Parallels Desktop® App Store Edition is a fast, easy and powerful application for running Windows both on a Mac with the Apple M1 chip and a Mac with an Intel processor - all without rebooting.
NOTE: It is not recommended that existing Parallels Desktop for Mac users move to Parallels Desktop App Store Edition.
Parallels Desktop Installation Assistant helps you to get up and running in a few minutes. Powerful performance lets you run many Windows apps on your Mac, including games and CAD programs.
- Download and install Windows in two clicks.
- Share Mac folders with Windows—including Desktop, Documents, and Downloads.
- NEW: Drag and drop text or graphics between macOS and Windows apps.
- NEW: Enhanced desktop, video, and gaming experience with a higher refresh rate.
- NEW: Use the Trusted Platform Module device in Windows.
- 3D graphics acceleration up to DirectX®
- Copy/paste formatted text and files between macOS, Windows, and Linux.
- Drag and drop files and images between macOS, Windows, and Linux.
- Resize the window to get the desired Windows or Linux resolution.
- Use Mac printers in Windows and Linux.
- Connect USB devices to Windows and Linux.
- And many more
- Creating and editing virtual machine configurations is available for free.
- Running virtual machines requires an in-app purchase of an auto-renewable subscription (1 year). You can cancel at any time.
- There is a fully functional day trial to test Parallels Desktop before the subscription starts.
SUPPORTED OPERATING SYSTEMS
- On a Mac with an Intel processor, you can run most Windows, Linux, and macOS versions.
- On a Mac with the Apple M1 chip, you can run Windows 10 (and Windows 11) on ARM Insider Preview, Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Linux, Debian GNU/Linux, and Kali Linux (all ARM-based versions).
NOTE: See the full list of supported operating systems and system requirements at https://kb.parallels.com/
We want you to be completely satisfied with Parallels Desktop. If you have any feedback, problems, or concerns, please contact us at https://www.parallels.com/products/pdas/support/
This major update for Parallels Desktop version addresses overall stability and security issues, and includes the following fixes and improvements:
- For all supported Mac computers:
* Automatic CPU and memory allocation. Parallels Desktop evaluates your Mac's hardware and automatically allocates as many resources to your virtual machine as needed to provide the best possible experience with Windows. If you then transfer this virtual machine to another Mac, Parallels Desktop will allocate CPU and memory based on the new hardware configuration.
* Virtual machines resume up to 38% faster now.
- For Mac computers with the Apple M1 chip only:
* Windows 10 and Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview start up to 33% faster.
* Up to 20% faster disk performance for Windows 10 and Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview.
- For all supported Mac computers:
* Improved display driver delivers much smoother Windows UI responsiveness and synchronized video playback experience. The new driver boosts frame rate in many Windows games for a greater gaming experience and provides better synchronization with Mac's display.
* Up to 6 times faster OpenGL graphics performance.
* Up to 25% faster graphics performance in Windows virtual machines.
- For Mac computers with the Apple M1 chip only:
* Added support for the dynamic resolution in Linux virtual machines, so it becomes much more convenient to use them in the Window view mode. When you resize the virtual machine window, Linux adjusts the screen resolution automatically.
* Up to 28% faster DirectX 11 graphics performance.
* The improved Devices menu now shows the same devices' names as in macOS:
* for USB drives - the same name as in the Finder;
* for printers and scanners - the same name as in the macOS System Preferences;
* additional numbering (#2, #3, etc.) is used only if there are two identical devices connected to the Mac.
* The Free Up Disk Space assistant shows how much space is taken by the virtual machine snapshots allowing you to manage your disk space better.
* Drag and drop text and images from macOS to any Windows application and vice versa.
* Copy formatted text in macOS and paste it as plain (without formatting) in virtual machine applications using the "Command + Shift + Option + V" keyboard shortcut.
* Improvements for the keyboard layout. You can now remap AltGr to the Mac's Option key and use the left Option button for entering accented language characters and special symbols.
- For all supported Mac computers:
* Support for USB Connect even more USB devices to your virtual machines, including Samsung T7 Touch and Pro Elite portable SSDs, and more.
* Support for a virtual Trusted Platform Module chip (vTPM) and Secure Boot in Windows 10 and Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview virtual machines.
* Multimonitor support for Linux. You can now use Linux virtual machines in the Full Screen view mode on multiple displays.
- For Mac computers with the Apple M1 chip only:
* Support for the battery device in Windows 10 and Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview virtual machines. Now Windows detects when your Mac is running out of battery and enables the power saving mode automatically.
* Support for the serial port device both in Windows 10 and Windows 11 on ARM Insider Preview and Linux virtual machines. You can add up to 4 serial ports in each virtual machine.
* Support for the sound device in Linux virtual machines.
* Updated the operating systems installed free of charge and available to download virtual machines (also known as virtual appliances or free systems) to the latest versions.
* Updated and refreshed the Virtual Machine Configuration and Parallels Desktop Preferences dialogs to match the new macOS design.
Ratings and Reviews
out of 5
Coming from VM or Wine its amazingq
I just need to run a couple software programs that are windows only and have been stuck between a virtual box or cloud services. Both seem to have enough lag to put me off of using them on a regular basis. Running windows on this is very smooth. I had a remote connection to my work computer, parallel running windows and downloading/installing software, and my chrome up in macOS all with little to no lag. Compared to the other options I have tried this one is the first that feels like an 'apple' solution. Clean, great UI, and just runs smoothly. thank you. I plan on purchasing after my trial.
Installed Windows 10 as well as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Arch Linux.
Havent tried windows 10 gaming yet.
