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Windows 11 on M1 Macs is now possible with Parallels 17

Parallels 17
(Image credit: Parallels)

Windows 11 is arriving on Macs — even those with Apple's ARM-based M1 processor. Starting today Parallels Desktop 17 is available for Intel and M1-powered MacBooks to run the Windows 11 preview before the OS's official release. 

There are some compatibility differences between M1 and Intel Macs. For now, only the Insider Previews for Windows 10 and Windows 11 will run on M1 Macs because they support ARM-based chips. However, Parallels assures that the full version of Windows 11 will run on Parallels 17 when it arrives later this year (possibly in October).

M1 Macs will also have more limited app support, although Microsoft's built-in emulation should close the gap. You can run most 32-bit x86 apps and now some 64-bit x86 apps (64-bit emulation is an ongoing project), which wasn't possible just a few years ago. Of course, running apps through an emulator typically hampers performance but the beastly M1 chip in Apple's MacBook Pro 13-inch and MacBook Air should compensate. 

On that note, Parallels says version 17 will enable better performance for M1 Macs. The MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro will enjoy 28% better DirectX 11 performance and up to 33% faster start times on the Windows 10 Preview. Other speed boosts coming to both Intel and M1 Macs include 25% faster 2D graphics and 6x quicker OpenGL performance. 

MacBooks running on Intel processors enjoy broader support for all Windows apps and run on virtual machines for OS versions dating back to Windows 2000 and OS X Lion. 

Parallels Desktop 17 costs $79.99 a year or $99.99 for an indefinite license. If you already own a perpetual license from a previous version, you can upgrade to Parallels 17 for $49.99. Pro and Business editions cost $99.99. Once you've subscribed, follow our instructions on how to download the Windows 11 beta. We don't recommend installing the preview on your main laptop until the official OS launches in the next few months. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.