Performance: The M3 Pro is a powerhouse, and my interest piqued specifically for its low power draw and impressive performance per watt. Apple’s silicone has continuously delivered on this front, promising both speed and efficiency. A gaming PC, conversely, typically requires beefier power supplies and cooling solutions to deliver similar punch.

  • Portability: As someone who values the ability to work from anywhere, the MacBook Pro’s portable nature can’t be overstated. Gaming PCs don’t offer this freedom, anchoring you to one location — typically a desk.

  • Gaming: Here’s where the gaming PC trumps. While macOS has seen improvements in gaming capabilities, particularly with Apple Arcade, the breadth and performance of games available on Windows are unmatched. If AAA gaming is a priority, the gaming PC wins hands down.

Yet, I can’t deny that my curiosity is driven by more than just hardware specs. The Apple ecosystem, and how devices seamlessly integrate, remains alluring. There’s an undeniable draw towards having my devices “talk” to one another, providing a unified digital experience that my current PC setup lacks.

Despite the lean towards macOS, there are drawbacks. The cost of entry is steep, with upgrades being particularly expensive. And while I’m not a heavy gamer, the thought of missing out on high-performance gaming does give me pause. Apple’s hardware choice also limits the ability to upgrade components in the future — a significant contrast to a gaming PC’s modularity.

As my thoughts swirl, I gravitate towards two lists — a direct comparison between key factors that matter to me:

MacBook Pro with M3:


  • High performance with better efficiency

  • Lightweight and portable

  • Long battery life

  • Robust build quality

  • Seamless ecosystem integration Cons:

  • Higher initial cost

  • Not upgradeable

  • Limited gaming options

Gaming PC:


  • Excellent gaming performance

  • Upgradable components

  • Customizable to specific needs Cons:

  • Not portable

  • Higher power consumption

  • No ecosystem integration

In the end, the choice isn’t just about raw power or gaming prowess but also about the user experience and where I see myself most comfortable in the long term. As the potential switch looms, I can’t help but feel enticed by macOS, despite acknowledging the limitations and uncharted territory that I’d be venturing into.

The MacOS User Experience Versus Windows Familiarity

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I’ve spent a considerable amount of time as a dedicated Windows user, and making the shift to MacOS has been a significant transition. The MacOS user experience touts a minimalist and aesthetically cohesive interface that feels more deliberate and less intrusive compared to Windows. Navigating through the MacOS, every action and gesture feels like part of a coherent design philosophy, which aligns with the broader Apple ecosystem. However, this doesn’t come without its share of downsides.

For starters, here’s a succinct rundown of what struck me immediately when jumping over to MacOS:

  • Simplicity: The MacOS design is simple and understated, with attention to detail that shows in its unified menu bars and system fonts.

  • Stability: MacOS feels stable and fluid, even with multiple applications running. Windows, despite its robustness, can sometimes feel more fragmented.

  • Integration: Apple’s tight integration across devices is unparalleled. AirDrop, iMessage, and Handoff create a seamless user environment that Windows struggles to match.

Conversely, there are aspects where Windows still holds its ground:

  • Customization: Windows offers more freedom in customizing the interface. MacOS is somewhat rigid, preferring a controlled environment.

  • Compatibility: Windows has broader compatibility with a vast array of hardware and software, particularly for gaming and specialized applications.

  • Familiarity: For a lifelong Windows user like myself, there’s a learning curve in adapting to MacOS’s unique workflow.

One of the biggest hurdles I encountered was the lack of a Windows-like taskbar. On Windows, I could easily glance at the taskbar for quick updates on open applications. MacOS’s Dock serves a similar purpose but doesn’t offer the same granularity at a quick glance. I also missed the ease of snapping windows to the sides of the screen, which is essential for multitasking. While MacOS has third-party solutions like Rectangle to remedy this, it requires additional setup. For more insights into managing productivity on a Mac device, you might want to read about my three-month journey with the Apple Mac Mini M2.

Another consideration is system updates. Windows Update can be disruptive and require a significant chunk of time, while MacOS updates have been less obtrusive and easier to manage.

Pros of MacOS:

  • Cohesive ecosystem synergy

  • Reduced maintenance with updates

  • Generally more secure against malware

Cons of MacOS:

  • Limited gaming capabilities

  • Fewer customization options

  • Steeper learning curve for those deeply rooted in Windows

Finally, MacOS demonstrated an impressive efficiency with hardware resources. However, Windows’ flexibility, particularly for gaming and legacy software, cannot be easily dismissed. Yet, I found the MacOS experience to be more refined and consistent, which especially shines when it comes to creative tasks.

Overall, while the transition hasn’t been seamless, the pros of MacOS offer a compelling case for any user who values a system that “just works” with minimal fuss.

