The Mac mini is Apple’s smallest desktop Mac. It may not be as fast as Apple’s other desktop computers—the iMac and the Mac Pro—but it remains fast enough for general-purpose use, and even for pro apps. The Mac mini not only appeals to first-time Mac users, but longtime Mac users like the price and use the Mac mini as a server or an entertainment Mac connected to a TV.
Editor’s note: Updated 3/18/20 with information about the new Mac mini.
Mac mini: Apple increases the storage
Apple updated the Mac mini on March 18 with increased PCIe-based SSDs in the standard configurations. The $799 model now includes 256GB (up from 128GB), and the $1,099 model has 512GB (up from 256GB).
Everything else about the new Mac mini is the same as when it was released in October 2018. If you’re still interested in the Mac mini, you can learn more here about its features, specifications, prices, and more by reading the information below.
Mac mini: Models and specifications
Apple sells two Mac mini standard configuration models.
$799: 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3 CPU, 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD storage, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU.
$1,099: 3.0GHz 6-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 512GB SSD storage, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU.
The Mac mini doesn't use a hard drive, or even a Fusion Drive. Instead, Apple uses solid-state drives (SSDs) to provide fast performance. The company says that the SSDs are four times faster than the drives in the old Mac mini
As for ports, here’s what the Mac mini comes with:
- gigabit ethernet (with an option to upgrade to 10 gigabit ethernet)
- Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Two USB-A ports
- Headphone jack/audio out
The Mac mini does not include a display, keyboard, or mouse, so you’ll have to provide your own. Or you can customize your order to include these devices as extra-cost options. Apple sells the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 in Space Gray to match the Mac mini, or you can get them in Silver.
Since the Mac mini lacks an optical drive, you need to buy an external USB optical drive if you want to read or burn CDs and DVDs.
AppleCare+ is available for the Mac mini for $99, which extends the standard one-year warranty to three years.
Mac mini: Connectivity
The Mac mini has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It also has four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and an SDXC card slot. It also has a gigabit ethernet port, in case you want to connect to a wired network.
To connect a display, you can use the HDMI port or a Thunderbolt 3 port. You might have to buy an adapter in order to connect your display. You can consult our Thunderbolt 3 adapter guide to see what you need to connect to DVI, DisplayPort/mini DisplayPort, or VGA.
Mac mini: Speed
Not surprisingly, the Mac mini offers a nice single-core boost over its 2014 predecessors. Even in single-core apps (e.g., mail, browsers, iTunes, and even some consumer-level video and image editors), the boost is significant, thanks to eighth-generation Intel chip improvements and the clock speed bump.
If you use apps that can take advantage of multiple cores (pro apps for video and audio editing, 3D software, developer tools, etc.), you’re going to see a huge speed increase with the new Mac mini. It’s well worth the cost of upgrading.
Macworld’s buying advice
For new Mac users switching from a PC, the Mac mini is an excellent machine, if you don’t mind not having the absolute fastest processors. It’s a great choice for shoppers on a budget. It handles everyday usage well.
The Mac mini is also an ideal Mac for a household looking to install a second or third computer. And it is a very good machine to use as a server, either for your network, or for watching media.
Ready to buy a Mac mini? Go to the Apple Store