Are you curious how the new M1 MacBook Pro handles Bible study apps and programs? I was too and couldn’t wait to test this out. You can find the results as I tested Logos 9, Accordance 13, Olive Tree, Laridian Pocket Bible, and e-Sword X on the new M1 MacBook Pro.
UPDATE: Added a video under the Logos 9 on M1 MacBook Pro section below.
Why I Bought the M1 MacBook Pro
For the past year, I actually transitioned to a Windows-centric computer experience by giving my 2018 MacBook Pro to my son, a videographer and photographer who really wanted to go Mac. I bought an excellent HP Spectre x360 13 2-in-1, but then reluctantly decided to go back to Apple after my office PC failed and I got a Mac mini from a friend.
I bought the 2020 MacBook Pro that Apple released earlier this year based on Intel’s processor. That was in late October and then Apple released the new M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and M1 Mac mini. Fortunately, I got mine at Best Buy and I could return so I did and picked the M1 MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and 500. It’s not the highest-end M1 MacBook, but it’s what could get in exchange without paying too much more.
Best Buy shocked me and told me I could get the new computer the next day, but that was wrong. It showed up the Monday before Thanksgiving instead of one week before Thanksgiving. That’s not bad considering Apple shows a date in mid-December before you can get one directly from them.
Installing Bible Programs on the M1 MacBook Pro
The new M1 MacBook Pro showed up and I unboxed it and starting setting things up. Soon I was installing my Bible study programs. I use three Bible apps but for this test, I installed five of the best Mac Bible study programs you can buy today.
Laridian Pocket Bible
Olive Tree Bible Study
For the most part, these apps installed without much concern. It’s interesting that the first time you install a program that’s not optimized for the M1 chip, macOS 11 Big Sur will ask you if you want to install something called Rosetta 2. It didn’t take long to download and install, but it stops you from launching your app. I had to launch Logos 9 again after Rosetta 2 finished installing.
The other apps installed quickly. Accordance takes a little while to download your books if you have a large library. Olive Tree Bible Reader, Laridian PocketBible and e-Sword X don’t take as long. In fact PocketBible has the best installation process of the group. It takes little time at all.
Logos 9 on M1 MacBook Pro
Let’s first talk about Logos 9 because it’s the most demanding of the five programs. It Typically, I start the installation, plug in my laptop, and leave for hours. When I come overnight or after a full day away, it finishes and we’re ready to study the Bible.
As you can see from the video above showing the installation and indexing process, it took 3 hours and 47 minutes to install, download my 27GB library, and index the library. The download seemed faster than normal. Then indexing went quickly.
My friend LaRosa compared the indexing process to taking a long trip on an Interstate. It takes a little while to get on the road, but once you do and get up to speed, it runs quickly. Then, the off-ramp time slows down. That’s how things went with the M1 MacBook Pro. It starts slow, speeds up, and then finishes slowly.
Normally, when Logos 9 indexes the library it takes up a lot of resources and you can’t really use your computer much. You can, but it’s infuriating because Logos takes up all the memory and processor. However, with the M1 MacBook Pro, Logos 9 ran slowly, but the rest of the system ran smoothly. For example, I hit the Home button in Logos 9 and scrolled through the Home page. It stuttered running haltingly. It’s not smooth at all.
In spite of how slowly Logos 9 itself performs, the rest of the system runs smoothly during the indexing. That’s abnormal with Intel or AMD based computers. They usually don’t run smoothly.
Battery Life for Running Bible Study Apps on M1 MacBook Pro
The battery life stood out on my new M1 MacBook Pro. The process of installing Logos 9 on laptops usually kills a battery. On my previous HP x360 13 and my older 2018 MacBook Pro, I would never attempt to install Logos without plugging in. I didn’t have to on this computer.
Add the wonderfully bright screen and crisp text, you get a fantastic experience writing and reading. I put the screen at 50 percent and it looks like other computers I’m used to using when they are set to 75-80 percent.
After I killed the battery installing Logos I used it for a couple hours and went to bed with it at 40 percent. This morning, after running on battery at 50% for about 4 hours, my battery reads 76% left. That’s fantastic. My 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro doesn’t last as long in real-world use.
Hard to Tell Difference on M1 MacBook Pro
What’s the final takeaway for running Bible study apps on the M1 MacBook Pro? For four out of our five apps, there’s little to no different. I couldn’t tell the difference between running Accordance, e-Sword X, Olive Tree Bible, or PocketBible on this computer.
Logos 9 is a little different. Installation was a slightly better experience. You can set it to download and index your library and get some other work done while it happens in the background. That’s a huge improvement compared to running the program’s installation on other computers.
Once you install Logos 9, it runs well. There’s one issue that’s more a Big Sur problem than an M1 MacBook Pro problem. Over in the Logos 9 forum, there’s a post listing one issue as follows:
The Logos Desktop Team has tested Logos 9 and Logos 8 on macOS 11 “Big Sur.” So far we discovered some minor styling issues (see below), but have not encountered any major issues. Known Issue: Table of Contents arrows are duplicated.
From Logos 9 forum
The above issue with arrows is an extremely minor issue. You may find others, but right now that’s all.
In another Logos forum post, Phil Gons from Faithlife said the company has no definite plans to make Logos 9 run as an M1 Mac application. That’s not saying they won’t do it, but they are not announcing anything publicly. I’d expect this to take a long time since the current version of the software works so well. I look forward to the time when these five all run as a native app.
There’s one thing that you can say about running Bible study applications on the new M1 MacBook Pro. Launching these apps takes a lot less time than they used to. Of our five, Laridian PocketBible and e-Sword X jump onto the screen instantly. Olive Tree Bible Reader loads in a couple of seconds and Accordance launches in a few seconds. Sadly, Logos 9 still takes longer than the others. But it loads faster than it did on Intel Macs. Running the programs speeds up on these new M1 chips too.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.