The best Mac for video editing in 2023

One of the best MacBooks for video editing on a desk beside a camera
(Image credit: TheRegisti via Unsplash)

The best Macs for video editing, including the best MacBooks for video editing, are popular with professional editors and videographers as well as with enthusiasts. Apple's introduction of its own silicon, starting with the M1 chip, has made them among the best computers that video editors can choose. 

MacBooks combine fantastic performance with stunning, accurate displays and solid design with a premium feel. What is there for a video editor not to like? And for those that need even more power and aren't concerned about portability there are Mac PCs for video editing, such as the iMac and the Mac Studio.

But which is best? That will partly depend on your priority. Obviously, if you want something portable and don't want to have the obligation of using a separate display, then you're going to want to go for a MacBook, whereas if you're unlikely to ever need to edit on the move, a Mac PC for video editing may be a good choice. 

In the guide below, we've evaluated all of Apple's current range of Macs to choose the best Mac for video editing depending on different requirements. We've ensured that each device has the specs required for video editing, and our reviewers have tested the machines specifically for this purpose. We've also taken on feedback from our contributors (see more about how we test laptops, PCs and workstations). 

MacBooks are never cheap, but we have a regular guide to the best Apple deals. If you decide you're not sold on a Mac, check out our pick of the best laptops for video editing overall, which also includes some Windows alternatives. And 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.

The best Macs and best MacBooks for video editing 

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The MacBook Pro 16-inch, one of the best MacBooks for video editing, on a tableCB

(Image credit: Future)
The best MacBook for video editing overall

Specifications

Processor: Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max
Storage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Display: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display; 3456 x 2234 native resolution
Memory: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB (unified memory architecture)
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: Touch ID

Reasons to buy

+
Larger class-leading mini-LED screen for more comfortable editing
+
M1 Pro and Pro Max chips offer enhanced performance for video
+
The biggest battery life of any MacBook

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than the older model
-
The most expensive MacBook

In short, we think the best MacBook for video editing is the October 2021 MacBook Pro 16, with its M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. This remains the best MacBook full stop, unless portability is your main concern, and the Apple silicon offers a particular boost for video editing. 

Both chips are powerful, but 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. 

What this means in real terms is that the MacBook Pro 16-inch can support editing multiple streams of 8K video in real-time without rendering. 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. 

As for the screen, the mini-LED display is bright, 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 and portability isn't a major concern, the larger screen of the 16-inch version should give you an easier time working in your editing interface, and you won't catch yourself dreaming of an external monitor (though you can easily hook one up if you need a 4K display or more – just see our pick of the best 4K monitors)

When we tested it, we found the only real downside to this 16-inch Macbook (other than its price) is that it is pretty heavy, at 2.1kg for the Pro version and 2.2kg for the 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. Otherwise, this is simply the best video-editing laptop you can get. 

See our full MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 review for more details.

MacBook Pro 14-inch, one of the best MacBooks for video editing, on a table in an officeCB endorsed

(Image credit: Future)
The best MacBook for video editing if you need portability

Specifications

Processor: Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max
Storage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Display: 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display; 3024 x 1964 native resolution
Memory: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB (unified memory architecture)
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: Touch ID

Reasons to buy

+
Similarly great performance to the larger device above
+
Smaller screen makes this device more portable
+
Cheaper than the MacBook Pro 16

Reasons to avoid

-
The smaller screen can be more difficult to work with
-
Battery life around 4 hours shorter than on the Pro 16

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 a part. Again, with the choice of the M1 Pro or the M1 Max, for incredible speed from chips that are optimised for working with even ultra-high-resolution video. If you do very demanding work, then opt for the Pro Max chip if you can: it's capable of rendering 4K video in Final Cut Pro a whopping 13.4x faster than the Mac Pro.

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'e planning to hook up an external monitor anyway, but if you're not, it makes the editing feel noticeably more cramped. See our Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review here.

