Apple Silicon: The Complete Guide

Apple in 2020 introduced the first Apple silicon Macs, marking the start of its transition away from Intel’s chips. Apple’s custom chips are Arm-based and are similar to the A-series chips used in iPhones and iPads, making them markedly different from the Intel chips that were used in earlier Macs. Apple started its Apple silicon transition in 2020, and finished it in 2023 with the launch of an Apple silicon Mac Pro. At this point, none of Apple’s Macs use Intel chips, and Intel chip technology has been phased out.

This guide covers everything you need to know about Apple silicon chips.

Apple Silicon Mac Lineup

All of Apple’s Macs use Apple silicon, and Apple is on its second generation of M-series chips. The MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, Mac Studio, iMac, ‌Mac Pro‌, and iPad Pro all use variants of the M2 chip.


M-series chips feature Apple’s “System on a Chip” design for the Mac, and it integrates several different components including the CPU, GPU, unified memory architecture (RAM), Neural Engine, Secure Enclave, SSD controller, image signal processor, encode/decode engines, Thunderbolt controller with USB 4 support, and more, all of which power the different features in the Mac.

Apple’s current chip lineup includes the ‌M2‌, ‌M2‌ Pro, ‌M2‌ Max, and ‌M2‌ Ultra, all of which are built on a 5-nanometer process and are upgrades to the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra.

  • M2 – 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU
  • M2 Pro – 10-core or 12-core CPU, 16-core or 19-core GPU
  • M2 Max – 12-core CPU, 30-core or 38-core GPU
  • M2 Ultra – 24-core CPU, 60-core or 76-core GPU.

In the case of the ‌M2‌ Ultra, it is basically two ‌M2‌ Max chips that are linked together, which is why it has the specifications of a doubled ‌M2‌ Max chip. Apple uses the ‌M2‌ in its lower-priced Macs, including the ‌MacBook Air‌, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the ‌Mac mini‌. The ‌M2‌ Pro is for the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models and higher-end ‌Mac mini‌ models, while the ‌M2‌ Max is designed for upgraded MacBook Pro models and the ‌Mac Studio‌. The ‌M2‌ Ultra is reserved for the ‌Mac Pro‌ and the ‌Mac Studio‌, and it is Apple’s most powerful and most expensive…