How to Find Your Mac’s Exact CPU Model
When buying a new Mac, Apple gives you just enough information about the system’s hardware to make a good comparative choice between the different models, but the company keeps the exact hardware details hidden in order to avoid customer confusion.
For example, when shopping for a new MacBook Air, Apple tells you in the specs that the base CPU is a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, with 4MB L3 cache, but doesn’t reveal the specific model.
Indeed, even after you’ve purchased a Mac, the information about the exact CPU model is hidden from the “About this Mac” system report. This is fine for most users, but power users or those looking to compare there Mac’s performance to an equivalent PC may want to know exactly which CPU is powering their computer.
Thankfully, third-party resources, such as the excellent EveryMac.com, have stepped in to provide a wealth of details about every Mac ever released. But to use that information, you’ll first need to know your specific Mac model and then take the time to browse the EveryMac website.
What if you just quickly want to verify your Mac’s CPU model? Or what if you’re working to repair or troubleshoot someone else’s Mac and don’t have all the info about the system immediately available? Well, you’re probably not surprised to learn that there’s a Terminal command that can show your Mac’s CPU model. Here’s how to use it.
First, launch Terminal, which you can find going to the Applications folder then the Utilities folder (or by searching for Terminal with Spotlight).
Open Terminal then enter the following command at the command prompt:
$ sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string
You’ll immediately see a new line of text with the exact make and model of your Mac’s CPU. On my MacBook, this command returned the following line:
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7360U CPU @ 2.30GHz
Intel has kept the same Core-series naming scheme for several years, meaning that lots of CPUs share similar frequency characteristics even though they offer far different performance levels.
By identifying your Mac’s specific CPU, you’ll be able to more accurately compare your Mac to other Macs and PCs, helping you either make an initial purchase or decide if it’s worth it to upgrade.
If you’re a Mac user and enjoyed this article, you might want to check out some more TechJunkie articles, including How to Change the Default Downloads Folder on Your Mac and macOS Mojave: Turn Off Recent Applications to Remove Extra Dock Icons.
Do you have any suggestions on the best way to find details on a Mac’s processor? If so, please leave us a comment below!