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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


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 Own 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 to 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.

Apple Silicon Mac mini

M1 Mac mini deals

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 100% recycled aluminum.

Intel Mac mini

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.


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

For the model with 16GB of RAM, adds $200 in 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, adds $200 for 1TB and $600 for the 2TB option. The 10 Gigabit Ethernet is $100 more.

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

Mac mini review

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.

Some developers face issues attempting to return the Mac Mini DTK to Apple

Update: After more research, the issue appears to be on DHL’s side rather than Apple, and it is only affecting developers in Europe. DHL is working to resolve the issues and ensure that the DTK units are delivered to Apple, but 9to5Mac has learned that developers will not be penalized for any issues caused by DHL shipping.

With less than a month left for developers to return the DTK Mac mini and receive a $500 credit, things seem to be a bit chaotic, according to some developers online. Developers outside of the US report that they are having some issues when attempting to return the A12Z-powered Mac mini.

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Amazon Web Services now offers Mac instances based on Mac mini; M1 coming later

Amazon launches AWS Mac instances using Mac mini

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is now offering Mac instances to developers who want to speed up building and testing of Mac, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS apps. The instances are based on physical Mac minis, and you get exclusive access to a machine while you are using it.

While relatively expensive compared to other Mac mini in the cloud services, AWS does offer a couple of significant benefits …

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Apple’s M1 chip fastest laptop CPU in the world, says independent analysis

Apple's M1 chip

A detailed analysis by AnandTech says that Apple’s M1 chip can indeed credibly claim to be the fastest laptop CPU in the world. Apple made the claim during yesterday’s Mac event.

While the piece does level a couple of criticisms at Apple’s presentation, it says that a comparison of A-series and Intel chip trajectories tell a very clear story: Apple has long been on-track to overtake the PC chipmaker, and has now done so …

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The Rewind: Mac mini (2020 release) – still as versatile as ever [Video]

At the time of its release back in 2018, the Mac mini had the designation of being the most versatile Mac in Apple’s entire desktop lineup. With the release of the Mac Pro, that designation now belongs to Apple’s professional-oriented desktop machine with PCIe expandability.

But the Mac mini remains one of the most value-laden Macs that Apple currently sells, and it’s the second most versatile Mac next to the Mac Pro. Watch our latest episode of The Rewind as I take another look at Apple’s diminutive Mac. Expand

Creating a Mac mini video editing setup for under $2,000 [Video]

In recent months, I’ve been looking to upgrade my Final Cut Pro desktop editing rig. I wanted something that could last me at least the next two to three years and provide me with a smooth workflow; I also wanted to spend less than $2,000 total. If you’re in a similar predicament, then read further. For less than $2,000 I put together a Mac mini video editing setup that works great with Final Cut Pro X. Expand