Transitioning away from Apple stuff

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GanChan, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. GanChan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2005
    I spent many years living/working happily within Apple's famed "walled garden," but I'm starting to realize that I simply can't afford new Apple stuff going forward. I've made some moves out of Apple-Land via a cheap Chromebook and Android phone, both of which serve my purposes well (but perhaps not as enjoyably as the Mac OS experience). My 2014 Macbook Air needs a new battery (and may have already sustained a bit of battery-related internal damage -- let's hope not), while my 2013 Mini keeps chugging along for now. But these products won't last forever, so I'm clearly coming to a crossroads. Do I:

    1. Go ahead and make a full transition into an open-ended, non-Apple environment?
    2. Keep patching up the Mini and the Air as long as I can afford to do so, and continue to rely primarily on an Apple environment?
    3. Buy used Apple products at affordable prices as needed and maintain relations between the Mac hardware/software and a larger non-Apple landscape?

    Any opinions or anecdotes welcome.
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    First off, I really think the so-called "Walled Garden" is a myth detrimental to everybody. There may be some truth to it with the more appliance like products, but the Mac specifically at least is more open than Windows is. Maybe not on the hardware side of things, but macOS itself is, at least in its current incarnation, a fairly open system that allows anybody with sudo privileges fairly full access, and as per its Unix roots works a lot better with most open source projects than Windows does. You even have the option of an Xorg window server with XQuartz.

    With that out of the way, I'd personally say option 3. I would personally way rather have a used and older Mac than a brand new Windows box. Though if I were to recommend something outside of the Apple ecosystem, I would recommend a Linux system with Mate, Gnome or Pantheon as the desktop. I'm personally not a big fan of KDE. If you really prefer Qt based environments though, my personal preference would be with Deepin Desktop (not the Deepin distro though) or perhaps when it matures (if it ever will) Unity 8.

    Anyways, going away from Linux thoughts again, I personally really dislike the entire Windows experience. It is a great OS for gaming, but personal opinion, little else. A hackintosh, an older, used Mac, Linux or BSD; All better options than Windows in my books.

    Plus, Macs aren't that much more expensive for comparable hardware, and in some cases actually cheaper. When the original 5K iMac came out, a comparable PC, at least in one instance, came out as $300 more expensive. That is of course with a 5K display which was the bulk of the cost.

    Same goes for phones; There are plenty of Android phones as expensive or more expensive than any iPhone.

    If the budget is extremely limite and you want a new laptop however, the best advice I can give is a Chuwi with Lubuntu - A super light OS for a very underwhelming PC performance wise, but with a good screen - and with the OS being so light, it'll at least seem fine for a lot of day to day tasks, whilst still offering a lot more flexibility than what Chromebooks offer out of the gate.
  3. CreatorCode macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2015
    The simplest and best answer is to buy the most suitable products you can afford, when you can afford to buy them. Regardless of whether those products are Apple-branded or not.

    It's good that you're thinking about this in advance. Figure out your needs, figure out what hardware you can comfortably afford, and make a plan to gradually move whatever you need -- files, accounts, media, contacts, etc -- to a format or service that can be accessed from all your devices. Most everything can be moved back and forth if you plan it out. The last thing you want is a sudden failure that forces you to replace something before you're ready.
  4. EdwardC, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019

    EdwardC macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2012
    I was kind of in your position when it came to a new computer. I currently have and am typing on a late '13 iMac with an external SSD that really makes it feel fairly speedy. I work out of my home and needed a new desktop to run my perpetual license of AutoCAD and also was in need of a larger display (21.5" iMac) so I had a few choices but ultimately purchased a HP Prodesk 8th generation i5 with a 256GB SSD and 16 gigs of RAM. The Prodesk also has a 3 year on site warranty. Cost was $740.00 try to get a Mini with that and you will pay exactly double. Windows 10 has been OK with no real issues to speak of. I bought Office 2016 for $52.00 (1 download / computer only) and use my iCloud email via Mailbird which I paid $29.00 for a perpetual license. So total that up and we are at $820.00 but still a heck of a deal. My Spotify app works nicely with the Win 10 and allows mw to use Equalify (3rd party equalizer $9.99 perpetual license). Do I miss MacOS for work? NO! I use a VPN and have to export PDF's which I am able to do directly to my Windows desktop (my comany uses Log-Me-In which allows direct PDF printing to your desktop on Windows only). With MacOS I have to e-mail from my remote desktop to myself which is a little cumbersome. I use Foxit Reader for my PDF's which I also use as the default PDF viewer on my Mac. Now, if I didn't need to access a remote desktop or use AutoCAD, I would prefer to stick with the iMac. All in all I'm very happy with the ability to stay somewhat in Apples eco-system while using a more bang for the buck desktop. Hope this helps.......Ed
  5. GanChan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2005
    Thanks for the replies so far. I keep lots of stuff in DropBox with two-factor verification (and I believe I can encrypt the local folder as well), so that's a fairly agnostic solution. I could do the same using Google Drive, but I'm not sure how I feel about their having a "license" to do whatever they want with whatever original works I upload to it. But most of my data could happily live on the cloud, with secured copies on USB drives. I would like future-proof myself by becoming as independent of specific OS/hardware as possible. Also not real interested in continuing to pump money into sustaining old devices only to watch them lose their official support....
  6. SeattleMoose macrumors 68000

