10 Reasons Why Working on a Mac Sucks (Not Anymore)

I link this image here in the thinking of fair
use and I don´t know from whom it originally is,
let me know and I´ll credit!
This article is originally from 7/13/10 read my edits from 2/6/16 in blue colors below:

MAC vs. PC, this discussion will never end, but the times have changed: when Apple/Macintosh started out about 30 years ago, their main focus were creative, nowadays the graphic designers and illustrators are served by Adobe, and Apple can focus on the mainstream -end user.

After observing apple for the last 6 years, it comes to mind that they are using the mainstream  with iPads and iPhones to move forward with advanced technological developments. The development of 4k and 5k retina displays, it´s own powerful ARM processors, for example that are featured in the new iPad Pro, etc.

Why should I bother? Lets say I had an experience the last couple of weeks and need to share it:
Recently my 4 year old PC left me with a dead main board, and I thought its time for a new one,
The big question arises always then: Mac or PC, but after working on finishing some commissions on a 2009  Macbook Pro from my spouse with the GeForce 9500M card and an external Monitor, I got to know what a royal pain in the *** is;-)

(I end up building a custom i7 920, compared to my 2 Ghz macbook the picture above describes the differences very well:) 

Edit: This i7 workstation PC is now beaten by the responsiveness and power of the new iPad Pro, late 2015!

My observations and OS-comparisons grew over the years and its time for me to share this, but please respect that this is only my view, I write about the OSX here as WORKING -platform for mainly graphical design and digital imaging.
In no case I´ll offend someone, if you will, you can call this my public wishlist to Steve Jobs apple in the hope that the products and especially the OS will get better someday;-)

Reason 1:
The task bar contains all menu options
OK, for Mac natives on a 13" display and use of single monitor work, its saving space,
but dual -monitor -work is a pain, because of the next reason:

Reason 2:
The task bar cannot be moved to another monitor
If you are used to WINDOWS, its naturally that you want to drag and drop the taskbar wherever you want it to save space, especially if you have Photoshop opened on the big-screen and have to search menu-options on the other smaller screen... fail! @ceoSteve_Jobs

Edit: The task bar is now featured on both screens equally, aka it´s mirrored, the active screen is dark or bright (even that can be chosen) so you know where you are at any given time. Good update on this.

Reason 3:
No database import, no files
I don´t know if this is because of the underlying MACH Architecture of OSX, this essential function is missing and apple sells this missing function with an extra program that is needed in order to get your images listed, tagged and whatsoever through libraries. In fact; whatever you want to use, itunes, iphoto, iweb, it all depends on libraries -want to connect a huge external device and search a file instantly? No way, it needs to be imported to your favorite software to be found in iweb for example or you have the big fun in Finder...

Edit: Apple still uses Databases, but using the finder allows to circumvent this need. Also there are powerful alternatives such as the free tool XNViewMP that is fast, lightweight and very customizable.

Reason 4:
The Finder sucks
No customization options like tabs or viewing pane plugins..., no essential database and indicating options, nothing useful in this tool.  If you want open a file from within Photoshop for example, browsing to your folder of choice (if its not a recently used one) is a royal pain.
Someone like me who knows what the explorer is capable of appreciates the speed the new i7 processors browse and search with ease through folders with 1000 of images without a lag and database need (!) regardless if on the local folder or external storage. 

Edit: The finder is way better now, it features tabs, where Microsoft has cut the function of useful apps like clover in Windows 10 totally (and no alternative in sight). Opening files in Photoshop has become easier on the Mac as the list of previous location is better than on Windows and thus often helpful.

The general lag or sluggishness is made entirely possible by the underwhelming configuration of the macbook from mid 2009. Comparing this with an iMac from late 2015, there is a huge technological difference here, that make these past observation seem almost funny.

