Windows/VS developer need Mac, which one?

Hello, long time Windows/Visual Studio developer, new to juce. Developed a VST3 plugin and standalone app on Win 10. Looking to compile on a Mac.

Any suggestions on which Mac to purchase?

Kind regards,

1 Like

If it’s just to run your mac builds and do a bit of testing, the cheapest mac mini is fine. Usually I’d say get a used one, but going forward you’ll probably want an M1 mac, so currently I’d lean towards buying new.

1 Like

Yes, to run mac builds and do a bit of testing. M1 makes sense.


I’d also keep an eye on eBay etc. for any bargain Intel Mac Mini that you can pick up. A couple of years ago I picked up a 2011 fairly low spec one for £350 (ish, can’t remember exactly) purely for testing out different macOS versions, as kept getting support requests that were impossible to reproduce on my Mac Pro. The good thing about those old machines is you can rip out the spinning disk and put an SSD in (iFixit FTW!) to at least make it so you don’t have to wait an age for the thing to boot! 256gb SSD will allow you to run all the versions of macOS that you might need to support (check out DosDude if you end up with one that doesn’t support the newer versions, although worth mentioning that the newer Intel Minis that will support newer macOS may not be upgradeable).

Now that M1 is out and really quite cheap (for a mac), I should think the resale value of the Intel Mac Minis will have taken a downward turn.

Only thing to bear in mind for M1 is they cannot be upgraded at all after purchase. Personally I think it’s pointless paying the Apple Tax for expanded storage, and I’m not 100% sure if 16gb is strictly necessary but that’s what I went with (it also taking longer to get those, still waiting impatiently for mine to arrive that I ordered in mid-December!)


Thank you! @asimilon

As @asimilon suggested.

It might be cheaper to get a used Mac on eBay. Mac mini or even a 2015 MBP.

It all depends on what you plan to target.
If you don’t mind axing any pre-10.13 macOS then M1 is most future proof.

If you want to both software support and being able to diagnose some of their problems.
Older machines would be useful. But eventually you’ll end up buying also M1 machine.


Can I compile for M1 with older Intel Mac?

Yes, as long as the Intel Mac can run Catalina, you can install Xcode 12.3 to it and create Universal Binary builds for Intel and ARM with it. Therefore I’d personally go for a relatively cheap used 2-3 years old Mac Mini as well, this will probably be the kind of hardware most of your current users will use anyway by now.


To emphasize. Catalina seems to be the ‘balance’ in the transition (until Apple will axe Xcode 12 updates to it).
Big Sur currently has a signing issue. so if you target to anything below macOS 10.11, Big Sur isn’t feasible.

2013 or newer runs Big Sur (my MacBook Air mid-2013 is still capable of Big Sur).
So I’d expect 2015 machines to stick for few more macOS iterations.


This is very important thing to bear in mind if buying an M1 machine, as it will be completely impossible to install any previous version of macOS onto them.

1 Like

Thanks for all of the replies.

Yes, this part I need to understand better as I mentioned I have no clue about Mac’s and their OS’s.

Is there a list or chart somewhere that shows which Mac OS’s belong to which year and/or machines?

How far back does one go? How long has macOS 10.11 and Big Sur been out.

Thanks again!

Check out this table: macOS - Wikipedia

10.11 El Capitan came out 2015, which sounds not too long ago.

I think it depends on your audience, the more pro user you target, the older the systems usually. Especially ProTools users, since they often have their mac around other hardware, so they only upgrade when the whole studio gets overhauled (more or less…)


@daniel, thanks for the table! Starting to make sense to me :slight_smile:

While my plugin/standalone app is applicable to the pro user, it is targeted towards consumer users who are “audio enthusiasts” that use digital room correction. I think this market may tend to use newer Mac’s so the M1 seems to be a fit to cover the past 5 years, if I understand the table correctly.

PS And a big personal thank you @daniel as I used your your ff_meters in my project. Works and looks great, thank you!!

1 Like