Mac vs. PC – longevity

Apple's MacBook Air
Apple’s MacBook Air (Photo courtesy of

After reading my earlier post about the differences between PCs and Macs, a reader wrote in with a follow-up question: “I’ve heard the life expectancy is longer for a Mac, is this true?”

That seems to be a fairly common assumption, especially among Mac owners (who probably paid more for their computer than their PC-toting friends).

My personal experience seems to agree with that premise, but I’m one of those Mac owners who paid more for my laptop than the average person.

So I want to see some hard evidence before I call it fact. And I haven’t found any. Every source I’ve found seems to be more personal anecdotes.

I think most people would agree that Macs are built of more durable materials than all but a few PCs (aluminum vs. plastic, etc.)

However, that brings me to one of my biggest frustrations about Macs (and Apple hardware in general): Macs are not user-upgradeable.

Once upon a time, if your Mac was starting to run slowly, you could buy more memory and install it yourself. If your battery no longer held much juice, you could buy a new one and swap it out. That kept the computer functional for at least a couple more years.

Not anymore. Now, the outside of the computer is shut with special screws and most parts inside are glued or soldered in place. This is a trend that Apple began several years ago and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

This may make for a more durable computer (especially in a laptop), but it also means you need to pay close attention to the memory, hard drive, etc. when you’re purchasing the computer because you won’t be able to upgrade them later.[1]

In conclusion: while I do think Macs offer the best user experience for most people, I don’t think they necessarily have a longer life expectancy than PCs.


Fill out the form below with a question or comment. I’d love to hear from you!

1 – I think the RAM (aka memory, or how well the computer can multitask) is a much higher priority for upgrading at purchase, because you can always plug in an external hard drive or thumb drive to add additional storage to the computer down the road. No such options exist for RAM.

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