Mac Studio, one of the best Macs for video editing, on a tableCB endorsed

(Image credit: Future)
The best Mac PC for video editing

Specifications

Processor: M1 Max, M1 Ultra
Storage: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB SSD
Display: None
Memory: 32GB, 64GB
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: Touch ID

Reasons to buy

+
Massive power in a sleek, compact box
+
Plenty of ports
+
Silent in use

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for non-professionals
-
Requires separate monitor and peripherals

If you're looking for raw power – and also efficiency – you might consider a Mac PC. According to Apple, the Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra offers 3.8 times faster CPU performance compared to the most expensive 27-inch iMac and 90% faster than the Mac Pro with a 16-core Intel Xeon processor. It's also more efficient, outpacing even the highest end PC GPU while using 200W less.

No one's going to suggest buying a Mac Studio to save money, but that energy saving is worth taking into account considering the current cost of power. Testing it out, we found that it was almost silent in use since it doesn't need fans to keep it cools. We also love the fact that it's so compact. 

It makes super light work of complex video with multiple 8K sources in Final Cut Pro, but even using other non-Apple software, we were able to have a bunch of files running all at the same time in a single SSD with no signs of a bottleneck. The Mac Studio is hugely expensive, starting at $2,000 for only the base configuration with the M1 Max, but considering the performance it provides, this could be considered value for money for those that need it.

See our full Mac Studio review for more details.

MacBook Air, one of the best MacBooks for video editing, in an office on a black desk

(Image credit: Future)
The best MacBook for video editing on a tighter budget

Specifications

Processor: Apple M2
Memory: 8GB, 16GB, 24GB
Display: 13.6-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2,560 x 1,664 resolution
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: Touch ID

Reasons to buy

+
Same chip as the 2022 MacBook Pro 13
+
Compact and portable but with a larger screen than its predecessor
+
Great battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as powerful as a MacBook Pro
-
Some people may find the screen  feels cramped

If you're on a tighter budget, then Apple's cheapest MacBook, the MacBook Air isn't at all a bad option 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 a 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 500nits, 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 at least, you're not a pro who needs sustained performance for all-day sessions of heavy editing, this is the best MacBook for video editing when it comes to balancing performance and price.

See our full MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review for more details.

The Apple iMac M1, one of the best Macs for video editing, on a table

(Image credit: Future)
The best value Mac PC for video editing

Specifications

Processor: Apple M1
Memory: 8GB,16GB (unified memory)
Display: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display; 4480 x 2520 resolution
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: Touch ID

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 4.5K screen
+
Great new design and colour options
+
Good value with no need to buy an extra screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of ports remains

If you want a PC but don't need such awesome power, and you prefer the avoid having to fork out for a separate screen, then the latest iMac could be the best MacBook for video editing for you. Apple's iconic iMac got a huge new redesign in 2021 with a bold new look in various 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 feature's the Apple M1 chip - the same one that powers the 13-inch MacBook Pro. 

The 2021 MacBook Pros are now more powerful than this PC, so found the main benefit to be that larger screen, which many people will find it 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, and even the Mac Studio, which is easy enough to pack away.

As far as desktop PCs go, we think it's an excellent device to edit videos on. It's all-in-one design means the computer is built into the screen, so there's 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. Check out our Apple iMac M1 review for more info.

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), one of the best Macs for video editing

(Image credit: Future)
The most portable MacBook Pro for video editing

Specifications

Processor: Apple M2
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD
Display: 13.3-inch backlit Retina display with IPS technology; 2560 x 1600 native resolution
Memory: 8GB, 16GB, 24GB (unified memory)
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: Touch ID and Touch Bar

Reasons to buy

+
More compact and portable than other MacBook Pros
+
More sustained performance than MacBook Air
+
The cheapest MacBook Pro

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks ports
-
No longer a big boost over the cheaper MacBook Air

The MacBook Pro 13in (M2, 2022) is the most portable MacBook, so it's a good choice if you often have to edit video on the go. It's significantly cheaper than the 14in and 16in MacBook Pros, and it still offers decent performance and a screen that supports the P3 colour gamut.

That said, we found the M2 MacBook Pro to be a little, well, unnecessary really. On the one hand, the M2 chip doesn't have the optimisation of the M1 Pro and Pro Max for more efficient handling of video. On the other it's no longer 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), and 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 touch choice between these two, so you're decision might come down to whether either of them has a deal on. 

