Video: Testing Windows on an M1 Mac With Parallels 16

Late last week, Parallels launched a Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac Technical Preview Program, which allows M1 Mac owners to use the Parallels software. Paired with a version of Arm-based Windows that's available through the Windows Insider program, it's possible to get Windows up and running on an Arm-based Mac.


In our latest YouTube video, we installed Parallels on an ‌M1‌ Mac and tested out Windows, but it didn't exactly go smoothly. When we first set up Parallels on an ‌M1‌ Mac, it was functional, but about an hour into the experience we kept running into errors attempting to get Windows working. It continually froze and the performance was abysmal.

With some tinkering and some troubleshooting help from the MacRumors forums, we were able to get it working well enough to test out. Parallels on the ‌M1‌ Mac is available as a Technical Preview and Windows can only be installed through Windows Insider, so neither of these are release versions of software. Given that we're working with beta software that's still in development, it's not surprising that there are issues that need to be worked out, and anyone who wants to test out Windows on an ‌M1‌ Mac through Parallels should expect to deal with bugs.

When running macOS Big Sur, the ‌M1‌ MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM has a single-core Geekbench score of 1719 and a multi-core score of 7384. When running Windows 10 through Parallels using the default two-core setting, the ‌M1‌ Mac achieved a single-core score of 1491 and a multi-core score of 2753.

That's pretty similar to Microsoft's own Surface Pro X in terms of multi-core performance, and better when it comes to single-core performance, so when it works, speeds aren't too bad. Parallels defaults to allowing just two cores when running Windows, but you can swap over to four core operation.

With four cores activated, multi-core Geekbench scores were much better, hitting 5013. The single-core score didn't improve quite as much at 1518. You can enable eight cores too, but going from four to eight cores did little for performance (1524 single core and 5958 multi-core).

In the four-core mode, there are some performance issues, so it's best to stick to the two-core default where possible. When an app is able to open and run, performance is solid, but there are a lot of bugs to deal with and a lot of software that does not work.

Many pre-installed apps don't function well and often refuse to open, but third-party apps like Geekbench seem to operate as expected. Paint 3D, the Xbox app, and the Calendar app refused to work, for example, but the Microsoft Edge browser and Office suite of apps were functional and performed decently. Third-party apps like Spotify, Notion, and others worked well, and the Windows VM is even capable of playing older games like Civilization IV and Skyrim.

Right now, getting Arm-based Windows on an ‌M1‌ Mac requires Parallels and the Windows Insider preview version of the software, and it continues to be unclear if Microsoft will make a release version of Arm Windows available for people to license.

Those who want to try out Windows (or another OS) on an ‌M1‌ Mac can sign up to try the Parallels Technical Preview.

Top Rated Comments

Chompineer Avatar
4 weeks ago


Errors, freezing, bad performance... sounds like typical windows to me.

Was the last time you used an windows machine during Vista or something?

This reads like fanboy garbage.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheDailyApple Avatar
4 weeks ago
Errors, freezing, bad performance... sounds like typical windows to me.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NewUsername Avatar
4 weeks ago


A solution to a problem that pretty much does not exist. There's a very limited set of apps that run on Windows ARM and I suspect that they're already available on a Mac. I doubt many would need this.

ARM Windows also runs Intel apps (though the x64 emulator is still in beta). This would thus allow us to run a ton of Windows apps, including games, in an environment potentially much more reliable than CrossOver.

I honestly don't know why Microsoft doesn't work with Apple to make Boot Camp possible with ARM Windows. Perhaps in 1-2 years? Anyway, the first Intel Macs didn't have Boot Camp from day one either, so we might still see something in the future.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EatinPonies Avatar
4 weeks ago
"...but going from four to eight cores did little for performance (1524 single core and 5958 multi-core)."

Um... the difference between 4 and 8 cores is 945 points by your own numbers. 945 points is an increase of almost twenty percent (18.85%) going from 5013 to 5958... That's not insignificant!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jdb8167 Avatar
4 weeks ago
The reason that many of the Windows apps don't run is that they are 32-bit Arm apps. For some reason known only to Microsoft, they compiled many apps as 32-bit and the M1 will not run 32-bit Arm binaries. Here is a list compiled by [USER=1233430]@Gnattu[/USER] of all the 32-bit binaries. I'm guessing this will correlate to the apps that didn't run while testing for the article.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/parallels-tech-preview-for-m1.2275996/post-29412503
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrat93 Avatar
4 weeks ago


Right now, getting Arm-based Windows on an M1 Mac requires Parallels and the Windows Insider preview version of the software, and it continues to be unclear if Microsoft will make a release version of Arm Windows available for people to license.

Wouldn’t that make Macs the best Windows machines? If M1 is already beating official ARM Microsoft-branded PCs via virtualization, imagine the native performance benchmarks if you could install ARM Windows via Boot Camp.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...