Vmware Mac M1

Apple’s “one more thing” event on November 10, 2020, revealed the first Mac computers powered by the Apple M1 chip.

Parallels is excited to see the performance, power efficiency, and virtualization features that are brought to the Mac with the Apple M1 chip. The transition to Mac with the M1 chip should be smooth for most Mac applications, thanks to Rosetta technology. Fortunately, Parallels Access™, Parallels® Toolbox, and Parallels® Client software worked smoothly as universal binaries even before Parallels rebuilt them. However, virtual machines are an exception and Parallels engineers proactively implemented native virtualization support for Mac computers with the M1 chip. This enables our users to enjoy the best Windows-on-Mac experience ever.

  • 15 hours ago  The Windows client is completely free, but make sure you create an account using your Mac before finishing the setup. Oh, and if you are already subscribed to Setapp on your Mac, then you’ll get Jump for free on the Mac. Windows on M1 Mac using VMWare. The final option is not yet available, but it is slated to be coming soon.
  • On Mac, that support has to arrive via tools like Parallels and VMWare, however, because Apple doesn't offer an equivalent to Boot Camp on Macs featuring its custom chip. That means it's important.

Learn more about the new version in this blog post.

When Apple Silicon Mac was first announced during the keynote at WWDC on June 22 of this year, Apple demoed a Parallels Desktop for Mac prototype running a Linux virtual machine flawlessly on Apple Silicon. Since WWDC, the new version of Parallels Desktop, which runs on Mac with the Apple M1 chip, has made tremendous progress. We switched Parallels Desktop to universal binary and optimized its virtualization code; Apple M1 Mac computers and macOS Big Sur became available, and Microsoft announced and then introduced support for x86_64 applications in Windows on ARM Insider Preview.

Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in. VMware Will Support M1 Macs Soon, Offering More Mac users should have another way to run Windows 10 on their M1-equipped devices soon. VMware product line manager Michael Roy tweeted yesterday that, if everything goes well, the company will reveal its plans for Apple’s silicon next week.

As our customers know, Parallels cares deeply about the quality of our software products and the experience they provide. With macOS Big Sur and the new Mac with Apple M1 chip available, we continue to conduct more extensive evaluations, both in our lab and with your help via the Parallels Technical Preview Program. More than 100,000 M1 Mac users tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16 for M1 Mac and ran Microsoft’s Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview, as well as tens of thousands of different Intel-based Windows applications—including Microsoft Office for Windows, Microsoft Visual Studio, SQL Server, Microsoft PowerBI, and MetaTrader.

We received enthusiastic feedback about the remarkable performance of both the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16 for M1 Mac and Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview as well as x86 applications and the games inside it, including Rocket League, Among Us, Roblox, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Sam & Max Save the World, and many others. Testers loved Parallels Desktop’s easy to use features, and seamless integration of Windows and its applications with macOS Big Sur, which increased their productivity.


On April 14th 2021, the new update for Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac was released and now features support for both Mac computers with Intel processor as well as Mac computers with Apple M1 chip.

With the newly released M1 Macs, there have been lots of questions about being able to run other operating systems on it, particularly from developers that are used to running Window or Linux in Virtual Machines using virtualization on their Intel Macs. So what challenges do the M1 Macs bring in this regard?

If you are new to all this, it is important to understand the parts involved. First there are virtual machines, which act as virtual computers running on a main or host computer. Second, there are the instruction sets for the computer and OS. These virtual computers run an operating system (OS) of some kind and in most cases this OS has to have the same instruction set as the host computer. This allows the instruction to be passed through the VM to the CPU and allows for good performance. Which is what makes it so easy to run Windows 10 x86 on an Intel Mac — they both are using Intel CPUs with the same instruction sets.

But what if the instruction sets differ as they do with Intel and M1 Macs? Obviously you can no longer pass an x86 instruction to an M1 chip and expect anything to happen. So some translation or emulation needs to happen. This is typically much, much slower.

