Apple's ARM switch will be the end of Boot Camp

Boot Camp
Boot Camp (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple is moving from Intel processors to its own Apple silicon on the Mac.
  • Amongst other things, it will signal the end of Boot Camp as a way to install and run Windows on Mac.
  • Going forward, the only option will be virtualization.

Apple has confirmed that switching to its own, ARM-based Apple silicon will signal the end of Boot Camp support.

As The Verge notes:

Apple will start switching its Macs to its own ARM-based processors later this year, but you won't be able to run Windows in Boot Camp mode on them. Microsoft only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to PC makers to preinstall on new hardware, and the company hasn't made copies of the operating system available for anyone to license or freely install.

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft said it only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to OEMs, and that it had nothing further to share at this time.

Then, on John Gruber's WWDC Talk Show, Craig Federighi confirmed that Apple would not support Boot Camp on ARM Macs:

"We're not direct booting an alternate operating system. Purely virtualization is the route. These hypervisors can be very efficient, so the need to direct boot shouldn't really be the concern."

The only wrinkle here is that Apple's Rosetta software, which will be used to help translate software to make it compatible with Apple's ARM Macs will not support virtualization software like Parallels natively. That means companies will have to rebuild their virtualization software for ARM if they want it to be used on Apple's next generation of Macs. This is because Rosetta will not work with Virtual Machine apps that virtualize X86_64 platforms.

As of right now, the only viable solution over the next couple of years will likely be to stick to Intel-based Macs. There is always a chance that Apple and Microsoft might come to some sort of agreement in the meantime though.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

2 Comments
  • "Going forward, the only option will be virtualization." Emulation, not virtualization. Any software will have to emulate the X86 instruction set to work. It will be REALLY slow so folks won't turn to it.
  • Parallels was already working on the Mac they used for the Keynote. They only demoed Linux running it, so it could easily have been an ARM version running in a Parallels VM. Whether an x86 version of Windows will run, and how well is as yet unknown I imagine. Pretty secure in saying MS is not going to make their Windows on ARM version available in the near term.