Mac: M1 and Blender

Apple one button in Xcode magic does not work?

No, you can’t just build a macOS app for IpadOS, there would me multiple issues, I believe Werner described a few himself on the GitHub issue. However, you cuold compile the source code into an Xcode project and try

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There is no such button.

I mean, I can switch the compiler to target iPadOS easily. But then there will be hundreds of error messages about code that it can’t compile.

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You’re thinking of Catalyst, which is a way to easily port iPad apps to macOS, which would not help Blender.

You can count on that the road map for the mid and high macs is finalized and they are being already worked on.

Apple is a pretty secretive company but it is no hidden secret that they try to use the same tech for multiple products.

Apple also does hardly rush a product.

The iPadPro turned out to be a successful device.
The M1 macMini was the perfect start to test the waters of that chip for a desktop computer.

The last Xeon macPro just needed to get on the market because Apple could not any longer ignore their lack of product refreshment in that sector and it will take some time till Apple Silicon reached that CPU level and also offers options for GPU.

They will now release a new MacBookPro, then comes the iMac.
An iMacPro we might not see but surely we will see an AS macPro at one point.

With the afterburner card I would not be suprised if apple might open eGPU to AMD or comes with their own render card at one point.

46 posts were split to a new topic: Fast macOS Blender rendering by connecting to a Windows PC

To summarize all the postings again. Apple needs to help the Blender Foundation to make Blender run perfectly, if they don’t we need to help the Blender Foundation to make Blender run perfectly on macOS. Now that is the best platform for Blender Windows and Linux, plus Nvidia. This is the reality.

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Do you have an M1 Mac? If so, how does Cycles perform in CPU mode?

And why don’t you use Octane X or Radeon ProRender for fast rendering on macOS, until Cycles gets GPU support again?

Just curious. :slightly_smiling_face: I’m still on the verge when it comes to switching back from Windows to macOS this year or not. At the moment my impression of Blender rendering on macOS is not very positive yet. Not much seems to have changed since I returned from macOS to Windows in early 2019 because Apple ceased support for OpenGL, OpenCL and NVIDIA GPUs.

Nothing has changed. Everything has become worse. Apple has a different plan than Nivida, AMD or Blender. I have now an M1-Mac. Blender is not doing well. Radeon Pro render is not what I want.

The most important thing: Apple did not ‘ceased support for OpenGL, OpenCL’. These are still supported in macOS.

I have a MBA M1.

I never used CPU rendering. From my point of view Cycles performs on M1 (CPU) very poorly. I rarely use it for viewport and never for rendering. M1 is fast if you compare it to the wintel laptop junk but it is not comparable to workstation chips. Let’s make it clear: M1 Mac is very bad choice for Cycles only jobs.

I used Octane X for a couple of months with mixed results. It is absolutely amazing project and they work closely with Apple to improve drivers and bring functionality that others will also benefit from in the future too. Big respect to OTOY for Metal renderer. However it is still in a beta stage with stability problems. In addition in January the denoiser stopped working (it took almost OTOY two months to bring it back to work). That’s why I decided to buy a multi GPU PC dedicated to Cycles while waiting for a better times.

I stlll keepping an eye on Octane X and I’ll test PR8 Prime on M1 when it will be available. M1 Macs must have eGPU support to be real rendering machines. Otherwise these are just toys when it comes to raytracing rendering.

Radeon ProRender does not work for M1. They don’t care about M1 because it is AMD project for their own graphic cards. In my case RPR proved to be very unstable on Intel Mac (although this has improved a lot recently) but above all very slow. It has also a poor denoiser. If ProRender was a good renderer, nobody would be crying so much for Cycles.

I wonder why do you thing about switching back to Mac after 2 years? In Windows you have the option to use Nvidia cards and different hardware options. After two years you have probably changed your habits and got used to this Microsoft crap. So Why?

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With “ceased support” I meant exactly that: it still works, but Apple does not provide support anymore, meaning: no updates, no fixes. That’s why Cycles has become CPU-only in Blender macOS.

Thanks, very interesting. I hadn’t realized yet that M1 is fully Apple, and thought the GPU part was still provided by AMD. So far for the RPR option then (at least for the time being).

There are some things I really miss from my iMac days:

  • The fantastic screen quality. Although I’ve got a potent PC screen, it just can’t compare to iMac screen dynamics and color calibration.

  • I dislike the large box beneath my desk with its relatively noisy fans, even though I’ve got a sound-isolating case and Noctua fans.

  • The solid, unified feel of macOS + Mac hardware. Windows still needs a collection of drivers for different hardware brands inside a combined system, which causes issues every now and then. For example, ZBrush ran smoother on my late-2013 NVIDIA-based iMac than on my current, potent Windows system.

