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What is Apple’s Metal? The hardware-accelerated graphics API explained

We’re going to be running through everything you need to know about Apple’s Metal API platform.

If you want to learn more about Apple Metal and what it’s used for then make sure you keep reading, as we’re going to be running through everything you need to know.

What is Apple’s Metal?

Metal is a low-level hardware-accelerated 3D graphic and compute shader API (Application Programming Interface) created by Apple. It was developed to improve performance by offering low-level access to the GPU hardware, working similarly to other platforms such as Vulkan and DirectX 12.

It debuted in iOS 8, and can now be used over multiple Apple platforms including iOS, iPadOS, MacOS and tvOS. It is not an open-source platform, meaning that Windows users cannot access Apple Metal, only Apple users can.

Metal helps the operating system render apps and games with high-resolution graphics faster, allowing users to engage in creatively demanding tasks at a better pace.

It’s worth noting that Apple Metal does not work entirely on its own, instead, it integrates with other frameworks within the Metal family. These include MetaFX, MetalKit and Metal Performance Shaders, among others. The latter includes high-end functions such as ray tracing, advanced mathematics operations and image filtering algorithms, which should come in handy when developing games.

At WWDC 2023, Apple revealed a new game porting toolkit was being added to Metal, aiming at making it easier than ever to bring games from other platforms over to Mac. The Metal shader converted should dramatically simplify the process of converting the game’s shaders and graphics code.

Which Apple devices come with Metal?

The latest version of Metal is Metal 3, which launched in 2022 at WWDC. Apple claims that games and apps that use Metal 3 can render high-resolution graphics in less time, with minimised loading, with train machine learning networks with the GPU for improved productivity.

Here is a list of every macOS Ventura Mac device that supports Metal 3:

And here are all the iPads that support Metal 3:

Finally, here are all the iPhones that support Metal 3:

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