The Best Mac For Video Editing In 2023

The Best Mac For Video Editing In 2023

December 20, 2022 0 By Abhay Goel

Struggling to choose the best Mac for video editing? We’re here to help.

The best Macs for video editing, including the best MacBooks for video editing, are popular with hobbyists, professional editors, and videographers. Starting with its M1 chip, Apple’s introduction of its own has made it the best computer a video editor can choose.

The MacBook combines great performance with a stunning, accurate display and a premium, robust design. What the video editor doesn’t like? For those who need more power and don’t care about portability, there are Apple’s Mac PCs for video editings such as iMac and Mac Studio.

But which one is better? It partly depends on your priorities. Of course, if you want something portable and don’t want to be obliged to use a separate display, a MacBook should be your choice, but if you rarely need to edit on the go, a Mac PC for video editing must be used.

In the following guide, we evaluated Apple’s latest Macs to help you choose the best Mac for video editing according to your different needs. We made sure each device had the specs we needed for video editing and we tested the devices specifically for this purpose.

The MacBook isn’t cheap by any means, but we have a regular guide to Apple’s best deals of 2023, which also includes some Windows alternatives. Whichever laptop you choose, you’ll want to use the best video editing software that best suits your needs.

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

ChipM1 Pro or M1 Max
Storage512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB
Display16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display; 3456 x 2234 native resolution
Memory16GB, 32GB or 64GB (Unified Memory Architecture)
OthersTouch ID, Notch
PriceStarting from $2,499
Specifications
ProsCons
Larger class-leading mini-LED screen for more comfortable editing.Heavier than the older model
M1 Pro and Pro Max chips offer enhanced performance for video.The most expensive MacBook
The biggest battery life of any MacBook.
Advantages and Disadvantages

In short, we think the October 2021 MacBook Pro 16-inch with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip is the best MacBook for video editing. Unless portability is your primary concern, this remains the best thing about the MacBook, and the Apple silicon gives a particular boost to video editing.

Both chips are powerful but we found the M1 Max much easier to handle extremely demanding GPU workflows related to things like video editing and 3D modelling. The original M1 chip will debut in the 2020 MacBook Pro 13, and the M1 Pro and M1 Max will double or quadruple their performance.

Specifically, the MacBook Pro 16-inch can support real-time editing of multiple streams of 8K video without rendering. The ProRes accelerator built into the chip’s media engineers also means video processing is more efficient and battery life isn’t as impacted. Speaking of battery life, we got 17 hours of normal use and 8 hours of editing in Final Cut Pro.

As for the screen, we found the mini LED display to be bright and colour-accurate right from the start. It also has a better port selection than Apple’s previous MacBook, and storage can be configured for up to 8TB. Many of these specs remain the same on the smaller MacBook Pro 14, but if you’re on a budget and portability isn’t a big issue, the 16-inch version’s larger screen makes the editing interface easier to use.

The downside of the 16-inch MacBook is that it is quite heavy at 2.1 kg for the Pro version and 2.2 kg for the Max version. If you want to carry your video editing laptop around all day, the 14-inch version might be a better choice. Otherwise, this is the best video editing laptop you can get.

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

ChipM1 Pro or M1 Max
Storage512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB
Display14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display; 3024 x 1964 native resolution
Memory16GB, 32GB or 64GB (Unified Memory Architecture)
OthersTouch ID
PriceStarting from $1,999
Specifications
ProsCons
Similarly great performance to the larger device aboveThe smaller screen can be more difficult to work with
A smaller screen makes this device more portableBattery life is around 4 hours shorter than on the Pro 16-inch
Cheaper than the MacBook Pro 16-inch
Advantages and Disadvantages

As we said above, the 14-inch MacBook offers a configuration with roughly the same specs as the larger 2021 MacBook above, but testing found the performance to be spotty. Choose the M1 Max and you’ll get incredible speed from a chip optimized to work even with ultra-high-definition video. If you’re doing very demanding work, choose a Pro Max tip whenever possible. Final Cut Pro renders 4K video 13.4x faster than Mac Pro.

It’s a matter of priority. The MacBook Pro 14-inch is cheaper and half a kilogram lighter than the 16-inch. The question is, can you live with that small screen? It might not matter if you plan to connect an external monitor anyway, but otherwise, the editing feels noticeably cramped.

Mac Studio (2022)

ChipM1 Max or M1 Ultra
Storage512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB (Solid-State Drive)
DisplayStudio Display or Pro Display XDR (Sold separately)
Memory32GB or 64GB
OthersMagic Trackpad and Keyboard (Sold separately)
PriceStarting from $1,999
Specifications
ProsCons
Massive power in a sleek and compact boxOverkill for non-professionals
Plenty of portsRequires separate monitor and peripherals
Silent in use
Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’re looking for pure performance and efficiency, consider a Mac PC. According to Apple, Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra delivers 3.8x faster CPU performance than the most expensive 27-inch iMac and is 90% faster than the Mac Pro with its 16-core Intel Xeon processor. It is also more efficient, consuming 200W less power and outperforming high-end PC GPUs.

