Parallels Desktop 16 revamped to run Windows faster on macOS Big Sur

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
The developer says 25 person-years of work was needed to bring Parallels to Big Sur, but won't comment on whether it will support Windows on Apple Silicon.

Parallels Desktop 16 promises to run Windows 10 faster on macOS Big Sur
Parallels Desktop 16 promises to run Windows 10 faster on macOS Big Sur


Parallels is the virtualization app that lets users run alternative operating systems alongside Apple's macOS, and in practice, that typically means Windows. Now as Apple confirms that Boot Camp will not continue under Apple Silicon, the question has been whether Parallels will be how Windows users can continue to use Macs.

During a video briefing with AppleInsider, the developers acknowledged the question, but refused to specifically comment yet. They instead pointed out that Apple had demonstrated the use of their Parallels product during the unveiling of Apple Silicon and macOS Big Sur.

That demonstration showed Parallels running Linux on macOS Big Sur on an Apple Silicon machine. It didn't show Windows, but the Parallels developers have now revealed they've put unprecedented effort into working on Apple Silicon.






The company says making Parallels work with macOS Big Sur required the equivalent of 25 person-years of effort. While Apple Silicon may be one unstated reason for that workload, it was Apple's reworking of core features that required adaptation.

Parallels gave the single example of kernel extensions, a way that to now has given virtualization software improved performance. These third-party "kexts" are no longer supported in Big Sur at all, and Parallels said that it was adapting to Apple's own kexts that required all the effort.

For users, what this first means is that Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac is ready for macOS Big Sur. Then the benefits of the new version and the new macOS mean that Parallels estimates it is able to run more Windows apps.

Certain Windows apps would previously fail because they required hardware that Parallels wasn't able to mimic. Many of these will now work, with Parallels saying its new version can run over 200,000 Windows apps.

Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac also claims to run those apps faster than before, with Windows launching twice as fast, and resuming or shutting down up to 20% quicker. It also improves on the previously significant issue that virtual Windows could request extra disk space, but not then return it when shut down.






Parallels Desktop 16 is being sold in three different editions, starting with a standard version, which is a one-time $99.99 purchase. Pro and Business Editions are available on subscription, both for $99.99 per year. Upgrading pricing is also available.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Windows on Apple Silicon would require the involvement of X86 "AMD64" emulation. Then the virtual machine kicks in. This will leads to a massive price jump.

  • Reply 2 of 25
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,774member
    But everyone here keeps saying the transition is just a simple tickbox! 🙄 It is in the most basic of circumstances but not always.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. The question is if x86 app’s on W10 arm on an ARM instruction set are going to be sufficient performant, it’s been shown they run significantly slower. This of course can be compensated by faster Silicon. I’m sure developers of Parallels already have this on their def kit, but that would not be representative for performance and would also brake their NDA.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Certain Windows apps would previously fail because they required hardware that Parallels wasn't able to mimic. Many of these will now work, with Parallels saying its new version can run over 200,000 Windows apps.

    Would love to know what one or two of those apps are. I had to run SolidWorks 2020 on a 2010 Mac mini yesterday for some testing. While it was painfully slow, it worked.

    Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac also claims to run those apps faster than before, with Windows launching twice as fast, and resuming or shutting down up to 20% quicker. It also improves on the previously significant issue that virtual Windows could request extra disk space, but not then return it when shut down.

    My comprehension is a little off. If you are running an older version of Mac OS will you notice these advancements as well? I skipped Catalina, I did have it on one test machine for support purposes. I may be a little more open to Big Sur.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    scartartscartart Posts: 201member
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    elijahgagilealtitudewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,774member
    scartart said:
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    This is true, though I wonder if the ASi transition will start other vendors looking at ARM more seriously too. It usually takes someone like Apple to take a bold step for the rest of the industry to follow. A switch from x86 is needed, but whether this will be enough I'm not sure. Businesses as usual will only switch if they are dragged kicking and screaming, and then will need a 100% compatible translation layer. 

    That said, I need x86 Windows. Unless there's a seismic shift in the industry toward ARM, I will unfortunately not be getting another Mac - after being an Apple aficionado for 23 years.
    edited August 2020 agilealtitude
  • Reply 7 of 25
    AF_HittAF_Hitt Posts: 143member
    elijahg said:
    scartart said:
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    This is true, though I wonder if the ASi transition will start other vendors looking at ARM more seriously too. It usually takes someone like Apple to take a bold step for the rest of the industry to follow. A switch from x86 is needed, but whether this will be enough I'm not sure. Businesses as usual will only switch if they are dragged kicking and screaming, and then will need a 100% compatible translation layer. 

