Parallels for Mac gets M1 support and huge performance boost

Image (Image credit: Paralells)

What you need to know

  • A new version of Parallels complete with M1 Mac support is here.
  • The new version brings a big performance update and huge energy savings.

Parallels has today announced that the new version of its Windows virtualization software will bring full native support for Apple's M1 Macs and Apple silicon, delivering huge performance boosts and energy savings.

In a press release the company stated:

Parallels®, a global leader in cross-platform solutions, today 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. Experience Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and its applications on Apple M1 Mac computers. The M1 chip's superior performance delivers the world's fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer, revolutionary power efficiency, and was designed to work with macOS Big Sur3—which Parallels Desktop 16.5 transforms into a new standard for a seamless Windows-on-Mac experience. It 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.

Corel Paintshop Pro 2021 Running In Parallels Desktop 16.5 On An M1 Mac

Corel Paintshop Pro 2021 Running In Parallels Desktop 16.5 On An M1 Mac (Image credit: Parallels)

"Apple's M1 chip is a significant breakthrough for Mac users", SVP of Engineering and Support Nick Dobrovolskiy said, hailing Parallels' engineers who have worked to implement native virtualization support for the Mac and its M1 chip. Parallels said that it had received "enthusiastic feedback" about the Technical Preview of Parallels for M1 Mac and Windows 10 on Arm. According to them, the new update and M1 will use 250% less energy than a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air, whilst delivering up to 60% better performance with DirectX 11 compared to an Intel-Based MacBook Pro with Radeon 555X GPU, and 30% better virtual machine performance compared to a Windows 10 VM running on a MacBook Pro with an Intel i9 processor.

Windows 10 For Arm Insider Preview Running In Parallels Desktop 16.5 On An M1 Macbook Pro

Windows 10 For Arm Insider Preview Running In Parallels Desktop 16.5 On An M1 Macbook Pro (Image credit: Parallels)

The 16.5 update of Parallels is available free to anyone who already owns version 16.

All editions of Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac can be bought from

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