Windows 11 could come to Apple Silicon Macs after all

Windows 11 Microsoft Hero
Windows 11 Microsoft Hero (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 isn't on Apple Silicon because of a deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm.
  • The deal is reportedly expiring "soon."
  • If so, it opens up the door to bring native Windows 11 support to Apple Silicon.

Back in September, known Windows virtualizer Parallels was having issues bringing Windows 11 to Apple Silicon Macs. Microsoft confirmed in a statement at the time that such an integration was not a "supported scenario."

Microsoft has confirmed that running Windows 11 on devices like the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 and MacBook Air with M1 is not officially a "supported scenario", after virtualization company Parallels ran into some issues with the software.

Now, we might know exactly why Windows 11 has not come to Apple Silicon just yet. According to a new report from XDA, Qualcomm currently holds an agreement with Microsoft to be the exclusive provider of Windows on ARM. The deal, however, might be expiring "soon."

Other than the fact that Microsoft has publicly said that anyone who wants to can build a Windows on ARM chip, this really shouldn't come as a surprise. Qualcomm didn't just start building PC chips hoping that Microsoft would compile Windows to support it. No, these two companies worked together to make it happen. Because of that, Qualcomm gets to enjoy a bit of exclusivity.One thing I wasn't able to learn is when the deal will expire, only that it's the thing holding back other chip vendors from competing in the space. It's possible that Samsung might want to throw its hat into the ring with its Exynos processors too, especially given its recent partnership with AMD for graphics power. This is also presumably why Apple Silicon Macs aren't officially supported for running Windows 11, so hopefully that will change as well.

If the deal does exist and does expire, it would open up the possibily of Windows 11 coming to more ARM chips than just the ones from Qualcomm. This, of course, includes Apple Silicon.

It's unclear how far ahead Microsoft has preprared for this so we could still have some time to wait until the official support happens. Regardless of when, it sounds like it could at least happen as long as the deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm isn't renewed.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.