The Apple Vision Pro has finally launched, and if you were thinking you may have to upgrade your Mac or MacBook to use the new headset (piling on another expensive purchase onto an already very pricey device) there is some good news, as it seems like the Vision Pro headset is compatible with Intel-based Macs, potentially opening the door for users with older models.
A support page on the official Apple website, explaining how to use the headset with a Mac as a display, reveals that support for this feature is not limited to Apple Silicon Macs (such as recent MacBooks with the M1, M2 or M3 chips). The post explains that if you happen to be using a Mac with an Intel processor, you can still use the Vision Pro as a workspace, however, you’ll be working with resolutions capped at 3K rather than 4K as you normally would with an Apple Silicon-powered Mac.
You’ll still be able to resize the Virtual Display window and use the computer's keyboard and trackpad. That being said, if you’re looking to take advantage of the Virtual Display feature, your Mac will need to be running on macOS 14 Sonoma or newer, so if you are planning on giving it a go you’d probably have to upgrade your operating system. Very old Macs and MacBooks may not be compatible with macOS Sonoma, which means you won’t be able to use the Vision Pro as an additional screen with those products.
Cool, but not very useful.
While I am glad to see support for older Macs, I’m not sure I see the point. Of course, Intel-based Macs are still good computers despite their age, but with the cost of the Apple Vision Pro, you could buy yourself an M3 iMac and have plenty of cash to spare.
Of course, I’m sure plenty of people may have an older iMac collecting dust at home that would like to give it a go, but again the Apple Vision Pro isn’t exactly a product you buy on a whim. I wouldn’t really encourage anyone to buy the headset if they exclusively work on an Intel Mac since you won’t get the full 4K experience. You’d be better off just upgrading your device to a new MacBook, Mac mini or iMac and buying a Vision Pro later… if at all.
There’s also no guarantee that this support on the Intel Macs will last forever - now that the M3 iMac has launched I wouldn’t be surprised if we started to see support for newer accessories or features being limited. So, if you are in the position to try out the Vision Pro with your older Mac, I suggest you get on it soon and decide if you like the pairing enough to justify upgrading to an Apple Silicon Mac - because you might have to in the future.
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Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison.
Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place.
Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).