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MacBook - Hardware spec


Well-known member
CX Code Contributor
3rd Party Module Dev
Tutorial Author
3rd Party Tool Dev
Sep 9, 2017
I'm looking into a second hand MacBook for playing with iOS dev. 2nd macbooks can still hold a hefty price tag especially for experimenting. I know nothing about Mac and hardware and wondering what I'd need for CX. Would a MacBook from 2010 be sufficient?

I've seen this spec..
MacBook Pro 13.3" - Mid 2010, 2.66GHz 8gb
(That's all I know)

Many thanks
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From what I gathered in the net, such a Macbook can't install the latest OSX version.
From what I gathered in the net, such a Macbook can't install the latest OSX version.
Thanks for this. I completely forgot about the OS. I really wouldn't hesitate buying a Windows laptop with this spec. What a strange world Mac is.
I'll have to do a lot more research
Yup, I have a Macbook from around 2011, and it is useless now - it can't run the latest OS either

With previous OS version it was already so slow I wanted to throw it out of the window everytime I booted it up. But since I was using it just to compile and upload stuff to the app store, I would just go through it, slow as it was.

Apple from time to time just do stuff like this. Demands something ridiculous that ends up costing you a lot. See the latest 'jump' from x86 to ARM - all previous Intel/x86 Macs are going to be as useless as this one I have very soon.
Wanting to get into iOS less and less now
Same with the Max Mini I got. 2014 model. Can run Catalina and maybe Big Sur but it is already super slow. I think Apple is deliberately slowing older devices down. They were caught doing this to phones already.
I will never target the app stores anymore. They latest news on how they treat developers who publish their apps for free made that decision easy for me.
In my opinion it is better to purchase a more recent model for everyday use, it is make it less painful. I was also struggling with this for years looking at old Macs just to target macOS and iOS but could not justify to pay that much money only to build apps. Of course if you are a heavy Windows user and macOS can not replace Windows for your daily use, there is no easy way around this unfortunately.

Regarding not to target iOS, it is maybe worth considering that even though in some regions it is less popular than Android and maybe more expensive, financially it is a more successful platform for developers than Android.

Regarding intentional slow dow, Apple admitted iOS do slow down the processor when the battery lose performance due to age to protect the battery life and prevent any damage which makes sense and some may argue it is bull**, regardless in such cases Apple do replace the battery for you for $50 which again, some may argue why not free, but I just don`t get it why anyone expect any company to do anything for free unless you have an insurance.
Otherwise slow down could be also natural especially in case of a 10 years old hardware since the OS get more and more features and not only macOS and iOS effected by this but all other OS as well, Windows maybe less so because it is no longer getting major updates but mostly fixes and patches. But macOS and iOS is still evolving and getting significant updates so it is natural it may slow down on old hardware.
Regarding slow down due to age, my worst experience is my Chromebook, I have purchased it when there was no Android and Linux apps but web apps only. After turning it on, I was able to surfe the web within 3 seconds. Since the Android update and especially since the Linux update, the boot time is down to 10 minutes. Yes the OS still boot to the desktop in 3 seconds, but I can not launch any apps or open a webpage before all the Android and Linux background processes starts and it is takes about 10 minutes to fully boot the system and able to launch Chrome and open a website.

So I would say, slow down for a 10 years old hardware is natural and you can actually consider your self lucky to even get any updates for such an old hardware. My 5 years old Windows 10 laptop is no longer getting Windows updates because the updater claim the update is not compatible and the update is on hold, but don't worry I get the updates as soon as it get compatible with my device which is never going to happen I guess because just before that I was getting a message in the notifications window my Laptop reached end of life support just after 5 years? Chromebook is same it is getting support only for 5 years. Android is even worse, all my devices was stop getting updates after only 2-3 years or never got any update ever. So getting an update for a 10 years old MacBook and a 5 years old iPhone, is a nice thing in my opinion and Apple do have my respect for that.

Regarding no free apps in the AppStore, I heard stories but I yet to see a truly free app being removed just because it is free.
Most apps was removed was free to use but they did offer premium services and features that you can subscribe to through a website using a credit card, PayPal..etc.
All apple is asking for, in such cases implement Apple Pay so users can subscribe directly in the app instead of redirecting them to a website which is makes total sense, it is more secure, more convenient.
Apps were also removed because they did offer Google, Facebook, Microsoft login but no Apple login which is again, for better user experience Apple do want to force devs to implement Apple login which is again, makes sense since every single iOS users do have an Apple account so why not implement Apple login if you implement Google, Microsoft and Facebook?
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thanks for everyones info... still not sure what to do for the best.
Im going to leave it for a while
I agree with the comments here as Apple does make things hard.

