Methods to Know If Your Mac Makes use of Intel or Apple Silicon

You may need to find out what type of processor your Mac has in order to install certain software – this is where you need to look.

In late 2020, Apple began converting its Macs from Intel processors to its own M1 Apple silicon chips. Many silicon Mac models from Intel and Apple look almost identical, making them difficult to distinguish from one another despite the large differences in processing speed.

So how can you quickly check if your Mac is running on an Intel chip or an Apple silicon chip? Let's find out.

How to tell if your Mac is using Intel or Apple silicone

At the time of writing, Apple has released several Apple silicon Mac models:

  • iMac (24 inch, 2021)

  • MacBook Pro (13 inch, 2020)

  • MacBook Air (13 inch, 2020)

  • Mac mini (2020)

However, many of these models also have counterparts that run on Intel chips. If you want to know which chip your Mac uses – whatever model you have – do the following:

  1. Go to the menu bar and click Apple Logo.

  2. click About this Mac.

  3. Mac computers with Intel processors show an item called processorwhile Mac computers with Apple silicon have an item labeled. Show chip.

Why do i need to know?

Aside from the faster processing speed, longer battery life, and better performance for intensive tasks like graphic design and video editing, knowing which chip your Mac is using is important when checking hardware requirements for various software.

Some software won't work on M1 or Apple silicon chips, which means you'll need an Intel Mac. In contrast, we'll likely see more and more software that won't work on an Intel chip, which means you'll need an Apple silicon Mac instead.

Since M1 is a different processor, programs must be rewritten to run on the new chip. So while Apple's own apps like Safari, Pages, FinalCut Pro, and Logic Pro are updated to run on M1, third-party apps need to be updated to run on Apple silicon.

Browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera have been updated along with many popular apps like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, VLC, Slack and Discord.

Related: Pros and Cons to Consider Before Buying an M1 Mac

However, other programs may still require Rosetta 2, a built-in emulator from Apple that translates Intel apps onto Apple silicon with varying results.

It won't be long before everything is from Apple Silicon

While it would only take all Apple computers to run on Apple silicon for a while, it would still be worth knowing your Mac's specs – especially if you rely on them for most tasks, such as work.

7 features we'd like to see when Apple releases an M2 MacBook

The M1 MacBook was a good start, but we're looking for Apple to up the ante with an M2 version.

Continue reading

About the author

Rachel Melegrito
(38 published articles)

Rachel Melegrito gave up her college teaching career to become a full-fledged content writer. She loves everything from Apple – from iPhones to Apple Watches to MacBooks. She is also a licensed occupational therapist and budding SEO strategist.

By Rachel Melegrito

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