This version(so far just the trial) only allows:
- 8GB of system memory access of the 32GB present.
- 2GB of video RAM access of the 8GB availble.
VMs run smoothly even when located on USB HDD.
Be nice if the had a month to month option as I only need this for about a month for school project. Plethra of options and abilities to explore and easy, very easy to use. Much easier than other VM mangers I have used. Fitting of MAC software in that it is easy to use, intuitive interfaces, and bridges the gaps with such feaures as allow access to you MAC documents so you dont ahve to have multipe copies of hte same files across your MacOS and the Windows 10 VM.
Performance Okay for Graphical Applications/Games
First, a note to all. The APP STORE VERSION is NOT the same as Parallels Desktop 16!!!! If you need more advanced features, definitely go with Parallels Desktop 16 off of their website. This version is simplified for general use.
1. Windows VMs are snappy. Games running DX10 work well, especially older source games.
2. Games running DX10/DX11 are hit and miss to say the least. I have yet to encounter a game where I haven't had choppiness in DX10/DX11 games.
3. With the above said, Bootcamp is still going to be the way to go if you want native performance. I have yet to have success in Parallels Desktop -App Store Version or VMware Fusion 12 for modern games. Older games work fine though.
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More By This Developer
Desktop 17 for Mac: In a Parallels universe with Windows 11 on M1 silicon
Mac virtualization veteran Parallels has released an update to its flagship Desktop software, with support for the rounded bits of Windows 11 and Mac-in-a-Mac courtesy of the upcoming Monterey update.
Support for Windows 11 will cause more than a few eyebrows to raise. After all, Apple's M1 chip is most definitely not on Microsoft's infamous hardware compatibility list for its upcoming operating system but, judging by our test drive, Parallels has invested a considerable amount of effort in persuading the code to work, rounded corners and all.
At its core, Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac is the latest in a long line of platforms from the company aimed at allowing Windows apps to run on a Mac. Back in the Intel days, firing up Windows on a Mac was a relatively straightforward process (we have an elderly i7 Mac Mini on the desk which uses Bootcamp to run Windows 10), but M1 silicon has made things a little more complicated.
Handy, therefore, that Microsoft has an Arm version of Windows which Parallels started supporting for M1 hardware in a previous release. The new release, version 17, adds support for Windows 11 but also raises questions over what will happen when Windows 11 moves out of preview and into the wider world.
Microsoft requires a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for Windows 11, which can be enabled in virtual fashion. However, the requirement for certain types of CPU could present more of a challenge for M1 users.
Parallels' take? "We need kind of more push from the users that they need it."
Who knows, perhaps Microsoft might listen (probably not).
How fast now?
For now, The Reg took the software for a spin on an 8GB M1 Mac Mini to see how the Windows Insider Preview of Windows 11 on Arm ran.
The answer is very well, particularly considering the absence of Intel hardware.
Parallels will cheerfully trot out stats claiming the startup time of Windows 11 is 33 per cent up on Windows 10 on Arm with a 20 per cent disk performance boost.
Our experience was that, subjectively, it was all simply a lot snappier. Native Windows on Arm apps flew along and even Intel apps behaved well. To torture the hardware, emulation and virtualization, we fired up Sea of Thieves and were delighted to find it vaguely playable on the M1 Mac (Parallels recommends a 16GB Mac for gaming, we only had 8GB) even if the results of the experiment won't cause our dedicated gaming rig any sleepless nights.
Although some of the benchmarks we ran might cause some tossing and turning for users of Microsoft's flagship Arm-based kit. Performance of the relatively weedy 8GB M1 Mac Mini was nearly double that of the Surface Pro X in single core, and a good x faster for multi core.
Parallels was a little coy on the subject. On M1, Windows is running a lot faster than on Windows-specific hardware.
As for the target market, Parallels told us that a significant portion of customers use the software to play Windows games on their Macs, and the new release shouldn't disappoint. For the majority who need it for that one weird app (apparently Excel), improvements in Coherence mode (where an app runs seamlessly on the Mac desktop rather than in a VM window) and other tweaks around functionality (such as drag and drop) will similarly be handy.
Away from Windows, Linux continues to be supported and audio and video improvements will please Penguinistas (although as with Windows, the user is limited to a subset of distributions when running on M1 hardware) and macOS Monterey is supported as both a host and guest operating system.
There is, however, a price to be paid. A new subscription will set a user back £ per year, or a perpetual licence can be picked up for £ On top of that, one must factor in the cost of Windows itself.
Still, as Apple works to update its hardware to use its own silicon, Parallels Desktop 17 (combined with Microsoft's own efforts to make Windows on Arm usable) represents an avenue to get that one old Windows app working on your shiny new Mac. ®
Updated to add at UTC on 11 August:
Reader and developer Tero Alhonen got in touch and noted that while Microsoft recommends that "all virtualized instances of the Windows 11 follow the same minimum hardware requirements as described in Section , Windows 11 does not apply the hardware-compliance check for virtualized instances either during setup or upgrade."
Is Parallels Still the Best Way to Run Windows on a Mac in ?
A new version of Windows virtualization tool Parallels is out, bringing with it support for upcoming macOS Catalina features, amongst other improvements. Is it still the best way to run the Windows OS on an Apple computer? We’ve been taking the latest Parallels 15 out for a test drive to find out.
For the completely uninitiated, Parallels has been putting Windows on Macs since It runs Microsoft’s OS in a virtual environment, so it’s essentially one huge application—as soon as you shut down Parallels, Windows and everything installed on it disappears until you start Parallels up again. This virtual machine approach also means you can quickly jump between macOS and Windows without rebooting each time, as you would on a classic dual-boot system.