    Jul 17, 2009
    Der Wald
    2 or the alternatives are a definite step down.
  7. WrightBrain macrumors regular


    May 30, 2009

    I've spent over 10 happy years with my 2008 MacPro. I loved being able to repair it myself and add third party components when needed. I even have backup video cards for when one fails. I've been tempted by the new iMacs, but I've been hesitating. Reports of dust in screens (lawsuit filed) and crazy high CPU temps made me antsy. That and the price, $3,000 for a machine that you will need to replace entirely in 5-6 years is too steep in my estimation. I've really come to the conclusion, that I really don't want an All-In-One. So I'm tearfully leaving Apple and building my own damn PC. I could go Hackintosh, but I don't trust that Apple will allow it for much longer – especially with inclusion of the T2 chips and the rumored ARM transition. Nope. I'd rather go the route of having a machine that I can upgrade and repair. It actually kind of amazes me that a company as progressive as Apple is leading the charge in overpriced disposable computers. Hell, they overcharge you for repairing their computers anyway. Oh, I'll keep my ol' Mac Pro and maybe buy a 2012 MP to soup it up. But I think it's best to move on. And maybe if the Right To Repair movement picks up and Apple listens, I may move back. But I don't have high hopes. Not IF the new Mac Pro is going to only be upgradable with Apple branded modules that they can charge a premium for.
  8. s15119 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2010
    Do whatever you feel is best for your use. And really, you don't need to announce it.

    Have a nice day.
  9. torana355 macrumors 68040

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Even though i don't use iPhones, as someone who uses other Apple products i find they are actually cheaper in the long run due to the long service life, support and durability. However Apple have been dropping the ball lately in this department so it's not so clear cut.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 22, 2019 ---
    Why reply to the OP if you feel their post is irrelevant?
  10. prisoner54 macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The original poster is clearly asking for advice and wants to be sure. They are also open to getting different points of view.
  11. AppleHaterLover macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2018
    Get a new battery for your Pro, and an SSD for your Mini. You'll have excellent devices for the next 2 years.

    Use your savings for a brand new $1799 iPhone BDSM Max this year. It'll last you 2 years.

    THen you'll have some time to save for a new MacBook Pro 2020.

    Rinse and repeat.
  12. prisoner54 macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I hear you. Personally I've been wrestling with this for several years, as the price of Apple hardware creeps up and the quality and quality control has been going down. I've tried to go 'cold turkey' and do #1 on your list a couple of times, using Windows on a Surface Pro 3 and then Ubuntu on a Dell XPS 13 a few years ago, and recently I have been looking at Thinkpad X1 Carbons and looking at Linux distress like Manjaro and Deepin. Most of what I need to do can be done on non-Apple hardware, but I refuse to use Windows - I've been on several inside rings of Windows for desktop (8, 10) and for Windows Phone (8, 8.1, 10).

    I also sold my iPhone (have been iPhone user since 3G, then 4, then went Android, then went Windows Phone, then reluctantly returned to a used iPhone a couple of years ago).

    I've had several iPads and then sold them around a year later. I'm keeping my eyes out for tablets that would be a decent replacement for a laptop, preferably using Linux.

    The problem is, no other operating systems really do it for me, and I have a job where I deal with text editing, researching and writing. So I could afford to be platform agnostic. There are just well thought-out and time saving aspects of macOS that I would miss hugely, and I've found sleep/hibernate alternatives on Windows and various Linux distros to be uneven in terms of battery life and instant sleep/wake. The ability to preview documents at the touch of a button and do instant cross-computer searches is also handy, although I've tried near-equivalents on other OS's. It's not quite the same for my workflow, and I wish I could find a robust, fast alternative OS that had these things built in.

