If you’re wondering which is the best Mac for video editing we’ve taken a closer look at the best Macs and MacBooks for video editing of 2023 ranging from professional to amateur.
We think that Macs are by far the best computers for using video editing software and the latest generation of Apple Silicon Macs M1/M2 have taken things to a new level.
In our extensive research, we found the best Mac for video editing is the 2023 M2 MacBook Pro with M2 Pro or M2 Max chip especially for editors on the move.
The portable 2023 M2 MacBook Pro with M2 Max chip can not only edit up to 30 streams of 4K video but even 7 streams of 8K video.
If your budget allows, the new desktop M2 Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra chip goes even one step further and can handle up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes video which no other computer apart from Apple’s very top of the range (and even more expensive) desktop Mac Pro can come close to.
- M1/M2 vs Intel Macs For Video Editing
- Video Editing Software For M1 & M2 Macs
- Best Macs For Video Editing Of 2023
- 1. M2 MacBook Pro 16 inch (M2 Pro/Max)
- 2. M2 Mac Studio
- 3. M2 Mac Mini
- 4. M1 MacBook Pro 16 inch (M1 Pro/Max)
- 5. M2 MacBook Air
- 6. M1 iMac
- 7. M1 MacBook Air
- Best Macs For Video Editing Compared
- External Monitors & Video Editing on a Mac
- External Hard Drives For Video Editing
- eGPUs & Video Editing on a Mac
M1/M2 vs Intel Macs For Video Editing
It’s important to be aware from the start that at the moment there are two types of Mac on the market: older Macs that have Intel chips and the latest Macs with Apple Silicon M1 or M2 chips.
Older Intel Macs have anything ranging from an Intel Core i5 to i9 all of which are suitable for video editing on macOS.
The M1 & M2 chips however are based on Apple’s own ARM architecture and is much faster than Intel chips at delivering rendering speeds of around twice the speed.
At the moment, there are 4 types of Apple Silicon chip:
- The original M1 chip released in the first 2020 M1 MacBook Pros
- The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips launched with the 2021 MacBook Pro
- The M1 and M2 Ultra launched in the M1 Mac Studio , M2 Mac Studio and desktop M2 Mac Pro.
- The M2 Pro and Max chips released in 2022 with the MacBook Air and in January 2023 with the 14/16 inch M2 MacBook Pro and M2 Mac Mini. This was followed by a new 15 inch M2 MacBook Air, M2 Mac Studio and M2 Mac Pro in June 2023.
All models of new Macs sold by Apple now come with the M2 processors (apart from the 13 inch M1 MacBook Air) and we strongly recommend choosing an Apple Silicon Mac over buying an older Intel Mac.
Note that Apple only sells refurbished versions of the M1 chip Macs now (apart from the 13 inch MacBook Air which can still be bought from new with an M1 chip). The M2 models have replaced them in the Apple Store and only M2 Macs can be bought from new.
There are however other sites such as Amazon where you may be able to still buy M1 chip Macs from new but we’d advise getting an M2 chip where possible simply because it’s faster and the latest version of Apple’s Silicon chip.
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- Best Video Editing Software For Mac
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Video Editing Software For M1 & M2 Macs
One thing to bear in mind when deciding which Mac to buy for video editing is that some video editing software don’t have a native M1 or M2 compatible version yet.
For those that don’t have native M1/M2 Mac versions of the software, you can still use them as macOS uses a clever system called Rosetta to translate them to work on Apple Silicon Macs.
It does however mean that you may encounter problems from time to time and slower performance compared to using video editing tools that have been built to work specifically with the M1/M2 chips.
You can read more about this in our guide to the best video editing software for Macs.
Best Macs For Video Editing Of 2023
With this in mind, here are the best Macs for video editing of 2023 in order of ranking.
The M2 MacBook Pro is Apple’s latest version of the MacBook Pro released in January 2023 and is easily the most powerful MacBook for video editing.
The M2 MacBook Pro is the replacement for the M1 MacBook Pro and features modest speed improvements on the M1 chip although it does cost a few hundred dollars more than the M1 version.
The new M2 Pro MacBook Pro supports up to 96GB of unified RAM with the 16-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro version capable of up to 22 hours video playback on battery power and 15 hours of web surfing.
The display on the M2 MacBook Pro is a video editor’s dream with the Liquid Retina XDR display offering 3024 x 1964 pixel resolution, (DCI-P3) color gamut and and professional precision (DeltaE <2).
Apple claims the new M2 MacBook Pros will render video six times faster than an Intel MacBook Pro and perform color grading twice as fast.
