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Linux vs macOS – 15 Key Differences You Should Know

linux vs macOS 15 key differences you should know

If you are considering switching your operating system, you may be wondering about the differences between the two most well-known systems, Linux and macOS. Deciding between the two operating systems can be a challenging task, as each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Well, if you were about to make a decision, wait a bit more and go through the 15 key differences between Linux and macOS that you should be aware of to make an informed decision.

Overview of Linux

The source code of Linux is accessible to everyone for free, and anyone can modify and distribute it, owing to the fact that it is an open-source operating system. It has a wide range of distributions or versions, each with a different user interface and set of pre-installed applications. Recognized for its reliability, robustness, and versatility, Linux is extensively utilized by system administrators, developers, and technology enthusiasts.

Overview of macOS

Mac OS is a proprietary operating system developed by Apple Inc. and used exclusively on Apple hardware. It has a sleek and user-friendly interface, with a wide range of built-in apps and features such as Siri, Time Machine, and iCloud. The performance, dependability, and effortless integration with other Apple devices are the noteworthy attributes of macOS.

Linux vs. macOS: 15 Key Differences

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Linux: Highly customizable, with a range of options to modify the interface’s look and feel

Sleek and minimalist with a focus on simplicity and ease of use


Linux: Highly customizable due to its open-source nature

Limited options for customization


Linux: Certain hardware and software may not perform as great as they do on macOS

More compatible with popular applications and devices due to strict hardware and software standards

Command-Line Interface (CLI)

Linux: Some devices and applications may not work as well as on macOS

More compatible with popular applications and devices due to strict hardware and software standards


Linux: Known for its security and stability, partly due to its open-source nature

macOS: Strong security features, including Gatekeeper and FileVault

File Systems

Linux: Typically uses the ext4 file system

macOS: Uses the HFS+ or APFS file system


Linux: Due to its lightweight construction and modular architecture, it is renowned for its speed and efficiency

macOS: Also known for its performance, especially in running applications and games

Support and Community

Linux: A large and active community of users and developers providing plenty of resources for troubleshooting and learning

macOS: Strong support network thanks to Apple’s customer service and online forums


Linux: Most versions are free, however some may demand a donation or a subscription

macOS: Only available on Apple’s hardware, meaning users must pay for the hardware to use the operating system

Software Availability

Linux: Vast repository of open-source software, and developers can create custom software easily

macOS: Limited selection of software, with a focus on high-quality and user-friendly applications


Linux: Compatibility improving thanks to the emergence of gaming platforms like Steam

macOS: Still lags behind Linux and Windows in terms of gaming compatibility


Linux: Provides a variety of productivity tools, many of which are open-source and free

macOS: Has a suite of productivity tools that are user-friendly and easy to use


Linux: Superb virtualization capabilities that make it simple to run several OSs on one machine

macOS: The ability to run different OSs on a single machine thanks to strong virtualization features

Learning Curve

Linux: Steep learning curve due to its complexity and high level of customization

macOS: Easy to learn and use, with a user-friendly interface


Linux: A popular choice for developers due to its flexibility and open-source nature

macOS: Also popular among developers, with a range of tools and resources available


Linux offers a high level of customization and flexibility thanks to its open-source nature and robust command-line interface. On the other hand, macOS offers a sleek and user-friendly interface, strong security features, and a range of productivity tools.

While Linux has traditionally been favored by developers and power users, macOS is increasingly popular among creative professionals and those looking for a more intuitive and streamlined user experience. Ultimately, the decision between Linux and macOS will depend on a variety of factors, such as those discussed in the table above. Skim through them and see what sets them apart.

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