Reason 5:
iWeb produces too much useless code
I know, every WYSIWYG-editor produces a waste of code, but from a list of ten I bet Iweb is near place one, I use it because its ease of use and because its built in and integrates nice with the OS, but buying dreamweaver instead the Macbook would have been the less expensive choice. Also: iweb ftp functions still not properly working in ilife 09

I know there are possibly some useful updates, but the one i waited for in ilife 09 was the alternative to directly publish to an ftp, especially because Apple promised this feature would work, now, a year later it still doesn´t work= fail!

Edit: Apple has ceased the development of iWeb in 2011, what a surprise;)

Reason 6:
Mac is more stable than a Windows -PC 
Every Windows user had experienced it, a crash, a bluescreen, a blackscreen, and every Windows user thinks, the Mac users do have it better, no crashes, perfect designed hardware that fits all  qualification for a long, stable Mac-life...wrong!
I experienced both, and since Windows XP and Windows 7 the OS on a PC hardware are extremely stable today, sure malware is an issue, but google this for MAC and you be sure to find updates that Mac´s aren´t that safe as they were in the nineties with only a handful of viruses, malware can also affect Mac-users, welcome to reality;-)
I also have a Macbook and sometimes use the Macbook Pro from my spouse and its safe to say, the Mac hangs as often as a PC, if not even more, freeing up resources would might help to avoid this, but Apple rather choose to complain about FLASH than to reduce resource waste on their machines, that would allow problem-free watching of youtube videos for example.

Edit: Things get better. And this is a universal observation. Windows based systems as also OS X are now able to learn, regular updates feature a lot more bugfixes than in previous OS developments and thus it should be a universal truth, that once a system is running, it works good. If it keeps failing, a hardware issue or virus might be the cause.

Reason 7:
Too much distraction from colorful icons and a dock that can´t be disabled
Its true, until OSX 10 the OS was capable of working without being distracted, the main surface was grey beneath a greyer grey, when Apple discovered the colors it has to become clear to every creative that their intention and market has changed.
When everyone moaned that Windows was too full of blingbling in the early 2000, now its OSX 10.5/6
As a special point here I wanted to show the problem of disabling the dock, there is no function to disable this feature, why do I need a zooming Icon that pops up if I want to run a program or open a folder? - Big fail!

Edit: Looking back, this was a very personal issue. Wrking in digital painting and imaging for more than a decade, I know that colorful icons can be a time saver. If you look at a working screen for hours, you know you need only to push the blue icon for a look at the browser or the green one for music. Even better: Quicksilver - I´m so used to open an app with a shortcut and best of all it works anywhere on the screen just by typing. The issue with disabling the dock is solved in that regard as it can be hidden.

Reason 8: 
Fully Photoshop power only under 64bit OSX Snow-Leopard?
Yes its true, even if CS 4 is not based under Rosetta anymore, its a shame all CS- versions before were all setup on a virtualization kernel, that allowed the user to wait 40 % longer for any process to run. Now the 64bit capability of OSX 10.6 and the new Photoshop CS5 allows full range support of the 64bit that Apple offers, the downside, it starts to be fun above 4 GB RAM, so if you are on a Macbook, Macbook Pro, or iMac, you´ll probably not enjoy the benefits of 64bit Operating systems, invest some 3-4000 bucks on a MacPro and you can have some fun with at least 8-12 GB RAM;-)

Edit: This one has become soo obsolete now in 2016 where nearly all OS´s are running in 64 Bit mode, even iPads ;)

Reason 9:
The Mac always runs on half the power it has in order to run silent
This is also true and can be easily tested on your device in hot summerdays with above 30° in your room. The "all-in-one" built MAC´s are designed to work silently, to work silently the processor should not get hot, to not get hot it needs to NOT operate with high usage, the solution to this is design the machines with full hardware and let the user feel that its better to not use the full power if they won´t hear the sound of a raging fan! This is also a good shopping advice: if you want to work in photoshop for example, buy a macbook pro, with 3,3 quadcore, 8GB RAM and an SSD-drive and at least a GeForce GTX260+ to have fun and silence...Ah wait that doesn´t exist? OH, the irony...

