M1 / Apple Silicon compatibility

I’d think it is more related to a faulty platform detection resulting in a wrong profile choice. But this is just a guess. Maybe the platform detection fails because of a bug in Rosetta. Who knows…

It’s a Zwift Bug. M1 initially had Medium profile support (shadows), then they increased it to High (shadows), then mysteriously bumped it down to Basic (no shadows). It’s been like that for over 1.5 years now I believe.

1 Like

Maybe they are waiting for the M2?

Don’t think so. They are apparently working on changing from OpenGL to Metal API to support native Apple Silicon, but that’s a different issue than the graphics profile. I’m pretty sure that’s just an oversight.

But the Metal version of Zwift is running on the Mac Mini already (maybe? It says ‘ZwiftAppMetal’).

At least that’s the app that the startup applet spawns. Are they half way there and not? I heard ‘native’ Mx apps are taking a lot of time for some developers. Makes me wonder what those vendors are using for development environment, or possibly programmer experience, or corporate will.

1 Like

The game has already switched to the Metal API (instead of OpenGL), but as I understand it that’s different/separate to running natively on Apple silicon. It’s still emulated at present.

Ah OK, didn’t realize the Mac app was on Metal now. There was some chatter somewhere about one of the third-party libraries they use not being M1 compatible yet… but that was a while ago.

That was in relation to a native build IIRC.

so this is what I did yesterday. I opened the App Store on my new MacBook Pro and looked up “zwift”. Unfortunately, Zwift is not there, but the Store suggested an alternative in the “iPhone and iPad” section. Its name is “CycleGo”; I decided to try it out because it was free to join. The app is much simpler than Zwift — it’s not an MMOG and basically you’ll be cycling/running on your own without being connected to the Internet — but… the graphics are much better! Metal, native arm/M1 code, shadows, any resolution, you name it. I didn’t check the FPS just because I didn’t feel the need to: everything ran smoothly.

That being said, as a runner, I decided to abandon Zwift until the developer releases a decent version for Mac and/or iPad. Simple apps like the one I mentioned up here show that it’s not difficult. Zwift doesn’t consider Apple a priority, that’s it.

Rosetta II does a pretty good job emulating Intel on the M series. Eventually Zwift will be native, but the wait will be frustrating. Just like when Apple dumped the Power PC processor in favor of Intel’s. Some shops didn’t fix their issues until the cutoff for code. Some of those vendors lost market share. It’s usually not as easy as just recompiling code. Anticipation, it’s keeping me waiting…

Just a note for the thread, M2 devices are currently defaulting to Medium profile which gets rider shadows at up to 1080p resolution. This is what happened with M1 on launch, before the whole Medium->High->Basic saga.

Incidentally this is the same as you get from a GT 1030, for slightly less brass. :grin:

1 Like

I’ve done a post earlier about the poor performance on M1 devices but we really need to talk about this.

We are “playing” and paying a €15,- per month game.
According to Zwift they have activated more than 4 million account.
(technologyreview .com/2022/01/10/1043281/e-cycling-zwift-championships/)
Lets just say they have 10% as active users. That is 400.000 user x €15 a month. That’s 6 million a month income excluding sponsorship deals they have.

72 million a year!
Let that sink in…

Now, I also play some Call of Duty mobile.
According to some stats they 57.233.501 users a month that have to pay €0,-.
(activeplayer. io/call-of-duty-mobile/)
Quick math learn that’s €0,- income. They have income from sponsor deals and in game purchases.

Looking at what the iPad Air 2 performs on COD mobile and how the M1 iPad performs on Zwift I’m just flabbergasted.

And you don’t have to pay to play…

youtu. be/MrHVdCBXVmc. (COD mobile on Air 2 and M1 comparison)

The Zwift minimal required iPad is the iPad Air 2 with an A8X, COD mobile outperforms any Zwift game on iPad or Apple TV even when they have the new M1/2 or A12 up to 15 chips.

The AppleTV 4K 2022 (A15) has the capacity to outperform Playstation 3 graphics and comes close to PS4.
(flatpanelshd .com/review.php?subaction=showfull&id=1668063491)

Zwift, get your sh*t together!

Give us profiles that match the performance capabilities of the chips in our devices.

Chip / metal / single- / multicore scores:

M2 - 32971 - 1872 - 8410 (iPad Pro 2022)
M1 - 21123 - 1704 - 7206 (iPad Pro 2021, Air 2022)
A16 - 15392 - 1874 - 7141 (iPhone 16 Pro)
A15 - 12567 - 1697 - 4679 (iPhone 14, SE3, 13/Pro/mini, AppleTV 4K 2022, iPad mini 6th)
A14 - 12370 - 1583 - 4200 (iPad Air 4, IPhone 12 Pro, 12, 12 mini)
A12Z - 12007 - 1121 - 4663 (iPad Pro 4)
A12X - 11152 - 1141 - 4620 (iPad Pro 3)
A13 - 7363 - 1325 - 3306 (iPad 9, iPhone 11 Pro, 11, SE2)
A10X 6932 - 823 - 2274 (iPad Pro 2, AppleTV 4K 2017)
A12 - 5456 - 1112 - 2840 (iPad Air 3, iPhone XS/XR, iPad 8, IPad mini 5, AppleTV K4 2021)
A9X - 4288 - 6371 - 1188 (iPad Pro 1)
A11 - 3869 - 912 - 2150 (iPhone X/8)
A10 - 3183 - 748 - 1396 (iPad 6/7, iPhone 7)
A9 - 2501 - 528 - 1017 ( iPad 5, iPhone 6s/SE)
A8X - 755 - 377 - 1052 (iPad Air 2)

