Do students prefer Mac or Windows?

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Mac or Windows for students?

It is a question that is one of the contentious issues in the student world. Some students prefer Mac, and some students prefer it. Both sides of the argument have merits. What should students prefer? What are the points supporting both sides of the argument? In this blog post, let us examine all aspects of this classic debate.


According to Jamf, 71% of students prefer Mac. It may very well be true, but Microsoft’s Surface, a Windows-based device, has made immense strides in competing with the Mac on college campuses. Also, the finding turned out to be quite contradictory as around 40% of students revealed that they already own a Mac, and 60% were using Windows at that time. Out of that, 60%, about 30% of students also claimed that they would prefer Mac over Windows anytime, but they are currently using Windows. So, the survey has a lot of nuance to it. What are the key factors that affect students’ decision to go with a Mac or a Windows device?

Key factors – Mac or Windows

1. The Brand Value

Many students prefer Mac or Windows for the world-class high-tech features, intelligent software, and other core specifications. Apart from all that, one of the most important factors is brand value. Many students perceive that Mac has a better brand value. On campuses, students consider carrying a Mac as ‘cool.’ The reasons are debatable. During the 2006 to 2009 period, Apple ran an advertising campaign called, Get a Mac aggressively. In the commercials, the Macbook owner is represented by a young adult wearing a sweat-shirt, and the Windows device owner is shown as an older gentleman with a suit and a tie. Whether this campaign led to the belief that student prefers Mac, is also debatable.


It’s a natural human tendency to choose something that has hit our emotional chord. We can resonate with the brand value since it taps into our inner instincts of enhancing our value by owning a specific brand product in the market. Brand value indeed turns out to be the most significant positive influencer among students to choose a Mac.

2. Cost of the devices

Many students who picked Windows over Mac did that because Mac costs a lot more than just a regular Windows device. Apple Inc is a luxury brand, and its products are not always in harmony with most of the students’ socio-economic conditions. Usually, students are functioning with limited funds. It’s not practically possible for students to afford Mac even if they desire to or are tempted to do so. In the survey, around 51% of students using Windows admitted that if costs were not an issue, they would have happily purchased Mac.

3. Compatibility

Compatibility is another factor that puts off so many students and their desire to own Mac. Mac requires individual specifications. In simple words, it is not easy to handle Mac. It comes up with its restrictions and limitations. Say – Network issues or device linkup issues in college labs or sharing information across networks or easy plugin devices, etc., can all become daunting tasks with a Mac.

4. Available software tools

This is a very crucial factor—the intended use of the device matters. Students into any education areas that require special tools such as Creative Writing, Media, Graphic designing, Animation, etc., may find it hard to find support for such tools on Mac. At the same time, most tools work on Windows devices. Certain tools work on Mac but won’t work on Windows.

5. Individual adaptability status

And the last factor is what platform students are comfortable with. Some students grow up with a windows device since school days and are most comfortable with it. They tend to go with Windows devices. Others grew up in a household where they use a Mac. Those students go with a Mac.

Understanding the Advantages & Disadvantages of Mac and Windows

MacBook’s are known for their superior performance overall. Their hardware is exceptionally streamlined, and their software is spectacularly brilliant, which genuinely makes it worth the hype and the price. Not just this, Mac devices are ultraportable and flexible so that you can seamlessly carry it along while traveling and tend to essential assignments quickly and effectively. Furthermore, Mac’s power backup is superb, making it a valuable addition for a student who has to run pillar to posts from long-winded sessions, lectures, coffee shops, internships offices, etc., without worrying about a charger.


However, the disadvantages are that the Macs do not support many peripheral devices available in the market. A lot of plug-and-play devices do not work with Mac because of the restrictive nature. Some folks consider this as a good thing in terms of security. But most others consider this as very inconvenient. The other main disadvantage is the price of the Mac. They are very expensive.


On the other hand, Windows-based devices offer a wide variety of software and tools. Any device with a USB and a device driver can be connected to Windows devices. Windows devices also come with several software tools. Most designers of software keep Windows in mind when they design software. Windows devices are the most widely used devices across the world. The price of windows devices is also reasonable.


There are many disadvantages of Windows devices too. The first and foremost disadvantage is the security aspect. Windows devices to prone to viruses unless strong anti-virus software is used. Because of the open nature of the platform, it opens up many vulnerabilities.


Whichever laptop students may prefer to pursue their higher education, students should always consider some key elements before buy. We laid those factors on our free laptops page. And to put it bluntly, students should not consider what they prefer, but they should consider what is required and best serves the purpose. Here at Online Masters Colleges (OMC), we support and encourage students to look into colleges that offer free laptops.

Meet The Author

Cynthia S.

Cynthia S. is an educationalist and currently works as a lecturer at one of the reputed universities on the West Coast. She has a bachelor’s and is currently pursuing an online master’s in education. Cynthia has over ten years of experience in the field of higher education.

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