Quicken Windows to Mac First Impressions

MauryJ Member ✭✭
Thanks to the folks (notably MontanaKarl, J_Mike, smayer97) that helped me off the ledge when I was considering moving from a long time Windows legacy to Mac.

So, I've been running the two files in parallel for about 10 days, including some speed bumps and wrong advice from Quicken Support (one guy was great, one guy was very biased toward Windows, ironically). He also didn't understand about downloading transactions. He almost had me convinced that a download of recent transactions in one file would negate the ability to get those same transactions in the other file version. The best advice I did get from the 2nd, more competent support rep was "if you don't see the option to do that, you probably can't." That's almost 100% true. I say almost because sometimes features don't exist where you expect them to, but they're in there, or the information presented is not exactly the same.

Below are some of my pros and cons. These are just gleaned from how I use Quicken and what I found to be different. It's not comprehensive, and I'll discover more as I settle into using the Mac version full time and Windows just limited to things I can't normally get or find. I'm also probably wrong about certain things I was unable to figure out.

* Sleeker aesthetic (this almost seems like what Quicken would look like if they started over and didn't have a huge Windows legacy). For sure it's prettier and cleaner looking
* More efficient. Many tasks take fewer clicks or steps (some examples below, but it's generally true)
* Faster - noticeably so - some examples include scrolling large windows like in Portfolio View do not have the lag and the tortured herky jerkyness. Screens really snap jumping from function to function, interim portfolio updates are almost instantaneous, opening the file to login and ready for business takes <8 seconds. The Touch ID on my Mac is faster than the Face ID on my iPhone
* Use of encrypted Apple Keychain to log in makes password typing unnecessary for file login, the vault, and going outside the program for things like the Quicken Community. I know you can link to the community in Windows, but it's not as tightly integrated. Touch ID is incredibly easy, and negates the need for the Password vault
* No "File Operations" - I guess the occasionally corrupted transactions and misc. data mishandling makes the data file more reliable than Windows?
* Ability to undo register edits. I always wondered why this doesn't exist in Windows version - if you accidentally delete the wrong transaction in the register, you can just undo it
* Transaction Inspector - a nicer, more concise way to inspect the operational aspects and status of a transaction
* Online Center not needed. In Windows you're often going back and forth between different screens, such as the register and the Online Center. Functions like Bill Pay and Transfers are handled right in the register
* Multiple Calendars! I like that I no longer have to modify the calendar if I want to add or subtract accounts, as I can configure each calendar separately and just select the one I want from a drop down
* Security values update automatically every hour, but 1 click gives me an instant update - this can take 10 or 20 seconds in Windows, especially longer since Quicken added real time quotes. The Mac is way faster for this
* Performance graphs of portfolio look like what you'd see on a professional site, not course line graphs
* Instant stock views, instant login to community, etc. Feels more integrated than Windows
* Better handling for controlling the memorizing of categories
* Transaction approval is way simpler (and instantaneous) - often can all be viewed at once instead of in a tiny window in the register as Windows version does it. That tiny window sometimes requires a lot of scrolling. Approving a transaction (or multiple transactions) in Windows always requires waiting for Quicken to process it.

It's not all roses, However. Here are some things I miss that maybe exist and I just haven't found them yet. I don't think so, unfortunately.

Cons (Mac Version):
* Calendar Limitations - No bar graph (I love this feature in Windows for a quick visualization of my cashflow. Also, no Notes. There's no way to annotate the calendar that I can find. Lastly, navigation going back in time has no "go to date" function - you have to do it manually
* Banking - Can't void transactions in the register. In Windows you can still see the check number that was voided, and the payee. Sometimes useful when you're trying to figure out a mistake. I manually did this in the Mac by mimicking the Voided transactions that came over in the file conversion, but check number can't be retained
* No comparison of "On Line Balance" vs local balance - again, something I use to help me track down errors I've made or just knowing if the Quicken balance agrees with my bank
* Can't explode categories on a graph. For instance, when looking at an expenditure graph by category, you can't click on a high level category to see how it splits out
* Expenses over "Last 12 Months" graphs are also showing forecasted expenses until the end of this month - Windows uses the exact day, so "last 12 months" would mean 11/25/2021 - 11/24/2022 as an example. When comparing YOY expenses by category I'm seeing some things in my Register for December as part of the total, inflating the number I see in Windows
* No Mututal Fund View in the portfolio views. I get a few canned views, but mutual funds and their ratings and attributes is not one of them.
* No customized portfolio views can be set up and saved
* No Allocation By Account (only equity or asset class)
* No ability to compare a target asset allocation to existing
* Banking Dashboards are sparse - not that many items are in there and you can't customize them at all. One I particularly use in Windows is 3 different expense by category graphs - one for YTD, one for Current Month, and one for Same Month Last Year. So, in the Windows Version I can see visually at a glance what I've spent YTD, or currently YOY for the current month, all in the same window. As a recent retiree, I'm looking for cues on how I'm doing vs last year. These YOY graphs by category side by side show instant comparisons that I can't set up in the Mac version
* Spending by Category Graphs can't be customized. For instance, I only want to know about the spending I can control. I don't want to see the fees I'm paying for managed investment accounts as one of my "expenses." Those fees aren't even in my banking accounts. Managed Account fees are not useful data that can influence my spending. The more those accounts grow, the more the fees will be. Going forward I will deal with it, but when I compared my Spending in Windows to Mac it was vastly different because of this, and in Windows I can just go to the settings for that graph and eliminate managed accounts. That simple level of control is not available in the Mac version
* No Calculator. I guessI could add a hot key on the Mac to launch a calculator like Windows has. I need to research that one, but at least in Quicken it would be useful
* No Morningstar data - even if I didn't expect the Portfolio X-Ray provided in Windows, at least it would be nice to see the Morningstar **** rating in the portfolio view
* Consolidated equity views (one equity in multiple acts) feels more cumbersome to use and find. In Windows, that launches when you click on the equity in a portfolio view. In Mac, clicking the equity launches the Quicken summary of the equity

