Sorry Windows users, Boot Camp is never coming to Apple silicon Macs

a box with four different colored cases in it

Sorry, Windows users, Boot Camp is never coming to Apple silicon Macs

As Apple continues its transition to Arm-based Macs, Boot Camp, the utility that lets you install and run Windows on a Mac, is not part of the company’s plans.

“These new Macs use Apple’s own processors and are not based on Intel architecture,” an Apple spokesperson told Macworld. “As a result, Boot Camp is not available on these Macs.”

This news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to Apple’s moves over the last few years. The company has been steering users away from Boot Camp for a while now, first by making it harder to find in macOS Mojave, and then by removing support for Windows 10’s November 2019 update.

But for anyone who was holding out hope that Apple might change its mind, this statement from the company puts an end to that.

What this means for Windows users

If you need to run Windows on a new M1 Mac, your only option is to do so using virtualization software like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion. (We have a hands-on preview of Parallels Desktop for Arm-based Macs.)

Both of these programs have been updated to support Apple’s new hardware, and they both offer a similar experience to running Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp. The main difference is that, with virtualization software, you can run Windows and macOS side-by-side, without having to reboot your Mac to switch between the two operating systems.

There are a few downsides to using Windows on a Mac this way, however. First, it’s more expensive than using Boot Camp, as you’ll need to purchase both a copy of Windows and a copy of the virtualization software. (Parallels Desktop costs $80 for a new license, or $50 for an upgrade from an earlier version; VMware Fusion starts at $130.)

Second, running Windows in a virtual machine will be slower than running it natively using Boot Camp, due to the overhead of the virtualization software. And finally, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the Mac’s hardware when running Windows in a virtual machine.

For example, if you have an M1 Mac with an external display connected, you won’t be able to use the Mac’s built-in display as a second monitor for Windows. And if you have a Mac with a Touch Bar, you won’t be able to use it in Windows at all.

The good news is that both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion offer a number of features that make running Windows on a Mac a more seamless experience, such as the ability to share files and clipboard content between the two operating systems, and support for Mac-specific features like Touch ID and Siri.

So if you need to run Windows on an M1 Mac, virtualization is currently your only option. And while it’s not as fast or as seamless as using Boot Camp, it’s not a bad way to go.

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