See our more detailed MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review to learn more.

Product shot of Apple Mac Pro (2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

07. Apple Mac Pro (2019)

The best Mac for video editing for those that need almost infinite power

Specifications

Processor: 8- to 28-Core Intel Xeon W
Memory: 32GB, 48GB, 96GB, 192GB, 384GB, 768GB, 1.5TB
Display: None
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB SSD
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Modular future-proof design
+
Flexible configuration options

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive and doesn't see deals
-
Big and bulky

If you're after an absolute powerhouse of a Mac for video editing, and you've got plenty of budget, then the Apple Mac Pro (2019) is another option. The sky is (almost) the limit both in terms of configuration and price, with Mac Pro going all the way up to a 28-Core Intel Xeon W with 1.5GB RAM. That will handle massive professional video editing workflows.

While the Mac Pro is very expensive, there are plenty of configuration options, which lets you pick the specs that best suit your needs and budget. It's also got a modular design, which means unlike Apple's other devices, like the iMac above, it's easy to upgrade parts of the system later on. This means it can be future-proofed for years to come. This is one for professionals, and more likely professional studios, that really need it.

Mac mini (M1, 2020) on a table

(Image credit: Future)
A powerful but compact Mac for video editing

Specifications

Processor: Apple M1 chip
Memory: 8GB, 16GB (unified memory)
Display: None
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Very good performance
+
New M1 hardware has potential

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't use eGPUs

The 2020 Mac mini is a brilliantly 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.

The base model features the Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 16-core Neural Engine, and there are four expansion ports at the back for either USB or Thunderbolt external storage, plus HDMI 2.0 to simultaneously support two displays. However, unlike older Mac minis, you can't add an external GPU, which is a shame, as that was a good way to boost the video editing chops of this tiny Mac.

This is the same hardware found in the new iMac 24-inch model, and when we tested it, we found it offers very similar performance, but without the built-in display, and for quite a bit less money. If you already have a monitor you love using, then the Mac mini is a great alternative to the new iMac, and can save you a decent amount of cash. See our full Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020) review for more details.

iMac 27-inch 2020

(Image credit: Future)
The best Mac for video editing with a larger screen

Specifications

Porcessor: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9
Memory: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Display: 27-inch Retina 5K display; 5120 x 2880 resolution
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB SSD
Touch ID and Touch Bar?: No

Reasons to buy

+
Can be configured to be very powerful
+
Large 27in screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Design is getting old
-
Just two Thunderbolt ports

Finally, if you're after Mac for video editing with a large display and solid build quality, than the 2020 27-inch iMac is still worth considering. Other than the large screen, a reason to consider this older iMac over the 2021 24in model is the discrete graphics card, which can outperform the integrated graphics of the M1.

When we reviewed it, we also appreciated the webcam and built-in microphone, which is handy for hybrid working. The design might feel a little old now, but see it as a Mac classic that's still impressively slim and stylish. Apple no longer sells the 27-inch iMac directly, but you can find it through other retailers, often with a discount on the RRP. See our iMac 2020 review for more details.

What to consider for choosing the best Mac for video editing

Video editing is an intensive process, so you need a computer with a decent amount of power to avoid frustrating delays in GPU rendering and freezes while you're trying to work. For a long time that meant needing a discrete graphics card, but Apple's own integrated silicon performs so well that this is no longer the case. The M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips in particular have been optimised to handle video more efficiently. 

Memory is another important consideration. The cheaper MacBooks – the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch – start at 8GB in unified memory, which can cause them to stutter during video ending. They can be configured higher, though, with 16GB and 24GB available. The MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch start at 16GB, while the Mac Pro goes up to a massive 1.5TB.

Finally, if you're working with high-resolution footage, like 4K or greater, you'll also need something with a screen that can actually display this footage in its full glory. The 2021 iMac has a 4.5K screen, but if you opt for a PC like the Mac Studio or Mac mini, or even if you work on a MacBook with an inbuilt screen, you might want to invest in one of the best 4K monitors (and one of the best docks for MacBook Pro for hooking up your peripherals).

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Matt Hanson

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.

With contributions from