You are currently viewing Apple Silicon Macs are staying in use longer than ever

Apple Silicon Macs are staying in use longer than ever

Apple Silicon Macs are staying in use longer than ever

The transition to Apple Silicon reshaped Apple’s hardware landscape and influenced user behavior, extending the lifespan of Macs and altering upgrade cycles.

Before 2020, Apple relied heavily on Intel processors for its Mac computers. The partnership began in 2006 and brought significant performance improvements and helped Apple gain a stronger foothold in the personal computing market.

However, as technology advanced, the limitations of relying on a third party for critical components became apparent. Intel’s slower pace — and failed promises — in advancing its chip technology lagged behind the demands of Apple’s vision for its products.

Bar chart comparing customer retention over years from 2020 to 2024, showing increasing retention for longer periods.

Age of previous Mac for Apple customers purchasing a new Mac (12 months ending March each year)

The introduction of the M1 chip in 2020 set the stage for a new era of Apple computing.

User adoption and changing upgrade cycles

The transition to Apple Silicon also had a notable effect on user behavior. According to the latest report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), the percentage of Mac owners who kept their previous device for more than two years increased from 59% in 2020 to 68% in 2023.

That trend aligns with a broader pattern observed across Apple’s product lines, including iPhones and iPads, where users are holding onto their devices for longer periods.

In the most recent 12-month period, the percentage of iPhone and Mac computer owners whose previous device was older than two years increased to 71% and 68%, respectively. In 2020, 63% of iPhone and 59% of Mac computer owners reported owning their previous device for two years or more.

Several factors contribute to this shift. First, the improved performance of Apple Silicon Macs mean users are less inclined to upgrade frequently.

Another factor during that period was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As people adapted to remote work and online education, there was a surge in demand for reliable technology, leading many to invest in new devices.

However, following the difficult early days, continuing economic uncertainties and the need for cost-effective solutions have been encouraging users to hold onto their existing devices for longer.

Apple Silicon Macs enhanced efficiency and power versus Intel Macs have proven to be able to handle demanding tasks for several years. And as the market for traditional desktop software continues to shrink in favor of cloud-based applications, the need for frequent hardware upgrades also contributes to a decline in upgrades.

But now that Apple Silicon has met the needs of various types of customers, the next focus may be on battery life. “In fact, for most laptop owners, improvement in battery longevity may be the most important factor, which may have also reached a satisfactory threshold,” CIRP says.