Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur.

When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ground up, but that challenge has now been officially completed.


While support for Big Sur is the headline feature, Parallels 16 also comes with several new features and improvements. This version claims to launch twice as fast and offers a 20 percent improvement in DirectX performance, with OpenGL 3 graphics in Windows and Linux also said to be improved.

There are new multi-touch gestures for Windows apps such as smooth zoom and rotate multi-touch gestures, while printing from Windows (with Shared Printers) now allows users to print on both sides and use more paper sizes, from A0 to envelope.

Virtual machines can now be set to automatically return unused disk space when shutting down, and Windows Travel Mode claims to be able to increase laptop battery by up to 10 percent.

Elsewhere, Pro Edition users can now name their custom networks, and export virtual machines in a compressed format that are a said to be a fraction of their pre-compressed size. Parallels has also launched a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio to simplify testing on different operating systems.

Lastly, in addition to all the work that has gone on under the hood to ensure Big Sur compatibility, Parallels 16 also brings a new look to the software that's more in keeping with Apple's redesigned interface in macOS 11.

There's no word at present whether Parallels will run Windows on the forthcoming Apple Silicon Macs that Apple announced at WWDC, but Parallels says it will release further information on this further down the line.


Parallels Desktop 16 requires High Sierra 10.13 or later to run, and can be purchased for a one-off fee of $99.99 for the standard edition, with the more feature-laden Pro and Business editions available at $79.99 per year on a subscription basis.

Users with Parallels Desktop 14 and 15 (including Pro and Business Editions) can upgrade for $49.99, while college students in the United States, Canada, Germany and U.K. have access to the reduced price Student Edition. A 14-day trial of the virtualization suite is also available.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
11 weeks ago
Parallels Inc. has solved the problem with subscription software. You buy the software at full price with full ownership, but you always have to buy a new one every year. Best of both worlds.

/end sarcasm
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 weeks ago
Every year something is always 20% faster with Parallels :)
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 weeks ago
every year when a new macOS comes out they make us pay another 49.99 not fair
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 weeks ago


Their pricing model is abhorrent. They charge you twice as much for the "Pro" version to remove completely arbitrary CPU and RAM limits.

Or if you're a developer they charge you twice as much for "Pro" just so you can integrate it with free open-source tools such as Vagrant.

If they actually had a fair pricing model they would get money from me, but as it is I am content virtualising Linux under VirtualBox. The performance difference isn't big enough to justify $100 a year.

1) How many hours of work do you need to earn $100 ?
2) How many hours of work do you spare by using Parallels (or VMWare) ?

If 1 < 2 then buy it, otherwise don't.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 weeks ago


every year when a new macOS comes out they make us pay another 49.99 not fair

Do you want new features or not? Do you think these features magically appear, or do you developers need to code them and that these developers want salaries?

If you want something cheaper, take look at VirtualBox. It's really really bad compared to Parallels.
Parallels is a luxury alternative. It's the best but also expensive.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 weeks ago


With the advent of ARM — what does the future hold for these products?

It depends. If they can emulate x86 effectively enough to at least run office tasks and non ARM Windows, they might do tremendously well from the transition given they won’t be competing with Bootcamp. This seems sort of unlikely to me, but maybe it’s a possability.

On the other hand they get replaced by a variety of services. XCloud, Stadia And the like for example could largely kill much of their gaming audience over night. Don’t want to run Bootcamp but want to game? Well those options are likely better than Parallels ever was as long as your internet connections ok.

For other desktop tasks were probably at a point where most things can be serviced by cloud compute. Absolute worst case you might have an Azure hosted Windows instance. It might not suit very highly data intensive loads, but I’m sure it’ll fill many or most gaps.

Which brings me back to Parallels. They’re already moved a lot of their audience to a subscription model. If they can’t get on device emulation happening their next move could be to offer a cloud hosted solution that’s user centric. That might mean being a provider for hosted OS instances, it could also mean seperate game streaming services. That might be one way they can continue to provide similar experiences to consumers, and if they bundle it into a nice and easy to use package with a good pricing model, it could be a differentiator to enterprise solutions like AWS and Azure.

Just a thought anyway.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

French iPhone Boxes Come Packed in an Outer Box With Separate EarPods

Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:52 am PDT by
After the news that France would be the only territory to continue to include EarPods with the iPhone, it seems that Apple is not packing the earbuds within the iPhone's box (via iGeneration). Screenshot from TheiCollection's review video The French iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro does not have a different retail box to accommodate EarPods, meaning that all iPhone boxes are consistent...

Some Defective Apple iPhone 12 Cases Shipping Without Speaker Holes

Wednesday October 21, 2020 12:54 pm PDT by
At least two customers who have purchased iPhone 12 cases have received defective cases that do not have speaker holes, which obscures the sound. Photo by Reddit user zarnold16 There have been two separate threads on Reddit from iPhone 12 customers who purchased a case and received one without speaker holes. One customer was told by an Apple advisor that the case wasn't meant to have...

Watch: New iPad Air Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted on reviews for the new iPad Air ahead of its launch on Friday. In addition to our more detailed review roundup, we've shared a handful of unboxing videos and first impressions of the device below. The new iPad Air via Karl Conrad The new iPad Air features a larger 10.9-inch edge-to-edge display, a faster A14 Bionic chip, and a USB-C port instead of Lightning. It is...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...