From my own experience I can say that the current Catalina (v10.15.6) works well on a wide range of Macbook air models.
Macbook air 2012 4gb 13" run it at a good speed and I use it as my main and only computer.
The fact that it wont' be able to run Big Sur makes me upset, because it's a nice machine.

I will make my 2012 model into a non-developer machine I guess, or just sell it.

The Macbook air 4gb 2013 11" runs it really really well. It feels modern. Even with just 4gb It still feels perfect and much better than the 2012 model. Much better.

The absolutely newest model that I have tried Catalina on was a Macbook air 2015 8gb and it actually run equally well.
There's no big gain if you compare the 2013 4gb with the 2015 8gb models. So the biggest step that I've seen on Apple Macbook was the 2013 models. Apple changed a lot of the internals around that year I think and would explain why the next big version is not supported on previous models.

I'm unsure how future proof the 2013 model is for development but my guess would be maybe a few years, hopefully.
If you can afford it, pick a 2014 or 2015 model to be more safe.
So I would say, slow down for a 10 years old hardware is natural and (...)
Not quite. I have an HP computer I've bought in 2009 and it runs Windows 10 flawlessly. Now comparing with my Macbook from 2011 - two years later - and MacOS whatever version (I don't even remember which OS is in it), and the difference is appalling.

It takes a lot of time even to boot the OS. If not intentional, then Apple is really, really bad at coding. And they don't even have to deal with crappy hardware made by God knows who, like Windows - it's all their own hardware.

I'm unsure how future proof the 2013 model is for development(...)
Apple is now switching from Intel to ARM processors. I've seen this before, the switch from PowerPC to Intel, and it was ugly. Their promise was It would take 2 years to transition... took less than a year and a lot of developers were angry at Apple back then (Mainly Adobe). In 3 years, all support to PowerPC was gone.

I'll bet they'll make it even faster now, just to push 'new hardware' on people and their agenda to have iOS as their OS for everything.

So, even if I had the money to 'renew' my Mac hardware, I'd postpone it until they release their ARM line. Buying any Intel right now seems a waste of money for me, really.
Not quite. I have an HP computer I've bought in 2009 and it runs Windows 10 flawlessly.
Same here. My 2009 Imac which ran High Sierra like a 3 leg dog runs just fine on Linux Mint.
One thing that is good with the new Apple OS though, is that it makes Cerberus-X' graphics incredibly fast, even on the 2012 model it finally work exactly as I have wanted for a long time since the beginning of Blitz BASIC. But I tend to think like all of you because of how Apple treat their programmers ; so I'm going for Android/Linux/Windows.
I have an HP computer I've bought in 2009 and it runs Windows 10 flawlessly.

Maybe it is depends on the hardware then. My 7 years old HP Desktop takes about 20 minutes to boot Windows 10 and my 5 years old Toshiba laptop (that no longer getting Windows updates since this year January) also takes about 15 minutes to boot. Running the OS is actually not the problem but the boot time takes ages and launching apps for the first time can also take ages so if I have only 10-30 minutes to jump in and do something, it was getting on my nerves lately.

Now it could be the AV I`m running, so I have uninstalled my AV few month ago and was sticking with Windows Defender for a bit but did not improved anything and after getting a malware infection I decided ok, time to go back to a proper AV.
I also tried cleaning the system with CCleaner and defragmenting the hard drive and ssd, did improve a little but not significantly.
Did also check autostart apps, disabled everything but nothing.
Judging from the system monitor it was mostly Windows processes eating all my CPU and Storage resources, often running the CPU at 100% and also reading and writing the hdd and ssd at 100% at boot time and it was killing me. But for me it was always like this with Windows.

Linux is the best, it is not slowing down, it is just break instantly and decide one day not to boot or not to update ever again and apps not to launch because of broken dependencies, Ubuntu 12.04 was the last version that worked for me I was using it for 4 years but since 16.04 not a single Linux distro last longer than few months for me, the last one I tried was Pop!_OS 18.04, I was using it for about 8 months, but after the boot time did increase and took about 5 minutes to get to the login screen and after an other 4-5 minutes to launch an app but in this case it was a known bug and the only solution was is to do a fresh install. Don't know if they have fixed it.

