Thursday, 15 April 2021 12:31

Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac Supports Both M1 and Intel Chips, Windows 10 for ARM is super fast virtualised Featured


Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Macs now lets M1 and Intel-powered Macs run native code to run Windows 10 at "native speeds on Macs with a seamless experience loved by millions".

Parallels has released the highly anticipated Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac, which "features full native support for Mac computers equipped with either Apple M1 or Intel chips."

Windows 10 for ARM processors is available via the "Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview" and its applications on Apple M1 Mac computers.

The company says Apple's M1 chip offres superior performance which "delivers the world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, revolutionary power efficiency, and was designed to work with macOS Big Sur — which Parallels Desktop 16.5 transforms into a new standard for a seamless Windows-on-Mac experience."

Parallels also proudly boasts that Desktop 16.5 also delivers M1 support for the most popular ARM-based Linux distributions.

Separate Parallels Access and the just-redesigned and simplified Parallels Toolbox apps, which are both included for free concurrently with Parallels Desktop subscriptions, now also provide native support for M1 Mac computers.

Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior VP of Engineering and Support said: "Apple's M1 chip is a significant breakthrough for Mac users. The transition has been smooth for most Mac applications, thanks to Rosetta technology. However, virtual machines are an exception and thus Parallels engineers implemented native virtualisation support for the Mac with M1 chip. This enables our users to enjoy the best Windows-on-Mac experience available.”

We're told that more than 100,000 M1 Mac users tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Mac and ran Microsoft’s Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview, as well as tens of thousands of different Intel-based Windows applications—including Microsoft Office for Windows, Microsoft Visual Studio, SQL Server, Microsoft PowerBI and MetaTrader

“We received enthusiastic feedback about the remarkable performance of both the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16 for M1 Mac and Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview as well as x86 applications and games, including Rocket League, Among Us, Roblox, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Sam & Max Save the World and many others. Testers loved Parallels Desktop’s easy-to-use features and seamless integration of Windows with macOS Big Sur, which increased productivity,” said Dobrovolskiy.

Here are two videos from Parallels on how the amazing software works and on how to install VMs in Parallels Desktop 16.5 on M1 Macs, after which the article continues with more detail, so please read on!

How to Run Windows on Mac with Parallels Desktop for Mac - Now Runs on Intel and M1 Chip:


How to Install VMs in Parallels Desktop 16.5 on M1 Mac:

The company us the virtualisation approach for Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac "enables users to benefit from Apple’s M1 chip performance advancements—applications run faster and more efficiently. Performance observations include:"

  • Up to 250% less energy used: On a Mac with an Apple M1 chip, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less energy than on a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air computer.
  • Up to 60% better DirectX 11 performance: Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1 Mac delivers up to 60% better DirectX 11 performance than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU.
  • Up to 30% better virtual machine performance (Windows): Running a virtual machine (VM) of Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on Parallels Desktop 16.5 on an M1 Mac performs up to 30% better than a Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor.

“I installed Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac and Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on my M1 Mac Mini because, as a math teacher, several software apps that I use are no longer supported on M1 Mac,” said Daniel Dudley, Albuquerque, NM, United States. “Running Windows on my M1 Mac in Parallels Desktop 16.5 has been awesome. It’s the fastest version of Windows that I have ever had!”

Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac also supports guest operating systems (OSs) on M1 Mac computers including Linux distributives Ubuntu 20.04, Kali Linux 2021.1, Debian 10.7 and Fedora Workstation 33-1.2.

“I absolutely love being able to run Linux environments within Parallels Desktop 16.5 on my M1 Mac,” said Darren Paxton, United Kingdom. “The performance is simply amazing.”

All the best Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac features have been re-engineered for the Apple M1 chip, including:

  • Coherence Mode: Run Windows applications on your Mac as if they were native Mac applications, without managing two separate desktops or rebooting.
  • Shared Profile: Share your Mac desktop, pictures, documents, and other folders with a VM for easy access.
  • Touch Bar controls: Quickly access apps in your virtual machine and customise your Touch Bar shortcuts to feature the apps and commands you use most.
  • Mac keyboard layouts: Easily customise your keyboard menu and shortcuts for a more personalised experience.
  • Hundreds of other Parallels Desktop features are included to help make it simple for customers be more productive.
  • macOS Big Sur in a VM is a feature that Parallels hopes to add support for in Parallels Desktop later this year.

Highlights of Parallels Desktop 16’s extensive features for Intel-based Mac computers are available to learn more about here. Intel-based Parallels Desktop for Mac customers can run more than 50 supported guest OSs, including several versions of Windows, macOS, OS X, Linux, as well as Android OS and dozens more.

Availability and Pricing

All editions of Parallels Desktop 16.5 update for Mac support both M1 and Intel Mac computers (Standard Edition, Pro Edition and Business Edition). They can be purchased either online at (which also offers free full-featured 14-day trials) or from retail and online stores worldwide. Parallels Desktop subscriptions include complimentary concurrent subscriptions to Parallels Access, and just-redesigned and simplified Parallels Toolbox for Mac and Windows, which are also separately available for free trials and subscriptions at

Anyone with a Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac license can get an automatic update to Parallels Desktop 16.5 at no additional cost. And, when new full versions of Parallels Desktop for Mac are released annually, customers with active subscriptions receive complimentary upgrades, which ensure support for the latest OSs, hardware, and Parallels Desktop’s innovative features.

Running VMs on Apple M1 Mac computers in Parallels Desktop 16.5 requires ARM-based operating systems (OSs). Customers who install guest operating systems in Parallels Desktop virtual machines are responsible for making sure that they are compliant with each OSs’ end-user licensing agreement (EULA).

Recommended Retail Price (RRP):

Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac

  • Upgrade your Parallels Desktop 14 or 15 to a perpetual license – AUD$71.45
  • New subscription – AUD$109.95 per year
  • New perpetual license – AUD$137

Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition

  • Upgrade from any edition – AUD$71.45 per year
  • New subscription – AUD$137.45 per year

Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition

  • AUD$137.45 per year

More information on Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 and Intel Macs is here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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