New in Parallels 15 is support for DirectX 11 via Apple’s Metal technology, which should (in theory) mean a better gaming experience (if not in the same league as a dedicated Windows PC). Parallels says 3D graphics rendering is sped up by as much as 15 percent by the change. Less demanding Microsoft Office apps should load up some 80 percent faster, too, so you can get at your spreadsheets in record time.
There’s also support for the Sidecar feature arriving in macOS Catalina that enables you to use an iPad as a second screen. This means you can beam Windows over to an iPad and even use an Apple Pencil with it. Alongside a host of other little tweaks, you can now drag images straight into Windows from stock Mac apps like Safari and Photos.
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Parallels will set you back $80 as a one-off purchase (so you’ll need to pay again to upgrade to future versions, usually at a discounted price). The other option is to go for the $per-year ‘Pro’ subscription, which includes all ongoing updates, and a bunch of extra features of most interest to developers and IT admins. If you’re entirely new to Parallels, a free trial is available.
Note that you’ll have to pay for your copy of Windows, but Parallels makes it easy to purchase Microsoft’s OS straight from the source. Windows 10 Home will currently set you back $
So, is it worth it? If you need to run Windows or Windows apps on your Mac, the answer is still yes, with caveats. Over 13 years and 15 editions, Parallels has grown increasingly slick and stable. Now it’s better able to run on older hardware, better at mixing Windows and macOS together (you can run Windows programs as standalone apps inside macOS if you want), and better at supporting more sophisticated use cases.
The software is peppered with helpful touches throughout. For example, you can share desktop shortcuts and folders across Windows and macOS, copy and paste between the two OSes, or launch Windows applications from the Mac Touch Bar. You get plenty of control over the resources your virtual machine is allowed to use too.
Go full screen, and it feels like you’re running Windows on a Mac. If you regularly need to dip into Windows for a particular use case or app, and you want straightforward setup and operation, it’s as impressive as ever.
Some issues remain though. Parallels specifically mentions Fallout 4 as one of the games that benefits from the new DirectX 11 support. So I was surprised to encounter moments of lag and whirring internal fans when I fired it up—and that’s with low-quality video settings on a game, running on a decent i7-powered MacBook Pro with discrete graphics. Your mileage may vary, but based on our testing, Parallels won’t transform your Mac into a capable gaming machine. Not yet anyway.
It’s also fair to say bugs and problems occasionally crop up for some users. I’ve had trouble with very slow wifi, for example. It wouldn’t put us off recommending Parallels, but it’s worth noting.
There are other virtualization options too. VMware Fusion is a popular choice for IT professionals. It costs a one-off payment of $80 and has a lot of comparable features, even if it lacks the lightness and ease-of-use of Parallels. VirtualBox is free (though Windows will still cost you), but requires more time and effort to get up and running, and more technical know-how once you are.
Boot Camp, which creates a separate partition for Windows, is another solution we like a lot because it milks the very best performance out of your computer’s guts. It’s free as part of macOS (though you’ll still have to pay for Windows).
But because it creates a dual-boot system, it’s not so easy to switch between the Windows and macOS. When you just need occasional access to one app or just need to switch to Windows for a few minutes at a time, rebooting can get very frustrating very quickly. It’s the main downside of Boot Camp, which might be a better option if you spend a lot of time in Windows on your Mac—though it’s also worth mentioning that if you ever decide you no longer need Windows, getting rid of Parallels is easier than getting rid of Boot Camp.
Parallels isn’t the cheapest option or the one that gives you the best performance, but with a few reservations, I’d say it’s still the best way to run Windows on a Mac for most people, if you have the budget for it. Ultimately Parallels is easier, smarter, more convenient, and faster than ever. It’s just not right for everyone, or perfect in every scenario.
Parallels Desktop for Mac
|Initial release||June15, ; 15 years ago()|
/ September7, ; 34 days ago()
|Operating system||Mac OS X|
|Available in||English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Polish, Czech|
Parallels Desktop for Mac is software providing hardware virtualization for Macintosh computers with Intel processors, and since version also providing x architecture emulation for Apple silicon-based Macintosh computers. It is developed by Parallels, since a subsidiary of Corel.
Parallels, Inc. is a developer of desktop and server virtualization software.
Released on June 15, , it was the first software product to bring mainstream virtualization to Macintosh computers utilizing the Apple–Intel architecture (earlier software products ran PC software in an emulated environment).
Its name initially was 'Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X', which was consistent with the company's corresponding Linux and Windows products. This name was not well received within the Mac community, where some felt that the name, particularly the term “workstation,” evoked the aesthetics of a Windows product. Parallels agreed: “Since we've got a great Mac product, we should make it look and sound like a Mac product”, it was therefore renamed ‘Parallels Desktop for Mac’.
On January 10, , Parallels Desktop for Mac was awarded “Best in Show” at MacWorld 
Parallels Desktop for Mac is a hardware emulation virtualization software, using hypervisor technology that works by mapping the host computer's hardware resources directly to the virtual machine's resources. Each virtual machine thus operates identically to a standalone computer, with virtually all the resources of a physical computer. Because all guest virtual machines use the same hardware drivers irrespective of the actual hardware on the host computer, virtual machine instances are highly portable between computers. For example, a running virtual machine can be stopped, copied to another physical computer, and restarted.
