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Andrew Baisden
Andrew Baisden

Posted on • Updated on

A Developers perspective on the M1 MacBook Pro after 5 months of usage

I purchased my new M1 MacBook Pro at the end of last year which was December 2020, and it arrived in January 2021. My previous laptop was a 2014 MacBook Pro Retina which was starting to show it's age because it was lacking in power and the battery was overdue for servicing. It was also out of warranty so I figured that the time was right to upgrade.

The M1 MacBook Pro

This is the best computer that I have ever owned. I have to hand it to Apple they really know how to build great computers. This laptop is super quiet it does have fans unlike the M1 MacBook Air but you barely notice them. On my old computer I used to go to a few websites that had far too many ads on them that could not be disabled otherwise you could not view the website. This put extreme stress on my computer especially using Google Chrome which would spin up the CPU increasing the speed and fan noise. It was incredibly annoying and even noise canceling headphones could not block out all the noise.

Performance and Support

I am happy to say that this is no longer a problem with the M1 MacBook Pro. I sometimes play games on my Mac, Starcraft II mostly and even then it does not get that loud. Sure it might get a bit warm but not hot enough to burn unlike my previous laptop. Initially when Apple released this laptop not all apps and tools were supported. Docker did not work at all until recently. The fact that it has much better support now means that it can be considered as an ideal choice for a programmer.

Android Studio also had some issues as Apple Silicon does not have full support yet as far as I am aware. It works fine with Intel processors though. This is a problem because Android simulators don't work as well so it is hard to test on a simulated device. iOS simulators work fine though they have full support with Apple Silicon. There are work around's though. In terms of performance this thing is fast! My old MacBook took between 4 - 10 minutes to start simulators in Android Studio. This was awful just imagine how slow mobile development was. The new M1 MacBook can run simulators in less than 1 minute!

Also I could only play games with all low settings enabled. The M1 MacBook Pro can at least play some games with all settings set to medium which makes a huge difference considering it is not a gaming laptop. The battery life is great this laptop can last for hours on one charge, it is at peak performance. My entire development workflow is much faster on this new M1 MacBook Pro. It takes less time to get servers running, as well as working with development environments that have a package ecosystem. Speed matters when you have deadlines to meet and you need to have a super smooth process.

Ports and Build Quality

Apple also fixed the keyboard in its latest Mac's so they don't get stuck anymore leading to phantom presses or keys not working at all. Fortunately this is something that I never experienced because the MacBook Pro Retina models had the previous generation keyboards. The build quality is excellent and it is light and portable I can't fault it at all. I do wish it had more USB-C ports though it only has two so if you want to use more accessories you will need a dock. I am using the CalDigit USB-C Soho Dock.

I don't miss the old MagSafe connectors at all because they had a bad habit of fraying and falling apart making them useless and expensive to replace. USB-C cables are much better they are affordable, better quality and last much longer. Apple is rumored to be adding MagSafe back to the newest Macs which are not out yet hopefully they are of better quality this time around.

Screen and External Monitors

The screen is beautiful, bright and very sharp with good color reproduction. I have mine connected to a LG 27UL850W 4K UHD LED LCD Monitor. The connection is very stable when connected via USB-C it allows me to use it as a second display and it also charges the laptop at the same time. One of the drawbacks for these new M1 Macs is that they can only support one external monitor whereas the Intel models can support at least two monitors. This is not a problem for me as I only need one external monitor but it is still something to take into account if you care about it.

Final Thoughts

I really hope that you enjoyed reading this article and learned something from it. As a content creator and technical writer I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping other people reach their goals. Let's connect across social media you can find all of my social media profiles and blogs on linktree.

Peace ✌️

Top comments (2)

bernde451 profile image

Even though I'm not a developer, I've also had feedback on using the Mac for a few years. Though I guess the issues aren't so much with the Mac, but with users who find it extremely difficult to mute notifications or at least turn the volume down. There are even special apps like serenity to mute notifications but not lose them. Anyway, when I'm working in a coffee shop and there are messages coming from behind me every second on someone's Mac, I get terribly annoyed.

candaceernest profile image

Frankly, I didn't like using Macbook for developing.
I moved to linux again and I don't regret it. The best option IMO