    That said, I need x86 Windows. Unless there's a seismic shift in the industry toward ARM, I will unfortunately not be getting another Mac - after being an Apple aficionado for 23 years.
    I predict in about 5 years, everything will have universal options that work on x86 and ARM. You're right, Apple usually leads the seismic shifts in technology, from the floppy disk to the CD drive to SSDs as standard to 64-bit (especially on mobile) to fingerprint readers on phones, etc. etc. etc. I have missed countless other examples throughout the years, but the point is that when Apple does something, the rest of the industry typically follows.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 25
    razorpit said:
    Certain Windows apps would previously fail because they required hardware that Parallels wasn't able to mimic. Many of these will now work, with Parallels saying its new version can run over 200,000 Windows apps.

    Would love to know what one or two of those apps are. I had to run SolidWorks 2020 on a 2010 Mac mini yesterday for some testing. While it was painfully slow, it worked.

    Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac also claims to run those apps faster than before, with Windows launching twice as fast, and resuming or shutting down up to 20% quicker. It also improves on the previously significant issue that virtual Windows could request extra disk space, but not then return it when shut down.

    My comprehension is a little off. If you are running an older version of Mac OS will you notice these advancements as well? I skipped Catalina, I did have it on one test machine for support purposes. I may be a little more open to Big Sur.

    macOS has had "hypervisor.framework" for a while, but offline discussions and tea leaf reading leads me to believe this is the first year VMware and Parallels may have gone "all-in" with it (perhaps the reason for "25 person-years" of work).  Based on release notes for betas and tech previews, it also appears to be the first year that the new version of those hypervisors will not work on previous versions of macOS, likely due to the kext changes.
    GG1cat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,038member
    The best Windows computer is still a dedicated set of hardware.
    Buy a PC and run it headless using Remote Desktop.
    cat52loopless
  • Reply 10 of 25
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    elijahg said:
    But everyone here keeps saying the transition is just a simple tickbox! 🙄 It is in the most basic of circumstances but not always.
    Actually, folk here said that the apps that would cause problems were virtualisation and containers engines like Docker: stuff that requires needs to work below the framework level. 
    thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    elijahg said:
    scartart said:
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    This is true, though I wonder if the ASi transition will start other vendors looking at ARM more seriously too. It usually takes someone like Apple to take a bold step for the rest of the industry to follow. A switch from x86 is needed, but whether this will be enough I'm not sure. Businesses as usual will only switch if they are dragged kicking and screaming, and then will need a 100% compatible translation layer. 

    That said, I need x86 Windows. Unless there's a seismic shift in the industry toward ARM, I will unfortunately not be getting another Mac - after being an Apple aficionado for 23 years.
    Im not sure there is going to be a seismic shift towards Windows ARM because I’m not sure there is a real need for it. There are hardly any new Windows apps being written from scratch these days. Most people will continue happily with what they have. 

    Microsoft is focussing its efforts on cloud services, and filling out the client side with Android and iOS apps. 

    So yes, you probably will end up getting a Windows machine, though apparently it won’t be a Toshiba. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 25
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    elijahg said:
    But everyone here keeps saying the transition is just a simple tickbox! ߙ䠉t is in the most basic of circumstances but not always.
    It is in all circumstances except, obviously, virtualisation and only one or two other cases. - kernel extensions for instance.  Clearly they code to the chip and are chip aware. Nobody else needs to be.  


    edited August 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    looplessloopless Posts: 332member
    davgreg said:
    The best Windows computer is still a dedicated set of hardware.
    Buy a PC and run it headless using Remote Desktop.
    Exactly.. a 27" iMac makes a great RDP client...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,757member
    elijahg said:
     Businesses as usual will only switch if they are dragged kicking and screaming, and then will need a 100% compatible translation layer. 

    That's what people swore about Blackberry when the iPhone came out. 

    It didn't even take 2 years.  In government, no less.  it was mind boggling.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected Blackberry to fall - let alone to Apple! In the commercial space?  Maybe.  But I never thought I would see wide adoption of any Apple products in Government.  And now I see Mac's penetrating in general use.  It's pretty unreal.  

