7 Best Code Editors for Mac & Apple (50 Tools Reviewed)
Published: October 29th, 2022.
by Chris Von Wilpert
Today there are 108 different code editors for mac you can use to write, review and edit your code. We spent 120 hours comparing the top 50 to find the seven best you can use to improve your coding productivity.
What is the Best Code Editor for Mac?
Our Verdict — Best Of The Best
Visual Studio Code (VSCode) is a free source code editor designed by Microsoft to work in Windows, Linux, and Mac. Visual Studio Code is a favorite for beginner, intermediate and expert developers.
With features like in-built debugging, SCM, Intellisense, code folding, code refactoring, and the option of working with VSCode for web from anywhere in the world, it is a personal favorite for most developers. VSCode supports hundreds of programming languages, can open different file formats, and comes with built-in git support allowing you access to remote files in repositories you have access to.
The Best Part:
- Supports most programming languages and development operations. With VSCode you can write code, run and debug in most programming languages, with the aid of extensions. VSCode also supports markup languages.
The Worst Part:
- Needs multiple plugins to properly function. To properly use VSCode, you’ll need to install a lot of plug-ins and set them up. With a wide range of extensions to choose from, this could be confusing for a beginner.
Get it if you want a code editor that can handle full-stack development. If you want something for configuration and fast edits, use Vim.
I recommend you download the app to your computer and get started for free.
Visual Studio Code is best for anyone from beginners to expert developers.
- In-built terminal/command line. You can run your commands directly from the built-in shell terminal available on VSCode without using a different terminal app. You can resize it as you wish, and open up multiple terminals at once.
- Connects to a wide range of extensions and plugins for increased productivity. You can install Python, Thunderclient Python Indent, GitLens, Emmet, Pylance, es7, React, Redux, and React native snippets for free. You can also install Github Copilot on Visual Studio Code to get autocomplete-style suggestions.
- Integrated source control management with Git. Create repositories, import repositories, stage files, make commits and ‘push and pull’ all without ever leaving the editor. VSCode comes with Git integration and also offers you access to other SCM services using extensions.
Visual Studio Code is free forever.
Our Verdict — Best For Fast Code Editing
Price: Free (while under development)
With 20 years of experience in building top-quality IDEs (like IntelliJ IDEA and PyCharm), JetBrains built Fleet from scratch to be the next-generation IDE.
JetBrains Fleet is a lightweight code editor and smart Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that uses the IntelliJ code-processing IDE architecture and a reimagined UI.
JetBrains Fleet is designed to be a fast code editor that allows you to quickly edit codes, but can be converted into a fully functional IDE with an in-built text editor by enabling the Smart Mode.
Fleet is also great for collaborative coding with the option of connecting to a collaboration session or connecting to a shared dev environment.
It's available for Mac, Linux, and Windows.
The Best Part:
- Access to a wide range of tools and remote code collaboration. JetBrains Fleet comes with essential features like a built-in terminal, Git integration, and a debugger. It also allows you to collaborate with other developers remotely and supports port forwarding for testing applications.
The Worst Part:
- Still under development. At the moment, JetBrains Fleet does not support plugins, limiting its functionality. Lots of features are still under development.
Get JetBrains Fleet if you work on large projects. With the option of connecting to a collaboration session or a shared dev environment, you can commit to open-source projects with ease.
I recommend you get started by working on open-source projects before the pricing plan is released. The pricing will most likely be as affordable as other JetBrains’ pricing.
JetBrains Fleet is best for open-source collaborators and full-stack developers.
- Smart mode. With the option of switching between a lightweight text editor and a fully functional IDE, you can save system resources by enabling IDE features only when you need them. By enabling Smart Mode, you get access to code completion, refactoring, semantic highlighting, navigation, and search.
- Remote development. You can install JetBrains Fleet on a remote machine, allowing you to work from anywhere while minimizing the amount of resources you use locally. You can also work with your team remotely using a shared workspace.
- Port forwarding. You can forward ports from a remote dev environment or a remote machine to test your application. This is especially handy when you’re working on web apps you need to open in the browser.
- In-built terminal and Git source control. You can execute commands and get access to the integrated Git version control all from within the editor without having to open a terminal app.
- Run JetBrains Fleet from space. Work in a pre-configured performant virtual machine with your team from anywhere in the world. With access to the Space cloud dev environment, you can start collaborating in seconds with minimum set-up and a ready-to-use dev environment.
JetBrains Fleet is still under development and is free to use during this period. JetBrains intends to make Fleet a subscription-based IDE just like other JetBrains commercial products. These are the proposed pricing plans with prices yet to be determined:
- Free: For non-commercial, educational, or open-source projects. This plan offers limited features and no access to Git or Git Remote.
