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Is the iMac 2021 still worth it in 2023?

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on November 3, 2023
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Is the iMac 2021 still worth it? The 2021 iMac underwent Apple’s most radical redesign in years with new color options, thin bezels, the powerful M1 chip, and updated displays and cameras. It breathed new life into the iconic all-in-one desktop line. But with the subsequent M1 Macbook Pro and M2 iMac releases, is the original M1 model from 2021 still a good purchase today in 2023?

Is it worth buying M1 iMac in 2023?

To know if the M1 iMac is worth buying in 2023, let’s evaluate its key features.

Design

The thin profile and color options like blue, green, pink and silver make the 2021 iMac pop visually on any desk. The integrated stand allows tilting the screen. It remains a unique and appealing iMac design, perfect for home, school, or general office settings.

Performance and Display

The M1 chip provides excellent performance for the majority of users with its 8-core CPU and up to 8-core GPU. It handles productivity, creation and entertainment tasks with ease. The 24-inch 4.5K Retina display also looks stunning with its vibrant colors, high brightness and P3 wide color gamut support. For daily home use, the M1 and display deliver excellently well. This processor is not one to scoff at. 

There’s also a 1080p Webcam for FaceTime, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, USB-C ports, with a gigabit ethernet port on more expensive models. Models boast 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. There’s fab compatibility with iPhone, Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, if needs be.

Future Proofing

The M1 iMac is shipped with macOS Big Sur and can upgrade to Ventura. It should receive 4-5 more years of software support with updates from Apple. The ample power also provides some headroom as macOS evolves over time.

Is the M1 iMac still good?

Yes. The M1 iMac is still a very good desktop computer. The 2021 iMac’s stylish design, solid performance, quality display and improving value still make it a recommended buy in 2023. It hits a sweet spot amongst entry-level models for casual users who don’t require the highest-end iMac hardware.

How often should you replace iMac?

Apple does not specify an exact lifespan or replacement cycle for iMac desktop computers. However, the general guideline is to use an iMac for 4-6 years before considering a replacement. Here are some signs it may be time for an upgrade to a newer model:

  • Performance lags: If the iMac struggles with basic tasks, takes a long time to launch apps, or can’t keep up with modern software requirements, the device’s hardware is likely outdated. Upgrading to a newer generation iMac will provide a performance boost to elements like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, spatial audio and so on.
  • No longer receiving software updates: Apple typically provides 5-6 years of software support by releasing new macOS updates. Once your iMac is no longer eligible for the current macOS, lack of software support impacts usability and security.
  • Hardware issues: An old iMac may develop component failures like a defective hard drive, failed cooling fans, Problems powering on, and more. Repairing ageing hardware often costs more than upgrading.
  • The desire for new features: New iMac models offer compelling improvements like higher quality displays, faster connections, better cameras/speakers, Touch ID, and fresh colors.
  • Changing needs : Your usage may have evolved requiring more power for things like gaming, video editing, programming, and more that your old iMac can’t deliver.

Is the iMac 2021 worth it? Final thoughts

So, is the iMac 2021 worth it? Keep in mind iMacs are designed to be modular and last. With occasional upgrades to memory, storage or peripherals, productive usage can extend past 6 years. But for optimal performance and modern tech integration, most consumers should consider replacing or upgrading their main iMac every 4-6 years.

As a tech and AI writer for PC Guide, Gloria is interested in what new technology means for the future of consumer electronics and digital and broadcast journalism.