Microsoft finally documents how to run Windows 11 on an Arm Mac

It’s official. You can finally run Windows 11 on an Apple Silicon Mac, but nothing has changed.

Installing Windows 11 on a Mac with Parallels
Today, Microsoft is publishing documentation about running Windows 11 on an Apple Silicon Mac, such as one using its custom M1 or M2 chipsets. That’s it; that’s the story.

The methods for doing so actually haven’t changed. Using Parallels Desktop is probably the way to go for most people, and Microsoft is calling ti an authorized solution. Parallels works by using virtualization, so you’re still not running on bare metal like you could with Boot Camp on Intel-based Macs. That’s not changing either, as adding Boot Camp would require Apple’s cooperation.

The other option is Windows 365, also known as Cloud PCs. This is what it sounds like, basically using a remote desktop that’s hosted in the cloud. Obviously, this is subscription-based and it’s aimed at businesses. Parallels, on the other hand, is still aimed at businesses but it more practical for the everyday user.

The real story here is simply that Microsoft is documenting how to run Windows 11 on an Apple Silicon Mac. To this date, the Redmond firm really hasn’t talked about running Windows on Arm on anything that doesn’t have a Snapdragon processor. Even when it introduced VHDX files for virtual machines, the team indicated that it was for VMs that are already running on Qualcomm hardware. Running Windows 11 on Apple Silicon has been officially unsupported, despite the fact that Parallels has been doing it since the beginning.

As we reported exclusively in late 2021, Microsoft had an exclusivity deal with Qualcomm, which is why Windows on Arm PCs only have Snapdragon processors. While I knew the deal existed and that it would expire, I didn’t know when it would expire. Hopefully, Microsoft publishing this documentation is an indication that it’s finally starting to open up the platform. That means, at the very least, opening the door for Apple to reintroduce Boot Camp if it chooses to, and allowing MediaTek to make Windows chipsets, something that the company has said it plans to do as soon as it can.