Parallels is releasing an update for its desktop virtual machine software that allows Mac M1 owners to install Windows 10 on Arm. Parallels Desktop 16.5 now includes the native support required to run the Arm version of Windows on M1 chips, following Apple’s decision not to support Boot Camp on Mac M1.
The latest version of Parallels Desktop for Mac now enables Mac M1 owners to run Windows 10 on Arm apps or traditional x86 apps alongside Mac or iOS apps in Big Sur. There will be some application limitations in Windows 10 on the Arm side, thanks to its own application emulation, but Windows 10 on Arm will soon support x64 application emulation as well.
Parallels Desktop maker Corel says its latest update also results in some impressive performance and battery improvements compared to running the software on Intel-based Macs. According to Corel, the 16.5 update uses up to 250 percent less power on a Mac M1, compared to an Intel-based MacBook Air. There is also the promise of up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance and up to 30 percent better overall virtual machine performance running the Arm version of Windows 10 on a Mac M1 rather than a Windows 10 VM on a MacBook Pro with Intel.
The main drawback is that you will need to run a preview version of Windows for all of this to work. Microsoft currently only licenses the Arm version of Windows 10 to PC manufacturers, so there is no official way to purchase a copy yet. The software maker provides a preview version of Windows 10 on Arm, which can be downloaded from Microsoft’s Windows Insider website.
Along with Windows 10 on Arm support, Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac is also compatible with Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 20.04, Kali Linux 2021.1, Debian 10.7, and Fedora Workstation 33-1.2.