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Launched in 2005 as the first sub-$500 Mac — a key in attracting "switchers" from Windows PCs — the Mac mini (now $799 and up from the Apple Store) was most recently redesigned in late 2018.

The Mac mini is the gateway for the macOS ecosystem. The most affordable Mac is now one of the most powerful Apple computers. Here’s everything you need to know about it


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The Mac mini is one of the oldest products sold by Apple and it’s currently in its fifth generation, feeling as new as ever.

First introduced in 2005, the original Mac mini was equipped with the PowerPC G4 processors. This computer was Apple’s attempt to enter the BYODKM (Bring Your Display, Keyboard, and Mouse) market. This is the only Mac that Apple sells without any accessories. The Mac Pro, for example, doesn’t come with a display, but it ships with the Magic Mouse 2 and the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad.

One year later, in 2006, Apple introduced the second generation with the same design, but with Intel Core processors, as well as support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The third-generation Mac mini released in June 2010 brought a thinner unibody aluminum case and an HDMI port. Later revisions of this Mac added a Thunderbolt port and Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

The fourth-generation introduced in October 2018 is still being sold today and is the last one with an Intel processor. This generation includes a darker Space Gray finish, features SSD as standard, and replaces most data ports with USB-C. This is the first Mac mini made with 100% recycled aluminum.

In November 2020, Apple introduced the fifth-generation model based on the Apple Silicon processor with a silver finish of earlier models. This Mac was preceded by the A12Z-based Developer Transition Kit, a prototype used by developers to test what was going to be the first M1 Apple Silicon chip. It came with 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and two USB-C ports.

Mac mini specs: Apple Silicon and Intel models

Apple sells two different Mac minis: one with its newer Apple Silicon chip and a high-spec model with the 8th generation Intel chip.

M1 Mac mini

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The M1 Apple Silicon Mac mini comes with an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural engine. It starts with 8GB unified memory and 256GB SSD storage, and it can go up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. This Mac has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports with HDMI 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

In April 2021, Apple silently updated the M1 model with an optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet port, which was previously only available on the Intel version.

This Mac is also made of 100% recycled aluminum.

Intel Mac mini

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The Intel Mac mini comes with the 8th-generation Intel Core i5, with 8GB of RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, and 512GB SSD storage and can go up to the 3.2GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7, 64GB of RAM, up to 2TB of SSD storage, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet support.

macOS Big Sur

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The M1 Mac mini first operating system was macOS 11 Big Sur, which introduced a new design to the Mac software and proper optimization for the new processor.

macOS Big Sur also brought the Control Center to the macOS for the first time with quick access to brightness and other quick toggles. The Notification Center in macOS, for example, is now up-to-date with the iOS version, featuring grouping and rich interface styles.

The iOS 14 widget system is also available on macOS and the Messages app for Mac has also been revamped with an inline photo picker and Memoji. The Apple Maps app has also been modernized, now as a  Catalyst app so it shares the same codebase with iOS.

macOS Monterey

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During WWDC21, Apple previewed macOS 12 Monterey. On October 25, Apple released Monterey for Mac users. Here are some of its most important features:

  • Shortcuts app now on the Mac;
  • Revamped FaceTime feature;
  • Redesigned Safari;
  • SharePlay feature;
  • Universal Control (currently in beta).

You can read more about macOS 12 Monterey here.


The M1 Apple Silicon Mac mini starts at $699 and can go up to $1,699. The Intel model starts at $1,099 and can go up to $2,999.

Apple Silicon

  • 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $699
  • 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $899
  • 8GB RAM, 1TB storage: $1,099
  • 8GB RAM, 2TB storage: $1,499

The model with 16GB of RAM, adds $200 to every configuration. You can also get 10 Gigabit Ethernet for $100 more.


  • i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,099
  • i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,299
  • i5, 32GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,699
  • i5, 64GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,099

For the model with Intel Core i7, adds $200. If you want more storage, add $200 for 1TB and $600 for the 2TB option. The 10 Gigabit Ethernet feature is $100 more.

Lower prices may be available from Apple’s official Amazon store.

