iMac 2021 vs iMac 2020: Which one should you buy?

The all-new iMac doesn’t just look really snazzy altogether; it is also packing the new M1 processor that Apple claims can improve CPU performance by up to 85%. It has also fueled the raging debate of iMac 2021 vs iMac 2020 to a new extreme. So let’s decide who is the winner.

iMac 2021 vs iMac 2020

iMac 2021:

From $1,299 at Apple


  • The new lightning-fast M1 processor
  • Ultra-slim and sleek
  • Comes in pretty colors (Even the accessories!)
  • Better photo/video quality
  • Six speakers, including two subwoofers


  • Fewer add-ons and options are available
  • Many programs might not yet support M1 processing speeds
  • Although the decade-old design is beginning to feel a touch dated, the 2020 iMac still gives you plenty of upgrade options, like a full 8TB of storage.

iMac 2020:

  • From $1,799 at Apple
  • Lots of options and add-ons available
  • More flexibility and hardware upgrades
  • 5K display
  • Has more ports, including USB-A and SD cards
  • Supports two additional screens/monitors
  • The processor may be a bit slower
  • Only available within the standard silver
  • Design is beginning to look dated
  • Won’t work with Magic Keyboard with Touch ID

Now that Apple has finally released its M1 iMac so it is obvious that you maybe be feeling the urge to upgrade. the question is, is it really any better than the 27-inch iMac that was released in 2020? which will depend upon your own definition of “better.” Yes, the 2021 iMac has an all-new design that’s available during a rainbow of drool-worthy colors, but does it really perform any better? Let’s take a glance at some basic pros and cons of every model:

iMac 2021 vs iMac 2020: Key Differences

While there are some major differences between these two machines, like processor and style, there also are many close similarities. Display, resolution, graphics, and camera aren’t so different within the two models. Here are some tech specs for comparison

CostFrom $1,299From $1,799
Size24 inches27 inches
Display4.5K Retina5K Retina
Resolution4480 by 2520 pixels5120 by 2880 pixels
Processor8-core Apple M1 chip(Up to) 10-core Intel Core i9 processor
RAM(Up to) 16GB(Up to) 128GB
Storage(Up to) 2TB(Up to) 8TB
Camera1080p FaceTime HD camera and M1 image signal processor1080p FaceTime HD camera
SoundHigh fidelity 6 speaker system with force canceling woofers and spatial audioStereo speakers
PortsTwo Thunderbolt and USB 4 ports with Gigabit EthernetTwo Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, four USB-A ports, and Gigabit Ethernet with SDXC card slot
KeyboardMagic Keyboard with Touch IDMagic Keyboard
Dimensions18.1 inches x 21.5 inches x 5.8 inches20.3 inches x 25.6 inches x 8 inches
Weight9.83 pounds19.7 pounds

It deserves mention that this chart could also be a touch misleading. Once you check out RAM between the 2 models, it might appear initially glance that the iMac 2020 has eight times the RAM capacity because of the iMac 2021. This is often not precisely the case; yes, you’ll rise up to 128 GB of RAM on the iMac 2020 due to its upgradable format, but it doesn’t come like that in its base model.

At its base model, the iMac 2020 comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but due to the available upgrades, you’ll pay to include up to 128GB of RAM and 8TB of storage. The iMac 2021 doesn’t offer numerous upgrade options, one reason for its slimmer, lightweight profile, and lower cost point.

iMac 2021 vs. iMac 2020: 5K vs rainbow

The first and most blatant difference between the iMac 2021 and therefore the iMac 2020 is that the updated design. The 27-inch iMac released in 2020 has an equivalent silver color and black-bordered display that we’ve come to understand and love. The 2021 version comes in six heartbreakingly beautiful colorways that make it extremely difficult to settle on only one. As if this weren’t refreshing enough, the keyboards, trackpads, and power cables will match the color of your choice. This is often an enormous change, and it makes me very happy.

Besides the rainbow of colorways, the 2021 design is additionally shockingly slim and light-weight at only half an in. thick and 50% of the quantity. It weighs much but half the previous year’s model. This is often made possible by the sleek M1 processor that runs cooler with fewer fans. All of those changes bring a more streamlined design that’s less costly for Apple to supply.

The 2021 iMac comes in six heartbreakingly beautiful colorways that make it extremely difficult to settle on only one, while the 2020 iMac features a full 5K display.

Now let’s mention display. The 2021 iMac is clearly much smaller at only 24 inches versus the 27-inch 2020 model. This suggests that there just isn’t enough pixel space for an actual 5K display, therefore the 2021 iMac clocks in at 4.5K while the previous model features a full 5K display at 5120 by 2880 pixels. When it involves picture clarity, color display, and brightness, the 2 units are equivalent. It might be argued that the newer version could provide better video playback and gameplay thanks to the faster processor, but we’ll leave that for a subsequent section.