Seemingly overnight, Battle Royale games have become all the rage. Led by Player Unknown Battleground but now surpassed by Fortnite, 100-player last-person-standing games have caught more attention than any other genre before. Even celebrities such as Drake are playing it and breaking records on Twitch.

In Fortnite Battle Royale, fighting alone or in squads, you jet glide to your chosen spot on the island and start hunting and gathering. Every encounter is critical, and as you get closer to the final 10 players, you can feel the tension rise to incredible levels. No wonder the entire gaming community is so obsessed.

Fortnite is everywhere and now even iPhone-wielding teenagers are playing it non-stop during school hours. You obviously want to join in, or at least see what all the fuss is about.

But can your Mac run the hottest game in the world right now? Can you go up against Ninja and Drake and be the last person standing?

Testing one of the best shooters for Mac calls for more than our usually adequate five or so Mac test machines, so we had some of you help us, and today we are sharing benchmark results more than two dozen Macs.

First things first, is the game any good?

Fortnite Battle Royale didn’t become one of the top games in the world only because of its looks. It’s also so much fun to play. And free.

Follow the sounds of gunfire to seek out enemies or hide out and gather resources until the final moments of the game. You decide how to play, but with a gradually narrowing storm center forcing players together, eventually, you’re going to have to fight it out.

It’s easy to understand why both reviewers and gamers love this game. Battle Royale games create tension and excitement like no other genre can and the addition of crafting makes for an even more fun and interesting game.

Fortnite Mac

Add to that well-balanced gameplay, a good variety of weapons, a surprisingly non-toxic community, a generous free-to-play system, and you get the hottest game of the moment.

IGN (9.6/10) loves the game and wrote:

Fortnite’s zany style and unique blend of shooting and building almost never offers anything less than an outstanding time. … Fortnite sets itself apart from the crowd by giving you the freedom and tools to express your own personal playstyle.

Gamespot (8.0/10) largely agrees, writing:

Fortnite’s biggest accomplishment is in how it seamlessly merges a number of simple mechanics to create a distinguishable battle royale game. What looks to be a straightforward building system steadily escalates to an elaborate display of tactical prowess. As the saying goes: It’s easy to learn, hard to master.

Fortnite for Mac may be our only battle-royale choice, but in this case, we’re lucky we got the best. And we got it early on, at the same time as our Windows peers.

Fortnite Mac review test machines

The test

At first sight, this seems like an easy game to run, but we all know how wrong system requirements can be.

We usually test a game on 4 to 6 Macs in total. But because Fortnite is the most popular game to come to MacOS in years, 6 results wouldn’t cut it. Instead, we launched a huge reader challenge, and with your help, tested it on all of these models:

The exact list is too long (plus, you’ll find every single result below), but these are the models we tested:

  • 27-inch iMacs from 2012, 2014 and 2015
  • 21-inch iMacs from 2013 and 2017
  • 13-inch MacBook Airs from 2014, 2015 and 2016
  • 13-inch MacBook Pros from 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • 15-inch MacBook Pros from 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Mac Mini from 2012
  • Mac Pro from 2010

Why these machines?

We always try to test a game on as many different models as possible. But more than that, we aim to test completely different types of Macs: desktops, laptops, old and new. The aim is to give you a flavor of how the game will run on different models. Because we have a lot of results, we decided to separate them into three different categories:

  • High-end Macs (machines with powerful graphics cards)
  • Recent entry-level Macs (recent machines that do not have powerful graphics)
  • Older Macs (machines that are either recent or have powerful graphics)

These are the settings we used:

  • 1280x800 or equivalent resolution
  • 100% 3D resolution
  • Low Quality Preset
  • VSync: Off

We tested the game using Count It, our in-house Mac frames per second tool, playing a normal Solo battle royale game for around 5 minutes.

Why these settings?

We usually test games on Medium settings because we aim to take into account the expectations of the average modern gamer. In this case, we had to settle on Low settings because Fortnite is a competitive multiplayer shooter and every second counts. A 1-second stutter can mean the difference between life or death.

The question isn’t: Can your Mac run it, but can it run it fast enough?

The Results

Fortnite is a demanding game that will push your machine to the max, but with the right settings, most will be able to enjoy it.

Before we break them down into high-end, recent and older models, these are all the results we have. Don’t hesitate to filter and sort this list to explore it:

Expand to see the different levels of performance

For your reference, this is how we describe the different levels of performance (in frames per second):

Below 20 FPS Unplayable Laggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.
20-30 FPS Borderline Can be Ok in slow paced games. Still, not optimal.
30-45 FPS Playable Acceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).
45-60 FPS Smooth Fluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.
60+ FPS Very Smooth For hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.

