What is Apple Silicon? Everything You Need To Know

By using its custom-built processor processors in its Macs rather than Intel’s processing chips, which it has been utilizing for decades, Apple has created shocks in the computing industry. Apple silicon chips, the company’s proprietary processors, are comparable to the chips in the iPad and iPhone.

This manual contains all the information you need to understand Apple microchips, how they differ from Intel chips, and how Apple intends to move the entire Mac family away from Intel CPUs.

apple silicon

What Do Macs’ Apple Silicon Chips Do?

For many years, Apple’s Mac computers used third-party Intel CPU processors. This was understandable, given that Intel controls more than 72% of the CPU chip industry. Intel is a well-known CPU maker. Due to supply chain and efficiency difficulties, Apple opted to create processing circuits for its Macs, known as Apple microchips.

Apple uses silicon processors using an ARM architecture, distinct from Intel’s chip design. ARM chips are commonly found in smartphones such as Android phones, iPhones, and other similar devices. Apple created an ARM-based Macintosh silicon chip after developing ARM processors for the iPhone and iPad.

As a result, Apple had complete control over the CPU’s characteristics, such as speed and energy efficiency. Given that the Mac and iPhone use similar CPU components, it’s easy to see how it may improve connectivity between the two operating systems.

Silicon chips are the M1 chips utilized by Apple in its late-2020 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. This was the beginning of the move away from Intel processors.

Apple silicon chips were first used in the company’s other Macs. Later, to upgrade the silicon processors, Apple released the M1 Pro, Max, Ultra, and M2 CPUs. These upgraded models of Apple’s original silicon M1 CPU provide several performance improvements. ¬†If you’d like to examine how all the M1 processors compared to the M2 chip, check out our comparison.

Why Did Apple Make the Transition to Silicon Chips?

Due to efficiency and supply chain issues with Intel’s processors, Apple developed its ARM-based CPUs. Now that it has complete control over the CPUs, Apple may change their architecture to produce better results, boost efficiency, and use less power. This results in a longer battery life and noticeably better performance.

The CPU, graphics card, RAM, and other internal components in Intel PCs are frequently found as distinct pieces. These can be acquired from numerous companies, enabling more user customisation based on a user’s demands.

Comparatively, Apple silicon chips consolidate all of these components onto a single microprocessor, enabling the numerous Mac features. This system-on-a-chip enables the increased efficiency of Apple’s silicon CPUs. It’s also vital to remember that Apple gadgets are the sole ones that can use these microchips.

Are Intel Processors Better Than Apple Silicon Chips?

Since all of the chips in Apple’s iPhones and iPads are built in-house, the company has decades of expertise in creating effective ARM chips. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Mac microchips perform better than their Intel equivalents and have enhanced Mac performance significantly.

There are numerous benchmark diagnostic tests to evaluate the performance of Apple’s silicon chips against different Intel processors. However, users typically care about real-world efficiency.

The M1 chip inside a MacBook Air transformed a 4K movie into 1080p in slightly over 9 minutes, according to a short test by robots.net. The Yoga 9i took longer than 14 minutes to complete the identical task than the XPS 13, which had an Intel processor. While not representative of all circumstances, this gives a rough notion of Apple’s silicon CPUs’ improved efficiency and performance.

Given that higher-end Intel CPUs often have more cores available, multi-core speed is one area wherein silicon chips still appear to be lacking. This will only matter if you’re producing 4K animations or performing other power-intensive operations. Apple can now provide upgrades on its timetable and more frequent technological advancements thanks to the switch to its CPUs. However, one limitation of Apple’s silicon processors is that the standard Boot Camp Assistant approach cannot be used to install Windows.

On Apple Silicon Macs, the compatibility of apps

As Apple transitioned from Intel CPUs to silicon chips, apps must be there to take advantage of the new technology. Nonetheless, Apple put the Rosetta emulator on all Macs to help users and application developers during the transition.

Older apps can run nicely on Apple silicon devices thanks to Rosetta emulation, without having to be for an ARM CPU. As a result, virtually all apps continue to function as before. Rosetta-using apps, on the other hand, will benefit from the greater efficiency of silicon CPUs if the programmers upgrade them.

Rosetta allowed developers to upgrade their software for silicon, resulting in significantly quicker performance. Applications like Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe Photoshop significantly run quicker than ever (up to an 80% speed boost relative to Intel counterparts), highlighting the difference.

In essence, all programs that previously ran on Intel Macintosh will operate on Macs built with Apple technology. However, if the producer still needs to upgrade them, they could not be taking advantage of the new chips’ enhanced performance.

Future Plans for Apple Computers

Besides the Mac Pro, Apple has switched all of its Macs to silicon chips. Beginning with the M1 chip in the Macbook and MacBook Air of 2020, the firm updates its processors annually before releasing the M1 Max, M1 Pro, and M2 chip in subsequent releases.

Intel Macs have a short shelf life as Apple switches to an all-silicon lineup. The business will eventually discontinue providing software upgrades for Intel Macs. Some capabilities in recent macOS updates are exclusive to Macs made by Apple silicon. This comprises features like Live Text, enhanced Dictation, FaceTime Portrait mode, and object capturing.

Integrated hardware and software systems

Apple silicon processors and Apple macOS are to work together. This improves the interface between the program and the hardware. As a customer, you’ll notice that things go faster, and your productivity remains unchanged. However, the chip also supports the equipment. The M1 chips, like your iPhone, have a Neural Processor that provides complex functionality. As a result, when you use FaceTime, they’ll complete the transaction using your image, making you more visible.

This is also essential in processing. One component is high-performance cores, while another is to work as efficiently as possible (high-efficiency cores). All of the cores are interchangeable amongst Apple Silicon chips.


There are now 5 distinct Apple Silicon chips available: the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Ultra, and M2. The M1 microprocessor is a quick, entry-level chip. The M1 chip is appropriate for a regular user who primarily uses managerial applications and occasionally likes to edit a picture or movie gently. If your primary work involves audio, amateur to intermediate-level photography, or straightforward video creation, go for the M1 Pro. Are you a skilled shooter who frequently edits many images, or do your elevated edit videos? Decide on the M1 Max. Do you use the most complex programs?

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