Are you a Mac user in need of running Windows applications or exploring different operating systems on your beloved Apple device? Look no further than Parallels Desktop 19. In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into the latest features of this powerful virtualization software and explore why it’s an essential tool for Mac users.
What Is Parallels Desktop?
Parallels Desktop is virtualization software that transforms your Mac into a versatile machine capable of running multiple operating systems simultaneously. Unlike Apple’s Boot Camp, which necessitates a complete system reboot, Parallels Desktop allows you to seamlessly switch between macOS and Windows or other operating systems while using Mac and Windows apps side by side.
This flexibility means you can have a Windows desktop floating on your Mac desktop, switch to full-screen mode for a Windows-only experience, or even keep a small preview of Windows in the corner of your Mac screen while working on other tasks.
Over the years, Parallels Desktop has evolved, introducing an array of features that capitalize on the ability to run different operating systems concurrently. The most recent update, Parallels Desktop 19, launched in August 2023, brings a host of new enhancements and capabilities.
What’s New in Parallels Desktop 19?
Parallels continues its tradition of annual updates, closely aligning with the release of new macOS versions. With macOS Sonoma on the horizon for October 2023, Parallels Desktop 19 arrives as a significant upgrade. While some improvements are under the hood, here are some standout features:
- Redesigned Interface: Parallels Desktop 19 sports a fresh look, featuring curved lines and modern aesthetics in line with Apple’s recent macOS designs. Even the app icon receives a facelift.
- Enhanced 3D Graphics: Support for OpenGL 4.1 enables improved compatibility and performance for graphics-intensive applications like ArcGIS Pro, VectorWorks, and VariCAD.
- Internet Printing Protocol (IPP): With Apple’s change in printing systems in Sonoma, Parallels Desktop 19 introduces IPP for seamless printing from your virtual machine using your regular printer. It even enhances compatibility for features like two-sided printing.
- Touch ID Integration: For added security, Parallels Desktop 19 incorporates Touch ID support for Windows virtual machines. Now, you can sign in using both Touch ID and your Microsoft account, a valuable feature for safeguarding sensitive data.
- Developer-Focused Features: Pro and Business editions introduce support for Visual Studio Code, simplifying VM organization for developers. There’s also improved support for creating VMs that utilize macOS on Apple Silicon-based Macs.
Parallels Desktop offers three editions: Standard, Pro, and Business.
- Standard: Priced at $99.99 per year (with discounts for students and educators), it includes all future updates. A perpetual license option is available for $129.99.
- Pro: Aimed at developers, this edition costs $119.99 annually and is only available as a subscription.
- Business: Geared toward larger organizations, it is priced at $149.99 annually, also available via subscription.
A 14-day free trial allows you to explore Parallels Desktop before committing to a purchase.
Running Windows on Your Mac
With Apple’s shift to its ARM-based M-series chips, running Windows on Macs became more complex, especially for M1 and M2 Mac users. However, Parallels Desktop 18 streamlined the process by offering direct downloads and purchases of the ARM version of Windows 11 within the application, eliminating previous complexities. You can easily set up Windows 11 in your virtual machine using this approach.
If you have an Intel Mac, you can still run various versions of Windows, although some requirements, like TPM 2.0 for Windows 11, may need workarounds.
Moreover, Parallels Desktop isn’t limited to Windows. It supports various operating systems, including Linux distributions, BSD Unix, Ubuntu, and Debian. This versatility allows you to experiment with different OSs hassle-free.
Running Multiple Versions of macOS
Parallels Desktop allows you to run macOS as both the host and a guest virtual machine. This means you can test beta versions of macOS or run different macOS versions side by side for various tasks.
Parallels Desktop offers a Coherence mode that seamlessly integrates Windows apps with native macOS apps, creating a harmonious coexistence. You can easily copy and paste text and graphics between Windows and Mac apps and even drag and drop images from Mac applications into Windows.
The Business and Pro editions bring added benefits. For large organizations, Parallels Desktop streamlines VM deployment, while developers benefit from features like Visual Studio Code integration and improved networking.
Efficient performance is crucial when running Windows or Linux on your Mac. Parallels Desktop continuously enhances memory allocation and graphics performance to ensure a smooth experience. The software’s Automatic Resource Manager optimizes memory and processor allocation based on your app usage, removing the guesswork.
Parallels Desktop also offers a Free Up Disk Space feature, allowing you to reclaim storage space efficiently. On high-end Macs like the Mac Studio, you can allocate up to 62GB of memory and 18 CPU cores for improved performance.
Despite concerns when Corel acquired Parallels, the software maintains its identity and development pace. Parallels Desktop remains a top choice for Mac users seeking seamless virtualization. Its frequent updates and impressive feature set make it a standout option, and Apple’s endorsement further solidifies its position.
Whether you’re a first-time user or considering an annual upgrade, Parallels Desktop 19 is a reliable choice for running Windows and various operating systems on your Mac. Its unrivaled features and performance make it a vital tool for Mac users with diverse computing needs.
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