So what does this meant for you?

Do you have a high-end Mac?

If you have a high-end machine with a powerful dedicated graphics card, you’ll be able to play Fortnite. It’s as simple as that.

Every 27-inch iMac, 15-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Pro we tested can run the game at a Very Smooth speed of 66 frames per second (FPS) or more:

SeriesModelYearProcessorGraphicsAverage FPS
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2015)20152.8 GHz Intel Core i7Radeon R9 M370X (2GB)66.4
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017, Touch Bar)20173.1 GHz Intel Core i7Radeon Pro 560 (4GB)92.6
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016, Touch Bar)20162.7 GHz Intel Core i7Radeon Pro 460 (4GB)85.4
Mac ProMac Pro (Mid 2010)20103.33 GHz 6-Core Intel XeonGeForce GTX 970 (4GB)90.9
iMaciMac (5K, 27-inch, Mid 2015)20153.3 GHz Intel Core i5Radeon R9 M290 (2GB)74.0
iMaciMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)20153.2 GHz Intel Core i5Radeon R9 M390 (2GB)57.2
iMaciMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)20154 GHz Intel Core i7Radeon R9 M395X (4GB)88.0
iMaciMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)20143.5 GHz Intel Core i5Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)100.3
iMaciMac (4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)20173.4 GHz Intel Core i5Radeon Pro 560 (4GB)93.2
iMaciMac (27-inch, Late 2012)20123.4 GHz Intel Core i7GeForce GTX 680MX (2GB)107.9
iMaciMac (27-inch, Late 2012)20123.2 GHz Intel Core i5GeForce GTX 680MX (2GB)115.7

If you’re part of this group, you can safely increase settings to the Medium Preset. That will result in a good performance (40 FPS or more) and much better-looking graphics.

Increasing the settings to High or above won’t always be worth it though. As an example, these tests were all performed on our high-end 2014 27-inch iMac:

  • 1344x756 resolution and Low settings: 104.7 FPS
  • 1344x756 resolution and Medium settings: 71.9 FPS
  • 1344x756 resolution and High settings: 52.3 FPS
  • 1344x756 resolution and Epic settings: 38.5 FPS

Notice how increasing the settings has a noticeable hit in terms of performance. The hit is quite constant with a similar FPS loss going from Low to Medium or High to Epic. But when you take into account the actual improvements in terms of looks, increasing the settings has diminishing returns.

Going from Low to Medium reduces FPS by 31% but the game looks much better with added shadow effects and details:

On the other hand, going from High to Epic reduces FPS by 26% but the graphics don’t look that much better:

As always, I recommend avoiding the Epic, Extreme or Max settings and increase the resolution instead. Using that same iMac, increasing the resolution or going from Medium to High settings generates a similar FPS loss the higher resolution looks much better:

  • 1344x756 resolution and Medium settings: 71.9 FPS
  • 1920x1080 resolution and Medium settings: 51.9 FPS
  • 1344x756 resolution and High settings: 52.3 FPS
  • 1344x756 resolution and Epic settings: 38.5 FPS

Takeaway: You should be able to play this game on Medium settings and a higher resolution. But as tempted as you are to increase the settings even higher, remember that speed is more important than looks in a game like Fortnite. You’ll have a much better experience on Medium settings and 70 FPS than Epic settings and 38 FPS.

Is 4K gaming possible?

We usually give 4K gaming a try, just to see if a high-end Mac can take it. Unfortunately, the test was impossible. For some reason, the resolution refuses to go any higher than 2560x1440.

At that resolution and Medium settings, our 2014 27-inch iMac runs the game at a Playable 36.8 FPS. It’s a shame we couldn’t properly test 4K gaming, but seeing those results, the game would be Unplayable on 4K resolutions on that machine.

I will reach out to Epic to try to find a solution.

Takeaway: We will update this section as soon as we know more.

Do you have a recent entry-level Mac?

Fortnite officially supports the Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better. As the last model to use it is from 2013, all recent Macs should be able to run handle Fortnite just fine. In theory. And according to our results, it is indeed the case:

SeriesModelYearProcessorGraphicsAverage FPS
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2015)20152.7 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris Graphics 610028.1
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017)20172.3 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris Plus Graphics 64060.2
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Touch Bar)20173.1 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris Plus Graphics 65039.0
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016)20162 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris Graphics 54050.4
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Touch Bar)20163.1 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris Graphics 55051.4
Mac Book AirMacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015)20152.2 GHz Intel Core i5Intel HD Graphics 600024.4

The game runs great on most machines, with smooth and fast FPS levels. But unlike the higher-end models with dedicated graphics cards, these won’t be able to handle settings much higher than Medium. Using our 2016 13-inch MBP, we tested the following settings:

  • 1280x800 and Low settings: 43.9 FPS
  • 1280x800 and Medium settings: 22.1 FPS

As said before, going from Low to Medium settings results in significant graphical improvements. We definitely recommend using Medium settings, but only if your machine can handle it and still run at 40 FPS or better.