Parallels Desktop for Mac is able to virtualize a full set of standard PC hardware, including
- A virtualized CPU of the same type as the host's physical processor,
- ACPI compliance system,
- A generic motherboard compatible with the Intel i chipset,
- Up to 64 GB of RAM for guest virtual machines,
- Up to 2 GB of video RAM (VRAM),
- VGA and SVGAvideo adapter with VESA support and OpenGL and DirectX acceleration,
- A MB floppy drive, which can be mapped to a physical drive or to an image file,
- Up to four IDE devices. This includes virtual hard drives ranging in size from 20 MB to 2 TB each and CD/DVD-ROM drives. Virtual CD/DVD-ROM drives can be mapped to either physical drives or ISO image files.
- DVD/CD-ROM “pass-through” access,
- Up to four serial ports that can be mapped to a pipe or to an output file,
- Up to three bi-directional parallel ports, each of which can be mapped to a real port, to a real printer, or to an output file,
- An Ethernet virtual network card compatible with Realtek RTL(AS), capable of up to 16 network interface connections,
- Up to eight USB devices and two USB devices,
- An AC'compatible sound card.
- A key Windows enhanced keyboard and a PS/2 wheel mouse.
The first official release of version was on February 27, , as build
Version brought support for USB devices, which expanded the number of USB devices supported at native speed, including support for built-in iSight USB webcams. The amount of video RAM allocated to the guest OS was made adjustable, up to 32MB. Full featured CD/DVD drives arrived in this version, which allowed the user to burn disks directly in the virtual environment, and play any copy-protected CD or DVD as one would in Mac OS X. In addition, a shared clipboard and drag-drop support between Mac OS X and the guest OS was implemented. This version brought the ability for users with a Windows XP installation to upgrade to Windows Vista from within the VM environment. A new feature known as Coherence was added, which removed the Windows chrome, desktop, and the virtualization frames to create a more seamless desktop environment between Windows and Mac OS X applications. This version also allowed users to boot their existing Boot Camp Windows XP partitions, which eliminated the need to have multiple Windows installations on their Mac. A tool called Parallels Transporter was included to allow users to migrate their Windows PC, or existing VMware or Virtual PC VMs to Parallels Desktop for Mac.
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(November )
In , the German company Netsys GmbH sued Parallels' German distributor Avanquest for copyright violation, claiming that Parallels Desktop and Parallels Workstation are directly based on a line of products called “twoOStwo” that Parallels developed on paid commission for Netsys, of which it says, Netsys has been assigned all copyrights. Additionally, the lawsuit claimed that Parallels Desktop 's compatibility with “twoOStwo” showed that the two software products are run by essentially the same functional core. When Netsys lost its initial urgency proceeding, it filed a new suit, in which it requested a temporary injunction from the Landgericht district court of Berlin.
On June 7, build was released as the first publicly available version of Desktop
Version retained all of the functionality from previous versions and added new features and tools. Support for DirectX and OpenGL was added, allowing Mac users to play some Windows games without the need to boot into Windows with Boot Camp. A new feature called SmartSelect offers cross OS file and application integration by allowing the user to open Windows files with Mac OS X programs and vice versa. Parallels Explorer was introduced, which allows the user to browse their Windows system files in Mac OS X without actually launching Windows. A new snapshot feature was included, allowing one to restore their virtual machine environment to a previous state in case of issues. Further, Parallels added a security manager to limit the amount of interaction between the Windows and Mac OS X installations. This version included a long-awaited complete “Parallels tools'” driver suite for Linux guest operating systems. Therefore, integration between Mac OS X and Linux guest-OS's was greatly improved.
Despite the addition of numerous new features, tools and added functionality, the first iteration of Parallels Desktop for Mac was missing some of the features that Parallels had planned for it. A Parallels, Inc. representative stated at MacWorld in January that version would bring accelerated graphics, “multi-core virtual machines/virtual SMP, some SCSI support, a more Mac-like feel, as well as a more sophisticated coherence mode, dubbed Coherence ”. While accelerated graphics have materialised, Coherence, as well as the overall look and feel of Parallels Desktop for Mac has only changed slightly. Also, SCSI support has not been implemented.
It is currently unknown if these features have been abandoned altogether, or if they will show up in a later build of version
Build , released on July 17, , added an imaging tool which allowed users to add capacity to their virtual disks.
Build , released on September 11, , added some new features and updated some current features.
The release focused on updates to Coherence, with support for Exposé, window shadows, transparent windows, and the ability to overlap several Windows and Mac windows. Further, Parallels' Image Tool was updated to allow one to change their virtual hard disk format between plain and expanding. Parallels Explorer was updated to allow for one to automatically mount an offline VM hard drive to the Mac desktop. Some new features added are iPhone support in Windows, allowing iTunes in Windows to sync with it. Users can now mirror desktops or other folders. Further, Mac drives can now be mapped by Windows and sound devices can now be changed ‘on the fly’. Up to 2 GB of RAM can be allocated to a virtual machine, with a total of 4 GB of RAM available.
Parallels Desktop for Mac Build added support for guest Parallels Tools for Linux in the latest Linux distributions (including Ubuntu 8). It also added support for running 3D graphics in Windows virtual machines on Mac OS X Leopard
Use of code from the Wine project
According to Parallels' Licensing page, Desktop for Mac version contains Direct3D code that was originally developed by the Wineopen-source project. Wine software is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which required Parallels to release the source code. Parallels released the modified source code on July 2, , about 2 weeks after the promised release date. A Parallels spokesman explained the reasons for the delay in a message on the official company blog.