Mac mini review

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In our M1 Mac mini diary video, we believe that this is a solid buy, even being a first-generation product since it has Apple’s proprietary chip:

Is the M1 Mac mini worth it? Absolutely, as long as you consider the fact that this is the first iteration of the Mac with Apple Silicon, and forthcoming versions will feature more powerful chips, more robust configuration options, and more I/O. But even in its current form, this Mac is the most versatile of any of the machines in Apple’s M1 lineup, and it also happens to be the least expensive. When paired with the right peripherals, the Mac mini shines as one of the best Macs that we’ve seen in quite some time. The more I use it, the more I come to appreciate just how good it is.

Here’s what our video review says about the Intel model:

The 2019 Mac Pro might be the best Mac desktop ever by a long shot, but the Mac mini is the best value desktop Mac, and it remains my favorite desktop Mac to this day. Although I look forward to an eventual CPU upgrade, the 2018 Mac mini, when properly specced, makes for a good workhorse machine for tasks like video editing with Final Cut Pro X.


Over at 9to5Toys, you can find the best deals on the Mac mini and other Apple products. Download the 9to5Toys iPhone app to receive push notifications for new deals as well.

Mac mini rumors

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There are some rumors about a new Mac mini. According to a Bloomberg report in May 2021, the new Mac mini will feature a next-generation Apple Silicon chip with 8 high-performance cores and 2 efficiency cores. It will also support up to 64 GB RAM and feature more Thunderbolt lanes which support the expanded IO ports. Gurman also believes this computer will launch somewhere in 2022.

In July, Gurman talked about the rumored redesigned Mac mini, which was first corroborated by YouTuber Jon Prosser. Bloomberg’s journalist doesn’t think we’ll see Apple redesigning its entry-level Mac since the Mac Studio looks very similar to it.

I don’t think there’ll be a redesign to the Mac mini. I actually don’t know where the rumors of a redesign came from. I think those are also going to be spec bumps. If you look at the Mac Studio, it looks like a double-height Mac mini.

A new Mac mini is rumored for an Apple event in October.

Mac mini comparison: What’s different with the M2 and M2 Pro vs M1

Mac mini comparison M2 vs M1

Apple debuted its latest Mac mini powered by the M2 or new M2 Pro custom silicon in early 2023. Along with more powerful CPUs and GPUs, the new Mac mini machines support up to 32GB RAM, up to 3 external displays, 8K output via HDMI, WiFi 6E, and the base models even start at a more affordable price. Read on for our in-depth M2 Mac mini comparison for how everything stacks up against its predecessor.

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Battle of the Blocks: Here’s how the Mac mini stacks up against the Mac Studio

Mac mini vs Mac Studio

Apple’s latest Mac mini with the M2 or M2 Pro chip means more powerful CPUs and GPUs, up to 32GB RAM, up to 3 external displays, 8K output via HDMI, WiFi 6E, and the base models are even more affordable. The standalone desktop sits below the more powerful Mac Studio, making the lineup more diverse. But is the Mac Studio overkill for most people with the Mac mini to consider? Here’s an in-depth Mac mini vs Mac Studio comparison for how everything shakes out.

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Friday’s best deals: Apple Studio Display $249 off, M2 Mac mini from $500 lows, Anker gear, more

Heading into the weekend with all of today’s best deals, 9to5Toys is back with an assortment of offers for Friday. This time on tap, we have the second-best price yet on Apple Studio Display at $249 off. A nice companion, the M2 Mac mini now starts from $500 and is down to Amazon lows. Plus, iPhone 14 owners can score one of Anker’s new plant-based Lightning cables at $15. Hit the jump for all that and more in the latest 9to5Toys Lunch Break.

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M1 Mac Linux 6.2 support for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Studio, Mac mini

M1 Mac Linux 6.2 | MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini

M1 Mac Linux 6.2 support is now available – an achievement that Linux creator Linus Torvalds originally saw as an impossible task. It can be run on the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chips.

Torvalds had long wanted an ARM laptop capable of running Linux, and when the M1 MacBook Air came out said that it would have been the perfect machine but for the fact that Apple wouldn’t allow another OS to access the GPU and other elements …

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Two weeks with the base M2 Mac mini: The best bang for your buck [Video]

Apple released the M2 Mac Mini over two weeks ago, and I have been using it as my main at-home computer since. If you want to skip the post and just know what I think, my overall consensus is that this is the ultimate bang-for-your-buck computer on the market right now. The sheer power per dollar, if that is even a metric, has to be the best we’ve seen in years. Let me break down my experience for you and help you make a purchasing decision on this mini beast.

