Windows 10, Parallels is releasing an update for Desktop virtual machine software that allows M1 Mac owners to install Windows 10 on their computers with Arm-based processors. Parallels Desktop 16.5 includes native support for running 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 allows M1 Mac owners to run Windows 10 Arm apps or traditional x86 apps side-by-side with Mac or iOS apps on Big Sur. On the Windows 10 side of the Arm, there will be some application limitations due to its own application emulation, but Windows 10 Arm will soon support x64 application emulation.
Corel, manufacturer of Parallels Desktop software, says its latest update has resulted 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 the M1 Mac than an Intel-based MacBook Air. It also promises up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance and up to 30 percent better overall virtual machine performance on a computer running the Arm version of Windows 10 on an M1 Mac, rather than the Windows 10 VM running on an Intel-based MacBook Pro.
The main disadvantage is that you have to run a preview version of Windows for all of this to work. Microsoft currently licenses the Arm version of Windows 10 only to computer manufacturers. Therefore, there is no official way to purchase a copy yet. The software manufacturer provides a Windows 10 Arm preview build that can be downloaded from Microsoft’s Windows Insider website.
Besides Windows 10 Arm support, Parallels Desktop 16.5 Mac version also supports Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 20.04, Kali Linux 2021.1, Debian 10.7 and Fedora Workstation 33-1.2.