Since Boot Camp was introduced on Macs in 2006, it’s not uncommon to run Windows on a Mac. Boot Camp allowed users to dual boot macOS and Windows, running both operating systems on bare metal hardware. That changes with Apple Silicon.
Despite the fact that Windows 10 and macOS now run on ARM, Boot Camp does not work with Apple’s M1 processor. Yes, you can still run Windows 10 on Apple Silicon, just like on the iMac M1. But no, you can’t do it through Boot Camp. You will need to use virtualization software.
What you will need
- A Mac with Apple Silicon. An Intel Mac will also work, but this guide is for ARM Macs.
- Parallels Desktop, which you can download here. There is a free trial, but you will need a license. The home and student versions cost $ 79.99, while the Pro and Business editions are on a subscription model of $ 99.99 per year.
- A Windows 10 image on ARM, previewed here. These are really designed to run in Hyper-V VMs, so since Hyper-V on ARM is still in preview, so is the VHDX image.
- A Windows 10 license. You can purchase one from Amazon here, or you can purchase one through the Microsoft Store.
What to do to run Windows 10 on Apple Silicon
- Install Parallels Desktop. It is easy and very simple. Simply open the installer file, click the button to install it, and follow the few instructions that appear. You will land on a screen that tells you that you cannot run an x86 operating system on an ARM PC. Click on Continue.
- This will take you to a page asking what you want to create. You’ll quickly see that while Windows is the primary option, there are a variety of Linux choices as well. For this tutorial, we’re focusing on Windows 10, but the process for Linux should be similar. Click on Continue.
- After choosing Windows, it will ask you where to get your install image. It automatically searches for files on your computer, so if you have a lot of images you may need to choose manually.
- After selecting your image, you will receive a confirmation that you are about to install Windows 10 on your Mac. You can probably leave this “Install operating system manually” option unchecked, as I did the first two times I went through this process. I checked it out here just to show more options.
- The following steps only appear if you have chosen to install Windows manually. Otherwise, go to the next step which looks like what you see below. Now it will ask you what you are going to use Windows 10. Parallels will adjust the resources the VM will use on your Mac depending on the answer you choose here.
- Then you will choose where you want to save the Windows virtual machine on your Mac.
- After that, you will get a progress bar indicating that Windows 10 virtual machine is being created on your Apple Silicon Mac.
- Then you will see your VM’s configuration, and there is a Configure button to change its settings.
- Like any virtualization software, you can modify any resource you want. You can change this later, but keep an eye on the Hardware tab. This will allow you to decide which resources from your Mac M1 to allocate to the Windows 10 virtual machine.
- Once you are done, you are ready to start your Windows 10 virtual machine!
- Due to the options I have chosen, Parallels will train me in the out-of-the-box experience. If you’ve opted for the default settings, you’ll start with a local Windows account.
- After Windows 10 starts for the first time on your Mac M1 in Parallels Desktop, you will see a message stating that the operation was successful.
- There’s a lot of integration with macOS here. You can see from the image above that I started with a ton of icons on my desktop. This is because these are actually the icons that were on the macOS desktop (these are actually the screenshots you see here). There is also a OneDrive connected to OneDrive folder installed on macOS, so if you start with that local account, it still works. You can even set your default browser to Safari.
- However, you’ll want to sign in with a Microsoft account. To do this, go to Settings -> Accounts and choose to sign in.
- You will also need to activate Windows 10 by going to Settings -> Update & Security -> Activation. Use the product code mentioned earlier.
- After that, Windows will be activated and you can do things like change the theme. Windows will let you use it for a while without activating it, but unless you just install Windows 10 on your Mac M1 for fun, you’ll probably want to keep it running for a while.
- Then go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Insider Program, then click on Get started. You may need to enable some data collection items.
- Make sure you’re signed in with your account and it’s set to the Dev channel.
- After that, under the Windows Update tab, check for updates. You’ll have to use the preview builds until the Windows 10 feature update comes in the fall, and you’ll get weekly builds.
- You are ready to use Windows 10! Everything should work on your Apple Silicon Mac as you’d expect, and Parallels has put a lot of thought into making sure the integrations you need are there. If you are thinking about how you can access a macOS file from Windows 10 or vice versa, then don’t think about it. Go ahead and there’s a good chance it’s already working as you’d expect.
One thing to note is that almost all apps built into Windows 10 will tell you that they are updated before you can open them. Until recently, these apps just didn’t work. This is because this 64-bit ARM version of Windows 10 comes with 32-bit ARM versions of its built-in apps. It’s not even legacy support, as there has never been 32-bit Windows on ARM PC. These apps were literally designed for Windows phones.
But Apple Silicon doesn’t support 32-bit ARM apps, simply because there haven’t been 32-bit ARM apps in the Apple ecosystem for ages. Now Windows on ARM actually extracts the x64 application (no, it’s not ARM64, as that would make too much sense) and it runs in emulation.
Either way, you’re good to go to use Windows 10 on your Apple M1 Mac. It’s a very simple process, right? While I was going through the various settings for VM resources, I didn’t adjust any of them myself. Apple’s unified memory and M1 chipset are so good that with the default 4GB RAM Windows 10 worked fine on my Mac. I would recommend using the default settings, and if for some reason that’s not enough, you can DIY it later.
If you’re looking for a dual monitor setup where you can have Windows 10 on one screen and macOS on another, check out our guide to using an external monitor with an Apple Silicon Mac. There are some limitations that you might not expect.
- Parallels Desktop virtualization software to run Windows or Linux on macOS
- Windows 10 Home product key
- Apple’s new all-in-one features a 4.5K display, M1 chipset, and pretty colors