Microsoft has teamed up with Parallels, a top provider of virtualization software for macOS, to bring Windows 11 to Apple’s latest M1 and M2 Macs, according to a blog post from Parallels.
The announcement means that users can access and use Windows 11 on their Macs without having to buy a new PC or use a cloud-based service. This is great news for Mac users who want to take advantage of Windows 11’s features and applications.
A new Microsoft support page for using Windows 11 with Mac computers with Apple M1 and M2 chips provides more information.
Parallels Desktop version 18 has been authorized by Microsoft to run the Arm versions of Windows 11 on Apple’s latest Macs. With just a single click, users can download and install Windows 11 and enjoy full application compatibility. The partnership will allow Mac users to have the best of both worlds, running both macOS and Windows 11 on the same device.
Limitations with Windows 11 as a Virtual Machine on Macs
While this is a significant development for Mac users, there are still some limitations and drawbacks to running Windows 11 in a virtual machine. These include reduced performance, hardware compatibility issues, and licensing costs.
Microsoft writes on the related support page that the “Arm version of Windows 11 has limitations that can impact your ability to use various types of hardware, games, and apps, including those that rely on DirectX 12 or OpenGL3.3 or greater“.
However, for those who want better performance and security than running Windows 11 locally, there is the option of using Windows 365 Cloud PCs. These virtual machines are hosted in the cloud and offer a more efficient and secure experience, albeit requiring a fast and stable internet connection and a monthly subscription fee.
Change of Mind at Microsoft
Microsoft’s decision to authorize Parallels to support Windows 11 on Apple’s latest Macs is a step beyond what it has done previously. Until now, Microsoft has only licensed Windows versions of Arm directly to OEMs, making it challenging for M1 and M2 users to run it in a virtual machine. However, the licensing situation for running Windows 11 on Macs is still unclear, and further details are needed.
According to Parallels, businesses can acquire a Windows 11 license through their normal Windows procurement process, while individuals can purchase the $199 Windows 11 Pro license directly from Microsoft. It remains to be seen how Microsoft has changed its licensing rules in this partnership, and hopefully, they will provide further clarity soon.
Tip of the day: The Windows Sandbox gives Windows 10/11 Pro and Enterprise users a safe space to run suspicious apps without risk. In our tutorial we show you how to enable the Windows Sandbox feature.