Compared to the M1 MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip, the M2 Pro chip offers up to 20% faster performance according to Apple with 200 GB/s of unified memory bandwidth.
It also has a 19 core GPU that offers up to 30% more graphics performance compared to the M1 Pro.
There’s also a 40% faster Neural Engine for video/image processing and other graphic intensive tasks.
If you max out the M2 MacBook Pro with an M2 Max chip, it has a whopping 38 core GPU which promises another 30% faster graphics performance compared to the M1 Max according to Apple.
This includes 400 GB/s of unified memory and 96GB of unified memory which will handle the most demanding graphic intensive applications.
Apple claims the M2 Max 12-core CPU is 20% faster than even the M1 Max.
The new M2 MacBook Pros have also been upgraded with Wi-Fi 6E connectivity which is twice as fast as the previous WiFi standard on the MacBook Pro.
There are an additional three Thunderbolt 4 ports, MagSafe charging connector and a headphone jack.
Pricing for the base model M2 MacBook Pro 14-inch model starts at $1,999 (£2,149) and the M2 MacBook Pro 16-inch MacBook starts at $2,499 (£2,699).
You can read our full M2 MacBook Pro review for more.
- Apple’s latest and most powerful MacBook Pro
- 20% faster than the M1 MacBook Pro
- 30% better graphics performance than the M1 MacBook Pro
- Up to 38 core GPU
- Up to 96GB of unified memory
- Upgraded HDMI 2.1 ports
- Supports multiple 8K, 5K and 4K displays up to 240Hz
- Lots of ports for connecting external devices
- Not upgradable
The M2 Mac Studio is Apple’s newest Mac aimed at creative professionals and is our pick for the best desktop Mac for video editing due to a mix of incredible power and connectivity.
Apple calls the M2 Ultra chip “the worlds most powerful chip for a personal computer” and it’s tailor made for the demands of video editing and special effects rendering with up to 76-core GPU performance.
When it comes to video editing, the Mac Studio with M2 Ultra chip can handle up to 2 streams of 8K ProRes video which only the desktop M2 Mac Pro can match.
It also includes the option to add 196GB of unified memory, 800GB/s or memory bandwidth and an 8TB SSD which dwarfs the processing power and storage capacity of both the Mac Mini and MacBook Pro.
The Mac Studio is also jam packed with ports for connectivity including four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10GB ethernet port, two USB-A ports, HDMI and a Pro audio jack.
Pricing for the Mac Studio starts at $1,999 (£1,999) for the M2 Max with the M2 Ultra starting at $3,999 (£3,999) If you bought a top of the range Mac Studio with M2 Ultra chip, 8TB of SSD it would cost $7,999 (£6,100).
On top of this is the new 27 inch 5K Apple Studio Display which costs $1599 (£1499) – so it’s by far the most expensive Mac for graphic designers on the market.
However, you could also use a cheaper alternative external display for the Mac Studio instead.
Check-out our full M2 Mac Studio review to see what we thought of this unbelievably powerful compact Mac.
- The most powerful Mac on the market with M2 Ultra chip
- Up to 76-core processing power
- Up to 8TB internal SSD
- Can handle up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes video
- Supports up to 5 external monitors
- Incredibly high quality images when paired with Apple Studio Display
- Not upgradable after purchase
The M2 Mac Mini is the smallest Mac you can get but the latest M2 Mac Mini packs a big punch and is easily the best budget Mac for video editing.
Released in January 2023, the M2 Mac Mini starts at just $599 which is actually $100 cheaper than the original M1 Mac Mini released in 2020.
You can customize up to 32GB of unified memory RAM with the M1 Mac Mini when purchasing with storage of up to 8TB.
One advantage of the Mac Mini over a MacBook is that you can also upgrade this RAM and SSD drive in an M2 Mac Mini even after the original purchase (although this would only be possible by a specialist technician).
Remember that since the M2 Mac Mini has no monitor, keyboard or mouse, you’ll have to buy them separately although you can use pretty much any monitor, keyboard or mouse with it.
Check out our guide to the best external monitors for the Mac Mini for more.
Although it’s more expensive than the basic M2 chip, we strongly recommend going for the more powerful M2 Mac Mini with M2 Pro chip as it also supports up to three external displays – two via Thunderbolt and one via HDMI 2.1.
The basic M2 Mac Mini supports two external displays but only one via Thunderbolt, the other via HDMI.
The HDMI port in both models of Mac Mini is also useful if you want to connect your Mac Mini to a TV too.
Note that unlike Intel Mac Minis, you can’t connect an eGPU to the M2 Mac Mini as eGPUs don’t work with the M1/M2 chip.