    If there is a compelling enough reason, people will chuck the old and embrace the new.  The key is the value proposition has to be there.  The iPhone was night and day to Blackberry and Windows Mobile.  Will Apple Silicon present as stark a contrast?  Only time will tell but Apple isn't stupid.  If they didn't think they had a significant story to tell even up to the Mac Pro level they wouldn't have committed to moving everything in two years fully to their own system on chip designs.

    And I think that's a point that keeps getting glossed over by many.  Apple Silicon isn't just a drop in CPU replacement.  A lot of functionality that is relegated to separate chips on a motherboard are instead baked into the same system on chip silicon that has the CPU cores.   The GPU cores are on the same silicon.  What if you had shared system/video RAM with zero performance penalty?  Works great for the iPhone/iPad Pro.  I think people are seriously underestimating the gains in latency alone that the system on chip approach brings.

    I can hear you ask - if it's such a no brainer then why doesn't everyone else do it?  Complexity.  Intel couldn't possibly hope to appease everyone - hence we have the current least common denominator modular designs with the CPU cores on a chip and everything else off-boarded.  It's why Apple decided to acquire PA Semi and go their own way.  They couldn't get Intel to innovate in the directions they wanted; not that I entirely blame Intel either.  It's not their model.  

    Still not convinced such integration can be game changing?  AMD has re-integrated the memory controller on chip and it was a significant contributor to their success with Athalon - that's just one of MANY significant departures Apple will no doubt unveil with their chips because we can see what they already are doing for the iPhone and iPad.  And those designs weren't aimed at the desktop.  Who knows where they will go without the steep battery/power/thermal envelope constraints of 100% mobile devices.  

    Heck they can add specific instructions to help Parallels emulate x86.  Wouldn't that be wild if Windows ran faster on Apple Silicon than equivalently priced Intel PCs?  I don't think it's a solid bet that x86 emulation will suck because emulating one CPU on another has always sucked before.  No one like Apple has had full control of the CPU architecture before - every other CPU used in mass market computers was a least common denominator part shared among many different vendors.  

    Not this time - the least common denominator constraints are out the window (ha!).  This is a new era in computing; I think it could be as significant as the mainframe -> mini computer and mini -> microcomputer revolutions. 
    edited August 2020 GG1tmayemoeller
  • Reply 15 of 25
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,757member

    scartart said:
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    Why do you not think Parallels won't run x86 Windows?  And as I posted previously, I wouldn't assume such emulation would automatically be slower either. 
  • Reply 16 of 25
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,757member
    elijahg said:
    But everyone here keeps saying the transition is just a simple tickbox! 🙄 It is in the most basic of circumstances but not always.
    it is for things 100% in Apples toolchain.  Obviously Windows isn't. 

    Heck Adobe has ARM native creative suite already.  That's a slight change from the OSX/Carbon fiasco last time and I'm sure a good chunk of that was the smoother transition path this time.  Carbon required some serious rewriting.  
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 25
    scartart said:
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    Performance could be very good, it all depends on how the instruction set translation is done. For day to day use like accounting apps, CRM etc that is not available it’s more than enough. If you need high end performance you where already very likely to use an optimized PC for that. Most people I know that run windows on mac was because of one or 2 apps that where bureautic apps that do not need exceptional performance ... And as already mentioned by someone else, You will see more and more universal binaries on windows too ... 
    razorpit
  • Reply 18 of 25
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    docno42 said:

    scartart said:
    temperor said:
    If developers can make Windows run on a Pi4, I’m sure Parallels can do it as well. 
    99.99% of people who need to run Windows, need to run the x86 version of Windows, not the useless ARM version.
    Why do you not think Parallels won't run x86 Windows?  And as I posted previously, I wouldn't assume such emulation would automatically be slower either. 
    I would.  Your previous post was high on hope, low on anything approoaching facts.  Neither Apple nor Parallels are wizards.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    It would be nice if Apple could make its excellent just in time machine code x86 translation into a permanent SDK feature that is available to Parallels and all other Mac and iOS developers. To go along with it, a virtualization SDK would be nice too. That would allow things like 100% safe web browsers that reset their environments to a known safe state every time you use them. Come on Apple. Think different!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 25
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,167member
    I cancelled my Parfallels subscription renewal, which will expire next May, due to lack of information regarding Apple Silicon. This and the fact that now you need to pay $99/year to be able to use more than 8GB of RAM is a nail in the coffin. I am sick and tired of software subscription models for software that doesn't need subscription models.

    I use Windows for engineering software (CAD, FEM.. etc) and will most likely going to end up buying cheap PC + Remote Desktop for my Windows needs.. 


    watto_cobra
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