When Apple switched from Intel to its own ARM-based processors for new Mac computers, some people were dubious that the transition would go smoothly. Well, guess what? Apple did it, folks. The company moved to a new chip type without any major negative issues. In fact, Apple’s M1 chip has been universally praised as being both fast and energy efficient.
Earlier this year, some people got Linux-based Ubuntu running on the M1 hardware, and that process is getting better all the time. Sadly, owners of M1 Mac computers have been unable to run Windows 10 like they could on older Intel-based Mac machines. Until now, that is. Yes, you can finally run Windows 10 on Apple M1 Mac computers — sort of.
Why do I say “sort of?” Well, while it is Windows 10, it is the ARM variant, which means it is more limited than the normal x86_64 version. Also, Windows 10 on ARM is not running natively, but using Parallels Desktop 16.5. With that said, Parallels promises the performance to be the same as if it was native.
“Experience Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and its applications on Apple M1 Mac computers. The M1 chip’s superior performance delivers the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, revolutionary power efficiency, and was designed to work with macOS Big Sur — which Parallels Desktop 16.5 transforms into a new standard for a seamless Windows-on-Mac experience. It also delivers M1 support for the most popular ARM-based Linux distributions,” says Parallels.
Nick Dobrovolskiy, the company’s SVP of Engineering and Support explains, “Apple’s M1 chip is a significant breakthrough for Mac users. 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.”
Parallels shares the following features which have been reengineered for M1 Mac computers.
- Coherence Mode: Run Windows applications on your Mac as if they were native Mac applications, without managing two separate desktops or rebooting.
- Shared Profile: Share your Mac desktop, pictures, documents, and other folders with a VM for easy access.
- Touch Bar controls: Quickly access apps in your virtual machine and customize your Touch Bar shortcuts to feature the apps and commands you use most.
- Mac keyboard layouts: Easily customize your keyboard menu and shortcuts for a more personalized experience.
- Hundreds of other Parallels Desktop features are included to help make it simple for customers be more productive.
- macOS Big Sur in a VM is a feature that Parallels hopes to add support for in Parallels Desktop later this year.
Unfortunately, Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac is not free. If you want to run Windows 10 on ARM with your M1 Mac, pricing starts at $79.99 per year for home and student users. Yeah, it is an annual subscription. Ugh. And businesses must pay even more. Even worse, the cost is apparently per computer. If you are interested in purchasing the software, you can do so here now.