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Parallels Desktop Adds Native Support for Apple’s M1 Macs

Want to run Windows on your M1 Mac? Now you can—at impressively fast speeds, to boot.


Parallels Desktop, a Mac desktop virtualization app that lets users run Windows and Linux operating systems and applications on an Apple computer, has released an update for M1 Macs.

The Best Windows-on-Mac Experience

Parallels Desktop 16.5 boasts native support for new Apple Silicon Macs, alongside their Intel predecessors. It makes it possible to run Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and applications on a Mac with impressively fast performance. It can also be used to deliver M1 support for ARM-based Linux distributions.

The software upgrade boasts 30% superior overall virtual machine performance running the ARM-based version of Windows 10 on an M1 Mac, compared to a Windows 10 VM on an Intel-based MacBook Pro. The developers also note that, on a Mac sporting an Apple M1 chip, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5x less energy than on a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air.

«Apple’s M1 chip is a significant breakthrough for Mac users,» said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support in a statement. «The transition has been smooth for most Mac applications, thanks to Rosetta technology. However, virtual machines are an exception and thus Parallels engineers implemented native virtualization support for the Mac with M1 chip. This enables our users to enjoy the best Windows-on-Mac experience available.»

The developers claim that upward of 100,000 M1 Mac users have tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Macs, running Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview. They also put through their paces «tens of thousands» of Intel-based Windows applications. These included Microsoft Office for Windows, Microsoft Visual Studio, SQL Server, Microsoft PowerBI, and MetaTrader.

A perpetual license for the Standard Edition of Parallels costs $79.99, available through the company’s website. A free trial is also available, as is the ability to upgrade from a previous version. You’ll additionally need to run a preview version of Windows in order for it to work to its full potential.

Your Best Choice for Running Windows on M1 Mac

With Apple Silicon currently spelling the end for Apple Boot Camp, which allowed Mac users to dual-boot their choice of macOS or Windows, if you want to run Windows on your M1 Mac this is the best choice you have available to you.

Unlike Boot Camp, which worked by dual-booting, Parallels allows users to run Windows on their Mac as a virtual version in its own window.

Apple has yet to reveal whether it plans to bring a version of Boot Camp to M1 Macs.

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