This is a point where we have to insist. Fortnite is a competitive shooter where stutters can be a disaster. You need the most fluid experience possible to have a chance to win a face-off.

Takeaway: You’ll probably have to settle with Low settings (or maybe Medium if you have a 2017 machine or a 15-inch MacBook Pro), but you’ll still be able to play it and have fun. The priority is to have fluid and smooth gameplay.

Do you have an older Mac?

Most gamers with older Macs will have a tough time running this game:

SeriesModelYearProcessorGraphicsAverage FPS
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2013)20132 GHz Intel Core i7Intel Iris Pro38.5
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013)20132.4 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris 510023.4
Mac Book ProMacBook Pro (Non Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2012)20122.9 GHz Intel Core i7Intel HD Graphics 400040.2
Mac Book AirMacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014)20141.4 GHz Intel Core i5Intel HD Graphics 500020.6
Mac MiniMac Mini (Late 2012)20122.5 GHz Intel Core i5Intel HD Graphics 400025.8
iMaciMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013)20132.7 GHz Intel Core i5Intel Iris Pro44.9

As you can see from our results, the models with dedicated graphics have a chance to run the game decently on low settings. For all the other models with integrated graphics though, Fortnite will be a tough challenge. If your Mac is in this category and FPS are much too low (below 35-40) on Low settings, there is one last thing you can try…

Fortnite Mac review different resolutions

You can always reduce 3D resolution to 75% or less. That will result in a significant performance improvement but that comes at a cost. Using our 2013 13-inch MBP, we can see big improvements:

  • 1280x800, Low settings, 100% 3D resolution: 23 FPS
  • 1280x800, Low settings, 66% 3D resolution: 35.2 FPS

With the 3D resolution set to 66%, our 2013 MBP runs the game 40% faster. Even better, it brings us closer to much more acceptable FPS.

Reducing the 3D resolution obviously hurts the game’s looks. I was prepared to recommend against lowering 3D resolution because of how blocky and ugly the game looked, but in reality, I forgot all about it once I started tracking another player until we faced off. It was glorious and fun. Deciding how bad 66% 3D resolution looks or whether it is acceptable will be up to you:

I wouldn’t recommend going lower than 66% though because at some point gameplay will suffer too. Can you really be effective if you can’t differentiate faraway enemies from trees?

Takeaway: Older Macs is a broad category. Those with dedicated GPUs will be able to run it at Low settings while the rest will have to use lower 3D resolutions. If that’s your case, it will be up to you to decide how acceptable that is.

The best Fortnite Mac settings for performance

If you’re struggling with performance, you can try the following settings. These should increase the game’s FPS at least a little:

  • Fullscreen mode
  • Set frame rate limit to 30 (to decrease those big frame rate drops)
  • Quality: Low
  • V-sync off
  • Reduce the 3D resolution setting

Don’t expect huge improvements, but this could provide those extra 5 FPS to make Fornite playable on your Mac. The biggest improvements come from reducing the 3D resolution but visual fidelity will suffer a lot…

Always check those system requirements

With so many Macs benchmarked, there is a chance your model was tested.

If not, you can always take a similar Mac as a reference point and make an estimation. Either way, make sure your Mac meets the minimum system requirements. If it doesn’t then it will certainly not be able to run it. These are the official Fortnite Battle Royale Mac system requirements:

OS OS 10.12 Sierra
Processor 2.4 GHz Core i3
Memory 4 GB RAM
Video Intel HD 4000
Hard Drive 19 GB

If your Mac is from 2012 or newer, you will probably be able to join the party.

Final thoughts It’s not surprising that Fortnite Battle Royale is a demanding game. After all, the game looks great, takes place in huge environments and is filled with lots of trees and buildings to provide cover and hide loot. These are all features that push hardware to the max. That said, the game offers lots of graphics settings to play with, allowing as many people as possible to enjoy it.

Runs well on Macs from 2012 onwards.

Low settings look alright, even by today’s standards.

There are important drops of frames that can ruin the game if they happen at the wrong time.

Demand level: Medium