Version , released November 11, , updates its GUI, adds some new features, enhances its performance by up to 50% and consumes 15–30% less power than previous versions. Version is the first version that supports both bit and bit guest operating systems. Parallels Desktop for Mac's 3D support includes DirectX , DirectX Pixel Shader and OpenGL  as well as MB video memory. It also adds support for 8 GB RAM in a virtual machine and 8-way SMP. Parallels Desktop introduces an adaptive hypervisor, which allows users to focus the host computer's resources towards either host or the guest operating system.
Parallels Desktop for Mac adds some new features such as:
- A fourth viewing mode called Modality, which allows users to scale the size of an active guest operating system on the Mac's desktop
- A new screenshot utility called Clips, which lets users take and share screenshots between the host and the guest operating systems.
- Start Menu integration and Automatic Windows Notifications on the Apple Menu Bar.
- The ability to use select voice commands to remotely control the virtual machine.
- The ability to start and stop a virtual machine via the iPhone. (Requires installing an iPhone application from Apple's AppStore.)
Starting with the Version release, Parallels Desktop for Mac has a new logo, which resembles an aluminum iMac, with what appears to be Windows XP on the screen and 2 parallel red lines overlaid on the right side.
Build , released January 9, , includes performance enhancements and features, such as DirectX Shaders Model 2 and Vertex Shader support for additional 3D support Intel Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE4) for better media applications performance. Build also adds support for running Windows 7 in a VM and for running Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server as either a host or as a guest OS.
Also included are usability features such as the ability to share Windows files by dragging them directly to a Mac application in the Mac Dock. Windows can now also automatically start in the background when a user opens a Windows application on the Mac desktop. Version drew criticism for problems upgrading from Version shortly after its initial release. Build also addresses installation and upgrade issues previously experienced with Version and introduces the option to enroll in the company's new Customer Experience Program, which lets customers provide information about their preferences and user priorities.
Officially released on November 4, , Parallels Desktop 5 adds several new features, mainly to improve integration with the host OS.
New features include:
- 3D graphics and speed improvements
- Optimized for Mac OS X (Snow Leopard)
- Support for Windows 7
- Theming of Windows applications to make them look like native applications
- Support for Multi-Touch gestures (from a trackpad or Magic Mouse) and the Apple Remote
- The ability to drag and drop formatted text and images between Windows, Linux, and Mac applications,
- The ability for a system administrator to lock down a virtual machine so that users can't change the state of the virtual machine,
- Support for OpenGL for Linux guest virtual machines.
- Support for DirectX 9c with Shader Model 3.
Build , released on December 21, , added some new features.
Linux guest operating systems
- Parallels Tools support Xorg in Fedora 12 virtual machines (experimental)
- Parallels Tools support Mandriva (experimental)
- OpenSUSE installation media auto detection
- Improved performance for USB mass storage.
Windows guest operating systems
- Improved resume from suspend in virtual machines with multiple monitors assigned.
- Improved performance for file access via Shared Folders.
3D and video
- Improved performance for video playback in Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Windows Aero is not available by default for machines with Intel GMA X and GMA graphic adapters (some MacBook and Mac Mini models). It is available on MacBooks with NVIDIA M graphics cards.
- Vertical synchronization is now configurable. You can configure these settings using the corresponding option in the virtual machine video configuration page.
- Improved 3D performance for the video game Mirror's Edge.
macOS Server guest operating system
- The ability to pass kernel options to the macOS Server guest OS has been added. To do so, enable the "Select boot device on startup" option in the virtual machine configuration, which will enable you to specify the necessary kernel options in the 5-second timeout before booting the kernel.
Officially announced on September 9, and launched on September 14, , Parallel 6 has full bit support for the first time. Parallels claims that Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac "[has] over 80 new and improved features, including speed 40% above the previous version." Specific new features include:
- An all-new bit engine
- Surround Sound support
- Better import implementation of VMware, Virtual PC virtual machines and Boot Camp partitions
- Improved network, hard drive and Transporter performance
- Windows program Spotlight integration
- Faster Windows launch time
- Enhanced 3D graphics that are 40% better than previous versions
- Ability to extend Mac OS X Parental Controls to Windows applications
- Ability to use Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts in Windows applications
- Enhanced Spaces and Exposé support
Officially announced on September 1, and released on September 6, , Parallels Desktop 7 adds many new features. These include:
- Integration with OS X "Lion":
- Full-screen support
- Use of Launchpad for Windows apps
- Mission Control support
- Lion as a guest OS
- Lion animations support
- Improved user interface
- New standard help and documentation
- Shared devices with Mac OS X
- Longer battery life
- Mac OS X parental controls support
- Support for Intel AES-NI encryption
- Enhanced performance and 3D graphics
- Support for up to 1GB video memory in virtual machine
- Enhanced audio support - up to kHz
- Surround sound
- Added support for Windows 7
Officially announced August 22, and released September 4, , Parallels Desktop 8 adds many new features:
- OS X "Mountain Lion" as a guest OS
- Retina resolution can be passed to virtual machines
- Windows 7 and Windows 8 automatically optimised for best experience on Retina
- Parallels Desktop notifications
- Notification Center support for Windows 8 toast notifications
- Mountain Lion Dictation in Windows apps
- Full screen on demand for Windows applications in Coherence
- Presentation Wizard
- Open in Internet Explorer button for Safari
- Drag & drop file to Outlook in the Dock opens new email with attachment
- Multi-language Keyboard Sync in Mac and Windows
- Full support for new Modern UI Windows 8 applications (Dock, Mission Control, Launchpad)
- Reworked Keyboard shortcuts preferences
- Use the standard OS X system preferences to set Parallels Desktop application shortcuts.
