Mac mini Overview Updated August 29, 2021

Mac mini

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174 'Mac mini' stories

December 2010 - August 2021

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

History

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 of 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.

macOS Big Sur

The M1 Mac mini comes with 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.

Recently, Apple released macOS Big Sur 11.4 with expanded GPU support, zero-day security fix, more. With this update, the company brought:

  • Apple Podcasts subscriptions are available for purchase via monthly and annual subscriptions
  • Channels group together collections of shows from podcast creators

This release also fixed the following issues:

  • Bookmarks in Safari may get reordered or moved into a folder that can appear hidden
  • Certain websites may not display correctly after your Mac wakes from sleep
  • Keywords may not be included when exporting a photo from the Photos app
  • Preview may become unresponsive when searching PDF documents
  • 16-inch MacBook may become unresponsive when playing Civilization VI.

With macOS Big Sur 11.5 Apple brought:

  • Podcasts Library tab allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows
  • Music may not update play count and last played date in your library
  • Smart cards may not work when logging into Mac computers with the M1 chip

macOS Monterey

macOS Monterey

During WWDC21, Apple previewed macOS 12 Monterey, the next big update to the Mac operating system. Here are some of its most important features:

  • Universal Control;
  • Shortcuts app now on the Mac;
  • Revamped FaceTime and new SharePlay feature;
  • Redesigned Safari.

You can read more about macOS 12 Monterey here.

Pricing

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.

Intel

  • 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 feature 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.

Deals

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

There are some rumors about a new Mac mini. According to a Bloomberg report in May, 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. This chip is also expected to appear in the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro refresh.

YouTuber Jon Prosser, for example, claims that the upcoming M1X-powered Mac mini will also introduce a new generation of industrial design for Apple’s standalone Mac. This model is expected to replace the higher-end space grey Intel Mac mini in the lineup, with the M1 Mac mini sticking around as the entry-level machine. 

According to Prosser, the 2021 Mac mini will feature a new external chassis with a “plexiglass-like” reflective surface on the top, in an otherwise aluminum enclosure.

In his Power On newsletter by the end of August, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says a new Mac mini will launch in the “next several months” with a “high-end M1X” processor. He says that this new model will have an updated design and more ports than the current model as well.

At the beginning of August, Gurman wrote that the next Mac mini will come soon after the new MacBook Pro release.

Mac mini Stories August 26

M1 Mac mini with 10GB ethernet now available from Apple refurb store

After Apple started selling the 24-inch M1 iMac via its Refurbished Store, the M1 Mac mini with 10GB ethernet is now available at a lower price as well.

Mac mini Stories August 22

When Apple will launch the next Mac mini? According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, in the latest entry of his Power On newsletter, in the “next several months.” Here is what we know.

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Mac mini Stories June 30

Satechi originally launched its Aluminum Mac mini Stand and Hub back in 2019 bringing expanded I/O to the front of the desktop Mac and giving it a lift. Now an upgraded Stand and Hub is out today that lets you seamlessly expand your storage with a built-in SSD enclosure along with the extra I/O.

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Mac mini Stories May 18

In a fresh report from Bloomberg today, we’ve got new details on what we’ll likely see as Apple Silicon expands to the rest of the Mac lineup. Apple is said to be working on an all-new Mac Pro with 40 cores, a higher-end Mac mini, and more.

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Mac mini Stories April 20

Apple today introduced a new redesigned iMac with the M1 chip, but there’s also another Mac that received an upgrade after the special “Spring Loaded” event. The company has quietly updated the M1 Mac mini with an optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet port, which was previously only available on the Intel version of the Mac mini.

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Mac mini Stories March 11

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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Mac mini Stories February 27

In this look back at the M1 Mac mini, I discuss my experiences with Apple’s most affordable M1-enabled Mac. Is Apple’s compact desktop computer worth it? Watch my M1 Mac mini diary for more details.

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Mac mini Stories February 25

Following the arrival of the M1 MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air in the Apple Refurbished Store, Apple today began selling the refurbished M1 Mac mini. Customers can now get all three Macs with M1 chip in the Refurbished Store at a discounted price.

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Mac mini Stories February 24

Amazon had a surprising announcement back in December when it revealed support for Mac instances on AWS. macOS Mojave and Catalina were the only supported operating systems at launch, and now the latest OS for Mac is officially supported.

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Mac mini Stories February 2

Accessing an M1 Mac mini in the cloud just got cheaper. Amazon Web Services (AWS) began offering Intel Mac mini instances at the end of last year for $1.083 per hour, in minimum 24-hour chunks. Scaleway, a European cloud services company, is now offering the M1 version for €0.10 ($0.12) per hour, with the same 24-hour minimum …

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Mac mini Stories January 28

The M1 Mac mini power consumption and thermal output figures highlight just how much more efficient Apple Silicon is than the Intel chips that powered older models …

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Mac mini Stories December 1, 2020

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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Mac mini Stories November 24, 2020

The new Mac mini with M1 chip has been available for some time and although the machine impresses with its amazing performance, it’s also causing problems for some users. More specifically, there are users complaining about Bluetooth connectivity issues with the new M1 Mac mini.

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Mac mini Stories November 18, 2020

As Apple’s new M1 Macs have arrived to customers this week, we’ve got our first look at the internals of the company’s first desktop with Apple Silicon. The M1 Mac mini has retained the same footprint as its Intel predecessor despite it looking like much less space was needed.

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Mac mini Stories November 16, 2020

New Geekbench scores show that the 2020 Mac mini with M1 chip is faster than every Intel Mac in single core tests, even though the benchmarking app is running under the Rosetta 2 emulator. The M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air take second and third places.

There are some important riders to note, however …

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Mac mini Stories November 12, 2020

Some big Hollywood names have welcomed Apple’s launch of the first M1 Macs, one stating that it’s the best news from Apple in a decade, another that the Mac mini could be huge for editors.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member Michael Cioni said the announcement showed that Apple still cares about creative pros …

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Mac mini Stories November 11, 2020

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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Mac mini Stories November 10, 2020

Today Apple released its M1 chip for the 13-inch MacBook Air and Pro and Mac mini. Currently, for the MacBook Air, Apple is only offering the M1 chip starting at $999. But for the MacBook Pro and Mac mini, Intel processor models are still available from Apple for the time being.

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The all-new Mac mini with the M1 Apple Silicon has launched today. Like the new MacBook Air and Pro, the Mac mini gains some impressive performance from the M1’s 8-core CPU and 8-Core GPU. But there have also been some I/O changes with the new model. Here’s what’s different…

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Mac mini Stories August 24, 2020

New images shared on Twitter this week showcase a prototype Mac mini with a built-in iPod dock. The Mac mini shown here featured a 30-pin connector that would have allowed an iPod user to charge and sync their device without an additional cable.

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Mac mini Stories April 11, 2020

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 full story

Mac mini Stories March 25, 2020

MacStadium, which provides Apple Mac infrastructure as a service, is seeing a spike in signups this week. MacStadium VP Brian Stucki tells 9to5Mac that the company has heard from developer classrooms and teachers, as well as many others, about the growing need for remote servers.

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Mac mini Stories March 18, 2020

Apple has updated the Mac mini today alongside the new MacBook Air and iPad Pro.

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Mac mini Stories March 4, 2020

An anonymous Twitter user who has previously leaked numerous accurate details about Apple’s product lineups has returned today. This time, the source suggests that that Apple has an update for the iMac and Mac mini coming soon.

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