All in all I have work arounds, and the Mac workflow is a lot more to my liking, but I feel like Mac is sort of minimalist, although there's a ton of data and the presentations are beautiful when you figure out how to reveal it. Also, with all of the customization available in Windows, I feel like someone developing the Mac version is making decisions for me about what I want to see vs giving me options to make it exclusively "My Tool{." I'm hoping Mac will get more initiative as the population of Macs grow. I was reading that in the latest quarter - post the COVID effect, whereas PC shipments were slowing (75 M units across all brands), Mac was growing and had 10 M in sales in the same quarter. I don't ever remember Mac having 13% of all personal computer shipments. That's an insane share. That's almost double their 2021 share, which was already a huge gain for them because of the COVID situation


  • jfclague
    jfclague Member ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for the detailed explanations and examples.

    The one thing that keeps me from making the switch is the Tax Planner (and maybe the Lifetime Planner). i guess I will have to continue using Parallels on Mac and run the Quicken Windows version.
  • MauryJ
    MauryJ Member ✭✭
    I totally get the temptation. I may give VMware Fusion a try, more for the academic opportunity to learn about virtual machines. At least now when I travel I have decent banking functionality, plus I can see my investment accounts and performance - not quite as granular as in Windows, but good enough. That said, I still have a Windows desktop at home with 2 big monitors for those moments. I'm really glad Quicken has not made this an either/or scenario. I hope they continue to add functionality to the Mac version, though
  • Quixote
    Quixote Member ✭✭
    Thank you for this summary!! Very helpful. I've been on the fence for quite sometime. This is the only app that has kept me from switching to using my Mac 100% of the time. For now I think I'll keep my Lenovo Windows laptop around a bit longer to run Quicken.
  • MauryJ
    MauryJ Member ✭✭
    Quixote - you know what's funny? I seriously dragged my feet for almost a year before trying this because I was afraid decades of history might get lost and corrupted, plus worried about giving up features.

    In Windows I literally went into Quicken every morning and download my transactions, and sometimes multiple times a day just to see how the market is doing, or to fiddle with my budgeting. Since I started using the Mac I still go in daily, but rarely even boot my Windows machine (one I painstakingly built and loaded to the gills). I've discovered also that many features I thought were gone are actually built right in. The learning curve was a little steep on a few perplexing tasks, but for the majority of it, very fast (and that's a 27 year QW user talking.

    Especially since I discovered I can come back to my Windows machine and download even 2 weeks after my daily Mac use, everything is there, including what I created on my Mac. Just to be on the safe side, I turned on the mobile sync feature, but I don't think that's critical.

    What I would do is download the Mac version anyway - it's free, so why not? You can still use both, but give yourself a month to use the Mac. I found it very alluring. I've discovered that when I want to do my daily chores in Quicken, I use the Mac. Scrolling around, accepting transactions, creating payments, etc. takes too darn long in Windows. I have a very beefy Windows machine, and just accepting transactions is infuriatingly klunky. Click. Wait for screen to redraw. Figure out what's left... click, scroll that tiny window to see the rest of the transactions, etc., repeat. In the Mac you can see 5x the transactions at one time, review the list, and accept them all at once or one by one. Don't blink or you'll miss it. Scrolling around large spreadsheet views of transactions or managed investments is totally smooth and instantaneous. It has that Mac 2 finger scroll feel. Add a transaction to the register and pay it right there - no jumping from on-line center, to your register, etc. as you can see the effects instantly.

    I'd rather spend the extra time looking at my investments and spending history/forecasts. If I want or miss something I need to do in Windows, I'll open that up, but frankly, it's rare these days.
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