No one is suggesting buying a Mac Studio to save money, but with today’s electricity bills, it’s worth considering. In our testing, we found it to be mostly quiet during use, as it doesn’t require a fan to keep it cool. It is also a nice point that it is compact.

Complex video with multiple 8K sources can be handled very easily in Final Cut Pro, but even with other non-Apple software, it can be done on a single SSD without any sign of bottlenecks. We were able to run a lot of files at the same time. Mac Studio is quite expensive, starting at $2,000 just for the base configuration of the M1 Max, but given the performance it offers, this is good for those who need it and can be seen as a value.

MacBook Air (2022)

ChipM2
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB (Solid-State Drive)
Display13.6-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2,560 x 1,664 resolution
Memory8GB, 16GB or 24GB
OthersTouch ID
PriceStarting from $1,199
Specifications
ProsCons
Same chip as the 2022 MacBook Pro 13Not as powerful as a MacBook Pro
Compact and portable but with a larger screen than its predecessorSome people may find the screen  feels cramped
Great battery lifeNot as powerful as a MacBook Pro
Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’re on a tight budget, Apple’s cheapest MacBook, the MacBook Air, isn’t a bad choice for video editing at all, especially for hobbyists and social media content creators. The 2022 model gets better performance thanks to Apple’s proprietary M2 chip. Performance isn’t quite as impressive as the MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro or Max, but it’s better than the 2020 M1 MacBook Air. It turns out that the MacBook Pro 2022 is very similar when running in the same configuration as the M2, but can heat up faster due to its fanless design. We also found the M2 Neural Engine to work great for basic video editing.

The new laptop also features a slightly larger 13.6-inch screen (compared to the MacBook Air M1 model’s 13.3-inch display) with an increased resolution of 2,560 x 1,664. The screen is also brighter at 500 nits and now supports its P3 colour space like the MacBook Pro which supports 1 billion colours. As for battery life, we looped 1080p video for 16 hours — five hours more than the previous MacBook Air. If you want a full day of heavy editing sessions, this is the best MacBook for video editing when it comes to balancing performance and price.

iMac (2021)

ChipM1
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB
Display24-inch 4.5K Retina display; 4480 x 2520 resolution
Memory8GB or 16GB (Unified Memory)
OthersTouch ID (Included in Magic Keyboard)
PriceStarting from $1,299
Specifications
ProsCons
Excellent 4.5K screenThe lack of ports remains
Great new design and colour options
Good value with no need to buy an extra screen
Advantages and Disadvantages

If you want a PC but don’t need a lot of power and don’t want to buy another display, the latest iMac could be the perfect MacBook for video editing. Apple’s iconic iMac has been completely redesigned for 2021 with a bold new look in a variety of colours. It comes with a larger 24-inch screen than the 21.5-inch model, but is thinner and lighter than its predecessor. Best of all, it’s powered by the same Apple M1 chip as the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro 2021 is now more powerful than this PC, so the main advantage is the larger screen, which many people find more comfortable working with than a laptop. It is also affordable but misses the portability of a laptop, and the Mac Studio, which packs easily enough. The all-in-one design means the computer is integrated into the screen, eliminating the need for cumbersome wires and cables to connect. Just plug it in, plug in your wireless keyboard and mouse, and you’re ready to go.

MacBook Pro (2022)

ChipM2
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB (Solid-State Drive)
Display13.3-inch backlit Retina display with IPS technology; 2560 x 1600 native resolution
Memory8GB, 16GB or 24GB (Unified Memory)
OthersTouch ID and Touch Bar
PriceStarting from $1,299
Specifications
ProsCons
More compact and portable than other MacBook ProsLacks ports
More sustained performance than MacBook AirNo longer a big boost over the cheaper MacBook Air
The cheapest MacBook Pro
Advantages and Disadvantages

The MacBook Pro 13-inch M2 is the most portable MacBook, and it’s a good choice if you frequently need to edit videos on the go. It’s significantly cheaper than the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, but still offers good performance and a screen that supports the P3 colour space.

However, we found the M2 MacBook Pro a bit, well, really unnecessary. On the one hand, the M2 chip lacks the optimizations of the M1 Pro and Pro Max to process video more efficiently. Again, not a huge step up from the (slightly) cheaper MacBook Air running on the same chip.

With its active cooling system (fans) and Apple’s Touch Bar, it has an edge over the MacBook Air when it comes to sustained use for long sessions. Ultimately, you will have to choose between these two, and the decision can be made as to whether one of them will make the deal.

Why choose Mac for Video Editing?

For those who want to do video editing or graphic design work, the Mac is a better choice because of the built-in tools that make it easy to edit images and videos without having to install additional software like Adobe Photoshop or Premier Pro.