    So, having spent a large amount of time and money finding alternatives over the years, I've actually settled on #3 on your list: Apple refurbs or used Apple hardware that is behind the tech curve but at a much more reasonable price than new. There's still years of life in my MBP 13 early 2015 and my iPhone 7, and I get the latest OS updates and functionality. I just wish I could open up my MBP in the same way that I could add RAM and an SSD to my older 2009 MBP. Those days are gone, unfortunately.
  13. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I made the change around 3 years ago from Mac to PC, but due to hardware limitations not cost. The question you need to ask yourself is can you afford new PC hardware either? It maybe that your budget simply doesn't allow for new stuff and you need to consider second hand.

    At this point I would look at the second prices of both PC's and Macs and decide if there is enough of a price difference to warrant a swap to Windows or Linux? Running on older PC hardware with Linux is the most cost-effective route, but will you miss anything from Mac OS and iCloud? As you are already running a chomebook, this might be a good option for you.
  14. WrightBrain macrumors regular


    May 30, 2009
    You can always build your own PC and hunt for parts on eBay. I’d never buy used ssd or hdd’s but you can save on video cards and other components.

    Hell, I bought an Nvidia I’ve been using in my MacPro for years. And I just saved $250 on a GTX 1070 for my pc build. You have to shop smart, look at seller feedback, check it wasn’t abused in cryptomining but it can be worth it.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 23, 2019 ---
    I’d do that myself, but some of my software requires Mojave, and the old hardware can’t always run it unless you use an unsupported hack. Anyway I’m not certain legacy hardware will have much life left in it once all of the new hardware gets the T2 chip AND everything moves to ARM chips but who knows when that will happen.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've moved away from the apple platform - at least to some degree.

    I've decided that the Mac platform is too expensive the butterfly keyboard is flawed. I'm now using a windows machine, I've lost some of the tight integration of my iPhone to my Mac, i.e., loss of iMessage. Additionally, it was nice to have my data in iCloud.

    Overall, I'm very happy with my decision, because I got a configuration of a machine that would have run me 4,500 on apple. That machine only cost me 2,600 (1TB/32GB/8750H processor/Nvidia 1050Ti). The keyboard on the thinkpad is light years better then the MBP and I have a cooler faster machine.

    I still own an iPhone and various other apple products, I don't see myself leaving the walled garden completely. I think the iOS products have a lot going for them, so I'll be sticking with apple in that regards.
  16. iluvmacs99, Apr 23, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019

    iluvmacs99 macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2019
    Apple is both a hardware and software company and in the past, this symbiotic relationship served them very well. You can not get the tight integration of hardware and software from any other makers in the past, than you can today. If you want that and you want an easy platform to work with, you have to pay the price to be in the Apple ecosystem. And many had, but over the years, Apple competitors had largely caught up. Also, there is a move "away" from a computer to a mobile device and Google Chrome and still get some kind of tight integration. For example, I'm using Google Chrome now on the Mac Mini and if I sync my activities with the cloud, I can continue doing my stuff on the Macbook Air, my Windows 8.1, my Windows 10 laptops, my iPad and my iPhone as long as I stay within the Google echo system. And not surprisingly enough, a lot of other people are using the Google suite as well at work and in class, especially for the younger generation (millennials and the younger generation after them). This trend of Apple's pricing going up is not exclusive to Apple as I used to work in the digital media field and there are less and less people nowadays who buy physical asset to do their work. Instead, Many people are adopting a rentier asset model, whereby you either lease or rent what you need to do your stuff. Like using the Google Suite, Creative Cloud, Streaming etc. With this mindset in place, less people are buying newer computers and the premium companies who used to be able to offer affordable computers had no choice but to raise their prices in order to maintain their high profit margin. Apple is one, but I can think of many other companies who are not selling computers, but other services, up their prices equally as high as well. That's basically the current landscape of reality we are facing. As less people depend on physical asset and more on the cloud, their needs for a physical powerful computer lessened and unfortunately, as less people keep updating their computers, the economy of scale meant that computer prices has to go up and computers had to be made more difficult to upgrade and more disposable. And that is what you are seeing with the newer models. The T2 chip (which is basically the future of locking out user upgrades) and the soldered components -- they fail and you need to buy a new computer.

