Best Mac for Video Editing in 2022 (including M1 and M2)
I am a Mac guy. I've been involved in media production on the Apple platform for over twenty years. I have strong opinions about which Macs are best for video editing as I tend to buy new Macs for video editing every year. Video Editors often worry about which is the best Mac for video editing, so I decided to write this article.
Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)— The best Mac for video editing in 2022 overall. Best video editing laptop.
Apple Mac Mini 2020 — The choice Mac for video editing on a budget
Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)— The best value pick for Mac editing
Apple iMac (24-inch, 2021) — The most suitable iMac for video editing
Apple iMac (27-inch, 2020) — The finest Mac for video editing with a big display
Apple Mac Studio 2022— For video editing, the best Apple workstation is the iMac Pro.
Apple MacBook Air 2022 (M2) — The most portable Mac for basic video editing & M2 chip
Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) — The MacBook Air is the best low-cost Mac.
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) — The finest Mac for novices
Before we get to the Best Mac for Video Editing picks for 2022 - let's take a look at some of the criteria I consider when choosing a Mac for video editing.
What Mac Processor Do I Need for Video Editing?
Type - Apple M1 chip, M1 Max, or M2 chip? Video editors want to know!
The new Apple Silicon M1 and M2 processors are a big deal. They are faster than Intel Core i5 processors, use less power, and generate less heat. For these reasons, I believe that the best Mac for editing in 2022 will have an M1 or M2 processor.
For creating visual effects, apps like Adobe After Effects also now benefit from more CPU cores, so the highest number of cores for multi-frame rendering will yield the best mac for After Effects 2022.
I currently use a 2021 MacBook Pro with an Apple M1 Max processor.
See this article on How Does a Mac CPU Impact Video Editing?
How Much RAM Do I Need for Video Editing?
8GB of RAM is the minimum I would consider for video editing on a Mac (16GB is better). If you can afford it, 32GB of RAM is overkill for most video editing tasks but it does give you some headroom for working with large projects or using memory intensive plugins.
Apple Desktop vs. Laptop
There are two main types of Macs - desktops and laptops. For video editing, I believe that the best Mac is a laptop. Laptops are more portable and easier to take with you when you travel. For editors who spend any time on set or in production, a laptop is a valuable tool.
I currently use a 2021 Apple MacBook Pro for video editing. It has an M1 processor and 64 GB of RAM.
Apple offers two types of workstation computers: the Mac Studio and the iMac. The Mac Studio is a desktop computer that starts at $4999. The iMac is an all-in-one computer that starts at $1099.
The iMac has a large screen, fast processor, and plenty of storage. It also comes with a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for video editing, the iMac is the best choice.
If the current Apple MacBook Pro is too expensive for you, there are plenty of folks settling for less power and a better price using a MacBook Air for video editing. If this were me, I'd likely use Final Cut Pro, which, as Apple's video editing software, is better tuned for a slightly less powerful mac laptop.
What Size Screen Do I Need for Video Editing?
15-inch or 16-inch?
The size of your Mac's screen is important for video editing. You want to be able to see your footage clearly in your video editing software without straining your eyes. I find that 15-inch and 16-inch screens on the AMacBook Pro are the sweet spot for video editing.
My 2021 MacBook Pro 16 inch has a gorgeous 16-inch liquid retina display.
Apple makes its own powerful displays. The Apple Pro Display XDR is the best external monitor for video editing. It has a 6K resolution and reference-quality colors. And of course, iMac models have built in displays. The Apple Store also sells plenty of Apple-endorsed external monitors, as well, which are still appropriate for editing videos.
What Graphics Card Do I Need for Video Editing?
The graphics card is important for video editing. You want a graphics card that can handle the demands of your video editing software.
For 4K video editing, you will need a powerful graphics card. I recommend the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 or the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
My 2021 Apple MacBook Pro has an M1 processor and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics card to help push its retina display. The GPU in a Mac Studio is even more powerful. It has an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card.
The iMac has a built-in AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 or 5600 XT GPU. The Mac Studio has a dedicated AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPU with 32GB of HBM2 memory.
