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Best Mac Forex Trading Platforms for 2021

Steven Hatzakis

Nov 24, 2021

The ForexBrokers.com annual forex broker review (five years running) is the most cited in the industry. With over 50,000 words of research across the site, we spend hundreds of hours testing forex brokers each year. How we test.

They say once you go Mac, you never go back. If you are a die-hard fan of Mac computers, as I am, you want a forex trading platform that will run smoothly on your device without any limitations. The good news is you can find excellent trading platforms available for Mac, and this guide shows you how.

Many forex and CFD brokers continue to offer desktop software for Apple computers running Macintosh operating systems and have made significant improvements over the years to rival their Windows versions.

Love your Mac but don’t want to download software? There’s another way in: Use your browser. All brokers offer web-based platforms, too.

Here we’ll cover the best trading platforms available for Mac that support manual trading and social copy trading, and even automated trading capabilities on MetaTrader and cTrader platforms.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 65% and 82% 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

Here are the best trading platforms for Mac, based on 108 variables.

  • Saxo Bank's SaxoTraderPro - Most unified experience across devices
  • TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim - Excellent platform technology
  • Interactive Brokers' Trader Workstation (TWS) - Best for professionals
  • XTB's xStation 5 - Great ease of use through simple platform design
  • Swissquote Bank's Advanced Trader - Availability of complex order types
  • AvaTrade's MetaTrader5 (MT5) - Automated trading capabilities
  • OANDA's fxTrade - Great charting module and account management
Saxo Bank
Overall

Most unified experience across devices

Minimum Deposit $2,000.00
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) Yes

Streamlined designs and robust trading tools make Saxo’s desktop platform, SaxoTraderPRO, a winner; it offers an even greater selection of professional trading features than the broker’s web platform. There’s an iOS app available, too. Read full review

Pros

  • Flagship platform is top of the line
  • Over 14,000 tradeable instruments
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • High minimum deposit
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TD Ameritrade
Overall

Excellent platform technology

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) N/A

Get up to $375 and trade commission-free

The backbone of the TD Ameritrade forex trading experience is the desktop-based trading platform thinkorswim, which is also available for the web. Technical analysis enthusiasts will quickly fall in love with the endless depth of thinkorswim desktop charts, especially on Mac. Read full review

Pros

  • Outstanding platform in thinkorswim
  • Thorough research offerings
  • Excellent educational materials

Cons

  • Does not offer copy trading
  • Forex pricing is slightly higher than industry average
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Get up to $375 and trade commission-free

Interactive Brokers
Overall

Best for professionals

Minimum Deposit $0
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) Yes

While we can’t say Trader Workstation (TWS), Interactive Brokers' flagship desktop trading platform for Mac, is easy to use, it’s packed with features covering the spectrum of trading products, including forex. TWS is an excellent choice for professional traders using Macs. Read full review

Pros

  • Robust platform for professional traders
  • Wide range of global markets
  • Thorough research offering

Cons

  • Room for improvement in research and education
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XTB
Overall

Great ease of use through simple platform design

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) Yes

XTB's flagship platform offering, xStation 5, delivers an excellent experience across devices including for your Mac. XStation 5’s investment basket tool allows you to create a thematic basket of various symbols, then place a single order to execute them all in one click. Read full review

Pros

  • xStation 5 platform is an industry standout
  • Robust selection of trading tools
  • Excellent customer service

Cons

  • Pricing is just average
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Swissquote
Overall

Availability of complex order types

Minimum Deposit $1000.00
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) Yes

While the user experience continues to evolve for Advantage Trader as a Mac trading platform, it does include robust charting, complex order types, and supports forex options trading on 45 pairs on a Request for Quote (RFQ) basis. Read full review

Pros

  • Early leader in crypto offerings
  • Strong banking services
  • High-quality research

Cons

  • Desktop platform needs updating
  • Limited tradeable symbols for forex and CFDs
  • Costs tend to be on the high side
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AvaTrade
Overall

Automated trading capabilities

Minimum Deposit $100.00
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) Yes

The MetaTrader platform suite for Mac, including MT4 and MT5, is provided by AvaTrade and is available directly from the developer as a native application for Mac. AvaTrade has a well-balanced offering for Apple users in terms of its platform availability, range of markets, pricing and regulatory licenses. Read full review

Pros

  • Wide variety of copy trading platforms.
  • Low competitive forex spreads.
  • Rich educational content.

Cons

  • Research trails industry leaders.
  • Limited range of tradeable markets.
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OANDA
Overall

Great charting module and account management

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Trust Score Yes
Tradeable Symbols (Total) Yes

fxTrade, OANDA’s flagship platform, is available for Mac and has robust charts powered by TradingView. OANDA combines several services in its online account management portal that make it easy to transfer money between accounts and access your statements. Read full review

Pros

  • High-quality market research
  • Excellent options for algorithmic trading

Cons

  • Fees trail discount leaders
  • Limited tradeable products
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What is the best trading platform for Mac?

