Finding the best Mac for video editing is vital for professional editors and videographers as well as enthusiasts to get the most out of their work. You can use both desktop Macs and MacBooks for video editing due to their versatility and powerful M1 or M2 chips.
Our experts have evaluated Apple's current range to choose the best Mac for video editing making sure we cover the latest releases as soon as we can get them in for thorough testing. Each device has the specs required for video editing, and have been tested for this task using benchmark tests like Cinebench.
Performing our own tests on video download and upload speed and rendering is only part of the process, as we've also taken on feedback from our contributors on how it is living and working with each machine to gauge their strengths and weaknesses (to learn more, read how we test laptops, PCs and workstations).
Also check out our pick of the best laptops for video editing, which includes some Windows alternatives. Meanwhile, whichever laptop you end up picking, you'll want to use the best video editing software that best fits your requirements. Audiophiles can also check out our guide to the best laptops for music production.
Here, we've put together a quick overview of the best Mac for video editing so you can get a quick heatmap of which model and form factor is best for you.
With both single-core and multi-core improvements in the M3 chip over M2 models, the MacBook Pro M3 is Apple's new king of any creative tasks you can imagine. It offers fantastic speeds, even when running several programs at the same time.
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Apple's compact desktop computer is one of the most powerful machines you could grace your desk with, offering a fantastic alternative to Apple's beefy, larger Mac Pro. It's available in both M2 Max and M2 Ultra configurations.
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If the first laptop on our list just isn't big enough to bring your videos to life, you get two more inches in diameter with this 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display. It's just as powerful, and once again you can choose between the M2 Pro and Max.
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Best Mac for video editing overall
Our new top pick is so astonishingly new that we currently don't even have a full review ready. However, members of the team have used it and are currently preparing a full review, and the unanimous verdict is that we have the new king of Macs for video editing, and indeed any creative task.
The M3 Pro chip, which is our pick of the M2, M2 Pro and M2 Max options, features an 11- or 12-core CPU which we are seeing a multi-core performance jump of between 6 to 10% over the M2 Pro. The M3 Max chip, meanwhile, has a GPU with up to 40 cores and further improvements on the already excellent M2 Max chip.
In real-life terms that means quite simply that it's fast. Very fast. The M2 Pro MacBook from earlier in 2023 was already a blistering performer, but the M3 takes everything that was impressive about that chip and tunes it up to 11. Our reviewer runs Final Cut Pro and other video-editing software, along with After Effects and several other programs open at the same time, and it hardly slows down at all even with heavy workloads.
The range of ports from the M2 version is kept, as the body is almost unchanged. There's one HDMI, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card slot, an audio jack and one MagSafe 3. The 14.3-inch display, also ported over from the recent M2 version, is sharp and colour-accurate, as well as providing up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, and 1,600 nits of peak brightness. There's also a 16-inch version available, but our top recommendation at the moment is the 14-inch one, both due to its lower price and better portability.
Best desktop Mac for video editing overall
If you're looking for raw power that won't take over your entire desk, you might consider a Mac desktop computer. According to Apple, the Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra offers three times faster CPU performance compared to the previous M1 Ultra version, and six times the performance of the Intel-based 27-inch iMac.
It's a great little package that sits neatly between the bulky, beefy power of the Mac Pro and the more streamlined Mac mini. If you want Apple's most powerful desktop chip but don't have room for a large desktop tower, the Mac Studio is an excellent option.
We're currently reviewing it at the moment, but we loved the M1 Ultra version of the Mac Studio, labelling it "one of the best creative workstations you can buy right now." Given that it's now got an even more performant chip nestled inside it, you can expect it to impress even more. We'll update this with the full results from our review once it's finished.
Best Mac screen for video editing
If you like the look of the first MacBook on our list (the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chip) but want a bigger screen, then you'll be pleased to know there's one that's two inches larger in diameter. That means you get a big, beautiful 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, with a super-high resolution 3456x2234 pixels and a pixel density of 254ppi. That makes it bigger overall, at 14.0 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches to the 14-incher's 12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches, and heavier at 4.7-4.8 lbs as opposed to 3.5 lbs.
As far as processing speed, you can configure your laptop with either the M2 Pro (12-core CPU, 19-core GPU) or the M2 Max (12-core CPU, 38-core GPU). The latter is going to get you faster performance but in truth, both will handle video editing magnificently. Whatever you pick, it's an "incredible machine to own and to use" as we said in our review.
Otherwise, the main difference between the 14 and 16-inch versions of the 2023 MacBook Pro lies in the battery: this one offers 100Wh to its smaller sibling's 70Wh. For those superior specs, you'll pay an extra $500 so on balance, we'd say the 14-inch version offers the better value overall, but this one is definitely more powerful.