- Resources (CPU/RAM) monitoring
- Indication for VM hard drive space usage
- Shared Bluetooth
- Improved Virtual Machine boot time/Windows boots time are up to 25% faster than previous version
- Pause & resume Windows up to 25% faster than previous version
- Input/output (I/O) operations are up to 35% faster than previous version
- Games run up to 30% faster than previous version
- DirectX 10 support
- Full USB support for faster connections to peripheral devices for Virtual Machines starting from Parallels Desktop 
Officially announced on August 29, and released on September 5, , Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac includes these new features and enhancements:
- Brings back the "real" Start menu for Windows 8 and enables Modern apps in separate windows instead of full screen
- Power Nap support, so applications stay up-to-date on Retina Display Mac and MacBook Air computers
- Thunderbolt and Firewire storage devices are designated to connect to Windows virtual machine
- Sticky Multi-monitor setup remembers settings and puts Windows virtual machines back into Full Screen mode on the remote monitor
- Sync iCloud, SkyDrive, Dropbox and more without unnecessary duplication of files
- Windows apps can launch the OS X Mountain Lion Dictionary with Dictionary gesture
- Enhanced integration with MacOS for Linux users
- Enhanced New Virtual Machine Wizard makes it easier to set up a new virtual machine, especially on computers without hard drives
- PDF printer for Windows to print from any Windows application to a PDF on the Mac desktop, even if the application doesn't have that functionality
- Compatibility with OS X "Mavericks"
- Easily install and access complimentary security software subscriptions from one location
- Up to 40% better disk performance than previous versions
- Virtual machines shut down up to 25% faster and suspend up to 20% faster than with Parallels Desktop 8
- 3D graphics and web browsing are 15% faster than in Parallels Desktop 8
- Set an expiration date for the virtual machine.
- Run virtual machines in headless mode.
- Start virtual machines on Mac boot.
Released August 20, , Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac includes support for OS X "Yosemite".
Less than a year after release of its release, Parallels spokesperson John Uppendahl confirmed version 10 will not be fully compatible with Windows The coherence mode, which integrates the Windows user interface with OS X, will not be updated and users will need to purchase and upgrade to version 11 to continue using this feature.
Released August 19, , Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac includes support for Windows 10 and is ready for OS X "El Capitan".
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac is available as a one-time purchase of $ for the Desktop edition, and as an annual subscription of $ for Pro edition. Version 11 has multiple issues with macOS , High Sierra. The website currently offers a full price upgrade to Version 13 as a correction, effectively making this version obsolete with the macOS upgrades.
Released August 18, 
Released August 22, , Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac provides macOS High Sierra readiness and support for upcoming Windows 10 features. According to Parallels, the new version makes it simple for MacBook Pro users to add Windows applications to the Touch Bar, and to use the Touch Bar within Windows applications. It is also the first solution to bring the upcoming Windows 10 People Bar feature to the Mac, including integration with the Mac Dock and Spotlight. The new version also features up to percent performance improvements for completing certain tasks. The update also brings in a slightly refreshed UI to better match macOS and visual improvements for Windows users on Retina displays.
Released August 21, , Parallels Desktop 14 supports macOS "Mojave".
Released August 13,
Released August 11, , Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac comes with the following highlights:
- Is ready for the new macOS Big Sur architecture
- In Windows and Linux VMs, DirectX 11 is 20 percent faster and there are improvements for the OpenGL 3 graphics
- The battery life when users activate “Travel Mode” in Windows is up to 10 percent longer
- In Windows apps users can now use zoom and rotate with Trackpad in Windows apps
- More printing options: Print on both sides and paper sizes from A0 to envelope.
New features are added to Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition:
- Easier export a virtual machine in a compressed format and prepare it for transfer to another Mac or an SSD
- Give custom networks an individual name
On April 14, , Parallels updated the software to version , notably adding full native support for Apple silicon-based Macs. While operating on such Macs, it acts as an x architecture emulator.
Released August 10, , Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac comes with the following highlights:
- Optimized for Apple M1 chip.
- Added support for USB devices.
- Added multi-monitor support for Linux.
- Added drag-and-drop support for text or graphics between Mac and Windows applications.
Supported operating systems
Parallels Desktop for Mac Business, Home and Pro Editions requires these versions of MacOS:
Parallels Desktop 11 and 12 only partially support macOS "High Sierra":
A Coherence Mode windows may appear under MacOS windows, and some graphics artifacts may occur.
B Neither Parallels Desktop 11 nor 12 fully support APFS disks, including virtual disks and Boot Camp partitions. Therefore, a "High Sierra" guest machine must be installed 'manually' by passing the "--converttoapfs NO" command line switch, and cannot use the automated Parallels virtual machine creation process.
C Versions are partially compatible with the corresponding macOS versions and may not work correctly.
Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac includes support for a variety of different guest operating systems:
- Several versions of Windows: Windows 10, Windows , Windows 8, Windows Server , Windows Server , Windows Server R2, Windows 7 (SP0-SP1), Windows Server R2 (SP0-SP2), Windows Vista Home, Business, Ultimate and Enterprise (SP0-SP2), Windows Server R2 (SP0-SP2), Windows XP (SP0-SP3), Windows Professional SP4, Windows Server SP4
- Linux distributions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, 7 and 6, CentOS Linux 8, 7 and 6, Fedora Linux 32, 31, 30 and 29, Ubuntu , , , LTS and LTS, Debian GNU/Linux 10, 9 and 8, Suse Linux Enterprise 15, OpenSUSE Linux , and 15, Linux Mint 20, 19 and 18, Kali , and , elementary OS , Manjaro 18, Mageia 7 and 6 and more
- Android (Only when users download the version with the Installation Assistant with Parallels Desktop.)
