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Forex Trading for Mac Users
Mac users are some of the most steadfast platform loyalists out there. Unfortunately, the world of trading can sometimes feel like it leaves Mac users out in the cold. Feelings aside, it’s true that most trading platforms have historically been built and optimized strictly for Windows machines.
Nowadays, traders have access to a greater number of viable options for running some of the best trading platforms on their favorite Mac machines. Here at BrokerNotes, we created this guide to help you decide whether trading forex on a Mac is right for you. We’ll also teach you the tricks that’ll allow you to use (or even install) your trading platform of choice on your Mac device.
We even conducted our own extensive research, so that we could let you know which brokers have the most Mac-friendly platforms for web, desktop, and mobile.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74% and 89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Best Brokers for Mac Trading Platforms
To help you pick the best broker for trading on your favorite Mac device, we tested dozens of the most notable Mac-ready trading platforms on the market. After conducting our meticulous research, we created this list of the best trading platforms for Mac.
- 9.7/10 Overall
- 9.3/10 Overall
- 9.9/10 Overall
- 9.1/10 Overall
- 8.8/10 Overall
- 8.7/10 Overall
- 8.5/10 Overall
How do you trade forex on a Mac?
It’s true that most trading platforms are built and optimized for Windows machines. In the past, traders who wanted to use a Mac were forced to use applications like PlayOnMac or the WINE emulator in order to use the top trading platforms.
With the increasing availability of browser-based platforms, traders no longer need to rely on their brokers to provide a trading platform specifically for Mac devices. Traders can simply access their preferred trading portal directly through their web browser.
At the same time, an increasing number of brokers have developed native Mac versions of their own desktop trading platforms, which means that Mac traders can finally install trading platforms directly onto their devices without having to mess around with a Windows emulator.
Pros & cons of using a Mac for trading forex:
- They pack a powerful punch. Mac computers and laptops feature powerful specs and a hefty range of features. The processing power, RAM, and storage that come standard with most Mac devices should easily handle any web-based trading platforms.
- Trading on the move. Apple’s MacBooks and mobile devices are celebrated for their compact design and excellent battery life, both of which make them ideal for managing your brokerage account and investment portfolio on the go.
- The support is growing. An increasing number of brokers offer native versions of their desktop trading platforms for Mac, creating a user experience for macOS that’s nearly identical to the Windows versions.
- No native platform? Not (necessarily) a problem. Mac devices can run what’s known as a “virtual environment” using a dedicated emulator such as Wine, PlayOnMac, or Parallels. These emulators will let you install Windows software (like MetaTrader) onto your Mac hardware.
- Full compatibility just isn’t there yet. Not all CFD or forex trading platforms are compatible with Mac devices. You might find the perfect forex trading platform for you, only to find that you’ll need an emulator to run it on your Mac device.
- Emulators can be risky. If you have to use a Windows emulator on your Mac, it could pose a risk to your system’s security or stability, or cause tricky technical issues. At best, it will simply drain your battery.
Can you trade forex on a MacBook?
Yes, MacBooks are an excellent choice for trading forex when you are on the go or working remotely. I have a 12" MacBook, which has been a reliable tool for trading forex and managing my investment accounts (and it’s compact enough for me to tuck it into the pocket of one of my travel vests). Though that particular model is discontinued, Apple has now produced the superior MacBook Pro as well as the MacBook Air, both of which are plenty powerful enough for trading forex or managing your investment portfolio.
Can I use MetaTrader on Mac?
Yes, the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform can be installed on macOS using a version of free open-source software called Wine (originally an acronym for Wine Is Not an Emulator). This workaround has become so common that MetaQuotes Software Corp, the developer of MetaTrader, provides a version of the software with the Wine app wrapped directly into the installation (.DMG) file.
Please note that Wine is not regarded as a fully stable application, and it’s possible that some of MetaTrader’s functions may not work properly – or at all. Personally, I’ve found that Parallels is a more stable Windows emulator, but it requires a paid subscription (and can be a deal trickier to install and troubleshoot than Wine).
Finding a MetaTrader broker
Looking for a great broker that offers MetaTrader? Read our complete guide to the wildly popular MetaTrader 4 platform. You can also check out our MetaTrader 5 guide at our sister site, ForexBrokers.com, where we dive deep into the newest version of the MetaTrader software.
How do I install MT4 on Mac?
You can install MT4 onto your macOS using a free third-party application called PlayOnMac. PlayOnMac is a Wine-based application that acts as an emulator that allows Windows-based applications to run on a Mac computer.
- Download the latest version of PlayOnMac from the official website.
- Once downloaded, launch the PlayOnMac installer and follow the instructions on the screen to begin the installation process. As a part of the installation, you may be asked to install XQuartz, which is necessary for running a Windows system on macOS.
- After you have installed the PlayOnMac application, download the MT4 installer file (mt4setup.exe).
- Once downloaded, launch the MT4 installer. PlayOnMac should automatically install the MT4 application onto your Mac computer and create the necessary shortcuts.
- To run the MT4 client, simply click on the client terminal icon in the PlayOnMac launch window.
Which is the best forex trading platform for macOS?
Saxo Bank’s impressive SaxoTraderGO platform suite is the best forex trading platform for macOS in 2023. The SaxoTraderGO web and mobile platforms are powerfully built and intuitively designed. They provide a robust selection of trading tools along with top-notch research in a highly unified cross-platform experience. Saxo Bank’s platform suite was one of our overall favorites for 2023.
At BrokerNotes.co, our data-driven reviews of online brokers are based on our own extensive testing of each broker's products and services as well as the qualified observations of our expert editorial team. In conjunction with our sister site, ForexBrokers.com, we’ve published well over 100,000 words of research and collected thousands of data points across hundreds of variables. Our in-depth trading guides are created with the same rigorous, data-driven approach.
Our proprietary Trust Score rating system tracks data from over 100 regulatory jurisdictions to help forex traders understand the regulatory status of their forex broker and choose a broker that they can trust.
Our editorial team is led by Steven Hatzakis, an industry veteran with decades of experience and a deep understanding of the forex market. Our team conducts thorough testing on a wide range of brokers, platforms, products, technologies, third-party trading tools, and mobile apps. We also test for the availability of high-quality educational content, actionable market research resources, and the accessibility and capabilities of mobile platforms. All of our ratings and rankings are based on the collection and validation of thousands of data points and our in-depth product testing.
Part of our testing process involves in-depth research into commissions and fees. We dive into each broker’s trading costs, such as VIP rebates, inactivity fees, custody fees, bid/ask spreads (we always strive to determine the average spreads for each broker to better serve our readers), and a variety of other fee-based data points.
All websites and web-based platforms are tested using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser. Our Desktop PCs run Windows 11, and we use MacBook Pro laptops running the latest version of macOS to test trading on the go.
When testing mobile apps or mobile products, we test on both Apple and Android devices. For Apple, we test with the iPhone XS running iOS 16, and for Android we use the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra devices running Android OS 13.
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Forex Risk Disclaimer
There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Learn more about foreign exchange risk.
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