Edit: Heat might still be an issue, but with the latest release, the late 2015 5k iMacs, at least the GHz power does not drop anymore. Here´s a useful review.

Reason 10:
Clicking on the desktop hides your current program
I know there is a workaround for this and gladly in Photoshop there is an option for this in "View", but when you are used to open files from the desktop and drag them into an opened Photoshop window on another screen, its nice if that program doesn´t hide at the moment you click on the desktop, isnt´it?

Edit: Looking back at this, this can be a nerve-wracking issue, but it is also useful

There is for sure plenty of more reasons, but for now and "just" a blog-post should help to make me feel better when I share this experience, and eventually make others aware that not everything is gold that shines.

I surely will turn some "Stockholm Syndrome Apple Users" away who will not accept these facts, but having this experience for nearly 2 and a half year now, its safe to say I will never switch completely to a Mac.
If you are in the process of buying a Mac or want some insights, it might be good to search in the forums of IFIXIT for common defects on that device. The site gives insights in how to fix things and often helpful in that approach, but it shows also that Mac´s are not unvulnerable.

There are also other Mac´s that don´t deserve to switch on if you have to "get work done"
(since I mostly complain about the OS in the list:)

The iMac lacks modular hardware update operability, for everything hardware related you need to call the techy, and work is not getting done in this time, except you have another machine = expensive.

Edit: It is true that the hardware update ability shrinks with every new Mac, be it iMac or Macbook Pro´s. At least with the 27" iMac you still have the option to update Ram and with the latest release even up to 64GB of it.

The Mac Pro is still too expensive, the Xeon Processors are competing with the i7 in one high-end -league on Passmarks benchmark page, so with all the warranty extensions you want to save your expensive baby, in 3 years its old and needs to be updated (or apple wants you to replace it with a shiny new one) I have calculated that even with 3 years warranty and on location parts exchange service  I can buy 3 High-end up to date PC´s to fill a working range of 9 years, way to go Apple...

Edit: Still true in some aspects. It is even true that i7 iMacs are outperforming 4-6 core Mac Pro´s of the latest generation but not in multithreading operability - which starts to get interesting with 8-12 cores - and there the Mac Pro is in a very very different league. Price wise and performance wise.

The iPad is still missing the essentials: USB- and pressure sensitive stylus support.

Edit: Partially true ;) the apple pencil is the best f***ing stylus that has ever been made, and with wifi and cloud use, or airdrop, usb is nearly obsolete.

*update 2014* I have compiled a list of hardware for digital painting that is also suitable for designers and still reflects what this blog post says, even with the new Mac Pro 2014, there´s still better hardware out there to get things done.

Update Feb. 2016: It was really funny to go through all the old partially biased opinions from back then;) Many, if not all of the critical points above are history now. There are still some issues such as the lack of calibration option in OS X and that USB3 only works best with external SSD´s, but that is material for a different topic.
Finally I´m working again on a Mac, an iMac late 2015 to be precise. When working in Photoshop is the main priority, I think OS X and the newer iMacs are perfectly capable of letting you do just that.
My configuration is the i7 with 4GHz, 512 GB SSD and 32GB ram, so far there were not many tasks that made the fan roar. Zipping files or converting movie clips are tasks that are extremely resource hogs and for that the older workstations are useful too.

I would not suggest to invest solely in an iMac here. If I would have to make a suggestion to someone having to buy a workstation, my tip would be to get or use a good mix of devices. A small network server for backup, an older powerful i5 or i7 workstation for occasional task like converting files or rendering is as much useful as having an iSurface Pro 2 or an Pad pro to paint wirelessly in photoshop from downstairs or in procreate on the go.

