Microsoft officially unleashes Windows 11 on Apple Silicon Macs

Macs that use Apple Silicon chips can now officially run Windows 11 via Parallels Desktop now that Microsoft has officially authorized such use.

Apple, Windows, Mac, Microsoft, Parallels, virtualization, macOS

Many enterprise professionals have been hoping Microsoft would agree to authorize Windows for use on Apple Silicon Macs inside Alludo’s Parallels Desktop.

Now, they officially can. Parallels Desktop is finally an authorized solution for Arm versions of Windows 11 on Macs running M-series processors. 

Windows for the Macs of us

The move is particularly good news for enterprises with mixed fleets, as it eases the path to an upgrade to Macs across the company. It also means legacy Windows apps can be supported on those new Apple computers.

As Kamal Srinivasan, Alludo senior vice president of product told me, “This will make it easier for enterprises to integrate Mac with Apple Silicon into their IT infrastructure and increase adoption of Apple hardware in the workplace.”

That’s a smart move, given Apple’s accelerating status in enterprise IT.

Follow the data

IDC data shows Macs have seen a 60% increase in market share between 2019-22, a growth rate 10 times that of the PC market. Macs now account for 10.8% of all global PC shipments. In part, this reflects a move to adopt employee technology choice —  Cisco recently explained that 59% of new hires choose a Mac when given the chance.

Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin observed the trend:

“Macs have been on a tear in the enterprise despite not having this, so you can imagine this only helps check more boxes as more Macs are deployed in large organizations.”

Within this context, ensuring compatibility between Mac and Windows systems becomes a business perogative, which is why Microsoft has chosen to introduce support for Windows on M-series Macs via Parallels. To be fair, Microsoft has consistently been improving its support for Apple’s new processors across its products.

Shannon Kalvar, IDC research director, said in a statement:

“Three years into the ’new’ world of hybrid work, IDC research indicates that equality of access to enterprise resources is still a top concern for hybrid work and digital workspace strategies.

“Mac is increasingly an integral part of enterprise’s digital workspaces, and Windows on Arm is a key component in ensuring they have equal access to all corporate resources.”

Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise editions

Both Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise are supported, according to Microsoft. There are some limitations, principally around virtualized Android and Linux within the Windows environment; 32-bit Arm apps for Windows are not supported.

In the short time I’ve used it, I've found that the integration seems very solid — you can download, install, and configure Windows 11 very easily from within the Parallels environment. (You will need to purchase and activate Windows 11 after installation.) To secure the environment, the installation uses a virtual TPM chip and also leans into the tough security built inside Macs.

IT admins deploying Windows Enterprise will need a volume license agreement and will be able to download Windows from Microsoft. Users can download from the Volume Licensing Service Center or the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Standard, Pro, and Business editions of Parallels Desktop 18 for Mac can be purchased at or from authorized resellers. 

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Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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