Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs. The new version of the virtualization software allows users to run the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1-powered Macs.
The virtualization 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 percent 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 percent better DirectX 11 performance: Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1 Mac delivers up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU.
- Up to 30 percent 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 percent better than a Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor.
While Microsoft does not yet offer a retail version of ARM-based Windows, the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview is available on Microsoft’s website for Windows Insider program members. Parallels hopes to add the ability to run macOS Big Sur in a virtual machine in Parallels Desktop later this year.
Users that already have a Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac license can get an automatic update to Parallels Desktop 16.5 at no additional cost. For new buyers, one-time and subscription-based pricing options are listed on the Parallels Desktop product page.