Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac is out with performance improvements and Windows 11 support

Laurent Giret

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Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac, the latest version of the popular virtualization software is launching today on Intel-based Macs and new models rocking Apple’s in-house M1 processors. As a universal binary application, Parallels Desktop 17 is optimized for both the x86 and ARM architectures, and the built-in Installation Assistant now provides easy access to preview versions of the upcoming Windows 11 and macOS Monterey.

While it was already possible to install Windows 11 Insider preview builds on a Mac with Parallels Desktop 16.5, the version 17 of the app introduces a new virtual TPM chip to support BitLocker and Secure Boot on Windows 10 and Windows 11 virtual machines. Mac users can also expect additional performance and stability improvements, with the company promising up to 38% faster Windows, Linux, and macOS resume on all supported Macs, as well as up to 6 times faster OpenGL graphics performance.

On the gaming front, Mac gamers should enjoy better frame rates in many Windows games thanks to an improved display driver providing smoother Windows UI responsiveness and synchronized video playback experience. Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac also introduces an Automatic Resource Manager that will recommend the optimal amount of resources Mac users should allocate to virtual machines.

Coherence Mode, a great feature allowing Parallels Desktop users to run Windows and Mac apps side by side while having the Windows desktop hidden is also getting better with Parallels Desktop 17. Users should experience less distractions as all Windows shutdowns, sign-in screens, and other updates will now appear in windowed mode. Moreover, Parallels Desktop 17 now lets users seamlessly drag and drop any content between Mac and Windows applications.

Earlier this year, Parallels Desktop 16.5 added support for M1-based Macs which can already run Windows 10 on ARM preview builds with solid performance. Microsoft is still working on 64-bit x86 app emulation app on Windows 10 on ARM, and many apps and games run well on Parallels Desktop for Mac 17 on M1-based Macs, but some do not.

Overall, Parallels Desktop for Mac 17 on Macs with M1 chips should provide up to 20% faster Windows 10 on ARM disk performance and up to 28% better DirectX 11 graphics performance. For app developers, the Parallels Desktop plugin for Visual Studio, which is designed to debug code in a standalone VM now supports M1-based Macs.

Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac still ships with Parallels Toolbox, a collection of more than 30 productivity tools. The latest version of Parallels Toolbox comes with five new tools for Mac users including Focus on Window, Transform Text, Recognize Text, Barcode Scanner, and Barcode Generator.

We’ll have more to share on Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac soon, but it’s great to see the virtualization app getting better and better every year and there’s already solid support for M1-based Macs and Windows 10 on ARM virtual machines. Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac is priced at $99.99 for a perpetual license ($49.99 if you upgrade from PD16), but power users may prefer to pay $99.99/year for Parallels Desktop Pro Edition which has more features. You can download a 14-day free trial of Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac on the company’s website.