Read More: How Does a GPU Impact Video Editing?
What Type of Storage Do I Need for Video Editing?
SSD or HDD?
The type of storage you choose for your Mac is important for video editing. You want to be able to access your footage quickly and easily.
I recommend using an SSD (solid-state drive) for video editing. SSDs are faster than HDDs (hard disk drives) and they use less power.
My 2021 Apple MacBook Pro has a 512 GB SSD. I also have external SSD hard drives that I use for extra storage space for my video footage. Any modern MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini will have an SSD drive inside it.
What ports do I need on my Mac?
The ports you choose for your Mac are important for video editing. You need to be able to connect your camera, external hard drive, and other peripherals easily.
I recommend choosing a Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C). Thunderbolt 3 is fast, versatile, and easy to use.
My 2021 MacBook Pro has 4 Thunderbolt 3 / USB C ports and an HDMI port. I use an adapter to get 2 USB A Ports.
Macs for Editing Video: The Models:
M1 MacBook Air
The Macbook Air is a great option for someone looking for a budget-friendly mac laptop for video editing. It has a powerful processor and plenty of storage. It also comes with a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers.
A MacBook Air is perfectly appropriate for basic video editing and will run Final Cut Pro just fine. Many video editors own a MacBook Air in addition to a non-portable video editing Mac, which they can use portably.
M1 Mac Mini
Its smallest version is the M2 Mac Mini and packs an incredibly strong punch and makes a great editing machine for securing a good budget.
The M2Mac Mini is the cheapest computer that can edit video.
Basic models are around $990. Mac minis have audio-in capabilities similar to those used with Macbooks.
The device uses ethernet connections to hardwire the internet, rather than WiFi connections. The other major advantage of the Mac mini is the ability to update ROMs / SSDs even with the original M1 Mac Mini (although this can only be done by an expert).
If you're looking for a Mac that has a powerful built-in display and is designed for video editing, I recommend the M1 iMac.
The M1 iMac comes with an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 or 5600 XT GPU, a 512 GB SSD, and 4 Thunderbolt 3 / USB C ports.
2021 M1 MacBook Pro 16/14 inch (M1 Pro/Max)
The M1 MacBook Pro is a powerful and versatile mac that is perfect for video editing. It has an M1 processor, an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU, and up to 32 GB of RAM.
The newest version of the MacBook Pro also comes with 4 Thunderbolt 3 / USB C.
If you're looking for a powerful Mac that is specifically designed for video editing, I recommend the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro comes with an AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPU with 32GB of HBM2 memory and up to 128GB of RAM.
Mac Studio Workstation
The new Mac Studio Workstation is designed to be the world's most powerful computer. It is geared for creative professionals.
It has a massive price tag that reflects its performance – it starts at around $4,999.
It has a 28-core Intel Xeon W CPU and an AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics card with 32GB of HBM2. It also has four Thunderbolt 3 ports and can support up to 6 displays.
The Mac Pro is a line of desktop computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. It is the high-end model of the three current desktop computers in the Mac lineup, the other two being the iMac and Mac mini.
The standard configuration of the Mac Pro comes with a Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB of memory, 256GB of flash storage, and dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs.
Higher-end configurations can be customized with up to a 12-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 64GB of memory, 1TB of flash storage, and dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs.
It was last updated in 2013, and it is unknown if or when Apple will release an updated model.
History of Editing Media on Apple Computers
Media production has a rich history and long relationship with Apple. Over the years, Apple computers have been the preferred machines of editors and creatives.
Here’s a brief history of how Apple has been involved in editing, from the early days of film production to the modern era of digital filmmaking.
The First Apple Computers
The first Apple computers were used in movie post-production as early as 1983. The Lisa computer, one of the first models released by Apple, was used by George Lucas’ team to edit the first three Star Wars films.
Lucasfilm was an early adopter of Apple’s technology, and they continued to use Apple computers to edit the Star Wars prequels in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Final Cut Pro
In 2003, Apple released the Final Cut Pro editing software. This software quickly became the industry standard for editing, and it was used to edit some of the biggest films and TV shows of the 2000s, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lost, and Desperate Housewives.
