This is a simple question which I believe affects UX.

In current times, is it correct to use PC as the collective term for Mac, PC, Laptops, etc? Will users be bothered by it? Or is it just an Apple gimmick to differentiate Mac from PC?

I.e. in tips and descriptions, should an app say "On your PC.." or is it correct / better to say "On your Mac or PC..". This is in the context of a description / tip in an iPad application.

  • I never use the terms Mac or PC when trying to convey a specific meaning. If I try to separate between "mobile" devices (ofter low-powered, small-ish screen, mostly no mouse and keyboard) and "non-mobile", I mostly use the expressions Desktop computer/laptop vs. Mobile device (or Smartphone/Tablet). To differentiate between Macs and Windows-Boxes (e.g. because some software is not available on one OS or another) I refer to the OS itself (which handily allows referring to a specific version range also), e.g. macOS vs. Windows vs. RHEL-based. Jan 10, 2022 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


It depends.

From a technical point of view, a Mac is a PC. From a marketing point of view and for the feeling of some users, a Mac is a Mac and a PC is a PC running Windows.

If somehow, you want to point out to the user he can use both a Windows PC or a Mac, then it makes sense to use "On your (windows) PC or Mac". In all other case, you could just use the word "computer".

  • 2
    And a "machine" runs *nix...
    – pritaeas
    Jul 17, 2012 at 14:29
  • 4
    @pritaeas I thought that was a "box"
    – DQdlM
    Jul 17, 2012 at 15:32

Personally I'd use the term "computer", and if there were any differences between Macs or PCs in terms of what the user needed to do, I'd highlight them. I'm sure a purist would argue that a smartphone is a computer, as is a washing machine, but "computer" is generally understood to be a desktop or laptop PC/Mac.

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