Parallels Desktop for Mac, the popular program used to run virtualized versions of Windows 10 on Apple’s Mac devices, has gotten even better. Version 16.5 of the app now lets Mac users enjoy a seamless Windows 10 on ARM experience on Apple’s newest Macs featuring the M1 silicon.
According to Parallels, with version 16.5, Mac users can enjoy improved performance compared to when running Windows through the program on Intel-based macs. When running Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview virtually through Parallels 16.5, users with M1 Macs can enjoy 2.5 times less energy consumption and 60% better DirectX 11 performance.
More specifically, Parallels says running Windows 10 on ARM on Parallels Desktop 16.5 with an M1 Mac performs up to 30% better than a Windows 10 VM running on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor. That’s because the Parallels team worked to reengineer the app under the hood for the M1 silicon. Over 100,000 M1 Mac users also tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Mac, according to the company.
Parallels Desktop 16.5 also supports features catered to the M1 Mac. You can run Windows applications on your Mac as if they were native Mac applications, without managing two separate desktops or rebooting. You also can share profiles, enjoy Touch Bar controls and customize Mac keyboard layouts.
A 14-day trial of Parallels Desktop for Mac is available for prospective users, and anyone with Parallels version 16 can update to 16.5 for free. A perpetual license for upgrading from older versions of Parallels is available for $50, and new subscriptions cost $80 a year, with new perpetual licenses costing $100 a year. Then there are Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition and Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition, too.
Along with QEMU and ACVM, Parallels remains the only way to run Windows 10 on Apple’s new M1 Macs. That’s because Microsoft has yet to offer the ARM-based flavor of Windows 10 for Apple to use in Bootcamp (which isn’t available on newer M1 Mac models.) At the end of last year, Apple’s Craig Federighi said that this is up to Microsoft to support and that Macs are “certainly capable” of running Windows 10.