The Lifespan of an Apple Mac Part 1

Article by Russell Harris

Lifespan introduction

One of the most popular questions we get asked here at Maya Solutions is “How long will my Mac last?” It is a tough one to answer as often this can depend on how and where you use your Mac. In this blog, we will look at what conditions can affect the lifespan of a Mac and what are the signs that you need to start looking at replacing it.

Which lasts longer, a Windows PC or a Mac?

This is the golden question and one that is hard to give a definitive answer to.
It is worth pointing out that no manufacturer - Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft etc, have claimed that their computers last longer than their rivals.

There are though a number of key differences between a Mac and a Windows PC that can affect it's lifespan.

Let's look at the most obvious first : the operating system itself.
The Apple macOS and the Windows OS are completely different systems.
If you didn't already know, all Apple Mac products come with an operating system supplied by Apple themselves. Meaning Apple control every aspect of each computer's production, both the hardware and the software.

If you compare that to a computer running a Windows operating system, the hardware the operating system is running on can be very different and produced by a whole host of manufacturers, not just Microsoft themselves.
Even though choice is normally a good thing for a consumer, for Microsoft, this makes their job of writing the Windows OS a tough one. It needs to run on a large variety of manufacturers' devices.

This distinct difference, usually results in an Apple Mac lasting longer since Apple can take full control over the product's quality and stability.

Upgrades. It is hard when purchasing a computer to know what your future needs will be. Therefore most of us at some point wonder if we can give our computer a ‘Boost' by upgrading one or more components. The most common being Memory, Processors (CPUs), Graphics Processors (GPUs) or Graphics cards and the hard disk itself.
Windows PCs have always been a lot more lenient on this than Apple products. Most Apple products are securely manufactured with tamper proof casings and screws. Often using special screws that need a unique screwdriver to loosen or the casings needing a special tool to prise open.
In more recent years, especially with their portable/laptop devices, Apple has removed all upgrade options to improve stability and reliability leaving the consumer stuck with whatever spec they bought the device with.

There are pros and cons of both arguments here. Having the ability to upgrade your computer either by sending it to a specialist or doing it yourself gives you the chance to prolong your devices' life. But if those upgrades go wrong, are incompatible or installed incorrectly then the lifespan will be reduced instead. With a Windows PC, you have the additional concern of the hardware and software likely being made by different companies and therefore will it all work together after the upgrade?
Even with an Apple upgrade where the parts come from Apple directly and maybe you get Apple to install it, will it work with a third-party App that you use? So many variables...

You can understand therefore why Apple have decided with most of their more recent computers to remove the ability to upgrade the device. No-one can risk breaking it, not putting it back together properly, installing the wrong component or damaging something else in the process. It's a strict and harsh policy, but it adds to the longevity of your computer. Additionally, for most consumers who just what something that works without any fuss and don't want to mess with it or who aren't technical, they get peace of mind.
But of course, it's a choice like most things in life. If you like to meddle and tinker with things and feel confident in doing so, then you have to be aware of the risks involved and perhaps the cost.

To add one more thing here, an interesting announcement was made back in 2016 by IBM. If you read the article you will discover that in 2015 IBM started to give their employees a choice of either a Mac or PC and the shift to Mac surprised them.
IBM then started to look at costs. Despite most Macs being more expensive to purchase than a PC, Macs over a four-year period ended up costing far less than a Windows computer when you factor in their lifespan, support costs, upgrades etc.

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