Parallels is releasing an update to its Desktop virtual machine software that allows M1 Mac owners to install Windows 10 on Arm. Parallels Desktop 16.5 now includes the necessary native support to run the Arm version of Windows on M1 chips, following Apple’s decision not to support Boot Camp on M1 Macs.
The latest version of Parallels Desktop for Mac now allows M1 Mac owners to run Windows 10 on Arm apps or traditional x86 apps side by side with Mac or iOS apps on Big Sur. There will be some app limitations on the Windows 10 on Arm side, thanks to its own app emulation, but Windows 10 on Arm will soon support x64 app emulation, too.
Parallels Desktop maker Corel says its latest update also results in some impressive performance and battery improvements over running the software on Intel-based Macs. According to Corel, the 16.5 update uses up to 250 percent less energy on an M1 Mac, compared to an Intel-based MacBook Air. There’s also a 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 an M1 Mac instead of a Windows 10 VM on an Intel-based MacBook Pro.
The main drawback is that you’ll need to run a preview version of Windows to make this all work. Microsoft only currently licenses the Arm version of Windows 10 to PC makers, so there’s no official way to buy a copy yet. The software maker does provide a Windows 10 on Arm preview build, which can be downloaded from Microsoft’s Windows Insider website.
Alongside the Windows 10 on Arm support, Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac also supports Linux distros like Ubuntu 20.04, Kali Linux 2021.1, Debian 10.7, and Fedora Workstation 33-1.2.