Tech

Microsoft blesses running Windows 11 on ARM Macs

Running Windows 11 on Macs with ARM architecture has been possible for months with Parallels Desktop. Now, Microsoft gives its “blessing” by documenting the ways to do it on its support page.

The news at hand is more administrative than anything else. Windows 11 ARM was only officially supported on PCs with Snapdragon SoCs under the (exclusive) partnership with Qualcomm to push the ARM architecture in Windows. And nothing else because of the Microsoft license restrictions. And Apple’s clear disinterest, which is another matter that we will discuss below.

Technically, little changes. The preferred method of running Windows 11 on Macs with ARM is to use Parallels Desktop which Microsoft now calls “an authoritative solution”. Of course, if until now Insider test versions were used without a license, now Microsoft gives its approval to run standard release versions of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise.

There is another option to use Windows 11 on Mac that Microsoft also points out, but it is for companies and is done through Microsoft 365 Business. The Cloud PC, as it’s called, is basically a Windows 11 remote desktop hosted in the cloud.

When will Windows 11 on ARM Macs, but native?

Parallels is hands down the best software to use to virtualize operating systems on new Macs. It was already the first virtualization software to hit the market to support Intel’s x86 architecture when Apple abandoned PowerPC and has been a preferred application on Apple computers.

Last month we looked at how to install Windows 11 on virtual machines and what Parallels does is the same. It works great but virtualization always has its compromises versus a native installation. It must be said that Apple had supported native installations of Windows on Intel-based Macs through Boot Camp, but has not yet done so on new ARM-based computers.

Honestly, so far we have not seen interest in the Cupertino headquarters and not in the Redmond one, perhaps tied by its exclusivity with Qualcomm. The publication of this documentation and the administrative change by Microsoft means the opening of the platform and perhaps with it Apple will reintroduce Boot Camp on its ARM machines.

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