Best M2 MacBook for video-editing
If you want to do video editing on the move, this was our top pick from Apple until it was superseded by the M3 version in late-2023. It comes with the choice of an M2 Pro or M2 Max chip, both of which knock the socks off anything previously offered by a MacBook in terms of sheer processing power. That means they'll breeze through resource-hungry tasks like video editing, image editing, 3D rendering and 3D modelling.
The M2 Pro chip features a 10- or 12-core CPU with up to eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, which Apple claims delivers 20 per cent greater performance than its predecessor, the M1 Pro. The M2 Max chip has a GPU with up to 38 cores and, Apple says, offers 30% better graphics than the M1 Max.
So what does that all mean in practice? Well, we road-tested the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) with an M2 Pro chip, 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD, and its performance was blisteringly fast. Our reviewer spent some time working on a 3D title sequence in After Effects, while simultaneously running Photoshop and Premiere, and it didn't bat an eyelid. Our benchmark tests kicked up some really impressive numbers too, confirming that this performance boost wasn't just in our minds. It contains "immense amount of power", our reviewer noted.
You get a decent range of ports for a MacBook, too – one HDMI, three Thunderbolt 4, an SDXC card slot, an audio jack and one MagSafe 3. The 14.3-inch display is also gorgeous and capable of delivering top-notch colour accuracy, as well as up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.
For more details, read our Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2, 2023) review.
Best mid-range Mac for video editing
It may no longer be the latest or most powerful laptop Apple has to offer. But the 2021 MacBook Pro 16, with either its M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, is still an excellent choice for video editing on the go -- a "technical tour de force" as our review put it.
Both chips are powerful, but in our review, we found that the M1 Max makes notably lighter work of the highly demanding GPU workflows involved in video editing, as well as things like 3D modelling. The original M1 chip debuted on the 2020 MacBook Pro 13, and the M1 Pro and M1 Max double and quadruple that performance.
This means it can support editing multiple streams of 8K video in real-time. The ProRes accelerator in the chips' media engineers also means that video processing is more efficient, and so won't be as punishing on battery life. And speaking of battery life, we got 17 hours for general use and eight hours of editing in Final Cut Pro.
The mini-LED display is bright, and we found colour accuracy to be excellent out of the box. There's also a better selection of ports than on previous MacBooks, and storage can be configured up to 8TB of storage. Much of these specs remain the same with the smaller MacBook Pro 14, but if you have the budget, the larger screen should give you an easier time (though alternatively, you could just hook up one of the best 4K monitors).
When we tested this MacBook, we found the only real downside (other than its price) is that it is pretty heavy, at 2.1kg for the Pro version and 2.2kg for the M1 Max version. If you're going to be carrying your video editing laptop around all day, something like the 14-inch version might be a better bet.
See our full MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 review for more details.
Best budget Mac for video editing
As we mentioned above, the 14-inch MacBook offers configurations with pretty much the same specs as the larger 2021 MacBook above, and our testing found performance was on par. At the time, we wrote of the 14-inch model that "the performance and build quality this laptop offers is currently unrivalled." The chips might have been superseded by Apple's M2 series, but they still hold up incredibly well today.
Again, you get the choice of the M1 Pro or the M1 Max, offering impressive speed from chips that are optimised for working with even ultra-high-resolution video. If you do very demanding work, then opt for the M1 Max chip if you can: it's a more capable chip for much heavier workloads.
So really it's a question of priorities. The MacBook Pro 14 will cost you less, and it's half a kilogram (1.2 pounds) lighter than the 16. The question is whether you can live with that smaller screen. It might not be an issue if you're planning to hook up an external monitor anyway, but if you're not, it makes the editing feel noticeably more cramped.
For more details, see our Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review.
Best compact Mac for video editing
The 2023 Mac mini is a brilliant, compact Mac for video editing. Just pair it with one of the best monitors for video editing and you've got a great setup that's capable and looks fantastic on any desk. In fact, our reviewer was so impressed that they noted, "so far I've yet to find anything his seemingly unassuming little machine can't handle."
Packing an astonishing amount of power at a brilliant price, we think the new Mac mini (M2, 2023) remains one of the best small form factor PCs money can buy – if not the best. We've always been impressed by just how much power lies inside its small form factor. But with Apple throwing its M2 and all-new M2 Pro chip into the mix, the 2023 model takes performance to a whole new level. The Mac mini is a great alternative to the iMac and can save you a decent amount of cash, especially if you find a good deal on a monitor.
See our full Apple Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023) review for more details.
