Civilization 6 Mac Review: Can you run it?

by | Jul 7, 2019 | Strategy

Civilization 6 on Mac can’t be considered new anymore, yet this turn-based strategy game is still one of the best strategy games for Mac available today.

Civilization games are famous for their deep strategy. Looks have never been their forte and you might be wondering why even bother asking if you can run it. After all, turn-based games have simple graphics and are easy to run, right? Not so fast…

Civilization 6 has beautiful graphics and while it might not be as sophisticated as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it still requires a ton of horsepower to run.

So let’s see how demanding this game is and whether your Mac has what it takes to run it.

What’s new with Civilizations 6 on Mac?

Civilization 6 received its newest Expansion, Gathering Storm, on February 14, 2019. As well as the expected additions (such as new civilizations and units), the game also received a completely new gameplay feature: Global Warming.

You can read more about it below.

Civilization 6 Mac art
88 Metascore
Civilization 6 is, without a doubt, one of the finest strategy games available, especially for turn-based games fans. Civ 6 looks great, plays great and is easily the best Civ game to date.

First things first, is the game any good?

Released in late 2016, Civilization 6 has more than proven itself to be a safe purchase. The reviews all agree: Civilization 6 is a beast.

PC Gamer, for example, didn’t spare any compliments and gave it 93/100 score, concluding:

Sight, sound, and systems harmonize to make Civilization 6 the liveliest, most engrossing, most rewarding, most challenging 4X in any corner of the earth.

With an 88 Metascore, Civ 6 gets dangerously close to the Masterpiece status, usually reserved for games with a 90 Metascore or more:

Civilization 6 Mac Metacritic

As usual, users were, on the other hand, more critical. The game has 70% Positive reviews, which isn’t bad, but not great either. I don’t want to downplay the opinion of the average gamer, but always take Steam reviews with a grain of salt.

For instance, among the game’s more than 37,200 user reviews (which is huge by the huge), there are people with over 145 hours of playtime that still don’t recommend it because it has paid DLC…

Civilization 6 Mac featured

A new Expansion: Gathering Storm

Rise and Fall, the game’s first major Expansion, dared to make significant changes and enhancements. Most notably, it introduced the Loyalty system, Golden and Dark ages, improved Alliances and more.

Essentially, it made Civ 6 more rich and complex.

Now Gathering Storm, the game’s second Expansion, takes Civ 6 to the next level. With the introduction of a new World Congress and a World Climate system, the game delivers a more dynamic and rich experience, especially when you reach the end game and start seeing the real consequences of your earlier choices.

While expensive for an Expansion ($40), Gathering Storm makes a great game even better.

Cross-platform multiplayer

For a while, Civ 6 on Mac suffered from receiving late updates, disabling cross-platform Multiplayer with Windows users.

The situation is much better now, as Aspyr finally made cross-platform multiplayer possiblein 2018:

Cross-platform multiplayer is now available between Mac and Windows on Steam. That’s right!  Download the latest update of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and conquer together online now!

Bottom line

I used to think Civ 5 was perfection. I even wondered how Firaxis could make it any better. Well, they did. Civilization 6 feels familiar, yet both gameplay and graphcis are superior.

This is one of the best strategy games you can play on your Mac.

Civilization 6 Mac requirements

We like testing the waters and see if unsupported machines can run a game, but you shouldn’t. Before going any further, you should make sure your Mac meets the game’s minimum system requirements:

  • OS: macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) and 10.12 (Sierra)
  • Processor: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 (4 cores)
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Hard Disk: 15 GB
  • Graphics: 1GB Radeon HD 6790,  GeForce 775M, Iris Pro or better

Civ 6 officially supports the following graphics cards:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 650M, 675MX, 680MX, 750M, 755M
  • ATI Radeon HD 5750, HD 5770, HD 5870, HD 6750, HD 6770
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000, 5000, 5300, 6000, Iris, 515

If you don’t have one of these cards, I’m afraid this game isn’t for you…

Into Strategy games? These are our favorites:

Game★ Best OverallBest for MacBookBest Value
Release date201620182015




Our rating★★★★☆
Full Review
Full Review
Full Review




Check Price

Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle

Official Site

The Test: Can you play Civilization 6 on Mac?

So the game is great and all but can your Mac run it? To give you a proper answer, we did what we do best and tested the game on as many Macs as possible:

  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017): 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, Intel Radeon Pro 560 (4GB)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016): 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)
  • iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014): 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)
  • Mac Mini (Late 2014): 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012): 5.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 (1.5GB)

⚠ Notice the 2016 MacBook Pro, 2014 Mac Mini and 2012 MacBook Pro do not meet the recommended system requirements, but more on that below.

