Windows 11 ARM Version for Apple Mac Devices Announced

Microsoft has announced the upcoming launch of a special ARM version of Windows 11 that has been optimized by Parallels to run on Apple silicon processors.

Microsoft Windows, Apple Silicon, Apps & OS

Fri Feb 17, 2023 - 19:45

Windows 11 for Macs Announced

A Virtualized ARM Version for Apple Silicon

Microsoft has partnered with Parallels to enable Windows 11 to run in a virtual environment, and as a result, the operating system is now officially supported on the M1 and M2 Apple Macbooks. Parallels Desktop version 18 is an authorised solution to run ARM versions of Windows 11 on most Apple products.


Microsoft With Apple

Microsoft will extensively enable Apple M1 and M2 users to use the OS in a virtual machine even if the business has restrictions on which Processors are supported to run Windows 11 natively. The performance won’t be as good as it could be with a native solution, but Apple hasn’t indicated that it will support Boot Camp on M1 or M2 Macs.

But, Microsoft’s intention to formally approve Parallels to support this method of running Windows 11 on Apple’s most recent Macs goes beyond what we’ve seen so far. Since Microsoft only directly licenced Windows versions of Arm to OEMs up until this point, M1 and M2 customers have found it challenging to officially run it in VM.

Working Process

The Parallels Desktop 16.5 release marked the beginning of support for Windows on M1 CPUs; however, the most recent version enables one-click installation of Windows 11. With a virtual TPM coupled with Apple silicon, Parallels is also managing the complexities of Windows 11’s TPM and Secure Boot requirements.

While technically possible, using a Windows 10 license key to activate the Arm version prior to this was not authorised. For Windows enterprise users who may have a mix of Windows and macOS-powered laptops, this is a significant issue.

Hardware drivers must be created specifically for Windows 11 Arm-based Computers in order to function. Also, if a game relies on anti-cheat drivers or OpenGL 3.3 or above, it won’t run. Many other applications won’t function properly, such as cloud storage apps and assistive technologies, as well as those that try to integrate with the Windows shell.


Private customers can buy a $199 Windows 11 Pro licence directly from Microsoft. Microsoft is now providing Windows 365 Cloud PCs as an additional option for those who want to access Windows 11 on an M1 or M2 Mac. These are virtual machines with complete application compatibility that are hosted in the cloud. There are various restrictions on the kinds of hardware, games, and apps that are supported by the Arm version of Windows 11 that is used by Parallels Desktop 18.


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