My digital workplace in 2016

However, it is good to research on your topic but it is even more important to know what you need to do. Everyone who suggests that an iMac is perfect for video editing, does groan when the fan hits 4000rpm. Working for hours in Photoshop I did not once hear the fan! I wanted a silent workstation and for the most tasks, the iMac in 2016 is exactly up for that. I believe there is some room for improvement for the next coming years, but if there was ever the time to invest in a Mac, 2016 is the year.

Forced updates in Windows 8 and 10, native 10Bit support in OS X as also cutting the options to have tabs in the Windows Explorer (with apps like Clover) and native tabs in finder on OS X have made the switch to apple easier for me. There really were times when even Microsoft hardware was awesome (Microsoft Mouse anyone) but the newest development, especially Surfacebook is just the opposite of awesome.

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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook


  1. I worked on a Mac for more than three years. After this, it started to fail and when it was utterly unuseful I changed to a PC. Now I'm very pleased with the change, I now exactly what you're talking about.

  2. That was an interesting read. I have never tried a Mac but had considered it in the past. I first went with PC when I saw how much more machine I could get for the same money. After reading this I feel I did the right thing.

  3. Interesting read, alot of it is true, no doubt, but I also noticed several arguments of the "but if you are used to" kind. If you are used to painter Then PhotoShop sucks, if you are used to tea Then coffee tastes bitter, if you are used to driving Then biking is though etc etc. Not saying you dont have a few points but everything you are "used" to you can get past.

  4. well i say Mac is like a Hotel. Looks good, appealing, expensive.
    Pc is like Home. a place where u always wanna come back.

  5. @GeoSolus & @maledictus thanks for the positive responses!

    @colrouphobia that is true, habbits can be grown , changed and get past, but if you will have a better environment, because you pay more for having a so called sophisticated product, its a bitter pill to swallow that the things that are intuitive and logical to use are not possible, or not the easy way.

    @Rohith great comparison, love this;-)

    @meken, thanks - if the taskbar can be moved to another Monitor this advice would be helpful for others to know, so if you know the magic trick, I´d love to share it and replace the point with another reason(there are at least 10 others;-)

    The point with the dock was not just about disabling it for the sake of disabling, but to save resources as its a bunch of useless eyecandy that can be used for important things in the RAM, quicksilver is a much better intuitive application to run programs and is the only thing I´d love to see for windows...

    If you can read (the cynic irony) in my post I stated that if you don´t want to hear the raging fan all the time, you should not use the machine at high power all the time, the macbooks and especially the macbook pro´s are getting very hot and are loud as shit hitting the fan and programms slow down to windows 3.1 speed.

    I wonder what adjustments you have that clicking on the mac desktop don´t hide your photoshop screen, but when not set to fullframe view, the Photoshop frame simply disappears, thats just annoying...
    It may be that with other programs this problem don´t seem to occur, but Adobe programs are having this issue.

    You should state things if you really know the correct answers and don´t blame me for the bad experience I had.
    With the same amount of energy you put in this comment, you could have helped at least 9 out of 10 people if you´d know what you were talking about(and share your knowledge here)

  6. My main thing that I have against Mac (I'm using one right now) Is the lack of flexibility you can do with their machines. I wouldn't have any problem if I could open it up and give it more RAM.

    I'm an artist (Only 17, but not the point) that lacks the funds to pay for very VERY expensive programs (Adobe Flash) Etc, Etc.

    And one of the most recent problems I've had with a Mac is that I updated my iTunes to 11 (somewhere around there) And it won't let me use this without spending a large amount of money to Upgrade. YET! My friend has had a PC for over 6 years with XP on it and he has NO problems.

    Basically. Go for PC. Better Results for less money.