    However, as I had indicated in my other post, my financial situation took a turn a few years back after my loss of employment with a company that paid me well above middle class income and I was part of the top 1% and now, I'm just like many North Americans who are just barely making ends meet and yet, at least for me, still want to maintain that part of the higher class lifestyle but am not able to now. It took me a few years faking it to friends and family until I come to realize my own financial reality. So I did the unthinkable and that was, I started researching and going to used computer stores mainly to see what they have to offer. Some of them are just dingy and a mess; not as clean and professional like the Apple Store. And I was surprised that they offer a lot of services! And there, I met a number of folks who went through similar experiences and financial upset as I did, but wanted to also stay in the Apple echo system. In a way, it had created a 2 tier system -- those who are fortunate enough to keep a well paying job buy from the Apple store and those who are unfortunately enough and have to make do with what they have go and buy from a used Apple store I called it. But even Apple themselves is so vicious and greedy and nasty with these shops, behaving almost like a power elite. Anything that threatens the financial vitality of Apple themselves; they'll sent out lawyers to change the way how these shops operate. So many of them now don't really want to advertise they can actually FIX your Apple products on a board level with SMC repair; actually replacing the components on a board level. A blown GPU on your Macbook Pro? No problem, they have a source for dead motherboards or from sources in China and can get you up and running at 1/4 of the cost of a new Mac. Apple's famous line from Genius bar-- well we can't fix this so you have to buy a new iPhone or Mac. Common actually.

    Anyhow, after I found these shops and know they can do competent and actually a much better job than Apple did because they were all mostly former Apple techs being pushed out because they were too expensive for Apple and cheaper to just re-hire newer and younger techs who are cheaper!

    From what I see from the used market and stores selling used Apple products is that, I can still continue using Apple products and keep a current line as some of these stores repair and refurbished new broken Macs on the board level and make them running again and some even offer up to 1 year repair guarantee. I also found out that they have spare Apple parts and that will allow both my Mac Mini and Macbook Air (include NEW batteries) to run almost forever. Some of my apps will only work on El-Capitan and below and I have the Mac Mini for that. The newer apps need High Sierra and I have the Macbook Air for that. I don't have any apps that require Mojave just yet, but if I do I know where to buy affordable higher end Macs to run those apps.

    Now the downside is the T2 chip. That is obviously an intensional inclusion to stop these underground used Mac stores from refurbishing products with the T2 chip and to stop hacks and patches on systems that are not meant to run on these systems by having newer apps rely on the T2.

    So right now. As long as I have modest expectations, both my Mac Mini and Macbook Air and my 2 Window laptops will serve me just fine. I am happy to know that there are stores in my neighbourhood that can do board level SMC repair on both of my Macs and can offer to sell me a more modern Mac at very reasonable prices to keep me going.

    That's my take. Maybe where you are living, you may not find a store that can also do board level repairs on Macs, but I myself had to look hard. These places are not easy to find, but they are there.

    Hope this helps.
  17. GanChan, Apr 23, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019

    GanChan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2005
    Yes, I'm actually liking my current combination of Apple desktop (Mini) and Chromebook for mobile work. Best of both worlds. (I was just on a writing forum where some poor guy is unable to get his work done because he's entirely Chrome-based and currently having Google Drive problems. If he had a Mac/Windows option with a local Dropbox (or equivalent) folder, he'd still be working.) Thankfully, my work requires only standard word processing and office productivity apps, so I can do what i need to do on practically any equipment (assuming decent Internet performance).

    Used Minis or iMacs aren't hard to find, and there are no worries about battery age/life etc....
  18. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I’m not sure I would move away from MAC anymore. Being a long time windows user, not really a gamer, I enjoy the new MBP. The keyboard hasn’t been n issue for me.
    With the addition of USB-C/TB3 and inexpensive functional hubs the MBP easily becomes a desktop.
    The ability to run MAc/Windows, natively, adds to my ability to accomplish various projects on one machine.
    On the Mac side having handoff, messaging, Apple Pay, and icloud the convenience is appreciated.

    Many of my friends have fragmented devices and they survive.

    Cost is always a consideration. There is no doubt in my mind, on the surface, PC offers more for the buck. However, it’s relative to the usability of the owner.

    I love the display on the MBP, one of the most significant reasons I have one. Another reason is win10 runs better on it than on my dell or work hp.

    when people ask me, Mac or pc, I respond with ziti or penne.

