Microsoft has officially declared its support for Windows 11 on Apple computers featuring M3 family processors, marking a significant expansion of compatibility between the two operating systems (OSes). This breakthrough is facilitated by Parallels Desktop, a leading virtualization solution tailored for Mac users seeking seamless integration of Windows 11 into their work environment.
Navigating Compatibility Challenges
Initially, Apple’s official tool, Boot Camp, did not support the new Apple Silicon processors. This led developers to explore alternative avenues, presenting Mac users with two options for incorporating Windows: the Windows 365 cloud platform or Parallels Desktop software.
Parallels Desktop Approval and Features
As per a Microsoft support document, both versions 18 and 19 of Parallels Desktop have received official approval to run Windows 11 on ARM and Windows 11 Enterprise on Mac computers equipped with Apple M1, M2, and M3 processors. This approval opens up a host of Windows 11 features, encompassing multimedia technologies, hardware acceleration, DirectX 12, and other functionalities of the popular OS.
Limitations and Considerations
Despite the strides made, it’s crucial to acknowledge that certain Windows features remain unavailable in Parallels Desktop due to the absence of support for nested virtualization technology. This limitation affects features such as Windows Subsystem for Android, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Sandbox, and Virtualization-based Security (VBS). Users requiring access to these features are advised to opt for Windows 365 or invest in a separate device for native Windows 11 usage.
32-Bit Windows ARM Applications and Future Considerations
It’s noteworthy that Parallels Desktop for Mac does not support 32-bit Windows ARM applications. Microsoft discontinued support for 32-bit UWP apps on Arm in January 2023. Given Apple’s earlier abandonment of support for 32-bit apps, restoring such support in modern macOS versions is unattainable.
Microsoft’s support for Windows 11 on Apple’s M-series processors through Parallels Desktop marks a pivotal moment in cross-OS compatibility, notes NIXsolutions. Mac users now have a robust solution to seamlessly integrate Windows 11 into their workflow, albeit with some limitations that merit consideration.