Parallels 16.5 with support for Apple Silicon and improved performance now available

Parallels has released version 16.5 of its virtulisation software with official support for Apple Silicon Macs, allowing users to run an ARM version of Windows 10 for the first time. The update is now available for M1 and Intel users, although is largely based on improving how it works on the newer Macs.

The developer touts signifcant performance improvements on M1 Macs, claiming Parallels will perform 30% faster in Windows 10 virtual machine (VM) than on a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor.

  • Up to 250 percent less energy used: On a Mac with an Apple M1 chip, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less  energy  than on a 2020  Intel-based MacBook Air computer. 
  • Up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance: Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1 Mac delivers up to 60 percent better DirectX 11performance than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with  Radeon Pro 555X GPU. 
  • Up to 30 percent  better virtual machine performance (Windows): Running a virtual machine (VM) of Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on Parallels Desktop 16.5 on an M1 Mac performs up to 30 percent better than a Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor.

Over 100,000 M1 users tested Parallels Desktop 16.5 and attempted to run “tens of thousands” of Intel-based applications within a virtual machine. Users who want to run Windows 10 on their M1 Mac will need to download the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview from Microsoft. The company doesn’t currently offer a retail version of Windows 10 on ARM for customers to purchase.

Parallels 16.5 will be available as a free update for users on Parallels 16. New users, or customers on Version 15 or older, can purchase the software from the Parallels website from £69.99 or as an upgrade for £39.99.

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Ben Ward
Senior Editor, discussing everything Apple and supporting other writers and members of Apple TLD's team of volunteers.
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