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Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs.

parallels-windows-10-arm-mac.jpg

Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared to a 2019 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics. Parallels also indicates that on an M1 Mac, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5x less energy than on the latest Intel-based MacBook Air.

Microsoft does not yet offer a retail version of ARM-based Windows, with the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview available on Microsoft's website for Windows Insider program members. The ability to run macOS Big Sur in a virtual machine is a feature that Parallels hopes to add support for in Parallels Desktop later this year as well.

Anyone with a Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac license can get an automatic update to Parallels Desktop 16.5 at no additional cost. Otherwise, one-time or subscription-based pricing options are listed on the Parallels Desktop product page, with Parallels currently offering 10% off most license configurations with code 2KQ-PTG-DYZ.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Paralles. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Article Link: Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance
 
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MacinMan

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Jan 27, 2011
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This is why I'm waiting to upgrade. This is also why I have always liked Macs more in recent years. It's much easier to run third party operating systems on a Mac (both virtually, and natively) legally vs a PC and trying to build a Hackintosh to run macOS on it. I am seeing progress of Linux being developed for M1 Mac support as well. So, for now, going to hold onto intel until ARM based Macs, and other computers get to the point where any OS of choice can be run.
 
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aknabi

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Jul 4, 2011
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For many the Linux part of the story will be a big deal (as a dev I need to run Linux in a VM). It’ll be interesting to see how memory and speed hold up on my MBA (I use a Linux vm on my 64GB MBP... so far the M1 MBA has been comparable with other dev tools, but this will push it hard)
 
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MacinMan

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Jan 27, 2011
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For many the Linux part of the story will be a big deal (as a dev I need to run Linux in a VM). It’ll be interesting to see how memory and speed hold up on my MBA (I use a Linux vm on my 64GB MBP... so far the M1 MBA has been comparable with other dev tools, but this will push it hard)
There is already a project for Ubuntu Linux that has made it possible to run natively on ARM Macs. Right now it's just starting off, and has a ways to go. However from videos i've seen on it, it looks stable at this stage of the game.
 
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Phil A.

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The ARM version of Windows 10 can emulate x86 programs so it should be possible to run them.
Yeah, it should be possible to run x86 Windows apps under an Arm Windows VM using Microsoft's compatibility layer in the same way a Surface Pro X does (although I suspect the M1 would run them faster due to its superior performance)


Can someone explain why it's impossible to emulate x86 on an M1 processor? VirtualPC was able to do it on a PowerPC processor.
It's not technically impossible but no-one has done it (Parallels uses the built in MacOS hypervisor which is a virtualisation platform, not an emulation platform).
I think the virtualisation route is more sensible because Microsoft actively support running X86 (and X64 soon) windows programs on Arm Windows, which allows you to run X86 windows apps on an Arm native installation of Windows.
 
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MacinMan

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I wrote an article on Microsoft Community about how setup the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview in the Parallels Desktop Preview on M1; the article got over 15k in views and Microsoft promptly deleted it. So, I suspect they don’t condone this.
They may have deleted it simply because it's not ready for the general public yet, and they don't want people trying it and suffering data loss that could lead to liabilities.
 
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imdropbear

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Sep 12, 2019
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Can someone explain why it's impossible to emulate x86 on an M1 processor? VirtualPC was able to do it on a PowerPC processor.
It's not impossible. It's absolutely possible. But it is probably a huge effort and we don't know how much performance would be lost in the process. Right now, it doesn't seem like any major player is working on this, probably because they think it won't be worth it.

It would be probably be very expensive and I don't know how much interest there really is, or rather how much willingness to actually pay big dollars for it on the customer side. There's surely plenty of people who *want* this but I doubt very many of them are actually ready to pay more than a few bucks.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

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Nov 26, 2007
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1Password and Parallels should have been acquired by Apple a long time ago.

I don't think either of those make sense.

What does 1Password offer to someone who exclusively uses Apple apps and products that isn't already built in? My understanding is 1Password's value comes in making apps and products from multiple vendors get along better... but Apple has little interest in making other platforms get along with theirs. They axed WebKit/Safari for Windows and Boot Camp. They have Apple Music on Windows and Android, but that's because they're the underdog and every competitor is available on multiple platforms, and Apple doesn't actually have anything unique to offer, so they have to at least match what competitors offer if they want to gain marketshare.

Parallels is a lot of work. Boot Camp would be easier, but they already dropped support for that. I think there's also little reason for Apple to do it anymore... there's very little software that's exclusive to Windows. Most programs are done in Python, Java, or JavaScript and can just run on any computer. Most of the software that was out there that wasn't available for the Mac was on iOS, so it makes more sense that Apple is focusing on making it easier to bring iOS apps to macOS. I suppose there's the whole universe of games out there... but I don't think Apple cares that much about them. They're mostly either platform exclusives so the Mac and Windows will never get them, or they're cross platform and already coming to Mac and Windows whether Apple tries or not.
 
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dlewis23

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Oct 23, 2007
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Can someone explain why it's impossible to emulate x86 on an M1 processor? VirtualPC was able to do it on a PowerPC processor.

It's not impossible to do. Just as it is right now I believe the reason is, it will just be super complex to get something like Windows x86 running and would be extremely slow when using it.

Just look at how slow apps like Photoshop are when emulating the Windows X86 version on Windows on Arm. Throw 64bit into it and the problem gets even worse.
 
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