Switching from Windows to Mac

macOS & Mac Apps

I have been working in the Windows environment for the past 20 years. For the past 10 years I have used several models of the iPhone and love the Apple interface. I am an accessibility tester and there is another blind person on my team who prefers the mac over Windows. I've also noticed that more and more blind people who do podcasting use the mac.

I'm wondering what advantages it has over windows? I currently own a Dell laptop which I like and use Windows for Microsoft Office and accessibility testing. For a screenreader and Braille user, what advantages does the mac offer that Windows doesn't? I know mac computers are more expensive but there must be a reason more and more blind people are switching to the mac. What are people doing with the mac that they don't like or can't do with Windows. I would be interested in other peoples' thoughts.



Submitted by Pa. Joe on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I became a Mac user 4 years ago. I left windows because I was frustrated with windows 8 and 10. I find everything about the Mac is better except for two crucial areas. If you want to use office on the Mac the accessibility is some kind of a joke. Second, after every major update you hold your breath wondering what accessibility bug will be there to make your life miserable. Jaws is better with updates, but they want lots of money to join the club.
I have no plans on switching back to windows. Best wishes

Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In reply to by Pa. Joe

MS Office is better on Windows, no surprises there, but accessibility on the Mac version is far from bad. I use Word and Outlook for Mac every single day with no major issues.

Submitted by Pa. Joe on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In reply to by Jenna Pepper

It has been a while for me, maybe I'll revisit office again. In word in particular I couldn't navigate a document beyond six pages.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

First sharing, my first iPhone was 4 and them 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 7, xs and 11 pro max now. My first PC was apple C which it was good for the time. After that use windows and only windows with jaws. Is easy to use, do not need to learn key shurtcuts and whatever. jaws is easy to use and updates ASAP and address bugs ASAP. Will keep using iPhone even with unlucky 13 now. However I do not see myself getting any mac. However if people like them, more power to them. Bella the cat likes windows 10 and edge.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

I duel boot, best of both worlds. Use windows for gaming, Mac for work and trolling.

Submitted by mority on Thursday, February 20, 2020

So, we have abit of a different meaning on this, but my flowerpot enjoys mac OS with Safari over Windows.

Ok in all seriousness, I did try a mac recently. But with those new strange MS Word issues coming up, mac is down for the count and I stick to windows.
When it comes to a phone or Tablet, yes, I still stick to the apple universe, but I need a reliable machine doing what it should do without any problems regarding basic tasks.

greetings Moritz.

Submitted by Dan TeVelde on Thursday, February 20, 2020

First I'm glad my questions of last week generated a healthy discussion. I can't speak for the mac but I do find the process of updating iOS on my iPhones fairly intuitive. The only issue I have had is when an update introduces new accessibility bugs. A good example of where an update introduced many problems is Braille. Ios 11 introduced a lot of serious issues and some of them were resolved in iOS 12. Ios 13 introduced new issues again and I wonder when they will be resolved. I know I can easily continue to update my iOS devices.

Windows is a different issue. there are windows updates and screenreader updates. Sometimes they conflict. Updating NVDA is fairly easy and usually by the time a new version of NVDA is available, conflicts with windows have been resolved. I updated NVDA twice last week and didn't run into any issues. Updating JAWS is a real chore. First the user needs to install it, and then enter a very lengthy authorization key. Then the user has to configure numerous options just to get JAWS to work with the users' preferences. I've heard that JAWS now keeps settings when a new version is installed but I haven't tried updating JAWS recently. I let my JAWS license expire and will probably not renew it any time soon.

FYI JAWS works closely with Microsoft regarding bugs and issues of accessibility and jaws fixes any bug that they have ASAP and they listen to people. Microsoft also has a great accessibility line that helpfs with issues.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Friday, February 21, 2020

I use both mac and windows, mac os for pritty much everything, windows mainly for gaming. About jaws though? Uh... No. They may listen to people, though i'm highly skeptical of this for vairous reasons honestly, that, plus the price tag... puts me off. I mean, NVDA is catching up to jaws very quickly... And i've heard comments that if FS really listened to their customers, jaws would be far better that what it is now. I'm not saying its bad, but... There's no innovation anymore, it has been going downhill for quite some time now. Anyway just my two cents. I would if you can, either duelboot or use a vertual machine for windows... Or then again you can stick to the mac only.