For reverence:

NVIDEA GeForce 970 scores 13595 in metal and the1060 scores 13531.
(browser.geekbench .com/metal-benchmarks)

Inter Core i7- 4700MQ scores 750 in single- and 2649 in multicore
(browser.geekbench .com/processors/intel-core-i7-4700mq)

Looking in to Zwiftalizer this combo would get you well into FHD Ultra at 60fps.

So by my simple calculations/estimations:
Chip / Resolution / Profile / fps
M2 - 2k - Ultra - 60
M1 - 2k - Ultra - 60
A16 - FHD - Ultra - 60
A15 - FHD - Ultra - 30/60
A14 - FHD - Ultra - 30/60
A12Z - FHD - Ultra - 30/60
A12X - FHD - Ultra - 30/60
A13 - FHD - High - 30
A10X FHD - High - 30
A12 - FHD - High - 30
A9X - FHD - Med - 30
A11 - FHD - Med - 30
A10 - FHD - Med - 30
A9 - FHD - Med - 30
A8X - HD - basic - 30

And iPad that support stage manager should also be able to scale and resize the Zwift Window. Zo external displays can be filled up. To at least 16/9 ratio.


Since this thread has been dusted off again…

@Dave_ZPCMR : I can’t find it now but you linked to a table you created eons ago that showed the differences in what each device/CPU got you vis-a-vis graphics. X-axis had stuff like “ATV - iPad - M1/M2 - various Nvidia/AMD GPUs etc” and Y-axis was features like “Profile, rider shadows, tree shadows etc”

Can you link to that again?

There was a comment elsewhere recently (Reddit?) where a user commented that people overestimate the power of SoC’s and underestimate how poorly optimized the Zwift codebase is, which leads to discussions like the one we’re in right now.

I suspect Zwift is working hard, quietly, behind the scenes, to extricate themselves from technical debt to better optimize the game but it’s like changing an aircraft engine while in flight. You want to keep everyone riding and not have the plane fall out of the sky.

For every complaint about graphics, there are probably a thousand happy users running Zwift on a potato they pulled out of sock drawer.

This is horseplop. Benchmarks don’t count. You simply can’t compare different architectures in this way. Metal is a proprietary Apple API, it’s little wonder Apple silicon does it really well versus third party GPUs. In benchmarks.


That was me. It’s not helped by exaggeration like the one above.

1 Like

@Dave_ZPCMR I think you are beyond doubt the guy with the most knowledge on this subject.

Could you explain to me and everyone else for that matter, how let’s say A14 chips out perform PS3 when looking into game’s. I mean from own experience I know that COD mobile on iPad Air 4 performs better than Metal Gear Solid 5 on a PS3.
And looking at what COD mobile performs on a A8X chip vs Zwift on A10 and better is just cringing.

I know that benchmarks aren’t real world, but they must stand for something, right?

A couple of things I’d say. Firstly I’m not knowledgeable on games development or coding, not at all. I’m only ever going off my experience of what I’ve seen, and what’s actually out there in the real world (i.e. the games studios not releasing PS3/4-tier games for Apple products). Generally you can’t compare benchmarks across vastly different platforms for obvious reasons, but here’s one: Power Board | Compare performances of smartphones, tablets and PCs

Have a look at a GTX 970 versus A15 on that.

Secondly by no means am I excusing Zwift’s rudimentary graphics profile system, nor am I saying these Apple devices aren’t capable of better results in Zwift. I simply don’t know what they’re truly capable of when considering how poorly optimised Zwift is. It’s poorly optimised using the hardware it’s created and developed on (OpenGL, x86, Windows), let alone when ported onto other platforms.

COD Mobile is an interesting one. Personally having looked at that video I’m not sure I’d agree that it looks better than a good PS3 game, and I don’t know what the respective frame rates and resolutions are. But that aside, it’s an example of a publisher (one of the largest in the world) seeing the incredible revenue opportunity that comes with putting an extremely popular franchise within a free to play game on millions of devices. It’s in their interests to make it look great, to get more people playing and generate more revenue. This couldn’t really be further from Zwift if it tried - a niche game where the overwhelming majority don’t give a toss whether it’s 1080p30 Basic or 2160p60 Ultra, and everyone pays the same irrespective of how much they use it.

The fact that Apple TV is already so popular for running Zwift is all the proof needed, really. There is little or no incentive for Zwift to improve the graphics on Apple TV.

1 Like
1 Like

I’m not saying it looks better, but it performs better from my experience.
The PS3 MGS5 hangs at about 30fps at 1080p as the iPad Air 4 (A14) COD mobile reaches 60 fps on high graphics retina resolution.

Indeed. This horse has been beaten to death. A phrase I’m fond of in light of “benchmarks”:

“The difference between reality and theory is: in theory, there’s no difference between the two.”

Cheers mate!