Why these machines?

The purpose of these reviews is to help as many of you as we can which is why we test our games on machines as different from each other as possible.

Hopefully, one of these Macs will be close enough to yours to provide results you can use really at home.

These are the settings we used to run Civilization 6’s internal benchmark :

  • 1280×800 (or equivalent 1344×756) resolution
  • Medium Preset
  • Anti Aliasing: MSAA 2X

Using the in-game benchmark tool, we tested the game on all Macs using the same settings.

Civilization 6 MBP normal settings

The Results: Civ 6 shouldn’t be this demanding

The results were much lower than expected, but there’s more than meets the eye here:

Civilization 6 Mac scores

Keeping in mind that we aim for 30 frames per second (FPS) or more, most of the results here are poor and suggest that Civilization 6 is unplayable on anything other than a high-end Mac. But things are a little more complicated. 10-15 FPS is unacceptable for a racing game or a shooter, but for a turn-based strategy game?

Also, the in-game benchmark is particularly demanding because it takes place very late in the game when lots of units are on screen. Let’s look at the different scenarios and see what can be realistically expected from the game.

As a reminder, this is how we describe the different levels of performance:

  • 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.

Can my Mac run Civilization 6?

If you have a recent Mac with a dedicated graphics card, Civilization 6 will run just fine: smoothly and with no perceivable stutters. In fact, even older models can handle it, provided they have a  powerful graphics card.

That said, getting barely 30 FPS on our high-end 27-inch iMac is disappointing. After all, I can easily play Rise of the Tomb Raider on it. How can it barely run Civ 6?

The issue is most certainly coming from the fact Civilization 6 does not support Metal and has to run on the aging OpenGL graphics engine. This explains why we’re seeing similar performance compared to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s, a much more graphically intensive game that runs on Metal.

But luckily, Civ 6’s gameplay is much more forgiving (and acceptable at 20-30 FPS) than Mankind Divided’s. More on that below.

Can you play Civilization 6 on a MacBook Pro?

If you have a MBP with dedicated graphics, you should be fine. Our test 15-inch MBP runs the game at a decent 27.75 FPS.

But what if you have a MBP with only integrated graphics? This is where it gets tricky. If we look simply at the results from our 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro, I would seem Civ 6 in unplayable on a 13-inch MBP (13 FPS on average). But Civ 6 benefits from a very particular type of gameplay: turn-based strategy. This means you don’t need super-fast frames to enjoy it.

I played this game for a few hours while on a trip and had a great time. You can have fun playing it on a similar Mac too, but you’ll have to compromise.

Civ 6 Mac minimum settings

Running the game at the same 1280×800 resolution as before, but with settings set to Minimum and Anti-Aliasing off, it ran at an average 22.70 FPS.

While playing the game around turn 137 (with a decent quantity of units on screen) we got 26.3 FPS. Still low, but more than enough to enjoy such a game. This is far from ideal and I would not recommend it to those who need 60 FPS at 4K to enjoy a game, but this is decent enough to play this baby on the road.

But what if you have an older Mac?

Unlike Mankind Divided, you can still launch the game on machines that do not meet the system requirements, such as our 2012 MacBook Pro.

But running at barely 9 FPS on a 2014 Mac Mini and 6 FPS on a 13-inch 2012 MBP, you should stay away from this game unless you meet the system requirements.

You can always test the always popular and slightly less demanding Civilization 5 or the excellent Into the Breach.

PS: These are our favorite accessories for playing/testing games on Mac!

Game★ Best MouseBest ControllerBest eGPU
Why we love it?The G502 is Logitech's most accurate gaming mouse yet. Plus, it has a plethora of buttons and a killer design.The official PS4 controller just works on Mac. It's wireless, it's precise, it has an excellent grip and it's durable.The Razer Core X turns your MacBook or Mac Mini into a killer gaming machine by adding external graphics support.
Mac compatible?
User Reviews★★★★☆

326 Amazon reviews


9,678 Amazon reviews


74 Amazon reviews

PriceFrom $56From $39.99From $299.99
Buy from




Download Civilization 6 for Mac

Civilization 6 is available from most digital stores and prices are stable across the board. You can really get it from your store of choice. Heck, the game is even available for Android and iOS!

The real question is what version you should get and whether or not you should get the Expansions separately or as part of a bundle or special Edition. In the end, it will depend on how bad you want extra content such as previous Expansions, Packs, new Civs, etc.

Civilization 6 Mac art
88 Metascore
Civilization 6 is, without a doubt, one of the finest strategy games available, especially for turn-based games fans. Civ 6 looks great, plays great and is easily the best Civ game to date.