In general this is what Apple is doing with Rosetta 2 on Big Sur to allow your x86 Mac apps to run on an M1 Mac. They do an entire app translation on first launch (and also re-do it at times) and then run the translated app. This is a great technique but it doesn’t really work at a virtual machine level. And in fact, Apple specifically says that Rosetta 2 cannot be used with virtualization software.

That’s the bad news. But there are options on the horizon.

Vmware Horizon Mac M1


The first option is OS-level emulation. What would happen here is that emulation software (say, QEMU, a popular open-source emulator and virtualizer) would translate x86 instructions to ARM instructions (usually on-the-fly) so that an x86 operating system could run on an M1 Mac. In theory this would allow Windows 10 x86 for example to run as a (virtual computer) on an M1 Mac.

Technically this is more than a theory since it has been done before. You may remember it was possible to run Windows 98 x86 on a PowerPC Mac back in the day using software such as Connectix Virtual PC. The downside to this approach is that it can be quite slow. Fortunately the M1 Macs are proving to be very speedy and might be able make this technique acceptable for casual use. I expect the QEMU project will be updated to eventually allow emulation of x86 operating systems on M1 Macs.


OS Vendors

You might remember in the WWDC 2020 keynote Apple showed Linux running as a virtual machine with Parallels on an M1 Mac. This demo was actually running an ARM Linux distro in that virtual machine. Since it was not an x86 distro, its usefulness depends on its ability to run the apps you need. If you wanted to run an x86 Linux app then it would not work on an ARM distro.

However, the OS vendors are working on this. Much like what Apple did with Rosetta 2, they can add OS-level support to translate individual apps from x86 to ARM, thus allowing them to work in a virtual machine. I haven’t heard of progress on this front with Linux, but I expect there will be some convoluted way to do it at some point.

Microsoft does have an ARM version of Windows, but right now it is only licensed for OEM use to include with a computer, so virtualizing it is not yet an option. And even if you could virtualize ARM Windows on your M1 Mac, it also is only useful to you if it can run the apps you want.

Currently ARM Windows has a translator that lets it run 32-bit x86 apps, but performance is poor, especially when compared to what Apple has done with Rosetta 2 in Big Sur. Microsoft has said they are working on adding the ability to run 64-bit x86 apps on ARM Windows, but that feature is not ready yet and performance is unknown.

I expect virtualizers such as Parallels, VMware and VirtualBox will all eventually have versions that run on M1 Macs and can run ARM operating systems, although perhaps just Linux to start. I don’t expect them to include emulators in their products.

Update (2020-4-14): Parallels has just released 16.5 with support for running Windows for ARM on M1 Macs.

When Microsoft adds 64-bit x86 translation and has it working at a decent speed and if it decides to make ARM Windows available for use in virtual machines then you would also be able to run Windows on an M1 Mac and run common Windows apps. But for now, we wait.

Update (2020-12-08): Some progress continues to be made on this. Here are some rough instructions on how to get Windows ARM running in a VM (UTM running on QEMU).

Other Options

Another option is the CodeWeavers product that is based on the WINE open-source project. This project essentially provides a translated Windows API that allows some Windows apps to run on a Mac. It does not run Windows itself, only apps, and only a small subset at that.

But because it translates the apps to essentially a Mac x86 app, they are a candidate for Rosetta 2 on Big Sur to translate. That’s a lot of levels of translation, but in the end you end up with a Windows app running on an M1 Mac.

Apple M1 Virtualization

CodeWeavers recently posted some information about their early testing of this.

Wrap Up

Vmware Apple Mac M1

With all this said, if you require the ability to run an x86 version of Windows or Linux, then an M1 Mac cannot be your sole machine at this time. You’ll either want to also have an Intel Mac to run those in virtual machines or get dedicated separate hardware for them.

Vmware On Mac M1

And if you want to make your own native apps for M1 Macs, Xojo now has the ability to create native apps for M1 Macs.