If you’re looking for the best Mac for graphic design on a budget, the M2 Mac Mini offers great value for money and portability.
You can read our full M2 Mac Mini review for more on this incredibly powerful budget Mac.
- Works with Logic Pro X and GarageBand
- Can support 3 displays simultaneously
- Up to 8TB of storage
- Easily portable
- Upgraded HDMI 2.1 port
- Cheaper than the M1 Mac Mini
- Requires keyboard, monitor and mouse separately
- M2 Pro chip not as powerful as the M1 Ultra chip in Mac Studio
Although it’s been replaced now by the 2023 M2 MacBook Pro, the 2021 M1 MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chip is still one of the best MacBooks for video editing due to the incredibly powerful processing power of the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips.
Launched in October 2021, the M1 MacBook Pro was at the time the most powerful MacBook on the market and is tailor made for video editors that need maximum video editing and rendering speeds on the move.
It’s twice as powerful as the older 2020 M1 MacBook Pro and the M1 Max is even twice as powerful again as the M1 Pro chip so we strongly recommend getting the M1 Max chip model for video editing if your budget allows.
The only downside is that it is 200g heavier than the 2020 MacBook Pro – but it’s more than worth it.
Highlights of the M1 MacBook Pro 16 inch with M1 Pro or M1 Max chip include:
- Edit up to 7 streams of up 8K video without rendering.
- Two ProRes accelerators in the M1 Max to make video rendering a breeze even on battery power
- Up to 8TB of internal storage which is the same as the M2 MacBook Pro
- Stunning Liquid Retina XDR display for crystal clear images
- 16 inch screen to make it easier to watch edits (although you can of course connect external monitors).
The 14 inch M1 MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max is around $500 cheaper and around 100g lighter than the 16 inch model but we strongly recommend going for the 16 inch M1 MacBook Pro screen estate for video editing.
If you’re unsure whether to go for the M1 Max or M1 Pro, we also recommend checking out our look at the M1 Max vs M1 Pro.
You can also read more in our M1 MacBook Pro review.
- Slightly cheaper than the M2 MacBook Pro
- Incredibly fast rendering even on battery power
- Twice as fast as the old Intel MacBook Pro
- Up to 8TB of internal storage
- Stunning display
- Supports multiple external displays
- Battery power for up to 21 hours
- Not upgradable
- Replaced by the M2 MacBook Pro
5. M2 MacBook Air
Although the MacBook Air is the least powerful MacBook on the market, it’s also the cheapest MacBook for video editing and offers the ultimate in lightweight portability for editors on the move.
Apple released the new M2 MacBook Air in 2023 and for the first time, gave it a 15 inch screen making it much more appealing to video editors compared to the standard 13 and 14 inch versions of previous models.
The smaller 13-inch MacBook Air (which is currently only available with the M1 chip) isn’t a good option for video editing because the screen is so small although it is the cheapest MacBook on the market starting at just $1,199.
However, a maxed-out 15 inch M2 MacBook Air starts at $2,499 and you might want to consider the M2 MacBook Pro for video editing instead once you start approaching this price point.
The 15-inch screen provides a decent amount of screen estate although you may want to consider getting an external monitor for when you’re in a studio or using it at home although one drawback is the M2 MacBook Air only supports one external display.
The M2 MacBook Air is only available with the base level M2 chip (not the M2 Pro, M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip) but is still capable of running multiple apps and editing thousands of photos or 4K video.
According to Apple, it’s also up to 12x faster than the Intel-based MacBook Air and there’s a massive difference in how fast video editing software works in it.
You can add up to to 24GB of Unified Memory (RAM) to the M2 MacBook Air although you can only add a maximum of 2TB of hard drive space.
A downside of the M2 MacBook Air is that it only supports one external display. However, there are ways to connect multiple displays to M1 and M2 Macs that by default, only support one external monitor.
If you’re looking for a budget MacBook for video editing then the M2 MacBook Air is powerful enough for video editing although professional editors will be far better off getting the M2 MacBook Pro.
- Incredibly light and portable
- New 15 inch screen in the M2 model
- No fans makes it totally silent
- Up to 24GB of Unified Memory
- Good value for money MacBook
- Lacks processing power and spec of the MacBook Pro
- Not upgradable after purchase
- Only supports one external display
6. M1 iMac
If you’re going to be doing professional video editing mainly in a studio or at home and are on a budget, then look no further than the M1 iMac.
If you don’t want the expense of having to buy an external display for a Mac Mini or Mac Studio, the iMac is the best value desktop video editor with everything housed within an impressive 24 inch 4.5K display.