Another budget Mac for video editing
If you're on a tighter budget, the MacBook Air isn't a bad option at all for video editing, especially for enthusiasts and social media content creators. The 2022 model gets a boost in performance thanks to Apple's own M2 chip. Performance isn't as impressive as MacBook Pros packing the M1 Pro or Max, but it does outperform the 2020 M1 MacBook Air.
In fact, we found performance to be very much on par with the slightly more expensive 2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch when running the same configuration of the M2, according to benchmark scores in Cinebench R23, although it can heat up more quickly due to its fanless design. We also found that the M2 Neural Engine did a great job of handling basic video editing.
The new laptop also has a slightly larger 13.6-inch screen (compared to the MacBook Air M1 Model’s 13.3-inch display), with resolution increased to 2,560 x 1,664. The screen's brighter too at 500 nits, and it now supports the P3 colour gamut like the MacBook Pros, with support for one billion colours. As for battery life, we looped a 1080p video for 16 hours – 5 hours longer than on the previous MacBook Air.
All in all, if you're doing light video editing, or you're not a pro who needs sustained performance for all-day sessions of heavy editing, this is a nice balance between performance and price. As our reviewer put it, "It's basically everything a creative professional would want from an upgrade."
See our full MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review for more details.
Best all-in-one Mac for video editing
If you want a desktop Mac but don't need the most powerful machine on the market – and you prefer to avoid having to fork out for a separate screen – then the latest iMac could be the best Mac for video editing for you. Apple's iconic iMac got a huge new redesign in 2021 with a bold new look in vivid colours. It's thinner and lighter than its predecessor despite coming with a larger 24-inch screen compared to the 21.5-inch model it replaced. Best of all, it features Apple's impressive M1 chip.
The 2021 MacBook Pros are more powerful than the iMac, so the main benefit is that larger screen, which many people will find more comfortable to work on than a laptop (we certainly did). It's also more affordable, though you do miss out on the portability of a laptop.
As far as desktop computers go, we think this is an excellent device to edit videos on. Its all-in-one design means the computer is built into the screen, so there are no awkward wires or cables to plug in. Just hook it up to a power source, connect the wireless keyboard and mouse, and away you go. Put together, it offers "a fantastic pro-level screen and more than enough power for amateur or light-to-mid creative work," according to our review.
For further details, read our Apple iMac M1 review.
Budget desktop Mac for video editing
Apple silicon chips have transformed the Mac mini from a long-forgotten also-ran to one of the best-value Macs you can buy. Starting at just £649 / $599, you get an amazing amount of power for your outlay. If you want to edit videos but don't need the beefiest chip imaginable, the Mac mini (M2, 2023) is an excellent choice.
Its compact footprint means it doesn't take up much space on your desk, and even though it has fans inside, the incredible efficiency of Apple silicon means you'll rarely hear them spin up. That's perfect for helping you concentrate on your editing work without hearing what sounds like the roar of a jet engine spinning up.
Sure, you'll need to supply your own display and keyboard, but if you already have one of the best monitors for video editing, that won't be a problem. In return, you get one of the best-value computers (of any size) on the market.
Best portable Mac for video editing
The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) is one of the most portable MacBooks, so it's a good choice if you often have to edit video on the go. It's significantly cheaper than the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and it still offers decent performance and a screen that supports the P3 colour gamut.
On the downside, the M2 chip doesn't have the optimisation of the M1 Pro and Pro Max for more efficient handling of video. And we found it's not really much of a step up from the (slightly) cheaper MacBook Air, which runs on the same chip.
It does have the edge over the MacBook Air in sustained use in long sessions, since it has an active cooling system (fans). Despite that, our reviewer noticed that the fans hardly started up even during intense testing, making this device a "workstation laptop that is almost completely silent in use."
It also has Apple's Touch Bar, which some people find to be a productivity booster. At the end of the day, it's a tough choice between these two, so your decision might come down to whether either of them has a deal on.
See our MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review to learn more.
Best modular Mac for video editing
If you're after a desktop Mac for video editing and don't need it to be portable, the Apple Mac Pro (2023) is one of the most powerful options on our list so far. It has the same M2 Ultra chip as the Mac Studio, but offers far more in the way of expansion options. Its wealth of PCIe slots and Thunderbolt 4 ports make it easy to connect almost anything you need to, which is a real boost for video-editing work.
It's not exactly a cheap option, though, and its large tower enclosure will take up a lot of space in your office. If you just want raw power, the Mac Studio with M2 Ultra chip might be a better option. If the Mac Pro's connectivity is important to you, though, it's certainly worth considering.
Why should I use a Mac or MacBook for video-editing?
