In 2022, two major updates were released for Windows 11 and macOS – a major update for Microsoft’s operating system and a whole new version of macOS in the Ventura update.
Long ago you expected to see major updates every two years and they would be paid for, but now it’s a free annual update that you can download to your PC or Mac.
However, with Black Friday 2022 looming, it’s upgrade season for many, and you might be unsure which one to pick when looking to buy a new laptop or desktop PC. Thousands of people switch from Windows to macOS or vice versa every year when they buy a new computer.
With that in mind, we took a look at what’s available in both and how you can benefit from them in different ways.
Windows 11 in 2022
Since its October 2021 debut, Windows 11 has had a polarizing reception, largely due to its redesigned taskbar, which brought apps and its Start menu to the center (although you can bring it back to the left if you prefer the classic Windows layout) and some missing features compared to previous Windows versions.
However, with the first major update released in September 2022, there were a number of improvements that have worked wonders to allay some of these criticisms.
Firstly, Windows 11 has been given a refreshed design across the board, and this eventually extends to most Windows apps such as Paint, Task Manager and even Media Player.
There are also tabs in File Explorer, which can save you the confusion and hassle of managing files across multiple windows, and there’s now an Xbox app built in. So if you’re subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, you can load up a game and start playing almost immediately.
Finally, Windows 11 has a redesigned Microsoft Store, with previous versions largely abandoned by the tech giant. The new and improved Store has numerous apps available for download from verified developers – saving you a lot of time searching the web for the right version of a program you need.
macOS Ventura in 2022
Apple’s operating system first debuted in 2000 when it was first called Mac OS X, and each release has been named after a different breed of big cat. It was the company’s fresh start for what came before, and since then it’s seen switches to other processors and a change in look to better reflect Apple’s monolithic phone platform, iOS.
But the basis is the same, largely unchanged. You access the Finder to organize your files and folders, and the Dock lets you launch your favorite and most-used applications in a snap.
Functionally, these are not dissimilar to the File Explorer and Start menu in every recent version of Windows, but macOS has always made a point of prioritizing aesthetics and user accessibility over Microsoft’s flagship operating system. The new macOS Ventura update doesn’t change that either.
Ventura wasn’t a huge change for Apple’s operating system, but it did add some nifty new features. The most important of these is the Stage Manager tool, a feature ported from iPadOS that allows you to easily manage multiple open apps on your desktop.
Since Apple switched to Apple Silicon in 2020, it means you can use a range of iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac. This has the added benefit of being able to transfer your progress between devices thanks to iCloud.
While macOS has seen many snags on its looks and apps over the years, Microsoft has decided to undertake a major, sweeping redesign with the release of Windows 11 in 2021. There was a new taskbar, new ways to customize your theme, and apps got a fresh coat of paint after years of neglect.
For years, Windows seemed to evolve from the theme that Windows XP presented in 2001, with flat colors and curved buttons, and when Windows 10 came out, it was mostly a reversal of what Windows 8 brought with its Metro theme .
Everything in Windows 11 feels familiar yet new again, as if Microsoft has blown away the cobwebs that have lingered in parts of the operating system for years.
However, when it comes to macOS, Apple has used iOS as its guiding light since the mid-2010s – if you’ve owned an iPhone or an iPad in the last six years, you’ll feel right at home in macOS Ventura. Everything feels familiar yet larger, and you have more options to customize the operating system to do exactly what you want.
Compared to Windows, Apple likes to introduce at least three brand new features each year to improve user experience and productivity, and Ventura has continued to do so with Stage Manager.
While it’s a confusing clutter on iPadOS 16, on macOS it’s actually a useful tool when you have multiple windows open on your Mac desktop to easily organize the clutter, similar to the “Stack” feature for folders and files, which arrived first Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
Undoubtedly, if you want an app-heavy operating system that you can access across multiple devices, Apple is the way to go with macOS.
Since the debut of the App Store in 2008, Apple has created a refined ecosystem where you can buy an app for free on your iPhone and, in most cases, use it on another Apple device at no extra cost. If it’s a game, your progress is usually transferred thanks to iCloud.
With macOS “Big Sur” released in 2020, the App Store came with support for Apple Silicon, like the M1 MacBook Air and M1 Mac Mini, which meant using the same apps on Mac hardware was now possible.
If you compare this to Windows, the networking is spotty at best. Granted, Android apps are now available in the Microsoft Store thanks to a deal with Amazon, but we’re already seeing the store filling up with junk apps. While the store redesign is welcome, curation seems to be something Microsoft has forgotten.
In 2010, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he wanted Microsoft to be a service company where its apps could be accessed on any device. While that’s mostly true, Windows 11’s store has yet to be revamped with cross-platform improvements to the Microsoft Office suite.
Apple has been a leader in accessibility for years, but Microsoft has caught up at an impressive pace since introducing Windows 10 in 2015.
With the 2022 Creators Update, a new feature called Voice Access lets you control Windows 11 with a suite of voice commands across the operating system.
In macOS Ventura, you can use live captions within a FaceTime call and turn on background noise so you can play soothing sounds like rain or ocean waves to drown out 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 rest assured that the category will help you enjoy its features as well as everyone else.
cost and availability
While both are free, technically access to macOS is through the cheapest Mac, the Mac mini, while on Windows you have one a lot of of input options.
If you’re using Windows 10, you get a free upgrade to Windows 11, otherwise it’s $99.99 / £99.99 / AU$109.99 (opens in new tab).
The barrier to accessing the latest and greatest updates for Windows and Mac is much easier than it used to be, where you would pay at least $99 / £99 / AU$99.
However, as long as you have a PC or Mac that is at least 4 years old, you shouldn’t have a 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 an IKEA. You walk down the designated path and are drawn to a kitchen for any reason – from the color to the appliances and the way each drawer and cabinet is arranged.
You walk around the island where you sit down to eat and chat with family and it feels like home – it feels comfortable.
So the question is not strictly “which one is better?”. Each has its pros and cons, and your tastes will be different than someone you pass on the street this week, for example. The question should be “what feels more comfortable”.