    I have found the iPad/iPhone/Apple TV to be the one grouping I’m not willing to fragment.

    Computer - ziti or penne.
  19. WrightBrain macrumors regular


    May 30, 2009
    Yeah, I'm currently building my own PC now with chips and cards not offered by Apple. And if my SSD dies, I'm not paying $600 to replace it.
  20. iluvmacs99, Apr 23, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019

    iluvmacs99 macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2019
    Actually, you can create a local Google Drive folder on both Mac/Windows as well as in Chrome Book the same way as Dropbox. The idea is to have backups of your online materials offline so you can work offline and then when you're on the internet again, it automatically syncs back to Google Drive. So you always carry the latest revisions and rely on Google Drive as your backup drive or for online access to materials using your iOS devices.
  21. GanChan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2005
    Yeah, i just already have an elaborate folder hierarchy set up in Dropbox, and some of my clients use Dropbox so i'm kind of stuck with it anyway. Also, I like the fact that Dropbox doesn't claim a "license" to use any work I put up there (like Google does). I store some things on Google Drive, but not a lot. That could change, i guess. But I do like the fact that Dropbox isn't limited to one kind of platform -- I could leave the Apple-verse or Google-verse entirely without it affecting my archived work.
  22. iluvmacs99, Apr 23, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019

    iluvmacs99 macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2019
    You need to read Dropbox' terms very carefully as they are pretty vague when it comes to their services and "your stuff"; like while it's true they don't claim a license to use any of your work, they do claim the rights when you access your work through their services, which implies very similar lawyer language as Google. Which means that, once you placed a document in their service, then you (as a lessee) are not necessarily accessing your content as you are leasing their server (lessor) to access your content, thus in legal terms making your content theirs, until you remove all your contents off their server, which returns your rights back to you so to speak. A lot of companies are transitioning to this type of rentier business operating model. This obviously has implications when it comes to law enforcement; whereby technically any law enforcement official can subpoena to access your content, thus allowing big brother to watch you! Which is why I never store any sensitive documents on Google Drive or Dropbox. I store them on my personal cloud RAID server and only allow my local RAID server to sync to Google and Dropbox files that I plan to share as public domain.

    The reason why Google has to be transparent is that when you start using Google Suite (Google Docs, Presentation etc..) you are essentially the lessee (tenant) and Google is the lessor (landlord) and you are essentially creating materials using leased software and services and so therefore, your work can not be created without those Google Apps, so that's why Google owns the ownership to your materials, which is a fair exchange. Drop box is similar in that when you save your materials in Drop Box; technically you can only share your materials with the help of Dropbox by leasing Drop Box's server. So indirectly, Dropbox does own the rights of your material through the rights of passage.
    Anytime you engage in a rentier type business arrangement where you are the lessee and they are the lessor, your rights are not always yours so to speak, unless you are dealing completely with a not for profit organization which both Google and Dropbox are not.
  23. StralyanPithecus macrumors regular


    Sep 27, 2018
    Since you seems to be very informed on this stuff, may I ask if you know it’s the same policy with Apple’s iCloud?

    Just asking for a friend (me) ;)

  24. iluvmacs99, Apr 23, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019

    iluvmacs99 macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2019
    Unfortunately YES! Anytime you see "The Service", "Your Stuff" -- they're all the same!
    Here's an excerpt from the icloud legal document..

    1. License from You. Except for material we may license to you, Apple does not claim ownership of the materials and/or Content you submit or make available on the Service. However, by submitting or posting such Content on areas of the Service that are accessible by the public or other users with whom you consent to share such Content, you grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available, without any compensation or obligation to you.

    So you can see here is that, the big culprit and the biggest money making machine is actually Apple and the content you provided helps them make lots of money without paying you any compensation. Not only we are suckers for their expensive products, we are suckers for what we create and post using iMovie, iPhoto and the rest..

    Legally though, content providers get compensated either through royalty arrangement or through an IFRS 16, but many of the service providers like Google, Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Youtube circumvent the rules by providing you a free platform to post and share. But of course, nothing is absolutely free, so in its disguise, it takes away your rights for monetary compensation by allowing the service companies to reap all the monetary value out of your content.
  25. StralyanPithecus macrumors regular


    Sep 27, 2018
    Thanks for the info.

    I don’t use iCloud for sharing anything, even photos. I just keep my personal documents and files. I suppose those are protected from any Apple use...

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