A new way to run Windows 11 on ARM-based Macs has been announced by Microsoft. However, there are still some restrictions.
In an official support article, Microsoft has authorized the use of Parallels Desktop 18 to run the ARM versions of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise on M1– and M2-based Macs. While this is great news for those who need to use Windows for work, users should be aware of some limitations.
For one, you won’t be able to run 32-bit ARM apps since Microsoft is phasing out 32-bit software for all ARM Windows builds. Furthermore, you’ll need Windows 11 ARM drivers for devices to work properly.
Furthermore, users won’t be able to use anything that relies on another layer of virtualization, such as Android applications, the Linux subsystem, and Windows Sandbox. Lastly, games that require at least DirectX 12 or OpenGL 3.3 won’t work at all.
In 2021, it was possible to run Windows 11 in Parallels on ARM Macs, but users needed to use an Insider preview of the OS at the time. However, with the sanctioned approach, users can download and install Windows 11 with ease on Parallels Desktop 18. This will ease a lot of tension around licensing for the company, but it’s still unclear how these changes will affect Microsoft.
This news won’t be too useful for users who want native Windows support like they had with Intel-based Macs running Apple’s Boot Camp. However, it might be the closest thing to a collaboration between Apple and Microsoft, and it may be a viable solution for those who absolutely need to use Windows productivity apps.
While it won’t offer the same performance or compatibility as a PC built for Windows on ARM, it’s the most viable option for those who need to use Windows on their ARM-based Mac.