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How to determine whether your Mac computer is using an Intel processor or Apple silicon

Starting with certain models introduced in late 2020, Apple began the transition from Intel processors to its own desktop chips in Mac computers. That said, Intel-based Macs are going to be sold, supported and maintained for years to come. Legacy Macs (thankfully) don’t have an Intel inside sticker and there’s no way to distinguish these from Apple silicon Mac systems from the outside. In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to identify Apple silicon Macs.

Mac computers with Apple silicon

At the time of this writing, Apple offered the following Mac computers with the M1 chip:

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (2020)
  • Mac mini (2020)

Follow along with our tutorial, embedded right ahead, for step-by-step instructions showing you how to identify Apple silicon and Intel-based Mac computer models.

How to identify Macs with Intel or Apple chip

You can identify whether your Mac computer is powered by an Intel processor or Apple silicon by using the About This Mac feature that’s available under the Apple menu.

  1. Click the Apple menu and select the option “About This Mac”.
  2. In the About This Mac window, look for an item labeled “Processor” or “Chip”.

Keep in mind that you’ll need macOS Big Sur to identify M1 Mac models.

This particular Mac notebook is definitely running Apple silicon

And here’s how to interpret the results:

  • Apple silicon: If your machine is powered by an M1 chip or another Apple silicon, About This Mac shows an item labeled “Chip”, followed by the name of the Apple chip.
  • Intel: If your machine is powered by an Intel chip, About This Mac shows an item labeled “Processor”, followed by the precise name and/or model number of an Intel processor that’s powering the computer.

According to Apple, “a Mac with an Intel processor is also known as an Intel-based Mac”.

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