In 2009, Apple released a new version of Final Cut Pro, which was designed for use on its new line of MacBook Pro laptops. This version of the software was used to edit the Academy Award-winning film The Hurt Locker.
In 2011, Apple released Final Cut Pro X, a major update to the software that included a new interface and new features such as magnetic timelines and color grading.
Today, Apple’s video software is used by filmmakers and editors all over the world. It’s also used by amateurs and hobbyists who want to create their own videos.
Other NLE Software for Editing
In addition to Final Cut Pro, a lot of NLE software is available on the Mac Platform. Great titles like Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer First, and DaVinci Resolve 15 all run on macOS.
As you can see, Apple has a long history of being involved in editing. The company’s computers and software have been used to edit some of the biggest and most popular films and TV shows of the last few decades.
See our article on the Best Video Editing Software for 2022.
The Interesting History of the Mac Pro in Media Production
The Mac Pro is a line of high-end Apple computers that was first introduced in 2006. The original was a powerful machine that was designed for professional users such as editors and graphic designers.
I got my first one in 2007. I had just gone independent and it's nearly $10K price tag was super expensive for me but necessary to be able to produce content for my clients.
In 2013, Apple released a new version of the Mac Pro, which was a major departure from the original design. It was a sleek, cylindrical machine that was much smaller than the original.
The new model was not as popular with professional users as the original, and in 2016 Apple released an updated version of the original. This new version was a more powerful machine that was designed to meet the needs of professional users.
Today, the Mac Pro is still a popular computer for professional users such as editors and graphic designers. Apple continues to update it with new features and specifications, and it remains one of the best machines for media production.
The Mac Studio has entered the pro computer lineup recently and has replaced the Mac Pro for many editors due to its price point and updated specs.
PowerBook to MacBook Pro - The History of the Portable Apple Computer
The first Apple laptop was the PowerBook, which was introduced in 1991. The PowerBook was a success, and it helped to establish Apple as a major player in the laptop market.
I owned a Titanium MacBook Pro, which I purchased in 2001. It was a great computer to edit videos, and I used it to edit all of my projects at the time. The laptop form factor was appealing to me as I traveled from my work at a production company to home, where I edited videos for personal and side projects.
In 2006, Apple released the MacBook Pro, which was a major update to the PowerBook. The MacBook Pro was a more powerful machine than the PowerBook, and it included many new features such as an Intel processor and a built-in webcam.
Today, the MacBook Pro is the best laptop to edit videos. It's powerful enough to handle even the most demanding projects, and it has a wide range of features that make it ideal for video editors. The Pro Max processor truly is a video editing processor.
Best Mac for Video Editing Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should you consider when choosing the best Mac for video editing?
Some of the key factors to consider when choosing a Mac for video editing include processing power, screen size, and portability.
How does processor performance impact video editing?
Processor performance is critical for video editing, as it determines how smoothly you can work and how quickly you can render your videos. A high-end processor like the one found in the latest Mac Studio is ideal for professional users who need to work with large, complex projects.
What screen size should you look for when choosing a Mac for editing videos?
Choosing the right screen size is important, as it will impact both your editing experience and your ability to work with clients or a team. Generally, larger screens are better for video editing, though some users may prefer a more portable laptop with a smaller screen.
How portable do you need your Mac to be for video editing?
Depending on your work style and the projects you are working on, you may need a more portable machine for editing video. Laptops like the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air offer powerful specs in a small form factor, which is ideal for users who need to travel frequently or edit videos from multiple locations.
Is a MacBook Air a Video Editing Laptop?
A MacBook Air may not be the best choice for professional video editing, as it lacks some of the features and performance capabilities that are necessary for working with large projects.
However, it can be a good option for casual video editors who need to work from a variety of locations or on the go. Ultimately, you will need to consider your own needs and the types of projects you will be working on to determine whether a MacBook Air is right for your video editing workflow.
Is the Apple Mac Mini a good machine for video editing?
