Running Windows OS on a Mac allows you to reap all the benefits of Windows exclusive games and applications, coupled with Mac hardware. Before Mac’s with M1 chips were released in November 2020, Windows could be installed quite easily on Intel Mac PC’s.
M1 Macs have a different processor architecture than the Intel ones, and hence not all applications and features of Windows are compatible with it. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot run Windows on M1 Macs. There are several ways to do so. In this article, you’ll get to know the entire procedure to install the latest version of Windows on both Intel and M1 Mac computers.
The first thing you need to consider before trying to install Windows on your Mac is which processor it runs on, and the version of macOS you’re running. Generally, you need a Mac device that was released after 2012 and must have macOS 10.11 or later installed. We will start this guide with the process of installing macOS on Intel-based Mac devices.
How to Install Windows on Mac’s with Intel Processors
There are a few prerequisites that you need to check before continuing with the process.
- Intel-based Mac device from 2007 or later
- macOS Catalina or greater
- Blank USB drive to flash Windows ISO
- 55 GB or higher free space on storage.
- A genuine copy of Windows OS in ISO format.
Once you’ve completed and checked all the items in this checklist, you’re ready to proceed with the actual installation.
- Navigate to the menu bar and find the “Utilities” option in the drop-down menu.
- From here, run “Boot Camp Assistant”.
- Once the application is open, you’ll be presented with a brief introduction to the tool.
- Click on Next to get the ISO selection screen.
- From here, click on Choose, and select the original Windows ISO that you downloaded earlier.
- Next, verify the partition size allocated for Windows OS. It should be at least greater or equal to 64 GB. This cannot be changed later, so make sure that it’s correct.
- Once done, click “Install” to begin the setup and partitioning process.
- You may be prompted to enter the Administrator password during the installation process.
- After this, your device will reboot into Windows setup, in which you’ll need to enter your product key to continue.
- When the Windows setup prompts you to select the installation partition, select ‘Boot Camp’.
- Once the Windows setup is complete, your device will reboot into the Mac Bootloader.
- Select Next, followed by “Install’ to finish the installation of the essential drivers.
- Restart again, and you will boot into a fully functional Windows OS on your Mac device.
In case you don’t want to install a full version of Windows alongside your macOS, you have the option to emulate Windows using virtualization software on the Mac. There are two virtual machine programs that are considered to be the best on macOS – Parallels and VMWare Fusion. This process is not processor-dependent, and you can virtualize Windows on both Intel and M1-based Mac devices.
How to Run Windows on Both M1 and Intel-Based Mac Devices?
Bootcamp support is not present in M1-based Mac devices. In this section, you’ll get to know the procedure to install Windows using an app called Parallels, which lets you run a virtual machine with Windows right on top of macOS.
There is another thing to consider before running Windows on an M1-based Mac. M1 processors have been developed by Apple with Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) architecture, and not x86 like most other processors. Thankfully, Windows comes with an ARM-compatible version and can emulate x86 programs. So, you can only run the ARM version of Windows as of now on your M1 Mac Device.
Keeping this in mind, let’s begin with the process of setting up Parallels, and getting Windows running on it.
- Download and install Parallels on your Mac from here.
- Get the insider ARM version of Windows from here. Note that you’ll need to sign in with an Insider-enabled Microsoft account to access this download.
- On its first run, Parallels will ask you to grant a few permissions before continuing. Grant all of the permissions to allow Parallels to access all folders and directories.
- If you’re using an M1-based Mac device, Parallels will inform you that it will install the ARM version of Windows.
- Click on Continue, and select “Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or Image file.”
- Select the Windows 10 for ARM VHDX file that you downloaded earlier.
- Next, Parallels will ask whether you want to use Windows for gaming or productivity purposes, to optimize it accordingly.
- After this, you’ll need to specify the installation location and name for your Windows OS.
- Click on “Create” to start the final installation process.
- After a while, you’ll get the option to customize installation settings including the number of allocated CPU threads and RAM. Change these to at least 4 GB if you have 8 GB of system RAM, and select 8 or 12 GB in case your Mac has 16 GB of system memory.
- Click continue, and you’ll be presented with other permissions that need to be granted in order to use other hardware like a camera, microphone, Bluetooth, and more.
- Once the permissions have been granted, you are ready to use Windows on your Mac device.
With Parallels installed with Windows on it, you can use the shortcut of “command + tab” to switch between macOS and Windows almost instantly. For gaming purposes, you can install Steam and most of the games should be compatible with ARM-based M1 processors because of the x86 emulation in Windows.
Installing Windows on your Mac device enables you to run many Windows exclusive applications and games that are not natively available on macOS. Earlier, with Intel-based Mac devices, Apple provided their own solution to install windows called Bootcamp. But, with the new ARM M1-based Macs, it is currently not possible to run the full native x86 version of Windows on them. However, this guide should help you to run Windows games and apps regardless of your processor on Mac.