Microsoft’s support page has been updated to confirm that the company has officially authorized the use of Windows 11 on Macs equipped with Apple’s Arm M1 and M2 chips.
Running Windows on Apple Chips
Arm created the Arm-based M1 and M2 chips specifically for Apple, and they have different requirements compared to other processor architectures such as the widely used x86 chips from Intel and AMD.
Previously, Microsoft did not officially license the ability for users to run Windows 10 on Arm outside of the Surface line and certain OEMs, despite its availability since 2020. Boot Camp and other popular emulators were also functional but not officially licensed on Arm.
Users can now access Windows 11 on their M-series processor-based Macs through a Cloud PC and Windows 365 service. The Windows 365 subscription provides nested virtualization to facilitate testing, running emulators, ensuring complete application compatibility, and more.
Limitations to What can Run on Arm-Based Windows 11
As for the Arm versions of Windows 11, it’s worth noting that some limitations exist in terms of what can run on them. Specifically, systems that need an extra layer of virtualization may not work well. Additionally, it does not support the following:
- Windows Subsystem for Android (Android applications for Windows available through the Amazon appstore).
- Windows Subsystem for Linux (for running a Linux environment).
- Windows Sandbox (for testing applications in isolation).
- Virtualization-based security.
- Games and multimedia apps using the DirectX 12 suite.
In order to run Windows 11 on an Arm-based Mac PC, users should rely on apps in x64 or x86 emulation or 64-bit Arm apps on Mac M1 & M2 computers. Arm versions of Windows are deprecating 32-bit Arm apps, which is the reason for this.
Running Windows 11 on Arm on Parallels
IT administrators are now able to allow their users to run Windows 11 on Arm through the Parallels platform with support from Alludo and the assurance that Microsoft has approved this solution.Alludo – Company that makes Parallel
This capability is made possible through the use of Parallels Desktop version 18, which is an official Windows partner for virtualizing Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Enterprise on Arm-based computers with Apple’s M1 or M2 chips.
Alludo advocates for the freedom and flexibility of employees in choosing when, where, and how they work best. The Parallels portfolio, developed by Alludo, is designed to enable users to access their applications on any device from anywhere. We are thrilled to see that, in collaboration with Microsoft, Parallels Desktop can run Arm versions of Windows in a virtualized environment on the latest Mac systems powered by Apple’s robust M-series chips, aligning with our vision.Prashant Ketkar – Chief Technology & Product Officer at Alludo
Alludo also sees this development as a boon for remote work, as it provides greater flexibility for IT teams.
With Mac becoming an essential part of digital workspaces in enterprises, Windows on Arm is a crucial factor in ensuring that all corporate resources are equally accessible to users.Shannon Kalvar in a Press Release – IDC Research Director at Alludo
VMware’s response to this Microsoft news
The news has received a positive response from other partner organizations, including VMware.
VMware has recently released the VMware Fusion 13 which supports Windows on Arm, after years of development to make Fusion compatible even without explicit support, despite uncertainties in some aspects. This release includes enhancements that cater to running Windows on Arm with Fusion on Macs with Apple silicon.VMware
VMware has joined a new official partner program with Microsoft, which will provide the company with insights and development guidance from Microsoft. The program will help address areas that require improvement.