Submitted by Maldalain on Saturday, February 22, 2020

My comment might be irrelevant as the majority may think here, still last week I departed my Apple armament and switched to everything Samsung. Apple Watch Series 2 is replaced with Samsung Watch Active 2, iPad Pro is replaced with Samsung Tab S6 with keyboard cover, and my iPhone 7 is replaced with Samsung S10 Plus. The long and short of it; I did not regret it up to now and as far as I am enjoying the freedom of customisability of Android won't regret it any soon.

Submitted by Pa. Joe on Saturday, February 22, 2020

I switched from Windows and Jaws to the Mac, and I am ready for something better, as long as the price tag is right.

Submitted by Daniel Angus MacDonald on Saturday, February 22, 2020

Logic is great for music production. I love it, the only problem is the price. It’s $381 canadian and not everyone can afford it. One thing about switching to a mac from windows, is there’s a steep learning curve. I did it, when Snow leopard came out, before Applevis came online. There were not many getting started podcasts, so if you really want to learn a mac, put time into it, and give your Windows computer to someone else for a while so you won’t get temped to use it to do things you find easier on Windows. Bootcamp is a good option, but Windows 10 is the only version with a talking install of the OS. For that, you need headphones or a USB soundcard. One of the biggest consepts VoiceOver has on the mac is interaction. Webpages are in groups and you have to learn what to interact and uninteract with. Let me know if you want any help. You can look me up on facetime with my Apple ID. Daniel.angus.macdonald@gmail.com. You can also find me on skype at, daniel.angus.macdonald

Submitted by Devin Prater on Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Mac has a few strengths: great built-in voices compared to Windows, for now, built in braille support, no need to download and install braille, lol, and runs Linux command line apps, like Emacs, which I use heavily.

It also has weaknesses, especially on the web. Try using Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, and other such web apps. Seriously, VoiceOver on the Mac isn't updated nearly as much as on iOS, and huge parts of Xcode, Apple's own integrated development environment, are inaccessible. Oh, and iPad apps ported to Mac still suck regarding accessibility. Windows, however, doesn't have screen readers as deeply integrated into the system as Mac does VoiceOver. I mean, VoiceOver can even tell you when apps are launched in the background. What other screen reader can give you such information? Also, one can easily get to the system dialogs and such with Voiceover. Only JAWS easily provides that ability, with Insert + F10. I know, dialogs should be available through other ways, yes. But sometimes they aren't, so screen readers need these kinds of built in workarounds for inherent inaccessibility.

Submitted by Anatoliy D. Popko on Thursday, February 27, 2020

I've also been a Windows user for over two decades. A few years back decided to take a shot and bought a refurbished MacBook Air mid2011. Ever since I'm switching between Bootcamp and MacOS partitions.
MacOS is way ahead with Calendar, Reminders, Contacts, Mail, Notes, all the iPhone synchronizations, Airpods and battery usage. System-wide spell check is also quite a bonus.
Windows is appealing because of NVDA and MS Office support. WEB-browsing also seems to be more convenient on Windows (although to some extend that may be attributed to the lack of knowledge and experience on the Apple side). I lean towards using Eloquence and some robotic Russian syntheses, thus can't really appreciate all fancy MacOS voices (especially considering some unhealthy speech-related bugs and lack of automatic language switching).
What keeps me fascinated is some pure joy when discovering MacOS features (and I fully admit: the learning curve is way steeper than I would've liked it to be).

Submitted by Greg Epley on Thursday, February 27, 2020

@dtevelde :

Not sure what the big issue is with the authorization number. When one initially buys jaws, they used to receive a CD which had the key on it; the authorization routine even told one when to insert the authorization CD. I simply copied the key into a text file I keep where I can copy/paste it in cases where it doesn't pre-fill for some reason, but I have been doing that practice for decades to avoid obvious typos and issues getting keyed software registered.

