No matter how much of an Apple nerd you are, you can’t remember every detail about every Apple product – not even me. MacTracker to the rescue.
I’ve been using Macs for over 12 years, and in that time I have owned over 30 and repaired many more. I have accrued a huge amount of intricate knowledge including specs, release dates, and maximum RAM and OS supported.
However, with so many Apple products spanning several decades, sometimes it is handy to have a reference tool to look up and compare different models, or just to confirm what you already know. There are many sites with this information – including Low End Mac – but it is nice to have an app with a unified layout and up-to-date information.
MacTracker does exactly that. Available for Mac OS X and iOS, this tool has become an important part of my Mac existence. It is one of the first apps to be installed on both my Mac and iPhone. Whether it’s looking up a Mac I am about to buy or researching for an article I am writing, this brilliant tool has it all, listing Apple products from 1984 onwards.
MacTracker includes information on Apple’s Macintosh models as well as Apple branded devices that work with them, such as printers, cameras, and iDevices. However, it doesn’t include the Apple II or Lisa.
Let’s Open It Up
To help you find what you need, MacTracker is broken down into sections, and each section is broken down further into product lines.
- Desktops: Classic Macintosh, eMac, iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, Performa, Power Macintosh, and Power Macintosh G3/G4/G5.
- Notebooks: iBook, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, PowerBook, and PowerBook G3/G4.
- Servers: Workgroup/Mac Server and Xserve/Xserve RAID.
- Devices: Apple TV, Cameras, Displays, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mice and Keyboards, Newton, Printers, Scanners, Speakers, and Wi-Fi.
- Software: iOS, Mac OS, and OS X.
Clicking on one of these product lines offers access to individual models in that category. Each individual model then offers a complete list of specifications, shown in various tabs.
The General tab shows information on release dates, identification/model number, price, support status, and dimensions, as well as processor, system bus, storage, and keyboard/trackpad.
The Software tab shows initial OS and maximum supported OS, Hardware Test number, and any bundled software. It also shows if any firmware updates were available.
The Memory And Graphics tab shows information about maximum RAM – both official Apple maximum and unofficial maximum, – display size and resolution, graphics chip and memory, and graphics output options.
The Connections And Expansion tab show internet connection methods, which ports and sensors it has, battery or power requirements, and environmental info.
The History tab shows a picture of the product and a small summary. This is not always about individual models and may be the same for a few as Apple release a few models at the same time.
The Notes tab offers additional information as well as external links relating to that product.
These tabs vary from product to product. Most Macs have the above tabs, however the iPhone, iPad, and iPod tabs swap Memory & Graphics for Media, displaying which audio, video, and picture formats each device is capable of playing.
There are other sections to the app too.
All Models lists all products in what seems to be no apparent order. Current Models list all Apple products currently on sale. This Mac tries to identify the Mac you are using. History shows you which models you have looked at. Lastly Timeline, which breaks it down in to years so you can browse which Apple products were released in a specific year.
The final one is Smart Categories. You can build a custom list of Macs or iDevices down to components, such as all Macs with G5 processors or all Macs with GMA950 graphics chips. A very handy tool.
MacTracker is laid out very well. Having each model appear on a different window and its uniformed layout make it very easy to compare side-by-side, which is a very handy feature.UPDATE: There is a direct comparison feature. Simply select up to four models and then either select Compare from the File menu or press Cmd-K and it will compare them side by side.
To compare a MacBook with an iMac, or Mac Mini with a MacBook Air you will need to be in All Models, Current Macs or a year in the Timeline section. However it is not possible to compare an iMac with an iPhone; you can only compare Mac to Mac or iDevice to iDevice.
A superb part of MacTracker are the benchmark scores, provided by Geekbench. You can see how each individual device compares in the real world. These are initial bench scores using its original OS release and stock amount of RAM. Bench scores may vary if you use a different version of OS X or add more RAM. Geekbench is also cross platform so you can even compare a Mac to a Windows machine.
As well as the Mac version, MacTracker is also available for iOS. It offers the same level of information, although it is a little less easy to compare.
The screen size and layout on iDevices means you can only view one set of machine information at once – unlike the Mac version, which you can sit windows side-by-side.
If you have a Mac, the current version is available as standalone download for Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard and 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. It is also available in the Mac App Store for those running 10.6.8 upwards.
Older versions are available, but in general only the latest version has the most up-to-date information. Earlier versions may not include newer versions of OS X/iOS or newer Macs/iDevices.
For the iOS app you will need iOS 7, and you can grab it from the App Store.
MacTracker is a brilliant tool. I couldn’t be without it.
As with all free apps, donations are always welcome to keep the project alive. If you fancy sending a contribution across you can do so on the donations page.
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