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PC vs. Mac: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 23, 2023
A PC (Personal Computer) is a general term for personal-use computers, while a Mac is a line of computers designed and sold by Apple Inc.

Key Differences

A PC, an acronym for Personal Computer, typically refers to a computer designed for individual use. Historically, the term was used to describe IBM-compatible systems, distinguishing them from Apple computers. PCs often run on Microsoft's Windows operating system, making them versatile and compatible with a wide range of software applications.
On the contrary, a Mac, short for Macintosh, is a specific brand of personal computers manufactured by Apple Inc. Macs are known for their distinct operating system, macOS, which offers a unique user interface and experience. The seamless integration between hardware and software is often considered a hallmark of Mac computers, resulting in a cohesive user experience.
In terms of software compatibility, while PCs offer a broad range of software due to their widespread use and open development environment, Macs are often lauded for their creative software suites, like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. However, many mainstream software applications are available for both PC and Mac platforms, bridging the gap between them.
A PC's open nature means that various manufacturers produce them, leading to a wide range of hardware configurations and customization options. Conversely, Macs are exclusively manufactured by Apple, ensuring a standardized look and feel across their product line. This exclusivity also tends to make Macs more expensive compared to PCs with similar specifications.
In summary, while both PC and Mac are personal computing devices, they differ in their origins, operating systems, software compatibility, manufacturing, and price points. The choice between a PC and a Mac often boils down to individual preference, specific software needs, and budget.

Comparison Chart


General term for personal-use computers.
Line of computers designed and sold by Apple Inc.

Operating System

Typically runs Microsoft Windows.
Uses Apple's macOS.


Produced by various manufacturers.
Exclusively produced by Apple.

Software Compatibility

Broad range, especially for business software.
Known for creative software; many mainstream apps available for both.

Hardware Customization

Highly customizable with numerous configurations.
Standardized configurations; limited customization.

PC and Mac Definitions


A computing system running the Microsoft Windows operating system.
She installed the latest version of Windows on her PC.


A computer known for its operating system, macOS.
After the update, his Mac ran even faster and more efficiently.


A term originally distinguishing IBM-compatible systems from Apple computers.
In the 80s, the distinction between a PC and an Apple computer was more pronounced.


A computer characterized by its integration of hardware and software.
One advantage of a Mac is its harmonious blend of software and hardware.


An electronic device for processing and storing data, primarily for individual use.
My new PC runs games smoothly with its updated graphics card.


A brand often associated with creative professions due to its software offerings.
Many graphic designers prefer using a Mac for their work.


A versatile machine compatible with a wide range of software applications.
I chose a PC for its flexibility and broad software compatibility.


A line of personal computers developed and sold by Apple Inc.
Her Mac boasts a sleek design and an intuitive user interface.


A computer system designed for personal tasks rather than industrial or server tasks.
I bought a PC for my home office to manage my freelance work.


The successor of the original Apple Macintosh computer.
The first Mac was introduced in 1984, revolutionizing personal computing.


Abbreviation of piece


Used as a form of address for a man whose name is unknown.


Abbr of postcard


Can a PC run macOS?

Typically, macOS is designed for Apple hardware, but there are unofficial methods called "Hackintosh."

Can Macs run Windows?

Yes, using tools like Boot Camp, Macs can run Windows.

Who manufactures Mac computers?

Mac computers are manufactured by Apple Inc.

Are Macs immune to viruses?

No, but Macs are less frequently targeted compared to PCs.

Do all PCs come from one manufacturer?

No, many companies manufacture PCs, like Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

Are there different Mac models?

Yes, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini.

What's the difference between a Mac and an iPad?

A Mac is a personal computer, while an iPad is a tablet running iOS.

Is gaming better on a PC or Mac?

PCs often offer a broader range of games and better customization for gaming.

Can I build a custom PC?

Yes, many enthusiasts build custom PCs to fit specific needs.

Is the software on a Mac different from a PC?

Some software is exclusive to each, but many apps are available for both.

Why do some professionals prefer Macs?

Macs are often praised for their stability, design software, and user experience.

Can I run Linux on a PC?

Yes, Linux can be installed on most PCs.

Why do Macs have a different charger type?

Apple uses proprietary designs like the MagSafe or USB-C for Mac chargers.

Can I upgrade the hardware on my PC?

Most PCs allow for hardware upgrades, though specifics vary.

What's the main operating system for PCs?

Microsoft Windows is the predominant OS for PCs.

What does PC stand for?

PC stands for Personal Computer.

Can I use Microsoft Office on a Mac?

Yes, Microsoft Office has a version for Mac.

How do I transfer data from a PC to a Mac?

Apple provides a tool called "Migration Assistant" to help.

Why are Macs often more expensive than PCs?

Macs have a premium build, design, and exclusive manufacturing by Apple.

Do PCs and Macs use different file systems?

Typically, yes. PCs use NTFS, while Macs use APFS or HFS+.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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