The M1 iMac also comes with a Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and Touch ID so you have everything you need to get started out of the box unlike with the Mac Mini or Mac Studio.
Previously, Intel iMacs supported what’s known has Hyper Threading which means more than one core processor can handle instructions threads at the same time.
However, despite not using Hyper Threading, the new Apple Silicon M1 Macs are even faster than the previous Intel Macs.
The iMac comes with silent SSD drives although you can only customize these up to a measly 512GB of storage meaning you’ll definitely need to get an external hard drive for video editing.
You can however customize it with up to 8GB of Unified Memory (RAM) which is as much as any Mac out there.
The iMac also comes with 3 USB ports and 2 Thunderbolt ports so there’s plenty of room for connecting peripherals.
The 24 inch iMac also has a mic input for recording voice overs directly into it.
All of this of course is built into the display which makes the iMac such a clean and clutter free video editing workstation.
If you’re looking for a value for money desktop computer for video editing, then the M1 iMac provides everything you need to start editing straight out of the box.
- Ideal for professional desktop video editing
- Includes everything you need to get started out of the box
- Generous 24 inch 4.5K display
- Fast processing power with M1 chip
- Includes mic input
- Comes in lots of different colors
- Not portable
- Lack of ports
- 27 and 21 inch model discontinued
- No M2 chip version
- Hard drive only customizable up to 512GB
7. M1 MacBook Air
Although the M1 MacBook Air is the least powerful MacBook on the market, it’s also the most lightweight MacBook for video production and offers an even cheaper option than the M2 MacBook Air for video editing.
The M1 MacBook Air has now been replaced by the M2 MacBook Air which has a bigger 15 inch screen but you can still buy it from new on Amazon.
However, the smaller 13-inch MacBook Air still hasn’t received an M2 chip yet so you can buy the M1 chip version from new from Apple although we wouldn’t recommend such a small screen for video editing.
You can also only get a maximum of 16GB of Unified Memory in the M1 MacBook Air with 2TB of internal storage which may be not be enough for professional video editors but suitable for amateur home movie makers.
Like the base model M1 MacBook Pro, the 2020 M1 MacBook Air doesn’t support more than one external display natively although there are workarounds for this.
However it costs a few hundred dollars more and our advice would be to invest in a 2021 MacBook Pro than spend a bit more on a base model MacBook Air M2.
- Incredibly light and portable
- No fans makes it totally silent
- Good value for money
- Replaced by the M2 MacBook Pro with 15 inch screen
- Lacks power and spec of the pro version
- Not upgradable after purchase
- Doesn’t support more than one external monitor natively
Best Macs For Video Editing Compared
If you’re still not sure which Mac to choose for video editing based on these reviews, here’s a side-by-side comparison to help.
External Monitors & Video Editing on a Mac
Another thing to consider is that you will probably want to get an external display or monitor for serious video editing on a Mac.
It’s important to be aware that the 2020 M1 Macs and 2022 M2 Macs can only support a maximum of 2 displays at once although there are still ways to connect multiple monitors to M1 & M2 Macs.
This is not a problem with the 2021 M1 MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max chip which can support up to 4 external monitors.
The same goes for the new Mac Studio which can support up to 5 external monitors (4 via Thunderbolt plus 1 via HDMI) and has the latest M1 Ultra chip.
For more on this, check out our guides to:
- Best External Monitors For Mac Studio
- Best External Displays For MacBook Pro
- Best External Monitors For Mac Mini
External Hard Drives For Video Editing
Most video editors require a lot of hard drive space, not only to store large video files, but also to edit video from instead of on the Mac’s internal drive.
To edit video directly from an external hard drive requires a very fast external hard drive that can read and write data very quickly.
SSD drives are much faster than mechanical HDD drives and video editing software requires high-speed read/write capabilities that only Thunderbolt connections can offer.
If you can’t afford a Thunderbolt drive then at least make sure you get an external Solid State Drive (SSD) such as the Samsung T5 for video editing as SSDs are much faster than traditional mechanical drives.
eGPUs & Video Editing on a Mac
There is however still one benefit to Intel Macs compared to M1 & M2 Macs – eGPUs.
You can boost the performance of an Intel Mac with an External Graphics Unit or eGPU as they are commonly known.
eGPUs are able to process graphics much faster than your Mac and many video editors use them as a cost effective way to enhance Intel Macs for video editing.
At the moment, eGPUs do not work with M1 or M2 Macs so if you’re thinking of getting an eGPU for video editing on your Mac, you’ll definitely need an Intel Mac.