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission (this is how we pay the bills). This commission comes at no additional cost to you

Let's keep the conversation going

Have questions about this post, Mac gaming in general, or are simply looking for a friendly Mac-focused community?

Join our 500-gamer strong Discord server!

  1. Steve

    How is it that the 2014 iMac fares better than the 2016 MacBook Pro — when the MacBook has more VRAM??

    • Ric Molina

      A top-of-the-line iMac will almost always be faster than an equivalent MacBook Pro: the GPUs the iMacs can use + desktop processors + better heat management systems make all the difference.
      What Mac model do you have?

  2. Alva

    I have a Mac book pro 13 inch, 2017, processor 2,3 G,h intel core i5 memory 8 gb, graphic intel iris plus graphic ics 640 1536 MB. CAN I PLAY? reaaaaalllllly want to 🙂

    • Ice

      I have the same laptop, and the exact question– anyone have an answer?

    • Inquisitor

      Did you ever find out the answer?

    • Alva

      No answer 🙁 still just as keen to get going, but really don’t want to waste the cash. I already done that once on an old Mac on an earlier civ – the frustration was horrific.

      • Raul

        This almost a year old by now but I’ve a 2017 non Touch Bar i5 MBP and Civ VI runs fine on the lowest settings (the default settings chosen by the game at initial launch).

        • Ric Molina

          Good to know, thanks for the info!

  3. Iorac

    Isn’t the bigger question can I play on a high level, on a huge map and with lots of AI players and not die of old age waiting for my turn?

    • Tom

      I have a Intel HD Graphics 4000 and since the Gathering Storm latest update it has made the game unplayable as it is too slow. Aspyr are good at responding through their support. Steam not so…

      • griffa02

        Hey Tom, did you find a solution? I have the same problem!

  4. Mysticdueler

    To be fair, my old fossil of a machine (specs below) will run Civ6 passably (loading or starting a game takes forever and a day, but once I’m in it’s mostly fine). Of course, most effects are either toned down or turned off. Oddly enough, the thing that locked my computer up the most is the leader animations – as long as they’re disabled, I can run the game. Turning them on and I’ll be lucky to make it past the loading screen. (Yes, I know I have practically no RAM).

    MacBook Pro 15″ (Early 2011)
    2.2 GHz Intel Core i7
    4 GB RAM
    AMD Radeon HD 6750 (1GB)
    Resolution: 1680×1050

  5. Jay

    Any thoughts on a 2015 mac book air with i7 dual-core 8gig RAM, 2.2 GHz with intel 6000 integrated chip?

  6. J. P.

    Hi guys, I have the MBP you tested, but under game options I can only see the Intel HD Graphics 630 and can’t change the advanced options to improve the graphic quality. How did you guys use the Intel Radeon Pro 560?

  7. Andy

    Can I run Civ 6 on a 2019 MacBook Pro 13 inch

  8. honrak

    civ6 supports metal now so this info is not correct.

    civ6 runs okay on my 2015 macbook pro 13 inch with iris 6100 . not great, but perfectly playable.

    earlier, without metal support, it was unplayable and i had to use windows in bootcamp to play

  9. Geoffroi dumont

    Hi. Here are m specs,

    27 in. Imac late 2011
    Intel I5 @ 2,7Ghz
    12 G DDR3 @1333 Mhz
    AMD Radeon 6770M 512 Mb

    I’ve been running CIV 6 at medium settings with no issues with this GPU ( getting slow animation and turn processing at the later stages of large games.)
    I’ve been running Rise & Fall as well.

    Since the minimal specs does not seem to have hanged since Civ6 Classic : Could I expect the same level of performance for the Gathering Storm upgrade 6 Or should I get a new machine ?

  10. Anthony

    This article almost stopped me buying Civilisation IV because of this stark warning:
    Civilization 6 Mac requirements …
    Civ 6 officially supports the following graphics cards:
    * NVIDIA GeForce 650M, 675MX, 680MX, 750M, 755M
    * ATI Radeon HD 5750, HD 5770, HD 5870, HD 6750, HD 6770
    * Intel HD Graphics 4000, 5000, 5300, 6000, Iris, 515
    If you don’t have one of these cards, I’m afraid **this game isn’t for you…**

    However the Aspyr Civilisation VI Mac FAQ says the opposite:
    NOTICE: The following video cards are **NOT** supported to run Civilization VI:
    * NVIDIA®: GeForce® 650M, 675MX, 680MX, 750M, 755M
    * ATI™ Radeon™: HD 5750, HD 5770, HD 5870, HD 6750, HD 6770
    * Intel® :HD Graphics 4000, 5000, 5300, 6000, IRIS, 515

    Please be more careful when cutting and pasting advice and correct this page.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore by Genre