Decision Making and Overcoming Second Thoughts

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As I grappled with the decision, flipping between my steadfast Windows expertise and the shiny allure of macOS, I found myself in a tug of war with habit and curiosity. At the core, my computer usage patterns seemed easily catered to by both platforms—web browsing, streaming media, and light productivity. Nevertheless, the thought of wading into unfamiliar macOS waters after a lifetime in the Windows world brought its share of apprehensions.

Here’s what went through my mind when considering the switch:

  • Ease of Use: The everyday tasks I handle are manageable on both operating systems. Both have their quirks, but macOS is often lauded for its seamless user experience. For someone like me, coming from the more customizable and flexible environment of Windows, I wondered if I could adapt to the simpler design language of macOS.

  • Multitasking: My Windows life was deeply entrenched in a multitasking workflow that, on the surface, seems more intuitive on Windows with features like the taskbar. While macOS has Mission Control and Spaces, I wondered if it had the same efficiency I had grown accustomed to.

  • Gaming: While I don’t game as frequently anymore, the potential for it still matters. Windows undeniably has the edge here. Yet, if gaming wasn’t a priority, could the high-quality hardware of a Mac and the longevity of macOS support be stronger selling points?

After weeks of rumination and a brief stint with a MacBook Pro, I circled back to several compelling aspects of macOS:

  • Synergy with Apple devices: Integration with my iPhone through features like AirDrop and iMessage continuity is enticing.

  • Maintenance: Compared to Windows, macOS often feels more maintenance-free. No driver installations, less frequent reboots, and a solidly stable update cycle.

  • Long-term Support: Apple is known for its lengthy OS support, potentially making a Mac a smart long-term investment.

Here are potential downsides that crossed my mind:

  • Initial Learning Curve: Adapting to a new OS after years of muscle memory takes effort.

  • Customizability: Windows provides more flexibility to tweak its interface.

  • Gaming Library: macOS falls short when it comes to game availability and support.

In summary, the decision to switch from Windows to macOS doesn’t hinge on a single feature or function; it’s a blend of personal preference, hardware performance, and software ecosystem. While it’s challenging to leave the familiarity of Windows, the possibility of harmony between devices, superior build quality, and fewer day-to-day hassles has turned my gaze towards macOS. Ordering the base model 14” M3 Pro, there’s a sense of excitement tempered with a touch of caution—a feeling many platform-switchers likely know well.

Final Thoughts and Moving Forward with MacOS

A macbook closing with a soft glow suggesting a sense of finality and commitment

After oscillating between two ecosystems and reflecting on my three-week affair with the MacBook Pro M2, I’ve come to a few insights that will shape my way forward with MacOS. The transition was less like a steep learning curve and more like acquainting myself with a different dialect of the same language. The familiarity is there; it’s the nuances that demand attention.

  • Integration with iOS Devices: Apple’s seamless ecosystem is a win. The way my iPhone interacted with the MacBook was nothing short of impressive. AirDrop and continuity features added a level of convenience I hadn’t realized I was missing.

  • Stability: I found MacOS to be stable, with few system hiccups. It’s a different stability than Windows—less to do with never crashing and more with predictability and dependability of performance.

On the flip side:

  • Multitasking: This is an area where Windows has felt more intuitive and efficient for me, largely thanks to the taskbar. MacOS does offer spaces and Mission Control, but the transition hasn’t been as seamless as I hoped.

  • Customization: Windows offers more under-the-hood options to tinker with; MacOS, while user-friendly, can feel a bit more walled-off in comparison.

I’m not blind to the areas where MacOS could improve. Window management can feel primitive without the aid of third-party applications—a surprising quirk for such a mature operating system. Similarly, the Magic Mouse, while sufficiently integrated, is an acquired taste and not universally loved.

As for gaming, if you’re in it for the high-end titles or specific games, you’ll end up needing a Windows setup anyway. Fortunately, my current gaming needs are minimal, pushing this factor to the side.

Here’s what stood out in the final decision-making:

  • MacOS updates are expected to have an extended life, possibly up to 10 years for Apple silicon, though it’s too early for official word from Apple.

  • Privacy and Security: Apple’s track record for privacy is a reassuring aspect of my shift to MacOS.

  • Hardware Quality: The M3 chip’s performance and efficiency tip the scales in favor of choosing quality over quantity.

  • Aesthetics: Yes, even the color of the machine mattered. I settled on Space Black, hoping it’ll grow on me as more than a ‘generic’ shade.

In conclusion, I’ve made peace with my second thoughts and decided to embrace the MacOS world. There’s no denying that changing lanes after a decade feels daunting. My old Windows machine will stay as a safety net while I acclimate to the Mac world. But I’m prepared to welcome the good with the unexpected, excited for the journey ahead, and the possibility that MacOS may just become my new comfort zone.