  • I’m not a PC builder at all, so I also like the ease of picking and ordering a new iMac without having to make too much choices and asking a friend or hiring someone to build a PC.

  • I miss the Apple ecosystem, where useful built-in apps work seamlessly between iMac and iPhone. Pressing space to preview just about anything with Spotlight, or sign a PDF. I know there are Windows equivalents, but you have to choose and install those yourself.

  • My wife and I still have an iPhone, and since I’m on a PC, I need to answer her iMessages with the iPhone in stead of from my iMac. This may sound relatively insignificant, but a collection of such little inconveniences make the overall inconvenience grow. :slightly_smiling_face:

Having said all this, Windows 10 is not as shaky as its preceding versions, and the freedom of hardware choice and a much larger software base is definitely convenient.

So yeah, I’m still on the fence, and keeping an eye on Blender macOS developments, hoping things will improve in the near future.


I am not 100% sure but I think you’re wrong. I no longer have Catalina but in my opinion OpenGL drivers are a lot faster in Big Sur – on par with Nvidia/AMD windoze drivers.

No, it does not sound insignificant. I also prefer to use Mac keyboard instead of iPhone.

iMac Pro is discontinued:

as well as some iMac configurations:

so the new M1 iMac is definitely coming.

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Cycles performs fine, about how you would expect it to perform on a lower power laptop, decent render times but definitely not as good as it could be with gpu support. EEVEE is much better since it supports the gpu, but with eevee ofc your losing a lot of visual fidelity.

Octane X (blender plugin version) never worked on my m1 Mac, so I just stopped trying. The standalone probably works fine but the UI seemed very confusing to me so I just left it

If your work largely revolves around using cad and blender, Windows is going to be the better choice, plus you never know down the line if apple decides to pull a 180 and remove driver support for something. The only reason I have a m1 Mac is because my main work is software programming, a linux or windows machine is better suited towards cad and 3d modeling work

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It dosnt make sense to compare a 800€ desktop to a 5000€ workstation for fast pro renders.
Just imagine if the Mac mini would render at same speed in eeve, cycles, bicycles or scooters :rofl: or wherever as a 5000€ station, that is equal out of the game to intel etc. BTW intel is building commercials vs M1, and that means that they ain’t selling as much as before the M1 was out.
IMO apple is coming with a monster machine and cheaper, silent, and is gonna run Blender, CAD etc, they are putting Wacom slowly out also intel, and to get in charge and sell more they need to get better in gaming cos that is equal €.
M curious, and I wanna get one of those machines!

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I’m curious if there will be another iMac Pro, or if the regular Apple Silicon iMacs will range from basic to powered-up.

Well, obviously now they are running Mac products 100% they don’t need to wait for grandpa intel to take the youth pill. IMO they gonna bring a super pro and everybody gonna buy there product, if they work, right, M1 is the result of the testing with the iPads pro and the phones for years.

If you’re dying to do speedy renders on your M1 then try out Eevee. The M1 spits out Eevee renders pretty dang fast.

I’m no lighting expert, and definitely not an environment specialist, but I’m able to light and build all my scenes with Eevee and they turn out more than usable for my animations. :slight_smile:

Single frames from animation renders 40-50 seconds each. Apple M1 Mac Mini.

The M1 performs extremely well in Blender for non Cycles task. If you are just using Eevee to render, the M1 Mac Mini is an extremely great value computer ($699) for working with Blender.

If you want to use Cycles you are going to have to wait on renders :slight_smile: unless you send your renders to a server farm,


Does it really matter ?

iMac Pro was always kind of an interims or niche product.
I know the 2D people in Car Visualization loved that thing
And state they could not calibrate the 2020 iMac Display
at the same quality (don’t really get why)
(3D is on PC though, Autodesk VRed)

I am pretty sure that there will come a faster Mac M Mini
with all ports - in (Pro) Space Grey at one point.
They could do the same with M iMacs if they want, or not.
(Maybe that’s the rumor about multiple case color options
for M iMacs - silver and space grey … )

But they wore down the Pro moniker the last years ad absurdum,
maybe “i…” and “Pro” wording will disappear over time anyway.

That is very true and no.

With the trashcan mac apple tested the form factor but it back fired.
The iMacPro was kinda an evolution from it too but also there the GPU limits quickly were an issue for 3D.

For video people the machines were good.

But then with the current development in video editing and the volume of data formats like 4K and all that generate Apple presented the current MacPro.

I am quite sure with them having announced the full switch to Apple SoC they know that they can reach the need for CPU and GPU rendering at one point and started to release the M1 with the low end devices.

I would not be surprised if the Apple SoC MacPro would be smaller but has expansion slots for a render card, gpu or such.

MacOS does have its own GPU driver for AMD cards.