The Apple Mac Mini is not typically considered to be a good machine for editing video due to its relatively limited performance and features. However, some users may find that it works well for their needs if they are on a tight budget or only need to edit simple videos. Ultimately, the best Mac for editing video will depend on your specific requirements and the types of projects you will be working on.
How much does a Mac Studio cost?
The price of a Mac Studio can vary significantly depending on the model and configuration that you choose, though most models start at around $1,999. This may be more than some users are willing or able to spend, but it is important to consider the long-term costs and benefits of making a high-end investment in your video editing workstation.
The versatility of the Pro Max Mac Studio makes it an ideal solution for professional video editors who need to work with large, complex projects. If you are looking for an affordable option for cutting-edge editing, however, a MacBook Air or Mac Mini may be better suited to your needs.
What is the Best Video Editing Software for Mac?
If you are just starting, it's likely to be Final Cut Pro, which has professional features at a fair price. If you are a more experienced video editor, Adobe's Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve might be more for you.
Check out our extensive article on the Best Video Editing Software.
What Makes a Display a Retina Display?
A Retina display is a type of high-resolution display that offers sharper, more detailed images and video. Many modern devices, including Mac laptops and smartphones, feature Retina displays for a more immersive viewing experience.
To qualify as a Retina display, a screen must have at least 300 pixels per inch (PPI) density, and the human eye cannot distinguish individual pixels at this density. This results in more realistic images and videos that appear sharper and more immersive.
Apple makes both laptops and an external monitor with a Retina Display.
Whether or not you need a Retina display for video editing will depend on your preferences and viewing conditions. Some users may find that traditional displays work just fine for their needs, while others may prefer the extra detail and clarity that a Retina display offers.
Can I Use an External GPU with a Mac?
Current Mac Models do not support an external GPU (eGPU). You can use an external GPU (eGPU) on an Intel Core Mac to improve the performance of editing programs
Many eGPUs offer high-performance graphics cards that allow you to work with complex projects more efficiently, while others also include additional features such as ports for connecting multiple displays and devices.
Does the M1 Mac have an Integrated Graphics Card?
Yes, the Apple M1 Chip has an integrated graphics card. This means that it is capable of performing powerful editing tasks without the need for a dedicated external graphics card.
How Big of a Hard Drive Do I Need for Storing Video Files?
The amount of storage space you need for video files will depend on the types of projects you typically work on and the resolution of your video content. If you primarily edit simple clips with low-resolution footage, a small hard drive may be sufficient to store all of your files and projects.
If you frequently work with large 4K or HDR video clips, however, you may need to invest in a large hard drive or an external storage solution with plenty of space. Many online editors and cloud-based platforms also have storage limits that can affect the amount of space you need to work with your videos.
What is 4K Video Resolution?
4K video resolution refers to digital video content that has a total of 4,000 pixels across the screen. This is a significant increase in size compared to standard high-definition (HD) video, which typically has a resolution of around 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels.
4K videos can be displayed on 4K displays at full resolution or on standard displays at a lower resolution. Most modern editing software can support 4K content, though the exact requirements will vary depending on the software and your computer's hardware.
So, you're trying to decide between an M1 MacBook and an M1 iMac to edit videos .. which is the best choice?
Well that is all up to your needs, budget, and experience level.
We are choosing the Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021) as the best overall Mac for basic video in 2022. It's the machine I use. I like its gorgeous display, its 4 USB C Ports, the retina display, and it's crazy reliable battery life. Plus the MacBook Pro form factor allows me to work from anywhere.
Are you on a tight budget and just starting out with editing on the Mac? How about the Apple Mac Mini 2020 - it's an incredibly powerful machine for the price (starting at just $699).
And if a workstation and editing power is what you need, and your budget is not an issue, check out the Apple Mac Studio 2022. It's the most powerful Mac you can buy. Paired with an external display like the LG UltraFine 5K, or Apple's own Pro Display XDR, you have an incredibly powerful Mac video editor setup.
So there you have it - the best Macs for editors in 2022, depending on your needs and budget. So get out there and start making some great videos!