2022 saw the arrival of two major updates for Windows 11 and macOS – a major update to Microsoft’s operating system, and an all-new version of macOS in the Ventura Update.
For a long time, you’d expect to see major updates every two years, and they would be paid, but now it’s a free annual update that you can download to your PC or Mac.
However, with Black Friday 2022 approaching, it’s upgrade season for many, and you might not be sure which one to choose if you’re looking to buy a new laptop or desktop computer. Thousands of people make the switch every year, moving to macOS from Windows or vice versa when buying a new computer.
With that in mind, we looked at what’s available in both, and how they can benefit you in different ways.
Windows 11 in 2022
Since its debut in October 2021, Windows 11 has had a polarizing reception, mainly because of its redesigned taskbar that brought apps and its start menu to the center (although you can move it back to the left side if you prefer the classic Windows layout). And some missing features compared to previous Windows versions.
However, with its first major update released in September 2022, there have been a host of improvements that have worked wonders to allay some of these criticisms.
First, Windows 11 came with an updated design across the board, and that finally applies to the majority of Windows apps as well, such as Paint, Task Manager, and even the media player.
There are also tabs in File Explorer that can save you the confusion and hassle of managing files in multiple windows, and there’s now a built-in Xbox app, so if you’re a Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you can load up a game and start playing almost instantly.
Finally, Windows 11 has a redesigned Microsoft Store, where previous versions were mostly abandoned by the tech giant. In the new and improved Store, plenty of apps from verified developers are available for download – saving you a lot of time spent searching the web for the correct version of the software you need.
macOS Ventura in 2022
Apple’s operating system debuted in 2000, when it was first named Mac OS X, and each version will be named after a different type of big cat. It was the company’s fresh start to what came before, and since then, it’s been seen moving to different processors and a change in its look to better reflect Apple’s homogenous mobile iOS.
However, the basis is the same, largely unchanged. You can access the Finder to manage your files and folders, and the Dock lets you launch your favorite and most-used apps in an instant.
Functionally, these aren’t unlike the File Explorer menu and Start menu in every recent version of Windows, but macOS has always made a point of evaluating aesthetics and user accessibility more of a priority than Microsoft’s flagship operating system. The new macOS Ventura update does nothing to change this.
Ventura wasn’t a huge departure from Apple’s operating system, but it did add some cool new features. Chief among these is the Stage Manager tool, a feature carried over from iPadOS that lets you easily manage multiple apps open on your desktop.
With Apple moving to Apple Silicon in 2020, that means you can use a range of iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac. This comes with the added benefit of transferring your progress between devices thanks to iCloud.
While macOS has seen a lot of fragmentation of its appearance and apps over the years, Microsoft decided to make one big redesign with the release of Windows 11 in 2021. There was a new taskbar, new ways to customize your appearance, and the introduction of the apps layer. A fresh coat of paint after years of being abandoned.
For years, Windows seemed to evolve from the theme Windows XP introduced in 2001, with flat colors and curved buttons, and when Windows 10 arrived, it was mostly a reflection of what Windows 8 brought with its Metro theme.
In Windows 11, everything feels familiar and new again, as if Microsoft blew away the spider webs that had lingered in parts of the operating system for years.
When it comes to macOS, Apple has been using iOS as its guiding star since the mid-2010s — if you’ve owned an iPhone or iPad in the past six years, you’ll feel right at home in macOS Ventura. Everything looks familiar but it’s bigger, and you have more power to customize the operating system to do exactly what you want.
Compared to Windows, Apple likes to introduce at least three all-new features every year with the goal of improving user experience and productivity, and Ventura has kept this going with Stage Manager.
While it’s a confusing mess on iPadOS 16, in macOS it’s actually a useful tool when you have multiple windows open on your Mac desktop, and easily tidies up the clutter, similar to the “Packages” feature for folders and files that first arrived on the Mac. OS X 10.5 Leopard.
If you want an operating system with lots of apps and ones that you can access on multiple devices, Apple is the way to go with macOS.
Since the App Store debuted in 2008, Apple has created a polished ecosystem where you can freely purchase an app on your iPhone, and in most cases, you’ll be able to use that on another Apple device at no additional charge. If it’s a game, your progress is usually tracked thanks to iCloud.
With macOS ‘Big Sur’, released in 2020, the App Store arrived with Apple Silicon support, like the M1 MacBook Air and M1 Mac Mini, which means using these same apps on Macs is now possible.
If you compare this to Windows, threading is spotty at best. Granted, Android apps are available on the Microsoft Store now thanks to a deal with Amazon, but we’re already seeing the Store filled with unwanted apps. While the redesign of the Store is welcome, organizing seems to be something Microsoft forgot to do.
In 2010, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he wanted Microsoft to be a service company, where you could access its apps on any device. While this is true for the most part, with the multi-platform improvements to the Microsoft Office suite, the Windows 11 Store still needs work.
Apple has been a leader in accessibility for years, but Microsoft has been catching up pretty quickly since Windows 10 debuted in 2015.
With the 2022 Creator’s Update, a new feature called Voice Access lets you control Windows 11 with a set of voice commands across the operating system.
In macOS Ventura, you can use Live Captions in a FaceTime call, along with enabling background sounds, so you can play soothing sounds like rain or ocean waves to drown out any unwanted distractions no matter where you are.
However, both Microsoft and Apple are clearly committed to the future of accessibility, so no matter which operating system you choose, you can be safe in the knowledge that Class will help you use their features like no one else.
Cost and availability
While both are free, technically getting into macOS is through the cheapest Mac, the Mac mini, whereas on Windows, you have Much options to enter.
If you’re on Windows 10 you’ll get a free upgrade to Windows 11, but otherwise it’s $99.99 / £99.99 / AU$109.99 (Opens in a new tab).
The barrier to entering the latest and greatest updates on Windows and Mac is much simpler than it used to be, as you’ll pay a minimum of $99 / £99 / AU$99.
However, as long as you have a PC or Mac that’s at least 4 years old, you should have no problem upgrading to Windows 11 or macOS Ventura, but be aware that some features may not be available to you.
So which one should you choose?
Think of it like stepping into IKEA. You walk along the exact path and, for whatever reason, are drawn to the kitchen — from its color to the appliances and the way every drawer and every cabinet has been arranged.
You walk around the island where you can see yourself sitting and chatting with family while eating, and you feel right at home – you feel right.
So the question is not exactly “which is better”. Each has its own pros and cons, and your tastes will be different than anyone you walk down the street this week for example. The question should be “what makes you feel most comfortable to use”.