  7. i totally agree with you on the entire article. Mac lost its compettitive advantage when it started using NVidia cards and Intel processors, it just became an overpriced PC AND mac never have the same specs as PC. if you look to specs of RAM for example MAC usually have up to 1033mhz ram while OPC handles up to 2100Mhz, video cards perfom slower even on same models for PC. processor models are the same but have different spec on mac (less) because of heat. so overall you are paying a buttload of money for a computer that has average perfomance and that has no real diference with PC.

    And I know some people might say that MACs have retina display and all that, why dont you go and ask who builds MAC screens, its Samsung and samsung is the owner of the copyright of those screens so you can go to any store and buy a LED display from samsung and get the same results on a PC. the only thin i think i can admit of Apple is the iPod which is sadly to say still the best of its kind, and i say sadly because everything that comes from apple is designed to push you towards using ALL-MAC devices and its annoying.

  8. Alexander Schmewering12/07/2015

    OS X is very slow compared to similarly-equipped PCs with Windows 7, OS X usability is a complete nightmare. The single worst point is probably the incredibly idiotic focus behaviour: You need to click a window ONCE to focus it, and THEN again to click the "thing" you really wanted to click. In addition with TWO (!) caveats: FIRST, SOME UI elements accept the FIRST click (but you never know which!), and SECOND, DON'T even THINK about DOUBLE-CLICKING (first: focus, second: click), because THAT will ACTUALLY be interpreted as a DOUBLE-CLICK IMMEDIATELY!

    Who comes up with such utter nonsense?

    1. I don´t know your setup, but since 2015 - OSX and especially Mac hardware - has a little advantage if it runs with PCIE-Flash storage, however for your particular trouble there seems to be a simple solution: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202319
      If you adjust the double-click timing you should be fine.

      But I agree the user inteface is horrible. Especially the left assigned close-and minimizing buttons. And I believe without customization it is hard on the eyes for everyday use.

      Under the hood there is a lot that has changed since I wrote this article some 6 or 7 years ago. Tabs in finder is what windows had the awesome tool "Clover" for in Win7, but in Windows 10 clover does not work anymore and tabs in file management is a no-brainer nowadays. In that regard there are up´s and down´s on both ends. As sad as it is, OSX wins more and more points over Windows (Windows 10) and Microsoft works very hard to lose a customer each day.

  9. Anonymous9/14/2016

    it is so 90s when people still comparing interface. Timcock has changed everything in mac os, now mac is not the same as before, timcock killed all production program like aperture, iphoto, imovie, final cut pro, rosetta, now with a mac you are forced to only buy apps, gems based games in app store, buy songs movies in itune, all for entertainment purepose

    You live in the loop, you keep installing all the feature hoarder update which make your mac slower and slower at a point you cant stand the slow speed and buy a new mac, after 10.6 there is no easy to reinstall the original mac os that come with your mac, you can only install the newest

    1. And where is the difference to Windows? Since Windows 10 you have also forced updates. I have a surface pro 2 which always gives me random bluescreens or blackscreens after an update to a point where it resets itself to "before the update", which makes the hardware (coming from M$) literally unusable with the OS. I was using M$ for over 15 years now - and I´m not saying a Mac is flawless, they have several construction sites as well, but the main reasons why I switched, remain the same: there is literally no difference anymore even the price is the same. It does not matter if I get a NEQ 5k display and i7 4GHz machine with 32Gig Ram and PCIE-SSD. That PC does cost even more than the equivalent of an iMac but you have a lot more cables to manage and if you want on-site support or extra warranty because of business use, PC becomes so expensive, it isn´t even funny anymore. Instead of speaking generally, it makes sense to understand the reasons why someone prefers this or that. 10 years ago, there were several reasons more to use a PC and none of them were user interface related. Btw. in many cases the user is the reason why mac's or pc's slow down over time. And it is actually not true that you can´t install an older OS prior to the latest, any OS that you downloaded over the appstore is stored there. If you don´t download it just because you have it already is a fault of the user. For a backup reason you always should download a copy of your current OS and delete it. The appstore will save it in your "bought" tab, easy as that.



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