I was in the Apple ecosystem back when I began going blind, but VoiceOver didn't exist back then. Instead, there was this one screen reader (can't recall it's name, but it was horrible compared to trying JAWS or even WindowEyes on a PC, plus it cost like $700 at the time.

I decided I had no choice but to go Windows unless I wanted to spend major $ staying in the Apple ecosystem. Plus, I'd purchased an Apple PowerMac 9600 expressly because one was supposed to be able to purchase and install a processor upgrade. Only the upgrade wasn't a genuine processor upgrade, which I felt was Apple ripping me off after the good faith money I'd already invested. Felt betrayed by Apple.

Windows 10 really isn't that radically different from Windows 7 or Windows XP, and I'm saying that as an IT professional who has worked with Windows since the old 3.1 and workgroups days before 95 came on the scene. I may not have had as many crashes or other technical problems on my Mac computers over the years, but I also know many of my Windows problems have been caused by use of poorly written third-party softwares. Some anti-virus and anti-malware, useless utilities like cCleaner and other registry cleaners/defragmenters. And don't even get me started on all those crappy PC repair softwares which are supposed to "fix" your system. All they're mostly good for is padding someone else's pockets with money, and possibly worsening your system problems now or later.

I still had freezes and crashes on Mac. I still had technical problems on Mac. Then there is Apple's propensity for fixing what ain't broke 'til it is, as constantly experienced on my iPhone 8. Though I wouldn't trade my iPhone for Android.

Windows for me because it's overall cheaper to buy and maintain and is generally easy to troubleshoot. I couldn't find very detailed information on what precisely would happen, but recently performed an in-place repair upgrade on my Windows 10 system totally blind with no sighted assistance and all is well again. Took slightly over an hour, but depends on one's internet speed, processor and storage speeds, and was still far less time than the hours it would've taken to reinstall everything since I run all sorts of other software. Narrator is far superior to what it once used to be in repair instances. The one thing I haven't gotten to work is Narrator in safe mode over a USB headset, which I dislike, because safe mode should be far more accessible to the blind by now. Should be less dependent on what headset or system a person has, or suggestions should be offered as to specifically what models of USB headsets to purchase to get this to work. As it is, Microsoft just claims it works but offers no specific product recommendations, so it's just so much fluff to me.

Heavy user of Word since I'm writing a novel, and I most definitely need a reliable word processor which can span a whole lot more than 6 pages. Would not at all like having to fight or struggle with Word on a Mac, and while I know there are other solutions, I do prefer Word.

It would be nice if companies, like politicians and so many other in-charge people, would devote far less time to having pissing contests over who's best and just focus on doing what's best for everyone in general. Less of this poor Word on Mac so Apple will just go poor with iTunes and Safari on Windows. Things will never get better if people don't just begin setting aside some of their trumped up "We're better than you" attitude, and instead start doing what's best for everyone. Because ultimately, those who want Apple will buy Apple, and those who want Microsoft will buy Microsoft. It's just that simple.

I won't ram my Windows down your throat if you don't try to ram your Apple down mine. There is a certain amount of best of both worlds here, and some people are willing to buy into it. I don't know that I ever will again, but that's me. And at least there is choice of screen readers on Windows. Some users can probably get by quite well with nothing more than Narrator, while still others prefer slightly more powerful NVDA, and still others prefer commercial JAWS. But with Apple, you're stuck with whatever Apple does (or doesn't do) to VoiceOver; you're stuck with whatever operational model they wished to follow with how to access content.

As for positives and negatives of various Windows screen readers, that's a rant for another time and place.

Submitted by SadamAhmed on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hi, I'm going to be in the market for a new mac soon as I'm thinking of starting a podcast for my website. the mac is fantastic for all things audio but when it comes to getting work done at uni I fall back on JAWS and Windows. Office is just more polished on the Microsoft side.