- Paid: Subscription-based payment plans for individuals and organizations with access to all features and available for projects of any size or type without limitation. Pricing is yet to be determined.
Try JetBrains Fleet today with the free plan
3. Sublime Text
Our Verdict — Best For Beginners
Price: Starts at $65
Sublime Text is a lightweight text editor with auto-completion features, multiple selections, multiple panes views, and a simple UI. With its simple user interface, syntax coloring, multiple panes, and multiple selections, it is perfect for code editing both for beginners and experienced devs.
Sublime Text is available for Linux, Windows and MacOs.
The Best Part:
- Ease of use and multiple panes views. Code without the need for extensive plugins. With its multiple panes views, you can view and edit several files at once.
The Worst Part:
- Limited functionalities and plugins. Compared to its alternatives, Sublime Text has fewer functionalities and plugins, limiting the coding experience you get. Though you could get access to additional functionalities by upgrading to the full version.
Get Sublime Text if you want a lightweight and workable environment for code editing. It is easy to set up and use on your Mac.
I’d recommend you test Sublime Text on the free plan, then upgrade to the paid license to avoid the annoying pop-up prompting you to purchase.
Sublime Text is best for beginners looking for a multi-language code editor.
- Auto-completion and syntax highlighting. Sublime Text comes with an auto code completion feature that saves you the stress of manually typing. It also highlights variables, functions, methods, variables, and strings, with different font types, colors, and backgrounds, improving code readability.
- Multiple panes views and distraction-free mode. You can open and work on up to four files at the same time, or you can switch to a distraction-free writing mode which opens a single window with no interface menus.
- Side-by-side mode for definitions. Explore the full definition of programming keywords while coding with a side-by-side view of the definitions. Simply hold the CTRL key while clicking a link or tap the definition icon that pops up when you hover on a keyword.
- “Find and replace” with multiple selections. You can select multiple lines of code and make edits to them all at once without having to edit each line individually.
- “GoTo” anything. Find files, symbols, classes, and functions anywhere on a project using the GoTo Symbol (CTRL + R). Using the GoTo Symbol, you can find a line or class on the file you’re working on or on any file within the project folder.
Sublime Text has two pricing plans:
- Individual plan: $99 one-time fee for personal use with 3 years of software updates included.
- Business plan: $65/year with higher priced plans available that include more advanced features.
All paid plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Annual subscriptions provide up to 30% discount.
Try Sublime Text now with the free plan.
Our Top Three Picks
Here’s a quick summary of our top three picks:
- Visual Studio Code — best of the best
- JetBrains Fleet — best for fast code editing
- Sublime Text — best for beginners
Here’s a quick comparison of our top seven picks:
Visual Studio Code
Free while under dev
Starts at $65/year
Here are the top 50 code editors for Mac we considered in this review:
- Visual Studio Code
- JetBrains Fleet
- Sublime Text
- Komodo Edit
- Code Runner
- Light Table
- Blue Griffon
- Cuda Text
- Android Studio
- Oracle Cloud
- Play Canvas
Will Notepad++ Work On Mac?
There is no Notepad++ for Mac. This is because the Notepad++ software is built for Windows OS. But if you want to use Notepad++, you'd have to use virtual machines and emulators which would allow you to run Windows applications on MacOS. There are other great alternatives to Notepad++ for Mac including Sublime Text and Brackets.
Is Xcode Better Than Visual Studio?
Despite XCode being a native IDFE for MacOS, Visual Studio is still preferred by most developers because of its extensive features and functionality. While XCode is meant for IOS development, Visual Studio cuts across several development stacks.
How Do I Compile C++ on A Mac?
The best way to compile C++ on a Mac is using XCode or G++.
To use G++, you'd need to install command line tools for XCode or install XCode. You can install XCode from the Apple Appstore or install Command line tools from the terminal using the command xcode-select --install.
With Command line tools installed, you can create a C++ file and compile it using the g++ -o command.
Can You Code Python on A Macbook?
Yes. Python comes pre-installed on MacBook, making it easier for you to code and run python scripts. Just open up the Python IDE and get coding. You can find more information on using Python on MacBook here.
What Is The Difference Between IDE And Code Editor?
Code editors are powerful text editors with added features like syntax highlighting, code navigation, auto-completion, and file system browser, and are meant specifically for writing and editing code. IDEs, on the other hand, are Integrated Development Environments, a collection of all the tools needed to simplify the process of creating software applications. The basic features of an IDE include a code editor, compiler/interpreter, Debugger, Build Automation Tools, Syntax Highlighter and a GUI.
The Bottom Line
Here are our top picks for the best code editors for Mac to try this year: