Is an M1 Mac Still a Good Choice for Coding in 2024?

With the rapid advancement of computer technology, software developers and enthusiasts often find themselves at a crossroads when deciding on the best hardware for their coding needs. One of the pivotal choices in recent years has been Apple's introduction of the M1 chip, which marked the company's transition from Intel CPUs to its custom-designed silicon. But as we move into 2024, the question arises: Is an M1 Mac still a good choice for coding? Let’s dive into the details to provide clarity and guidance for developers considering an M1 Mac for their development work.


The Apple M1 chip, introduced in late 2020, was a game-changer in terms of performance and efficiency. Its 8-core CPU, which combines 4 high-performance cores with 4 high-efficiency cores, along with an integrated 7- or 8-core GPU (depending on the model), and up to 16GB of unified memory, brought substantial improvements over its predecessors. For coding tasks, from compiling large codebases to running multiple development tools and virtual machines, the M1 chip provides a smooth and responsive experience.

In 2024, while newer chips may offer incremental performance upgrades, the M1 remains more than capable for a wide range of development tasks. Its efficiency cores ensure that less demanding applications run without wasting energy, making it ideal for developers who value battery life and thermal management.


Initially, there were concerns about software compatibility, especially for developers relying on specific tools and environments. However, the situation has significantly improved. Most popular development tools, languages, and environments like Visual Studio Code, Docker, and the JetBrains suite have been optimized for the M1 architecture. Furthermore, Rosetta 2, Apple's translation layer, allows software built for Intel Macs to run seamlessly on M1 Macs, albeit with a slight performance impact that is negligible for most tasks.

Development Ecosystem

Apple's ecosystem offers robust tools for developers, especially for those invested in developing apps for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Xcode on M1 Macs performs exceptionally well, offering fast compilation times and a smooth UI design experience. The M1 chip also supports iOS and iPadOS apps natively, which can be a significant advantage for mobile app developers looking to test their applications directly on their Mac.


While the M1 Macs are still competitive in 2024, it's important to consider the rapid pace of technological advancement. Apple continues to release new chips with enhanced performance and capabilities. However, for many developers, especially those working on web development, mobile app development, and even some game development, an M1 Mac provides a balanced mix of performance, energy efficiency, and longevity that will remain relevant for several years.


In summary, an M1 Mac remains a solid choice for coding in 2024, particularly for developers who value efficiency, battery life, and access to Apple's development ecosystem. While there are newer options available, the M1 chip's performance is still competitive for a wide range of development tasks. For those already invested in the Apple ecosystem or considering their first Mac for development, an M1 Mac represents a balanced, cost-effective option that bridges high performance with future usability. However, for developers needing the utmost performance for specific tasks, such as AI model training or high-end game development, exploring newer models might be worthwhile.