What’s an operating system?
In a nutshell, an operating systemis a piece of software that’s preloaded onto your laptop. It manages the device’s software and hardware. The three top dogs of operating systems? Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows and Google's Chrome OS.
Apple-designed hardware and software make a smooth-running and powerful operating system that's favoured by Adobe-users, big-project professionals and uni students alike.
It's not just for creatives though - you can install some Microsoft software for essay writing and serious spreadsheets too.
Got an iPhone or iPad? They’ll sync easily with your MacBook, so you can access your calendar, contacts and music on all your devices.
MacOS Sierra is the latest version. Use your Mac to:
- Write essays and reports in Pages, work in spreadsheets in Numbers. If you’re still wedded to Word though, you can buy Office for Mac!
- Use Siri – Apple’s virtual assistant – it’s not just on your phone. You can summon Siri on your Mac too by saying “Hey Siri!”
- Copy and paste from your MacBook to your iPad or iPhone with the Universal Clipboard
- Use built-in creative apps – like GarageBand or iMovie – to record guitar jams or edit films
- Organise memories with technology that recognises photos based on face and location recognition
Which Apple laptop?
There’s a MacBook for everyone, from designers to students and professionals. You just need to find the one that’s right for you.
Its latest OS – Windows 10 – has been redesigned for tablets and phones, giving you the same experience across all Windows devices.
Touchscreen controls blend with traditional features like the Start menu, and updates are regularly made to keep the interface fresh and relevant. To learn more, see 6 great features from the new Windows 10 update
You’re probably familiar with Windows Microsoft Office – the software bundle of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. You can buy and download it for almost any laptop.
Windows’ best bits:
- Free Word, Excel and PowerPoint web apps – get the best from Windows with Office 365 software
- Familiar Start menu makes it easy to navigate
- Write notes directly onto a webpage using the Edge web browser
- Sketch and take notes with a stylus pen and Windows Ink on touchscreen laptops and tablets
- Use voice assistant Cortana to search for files or check your calendar
Which Windows laptop?
Microsoft's Surface laptops deliver both performance and versatility thanks to 2-in-1 design.
Take the Surface Book laptop. Detach its screen and use it as a tablet or run the most demanding of software thanks to Intel Core i7 processor capability and up to 8GB RAM. It’s perfect for Adobe software as well as films and music.
Chromebooks are powered by Chrome OS and are perfect for those who spend their time online. Chrome OS is similar to Windows and MacOS, but with some key differences.
Firstly, software isn’t on your laptop, but safely in cloud-based apps. You’ll need Wi-Fi to access them.
Your favourite apps like Google and YouTube are all built-in. Then simply download Android apps to use Adobe and Office.
Best bits of Chrome:
- Automatic updates for security and software
- Plenty of free web-based apps for work and play
- You can work collaboratively on a project and access files from anywhere with Google Docs
- They’re very affordable – ideal for students
There’s a huge choice of Chromebooks out there from brands like Acer, Asus, HP and Samsung. Great for work or play on the go, these lightweight and powerful laptops won’t break the bank.
Now you know the operating system you want, find the right laptop for you.
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