- It is also possible to install macOS versions in a VM: macOS Big Sur 11, macOS Catalina , macOS Mojave , macOS High Sierra , macOS Sierra , OS X El Capitan , OS X Yosemite , OS X Mavericks , OS X Mountain Lion , OS X Lion , OS X Lion Server , Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server , Mac OS X Leopard Server
In Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac, support for guest operating systems includes a variety of bit and bit x86 operating systems, including:
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On windows mac parallels
Parallels Desktop 17 is here and ready to run Windows 11 on M1 Macs
Parallels Desktop 17 has arrived with support for macOS Monterey and Windows Further, the popular virtualization software for Macs is now a universal binary, making deployment a little less complicated for many IT professionals.Note that you can only run ARM versions of Windows (10 or 11) on Macs with Apple Silicon chips like the M1. Both Windows 10 and 11 for ARM are available as Insider Preview builds. On the other hand, Parallels can run versions of Windows going back as far as XP if you're running it on an Intel Mac. A number of Linux distros are also supported, though Intel Macs gain access to more of those than M1 Macs do.
If you have access to those Insider Preview builds, you can run most Windows applications on your M1 Mac, Parallels' developers say, because Windows on ARM can run both bit and, more recently, bit x86 applications. That said, even on machines it's designed to run on, Windows on ARM can be occasionally fussy about x64 apps. So your mileage will likely vary depending on what you're trying to do.Advertisement
In any case, Parallels is claiming significantly improved performance on M1 Macs compared to last year's release, which was the first to add support for said Macs. In particular, DirectX 11 performance is getting a boost (Parallels says it's 28 percent faster). Also, both Intel and ARM Macs will see up to sixfold-better OpenGL performance with Windows virtual machines.
There are other added features and quality of life improvements, too. For example, you can now drag and drop content between apps running under macOS and those running in Windows while using Parallels in Coherence mode. There are other improvements to Coherence, too, like Windows shutdown and sign-in screens that are presented in a way that feels more native and natural within macOS.
Don’t forget Monterey
Also, support for this year's new version of macOS, Monterey, has been added. As is customary with these annual updates, the new version of Parallels Desktop will be able to run on Monterey host machines or run Monterey in virtual machines.
The other big addition is virtual TPM chip support for Windows 10 and 11 virtual machines, facilitating features like BitLocker and Secure Boot.
Parallels Desktop 17 costs $ annually for the standard edition or $ for the "Pro" edition. The Pro edition includes a Visual Studio debugging plugin that now works on M1 Macs, among other bonuses specific to some professional use cases.
Listing image by Parallels
Sometimes, Mac users need to run Windows software. Maybe theres a program you need for work that doesnt offer a Mac version, or maybe you occasionally need to test websites in Internet Explorer. Whatever you need Windows for, Parallels is the best tool for the job.
Why Use Parallels Instead of Boot Camp or VirtualBox?
RELATED:How to Install Windows on a Mac With Boot Camp
Sure, you could set up your Mac to run Windows with Boot Camp, but that means restarting your computer every time you need to use Windows. Parallels runs Windows within macOS, using whats called a Virtual Machine. This allows you to quickly switch between the Mac and Windows desktops. You can even combine the two desktops, if you want, and run Windows software right on your Mac desktop from your Macs dock.
Virtual machines are complicated, but Parallels makes it reasonably simple to set one up and use it. There are other virtual machine options available to Mac users, including the open source VirtualBox, but Parallels is different in that its designed exclusively with Mac users in mind. Parallels costs more (since VirtualBox is free and Parallels is not), but there are hundreds of little design touches that help make running Windows within macOS as painless as possible, and that make setting everything up quick and easy. its well worth the cost.
How Much Does Parallels Cost?
Browsing the Parallels website, it can be a little tricky to find out what the product actually costs. So heres a quick breakdown:
- Purchasing the latest home version of Parallels Desktop costs $80 as of this writing. This lets you run Parallels on a single Mac.
- Upgrading from one version of Parallels to another generally costs $50, and will probably be necessary every couple of years if you keep installing the latest versions of macOS.
- A $70 annual subscription gives you access to all updates for free, according to the Parallels website.
RELATED:How to Make Linux and macOS Virtual Machines for Free with Parallels Lite
If you just want to try out Parallels and see if it works for you, you can: theres a 14 day trial of the software, which you can access without providing a credit card number. Theres also Parallels Desktop Lite, which is free on the Mac App Store and lets you create both Linux and macOS virtual machines. Parallels Desktop Lite can only run Windows virtual machines if you pay for a subscription, however.
One more note: purchasing Parallels does not give you a Windows license, or a Windows product key. If you have a Windows installation CD or USB key handy with a valid license you can use that, otherwise you will need to purchase Windows 10 from Microsoft to create a Windows 10 virtual machine.
RELATED:You Don't Need a Product Key to Install and Use Windows 10
Well point out that you dont technically need a product key to install and use Windows 10Microsoft basically gave up enforcing their license requirements with Windows 10, and you can download Windows 10 right from Microsoft at no cost (youll probably want it in the form of an ISO file). Legally speaking, however, you still need a product key to use Windows, even in a virtual machine.
How to Install Windows in Parallels
Got everything you need? Good. The new virtual machine wizard, which launches the first time you open Parallels, makes the process simple.
Assuming you already have a Windows CD or ISO, click the Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file button.