There are several reasons why Macs and MacBooks remain a popular choice for video editing:
Performance: Macs are known for their powerful hardware and software optimisation, which makes them capable of handling complex video-editing tasks with ease. Macs come equipped with powerful processors, graphics cards, and high-speed storage, allowing faster rendering and export times.
Software: Macs come pre-installed with iMovie, a powerful video editing app that will do the job for most basic video-editing tasks. Additionally, professional video-editing apps such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro are also available for Macs, and these are some of the most popular pieces of software among video editors.
Stability: Macs are known for their stability and reliability, meaning they are less prone to crashes and other software-related issues that can interrupt your video-editing workflow.
Colour accuracy: Macs are also known for their high-quality displays, which offer accurate and consistent colour reproduction. This is particularly important for video editors who need to ensure their video footage looks the same across different devices and platforms.
Integration: If you are already invested in the Apple ecosystem, using a Mac or MacBook for video editing will integrate seamlessly with other Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Macs also integrate well with other Apple software and features such as iCloud and AirDrop, making it easy to share and transfer files between devices.
Are Macs better than PCs for video-editing?
Both Macs and PCs can be used for video editing, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Macs are known for their excellent performance, stability, and software optimisation, making them a popular choice among professional video editors. Macs and MacBooks come equipped with powerful processors, high-speed storage, and dedicated graphics cards that are optimized for video editing software such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Macs also have a reputation for colour accuracy and high-quality displays, which is important for professional video editing.
On the other hand, PCs offer a wider range of hardware options and can be more affordable than Macs, especially when it comes to building a custom system. Additionally, professional video-editing apps such as Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve are available on Mac and PC, so you can choose the best platform for you.
Ultimately, whether a Mac or PC is better for video editing depends on your personal preferences, budget, and specific video-editing needs. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice ultimately comes down to your individual requirements and preferences.
How do I choose the best Mac or MacBook for video editing?
When choosing a Mac or MacBook for video editing, there are several factors to consider:
Processor: Look for a Mac with a powerful processor, preferably something from Apple's M2 or M3 chip ranges. A more powerful processor will handle video-editing tasks faster and more efficiently. M1 chips are also more than powerful enough and getting cheaper with more frequent discounts, if you're working on a tighter budget.
Graphics card: These days, Macs don't come with discrete graphics cards. Instead, the graphics processor is built right into the chip itself. Looks out for graphics core counts when shopping around: the M2 Ultra comes with 60 graphics cores, which will result in much better performance than the eight cores on the M2.
RAM: Apple silicon chips use something Apple calls a "unified memory architecture", which means the CPU and GPU can share a common memory pool. In layman's terms, this means 8GB of unified memory should perform better than 8GB of regular memory. Still, it's a good idea to choose a Mac with at least 16GB of RAM, as video-editing software can be memory-intensive. If you're planning to work on more complex video projects or 4K footage, consider getting a Mac with 32GB or 64GB of RAM.
Storage: Video editing requires a lot of storage, so look for a Mac with a large SSD. Consider getting a Mac with at least 512GB of storage, or even 1TB or more if you plan to work on larger projects.
Display: A high-quality display is essential for video editing. Look for a Mac with a Retina display that offers high resolution and colour accuracy. If you're getting a Mac without a display, such as a Mac mini, you'll need to get a monitor as well. Thankfully, our guide to the best monitors for video editing will help you find a good monitor for your needs.
Software: Consider the video-editing software you plan to use and ensure it is compatible with the Mac you choose.
Budget: Macs can be expensive, so take your budget into account and choose a Mac that offers the best balance of performance and features within your means. A MacBook Pro might have more power, but maybe a MacBook Air will do everything you need. Consult our MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air guide to get to find out all the differences between the two models.
By considering all these factors, you can choose a Mac or MacBook that is well-suited for your video-editing needs. If you also work a lot with graphic design, you can check out our guide for the best laptops for graphic design.
How we choose the best Macs for video editing
In short, we choose the best Macs for video editing by looking at the same factors you would, ensuring to choose a wide variety of devices that tick at least a majority of boxes for most people.
As with all of our buying guides, we consider foremostly the affordability and availability, covering a range of price points and different skill levels. Next up, we look at the performance and components, weighing up the processors and graphics card power alongside the RAM and storage.
The display is naturally very important when considering a Mac for video editing, so we want to see high-quality displays offering good colour accuracy and high resolution.
Lastly, we'd also consider practical and design elements; how light is it and how easy would it be to stow away for editing-on-the go? Is it an eyesore (unheard of in Apple-land), does it have any further assistive features?
If you're also looking for a MacBook for other purposes, see our guide to the best MacBook for programming.