Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

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Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur.

When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ground up, but that challenge has now been officially completed.


While support for Big Sur is the headline feature, Parallels 16 also comes with several new features and improvements. This version claims to launch twice as fast and offers a 20 percent improvement in DirectX performance, with OpenGL 3 graphics in Windows and Linux also said to be improved.

There are new multi-touch gestures for Windows apps such as smooth zoom and rotate multi-touch gestures, while printing from Windows (with Shared Printers) now allows users to print on both sides and use more paper sizes, from A0 to envelope.

Virtual machines can now be set to automatically return unused disk space when shutting down, and Windows Travel Mode claims to be able to increase laptop battery by up to 10 percent.

Elsewhere, Pro Edition users can now name their custom networks, and export virtual machines in a compressed format that are a said to be a fraction of their pre-compressed size. Parallels has also launched a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio to simplify testing on different operating systems.

Lastly, in addition to all the work that has gone on under the hood to ensure Big Sur compatibility, Parallels 16 also brings a new look to the software that's more in keeping with Apple's redesigned interface in macOS 11.

There's no word at present whether Parallels will run Windows on the forthcoming Apple Silicon Macs that Apple announced at WWDC, but Parallels says it will release further information on this further down the line.


Parallels Desktop 16 requires High Sierra 10.13 or later to run, and can be purchased for a one-off fee of $99.99 for the standard edition, with the more feature-laden Pro and Business editions available at $79.99 per year on a subscription basis.

Users with Parallels Desktop 14 and 15 (including Pro and Business Editions) can upgrade for $49.99, while college students in the United States, Canada, Germany and U.K. have access to the reduced price Student Edition. A 14-day trial of the virtualization suite is also available.

Article Link: Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 601
Dec 7, 2014
4,377
5,523
With the advent of ARM — what does the future hold for these products?
Parallels is changing from virtualizing x86 to virtualizing ARM. You might be able to virtualize Windows on ARM that way, and it might even emulate x86 apps inside, but I wouldn't bet on it.

VMware has made some "nothing to announce at this time" remark somewhere.

We'll see.
 

JoelTheSuperior

macrumors 6502
Feb 10, 2014
393
386
London, UK
Parallels is changing from virtualizing x86 to virtualizing ARM. You might be able to virtualize Windows on ARM that way, and it might even emulate x86 apps inside, but I wouldn't bet on it.

VMware has made some "nothing to announce at this time" remark somewhere.

We'll see.
I think a big part of the question is down to what Apple's competitors will do, i.e. if Microsoft will give switching away from x86 another shot themselves.
 

johannnn

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2009
1,717
1,436
Sweden
every year when a new macOS comes out they make us pay another 49.99 not fair
Do you want new features or not? Do you think these features magically appear, or do you developers need to code them and that these developers want salaries?

If you want something cheaper, take look at VirtualBox. It's really really bad compared to Parallels.
Parallels is a luxury alternative. It's the best but also expensive.
 

stocklen

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2013
112
54
agree with the other posters..... every year another expensive upgrade when the previous versions still function OK.

I used to use this software but try as i might, I could not get my copy of windows running anywhere near fast enough - it was SO SLOW and thats on a high spec iMac with 24gb RAM. Not as if the VM didnt have enough resources allocated to it.

Never did get to the bottom of why it ran so badly, and also didnt get caught up in the yearly cash grab for a new version with new features that arent exactly helpful.... have given up on trying now.
 
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Smigit

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2011
241
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With the advent of ARM — what does the future hold for these products?
It depends. If they can emulate x86 effectively enough to at least run office tasks and non ARM Windows, they might do tremendously well from the transition given they won’t be competing with Bootcamp. This seems sort of unlikely to me, but maybe it’s a possability.

On the other hand they get replaced by a variety of services. XCloud, Stadia And the like for example could largely kill much of their gaming audience over night. Don’t want to run Bootcamp but want to game? Well those options are likely better than Parallels ever was as long as your internet connections ok.

For other desktop tasks were probably at a point where most things can be serviced by cloud compute. Absolute worst case you might have an Azure hosted Windows instance. It might not suit very highly data intensive loads, but I’m sure it’ll fill many or most gaps.

Which brings me back to Parallels. They’re already moved a lot of their audience to a subscription model. If they can’t get on device emulation happening their next move could be to offer a cloud hosted solution that’s user centric. That might mean being a provider for hosted OS instances, it could also mean seperate game streaming services. That might be one way they can continue to provide similar experiences to consumers, and if they bundle it into a nice and easy to use package with a good pricing model, it could be a differentiator to enterprise solutions like AWS and Azure.

Just a thought anyway.
 

TheOldChevy

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2020
24
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Switzerland
$49 per year for having the latest version, I think that's still a fair price. I don't like to pay but if it lets me do what I need to do without buying another computer (or several other computers), it's fine with me.
 

mike...

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2008
205
371
Their pricing model is abhorrent. They charge you twice as much for the "Pro" version to remove completely arbitrary CPU and RAM limits.

Or if you're a developer they charge you twice as much for "Pro" just so you can integrate it with free open-source tools such as Vagrant.

If they actually had a fair pricing model they would get money from me, but as it is I am content virtualising Linux under VirtualBox. The performance difference isn't big enough to justify $100 a year.
 

TheOldChevy

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2020
24
56
Switzerland
Their pricing model is abhorrent. They charge you twice as much for the "Pro" version to remove completely arbitrary CPU and RAM limits.

Or if you're a developer they charge you twice as much for "Pro" just so you can integrate it with free open-source tools such as Vagrant.

If they actually had a fair pricing model they would get money from me, but as it is I am content virtualising Linux under VirtualBox. The performance difference isn't big enough to justify $100 a year.
1) How many hours of work do you need to earn $100 ?
2) How many hours of work do you spare by using Parallels (or VMWare) ?

If 1 < 2 then buy it, otherwise don't.
 

itsmilo

macrumors 68040
Sep 15, 2016
3,609
7,827
Berlin, Germany
stupid question but can you install a copy of Big Sur as a VM using this? even if your macbook is no longer supported by Big Sur? or is this only to get Windows on your mac
 
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ugahairydawgs

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Jun 10, 2010
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M3gatron

macrumors 6502
Sep 2, 2019
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I think a big part of the question is down to what Apple's competitors will do, i.e. if Microsoft will give switching away from x86 another shot themselves.
There's absolutely no chance Microsoft would move away from X86. It's doesn't even make sense for them to do something like this.
 

gnasher729

Suspended
Nov 25, 2005
17,123
4,146
Their pricing model is abhorrent. They charge you twice as much for the "Pro" version to remove completely arbitrary CPU and RAM limits.
You got that wrong. They charge you half the price for a non-"Pro" version with CPU and RAM limits. Same as a restaurant with a cheaper "early bird" menu. Would you like them to remove the non-Pro version? Same but higher price for everyone?
 
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