Zwift on Mac: An Update

Lots of Zwifters(including myself), have been very interested in figuring out why Zwift has not added additional support for Macs on the platform. While PC’s will likely always be better for gaming and Zwifting, the latest Apple Silicon Macs are very capable of more than they are granted on Zwift. The current set up is the following:

  • All M1 Models: High(broken…) profile with 1440p resolution // 4k for the M1 Pro & M1 Ultra
  • All M2 Models: Medium profile with 1080p resolution // Medium profile with 4k for the M2 Pro

Yes, you read that correctly. The M1 gets the high profile, but the profile is broken. It is essentially the basic profile, but called “High”. However, Jon Mayfield from ZHQ has given the community some more insight as to what the current situation is with Mac’s & Zwift.

“We’ve been conservative to leave some padding for the updated rendering code that’s coming.

The path has been:

  1. Convert Zwift to use Metal vs OpenGL across all apple platforms. As of 2 weeks ago this is now done – all iOS/tvOS/macOS devices that are officially supported are now running Metal. We saw about a 10% performance gain here, invisible to most users. This process took about a year. :flushed:
  2. Roll out updated rendering code to newer machines, and retune our presets. Game will look a little nicer during nighttime scenes, but it’s not transformative. It does give us more options going forward (as does Metal vs OpenGL from step 1).
  3. Add tabs to the settings screen so we can have more room for various options, and eventually a graphics tab.

And somewhere in there (looking to be step 1.5 at this point), deliver a native silicon binary. This only affects CPU, not gpu performance, and had dependencies on some 3rd party libraries/companies. Since macOS is not commonly supported among major gaming companies, some of the libs took a bit more time than others.

To more specifically answer the questions, I think avatar shadows can get turned on with the native silicon build on m1 and later. The 4k “ultra” profile will probably come with the retune in step 2 once we know our pixel fill rates in the new system, altho we may end up using a nice upscaler instead. Ultimately there will be more toggles in the future so it’ll be slightly more configurable.”

To summarize that, Zwift has already moved all Mac devices to the Metal version of the app. This increased the performance for those on M-series chips. Zwift is currently working on adding new code to improve how nighttime looks and to open up more options with the graphics in the future.

Ultimately, Zwift wants to provide users with options regarding graphics and resolution. This will allow for greater control over the FPS that the game runs in.

Stats from a recent group ride using a M1 Macbook Air

Overall, it is great to see some communication from Zwift regarding this ongoing request. However, it will take time(like over a year until things outlined in the post are fully implemented).