The ISO or DVD should be found automatically; otherwise, click the Locate Manually button. Then click Continue.
Youll be asked whether you want an Express installation, which automates the installation process so that you dont need to enter the product key or click Next during the installation process.
Choose this option if you want, otherwise plan on babysitting the installation a little bit.
Next youll be asked what you plan on using this virtual machine for: work-related software or gaming.
If you select Games only, the virtual machine will be set to use a lot more resources, so only click that if you intend to do serious gaming in the virtual machine (which is probably not a great idea). Also make sure your Mac even has enough resources to dedicateif you spread your computers resources too thin, your virtual machine will be very slow. You can change these settings later, but I recommend going with Productivity in almost all cases.
Finally, youll be asked for a few details: what the machine should be named, where it should be located, and whether you want a shortcut to the machine on your desktop.
You can also configure the settings before installationdont worry, you can tweak any of those later if youd rather not dive in right now. Click Continue.
The Windows installer will run. If you selected the Express installation, you wont need to do anything: just watch as Windows installs. If not, youll have to click Next a bunch of times and enter your product key, as is normal for installing Windows.
The installation process can take a while, if mechanical hard drives or a DVD is involved. If everything is running off an SSD, however, youll be up and running in a few minutes.
Eventually youll see the Windows desktop! Were almost done.
How to Seamlessly Integrate Your Virtual Machine Into macOS
Thats all well and good, and you can start using Windows nowbut if you really want to get the best of what Parallels has to offer, you have a few more steps ahead of you.
At the top-right of your virtual machine youll see a caution sign. This is letting you know that Parallels Tools needs to be installed. Installing this lets you move your mouse between macOS and Windows in one swift motion, and also makes it possible to access your Mac files from within Windows. To get started, click that caution sign, then click Install Parallels Tools.
Doing this will mount a virtual CD in the Windows virtual machine. Youll be asked what you want to do by Windows; select Install Parallels Tools.
The installer will take a few minutes, and eventually will require you to restart Windows. Do that and youll be up and running: your virtual machine will be integrated with macOS.
Once Parallels Tools is installed, Windows integrates very cleanly with macOS. There are all kinds of examples of this:
- Moving your mouse to your Windows virtual machine is seamless.
- Anything you copy to your Windows clipboard can be pasted in Mac apps, and vice-versa.
- The Documents, Downloads, and Desktop folders in Windows are symbolically linked to the same folders in macOS. Change a file in one place and it changes in the other.
- If you have Dropbox or iCloud running in macOS, those folders are available in Windows Explorer.
- If you have OneDrive set up in Windows, that is available to you in macOS.
- Individual Windows programs are shown in your Macs dock.
We could go on: the extent of the integrations is staggering. If any of them bother you for any reason, you can change them by shutting the virtual machine down, then clicking the Settings button for it.
Head to the Sharing tab to disable the folder sharing.
And head to the Applications tab to stop Windows applications from showing up in your Mac dock.
There are all kinds of other settings we could explore, but this article is only a starting point. Dive in and experiment.
More Than Just Windows
Parallels isnt just for running Windows, either: you can use it to set up Linux, ChromeOS, and even macOS virtual machines.
We outlined how to create Linux and macOS Virtual machines in Parallels Desktop Lite, and the process is identical for the full version of Parallels Desktop, so check out that article if youre interested.
RELATED:How to Free Up Disk Space in Parallels
If you intend to create a lot of virtual machines, you should also read about freeing up disk space in Parallels, because these machines will eat up a lot of hard drive space.
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Windows 11 is coming to Macs, even those without Boot Camp. Parallels Desktop 17 will allow Mac users to experience Microsoft’s next version of Windows in a window on their Mac desktop. Parallels supports both Intel and M1 Macs (though there’s a catch for those running Arm-based machines), and can even be used to run the Windows 11 preview for those who can’t wait.
The catch for M1 users is the same as when Parallels first added support for Apple’s latest machines — you’ll only be able to emulate Arm-based operating systems, which means you’ll be limited to Windows on Arm. While it does seem possible to install a Windows 11 preview for Arm machines, you’ll probably want to proceed with caution. Windows on Arm’s x86 emulation has been a bit of a rocky road, and the x64 app emulation is still a work in progress. Basically, if you’re looking to run a virtualized version of Windows on your M1, you’ll still have to deal with the same caveats that would come with running Windows on any other Arm machines.
While M1 users have to deal with Windows on Arm, they also get some performance improvements if they’re coming from Parallels Parallels says that the new version will let M1 Macs get up to 28 percent better DirectX 11 performance, and up to 33 percent faster start times for Windows 10 on Arm Insider Preview VMs. This comes alongside the up to 25 percent faster 2D graphics and up to 6 times faster OpenGL performance that Parallels says will be coming to Windows VMs on all supported Macs, Intel and M1 alike. M1 users will also be able to use BitLocker and Secure Boot thanks to a virtualized TPM.
There are other under-the-hood improvements with Parallels 17 (for example, it’s now a universal app, which should make IT departments’ lives easier), and it’s also getting support for macOS Monterey — the virtualization software will be able to run on macOS 12 computers, as well as create virtual ones.
If you want the regular version of Parallels Desktop 17, you have the choice of getting a subscription for $ a year, or a perpetual license for $ If you had a perpetual license for a previous version of Parallels, you can upgrade to 17 for $ There’s also Pro and Business editions that cost $ a year. Parallels sells the software on its website, but before you plunk down any cash, it may be worth waiting until Windows 11 launches (potentially in October) to see how well it fares on Parallels — or if Windows 11 is even worth jumping to in the first place.