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Report: Apple unlikely to launch new Mac Studio as it instead focuses on the Mac Pro

While the Mac Studio has been well-received since its launch last spring, Apple may not launch an upgraded model in the foreseeable future. Bloomberg reports that the upcoming Mac Pro with Apple Silicon is “similar in functionality to the Mac Studio,” and it could be redundant for Apple to sell both the Mac Pro and the Mac Studio.

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M2 Pro and M2 Max benchmarked against every other current Apple Silicon chip

M2 Pro and M2 Max | M2 Max shown

The new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are so powerful that most reviewers said that they are actually overkill for most Mac owners, even most of those doing video work.

A new benchmark ranking shows how the machine stacks up against every other current Apple Silicon chip, from the A14 Bionic to the M1 Ultra (which still smokes the M2 Pro) …

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Apple explains how M2 Pro Macs are ready for 8K displays

Mac mini with M2 Pro

With today’s availability of the 2023 Mac mini and MacBook Pro, two machines with the ability to drive 8K displays, Apple has published guidance on how to use these high-resolution displays with your Mac. In addition, these new Macs support higher 4K refresh rates up to 240Hz and expanded support for variable refresh rates (VRR).

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M2 Mac mini reviews: ‘Mac Studio junior’ with impressive performance, versatile prices

M2 Mac mini reviews

The first reviews of Apple’s newest Mac mini have officially been published, ahead of orders arriving to customers starting tomorrow. The reviews offer our first look at the performance of the Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro chips inside, detailing how that performance stacks up against the previous-generation Mac mini, the Mac Studio, and much more.

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2023 Mac mini Geekbench scores show dramatic multi-core improvements over M1 model

2023 Mac mini Geekbench

We didn’t have long to wait for 2023 Mac mini Geekbench scores, for both M2 and M2 Pro variants. As you’d expect, they show pretty dramatic performance gains over the M1 model launched back in November of 2020.

The base model M2 machine gets a relatively modest bump in the single-core test, but a much larger one for multi-core …

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A 27-inch iMac is redundant, especially with the new M2 Mac mini

27-inch iMac is redundant | Studio Display shown

The 27-inch iMac used to be one of the most popular models in Apple’s line-up, and a lot of people still view them with great affection even today. If you wanted a Mac but didn’t need portability, the machine combined all-in-one simplicity with a beautiful design and a great screen in a decent size.

But the iMac Pro was quietly discontinued in March 2021, with the non-Pro model suffering the same fate a year later. Not everyone was happy about this, and reports of a new iMac Pro persist, but I’m honestly not sure there’s a role for either Pro or non-Pro versions any longer …

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Where is the Mac mini of MacBooks?

iPad pricing | iPad 10 shown

Apple’s new M2 Mac mini is a good value for a desktop computer.

$500 gives students and educators access to Apple’s best consumer processor performance and a desktop operating system. That’s vastly more affordable than $1300 iMac even after you consider the cost of a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

But it’s not 1995 anymore. Students use laptops, not desktops. Apple hasn’t had its M2 Mac mini moment with MacBooks, and I think the iPad is the reason.

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Kuo: Mac mini unlikely to get new design anytime soon; 3nm M3 Pro and Max chips expected next year

Kuo: Mac mini unlikely to get new design anytime soon; 3nm M3 Pro and Max chips expected next year

Apple on Tuesday updated the Mac mini with the M2 chip, and also introduced another version with the new, more powerful M2 Pro chip. However, despite the new chips, the Mac mini still has the same design introduced a decade ago. And according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Mac mini won’t be getting a new design anytime soon.

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Apple launches new Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro chip, lower $599 starting price

Apple today launched the new Mac mini lineup, available with M2 and M2 Pro chips inside. The M2 Mac mini starts at a new lower price of $599. The M2 Pro Mac mini starts at $1299. A $100 education discount is available for schools and students.

The M2 Pro chip packs in a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU, with up to 32 GB RAM. The new Mac mini is available to order today, with first deliveries arriving next week, from January 24.

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