Maybe I am just not lucky but honestly I can not complain about macOS and iOS slowing down over years, it does feel natural to me but I understand the experience can be different for people.

still not sure what to do for the best.

Honestly, if you really want to give iOS dev a try, consider switching to macOS completely and get a more recent hardware.
I was also struggling with this for almost 10 years because of Windows software I was using, because of the price of the hardware, because of the low specs of the Mac compered to PC at same price point and negative feedbacks from people.. but finally I got my 2019 iMac 1 month ago, so I don't have a lot of experience but I am totally happy with my purchase so far. macOS is nice, takes some time to get used to but since I was a big fan of the Gnome desktop on Linux, I do like the overall look and feel and the way it functions not the same as Gnome but similar. Many free and open-source software is also available for macOS and works nicely, also many game engines if you play around with multiple engines like I do but if we consider AAA ones only, there is Unity, Unreal and GameMaker, and lots of Indie engines like Cerberus and also SpriteKit, Apples own game framework which I did give it a try and it is pretty neat to be honest, does have some good points but obviously it is not cross-platform so it is not for everyone. If you develop cross-platform apps there is also Xamarin, Slutter, React..etc So there is not a lot to lose from developer point of view by switching to macOS.

The only thing that bothers me about macOS is that, Inkscape runs horrible for some reason, it is so slow takes 2 minutes to redraw a circle when I resize it, I have no choice but to consider to get a paid one, I am looking at Affinity Designer, looks nice.
Also games runs horrible, even if on paper the Mac have the specs, games are absolutely not been optimised for macOS and does not run at all. The iMac I have on paper have much better specs than my Windows desktop but still can not run games much better, some games even runs worst. At first I was extremely disappointed but then I thought "challenge accepted", sure I can make games runs better than this. I did some tests with different engines and frameworks and yeah, I see no reason for those games running so bad and can be done better. In-fact I think most of those games was built using old versions of Unity and Unreal but if the devs care to port the games over to the latest version of those engines and rebuild, it could improve things significantly without lot of work required, but as I have realised most Indie developer just simply hate Apple and macOS and don't bother and big studios looking at it strictly from financial point of view and obviously it doesn't worth it for them to take a 5 years old game and rebuild it using new, better version of the engine just to run better. But games using an in-house engine runs fine, It is mostly Unity and Unreal engine games from 5 years ago that runs horrible.

So if you play AAA games a lot it can be a very though decision, macOS is not for games, not because it doesn't have games but because games don't run on macOS.
If you don't actually play AAA titles that much only casual games maybe, and you don't currently use any Windows only software then I can totally recommend to consider switching to macOS and get a more recent hardware.

However, I can not really comment on how long Apple going to support the current Intel Macs but I expect them to support it as long at least the AppleCare+ cover last since it does cover accidental damage up to 2 times I believe. It is indeed uncertain times to get an Intel Mac of any gen but if you do I recommend getting a more recent to replace Windows if you can.
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Judging from the system monitor it was mostly Windows processes eating all my CPU and Storage resources
Just disable the hard disk indexing. Windows keeps trying to index all your files, all the time. That plus crap installed by manufacturers are the main reason for sluggish computers.

Of course, if you're running a laptop with few Gbs and a crappy Intel video chip, then there is no hope. But if you have 4-6Gb RAM and anything from ATI or nVidia, there is no reason why win8 or win10 won't run smoothly for you.
Just disable the hard disk indexing.

Thanks. never thought of that, sure it might help to speed up Windows but in my case it is Sysmain and System process eat most of my resources during boot and when I launch apps for first time since boot. I thought of disabling these processes but it seems to be not safe to do so as Sysmain is supposed to preloading often used apps in to memory that explains the slow boot but even with this so called preloading, when I launch an app for the first time since boot, System kicks in which is told to compress old pages of memory and slow the initial launch process down, after everything goes normal and runs smooth but the boot time and initial launch process is slow as hell.

Yes the laptop got Intel chipset, no AMD or Nvidia but has a quad core CPU and 8GB RAM. So I am not expecting to fly but it was running smooth, my desktop got a 2GB dedicated Nvidia GTX graphics and quad core CPU and it was flying. Something had to change how these processes operate following a Windows update years ago because I remember right after getting the update couple years ago, things begin to slow down on both my desktop and laptop because the above mentioned processes become very heavy on CPU and hard drive and it was getting only worse with each windows update but was never certain if it even possible and safe to disable them.
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