If you live in the U.S., the best trading platform for your Mac computer is thinkorswim from TD Ameritrade. For non-U.S. residents, Saxo Bank’s SaxoTrader Pro desktop trading platform and SaxoTrader GO web and mobile trading app are excellent trading software for Mac users.

Is a Mac good for trading?

Much like a Windows computer, your Mac laptop or desktop machine likely already has a powerful balance of the hardware and software capabilities necessary to run the best trading platforms. Likewise, iOS devices such as the iPhone can run even the most demanding mobile trading app for Macs.

Nearly all Mac computers made in the last decade have a fast processor, large hard drive, and enough RAM to meet your needs regardless of the Mac trading platform you use. Desktop trading platforms can be more resource-intensive when installed locally, compared to using a web-based version, so it’s good to know what the system requirements are if you decide to use forex trading platforms for Mac.


Feature Saxo Bank TD Ameritrade
Visit Site
Interactive Brokers
Proprietary Platform Yes Yes Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) Yes Yes Yes
Web Platform Yes Yes Yes
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes No No
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) Yes No No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) No No No
cTrader No No No
DupliTrade No No No
ZuluTrade No No No

Can you trade forex on a MacBook?

Yes, you can trade forex on a MacBook by either using the web or desktop version of the trading platform from your device. Even the smallest MacBook, the 12-inch, can be used for forex trading, in addition to the hardier MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.

Which software is best for trading?

CMC Markets provides the best web-based platform that can be used by forex and CFD traders on any computer running the latest modern browsers. For desktop-based software, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is the trading platform to use and provides access to multiple asset classes, including stocks, forex, and commodity futures.

The best trading platforms cover all the bases, offering low commissions, a wide range of markets, news, and research, and plenty of trading tools alongside powerful charts, in a user-friendly software design. ForexBrokers.com’s comparison tool can help narrow down the options important to you when choosing a broker.

Is there MetaTrader for Mac?

Yes, the long-awaited native Mac version of MetaTrader was recently released by the developer, MetaQuotes Corp., so you no longer need to use emulators to simulate Windows on your Mac. (If you are looking for MetaTrader 4 for Mac, you can download the installation file directly from the developer here.)

Some brokers offer MetaTrader for Mac as an installation file, but their .dmg files have the emulator wrapped together with the application and create the Windows simulated environment. The most established Windows emulators for Mac are Parallels Desktop software, which requires a paid subscription, or VMWare, which allows you to install other Windows applications on your Mac in a virtual environment. There are also free, open-source emulators, but they can be less stable, such as Wine version 6.1 and PlayOnMac version 4.3.

How do I get the Stocks app on my Mac?

The Stocks app is a program and widget that is available by default on MacOS, version Mojave 10.14 and later, and can be customized in the notifications center or by launching the app. Search for “Stocks.app” on your Mac using the finder lookup tool, and launch the program to see stock quotes powered by Yahoo Finance, charts, and news headlines from various top-tier providers like the Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

Is Apple good for day trading?

Almost every Apple computer comes now by default with a fast processor, powerful video card, plenty of storage, and enough RAM to satisfy even the most demanding trading platforms used for day trading.

Pro tip: When building a trading rig for Mac trading software, Apple desktop and laptop computers can be configured to be very powerful and can easily cost several thousand dollars depending on setup (i.e., 64GB of RAM, 4.0 GHz processor, 1 TB SSD). In almost all cases, that will be more than is necessary for trading platforms, even if you have a decade-old Apple computer with base model specifications.

Can I use TradeStation on a Mac?

The current version of the TradeStation platform is designed for Windows; the developer suggests using an emulator such as Parallels Desktop to run it in a virtual environment on a Mac. I’ve personally found that Parallels version 16 works very well for running the TradeStation desktop trading platform on macOS (version 10.5 or later).

How do you trade on a Mac?

Trading on a Mac computer is no different than on any other computer, except that if you want to install a desktop-based platform, you must be sure there is a compatible Mac version. Otherwise, you’ll be limited to using web-based trading platforms and mobile apps. Many of the best brokers offer Mac versions of their desktop software, or their web-based versions are excellent alternatives.

How do I trade forex on a Mac?

IC Markets is an excellent forex broker for scalping. IC Markets is used by a significant number of algorithmic traders and provides both MetaTrader and cTrader platforms, where you run automated high-frequency trading programs such as scalping-based strategies and can even place orders in between the spread. And IC Markets’ Raw Spread Account features zero spreads, plus commission.

Pro tip: Whether brokers claim to offer Straight Through Processing (STP) or an Electronic Communications Network (ECN), these descriptions are not as important as how your broker's business model actually operates, including its order execution policy during fast markets when spreads can widen.

Summary

To recap, here are the best trading platforms for Macs.

best forex trading platforms for mac

More Forex Guides

Methodology

For our 2021 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 27 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research.

Each broker was graded on 108 different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure (read about Trust Score here).

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.

Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

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 the Author

Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.



Trading CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies involve a high degree of risk. All providers have a percentage of retail investor accounts that lose money when trading CFDs with their company. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money and whether you understand how CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies work. All data was obtained from a published website as of 12/14/2020 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The ForexBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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OANDA - CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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