The 11 important differences between Macs and PCs

Macs and PCs have been locked in an epic battle for many years.

And because of the newly-released Windows 10, Apple and Microsoft’s rivalry has kicked into high gear — it’s even spilled over into the tablet market.

We put together some of the key differences between Macs and PCs to help you out.

...but Microsoft is catching up.

Microsoft
The Microsoft Surface Book with Surface Pen.

In just the last couple of months, Microsoft introduced the Surface Pro 4, a svelte device that comes closer than ever before to the promise of a tablet that can replace a laptop.

More momentously, Microsoft released its first-ever laptop: The Microsoft Surface Book, a gorgeous $1,499 laptop that the company claims is twice as fast as a MacBook Pro. Plus, the Surface Book's screen detaches to become a laptop on its own.

Plus, a lot of manufacturers like Dell and Asus have taken their design cues from Microsoft and generally upped their game, releasing Windows laptops and tablets that are at least a little easier on the eyes.

There are still plenty of ugly Windows PCs out there, depending on the make and model. But finally, some real options are starting to emerge.

Macs tend to be safer against malware and viruses.

Security company AVG writes that since there are still fewer Macs than than Windows computers out there, Apple's platform simply presents a smaller target for attackers.

But that won't last for too long, the company writes, and we've seen evidence of this as an increasing number of viruses have surfaced on Mac computers in recent years.

Apple also says it's added new types of encryption and security features in the recent OS X El Capitan release to keep your computer safe.

And, since Apple's Mac operating system is built on Unix, it's a little more secure by default than Windows, Macworld reports.

Some Windows computers come with touchscreens.

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Since Windows 8, Microsoft has been pushing the touchscreen as the future of PCs. Windows 10 takes that focus and runs with it, making it better than ever before. It's why a lot of Windows 10 PCs ship with touchscreens.

While Apple says that its new, gigantic iPad Pro tablet can replace a laptop for a lot of users, its actual MacBook laptops and iMac desktops still don't have a touchscreen at all -- and if Apple is to believed, they may never get them.

Windows runs on tablets, too -- not just laptop and desktop computers.

Business Insider/Julie Bort

Windows 10 is available on devices of all sizes from giant all-in-one computers to laptops to tiny 8-inch tablets. OS X is only available for Apple's laptops, desktops, and all-in-one computers.

Get used to different keyboard shortcuts if you're planning to switch.

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

If you are getting ready to make the switch anytime soon, getting used to the different keyboard shortcuts may be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome. Even taking a screenshot is different on Windows than it is on a Mac.

With Windows 10, you can press the Windows key and the print screen key to take a screenshot, but you'll need to use another program like Paint to do any cropping, unless you install separate apps.

On a Mac, you can hold the Command, Shift, and 4 keys to take a screenshot that lets you crop whatever you want from your current screen.

Macs and iPhone are the best team.

shutterstock

Because Apple makes both the iPhone and the Mac, the two make a great team.

If you own an iPhone, your text messages sync over to the Mac with the built-in Messages app. You can even respond to your texts from your Mac. And if you have an iPad, the conversation can keep rolling there, too.

Other nifty iPhone/Mac features include Airdrop, which lets you quickly shunt photos and other documents from phone to desktop, and Handoff, which lets you open a link from your phone in your desktop browser (or vice versa).

Meanwhile, on Windows 10, you need to install Apple's iTunes to sync music. And you don't get any of those sweet extra features.

BONUS: Want the best of both worlds? Macs can run Windows!

Macs have the ability to run Windows either through a virtual machine or directly on the system.

Every Mac has a built-in program called Boot Camp that lets you install Windows on your machine. If you want, you can divide space on your hard drive between Windows and Mac OS X so you'll have both operating systems on the same computer.

This is an update of articles originally written by Lisa Eadicicco and Kevin Smith.

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