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Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop for Mac


What is Parallels Desktop for Mac?

Parallels® Desktop for Mac is used to run Windows on Intel or Apple silicon. Users can switch between Mac and Windows applications, while retaining the macOS appearance, or use the familiar Windows desktop aesthetic.

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Recent Reviews

Parallels for Mac.

8 out of 10
June 21, 2024
Parallel is an excellent tool for using the Windows operating system on an iOS / Mac Machine. It is a breeze to use this tool. So many …
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Parallels Desktop Standard Edition


On Premise
per year

Mac App Store


On Premise
per year

Parallels Desktop Pro Edition


On Premise
per year

Entry-level set up fee?

  • No setup fee
For the latest information on pricing, visit…


  • Free Trial
  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting/Integration Services

Starting price (does not include set up fee)

  • $99.99 per year
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Product Details

What is Parallels Desktop for Mac?

Parallels® Desktop for Mac is used to run Windows on Intel or Apple silicon. Users can switch between Mac and Windows applications, while retaining the macOS appearance, or use the familiar Windows desktop aesthetic.

The application's 3D performance can fuel demanding graphical applications, games, and a wide array of OSes, including Windows and Linux VMs.

As a subscription license bonus, Parallels Toolbox offers 40+ practical tools to simplify everyday tasks like recording the screen, cleaning the drive, taking screenshots, or downloading a video.

Parallels Desktop for Mac Features

Application Virtualization Features

  • Supported: Application support
  • Supported: Ease of deployment
  • Supported: Security

Parallels Desktop for Mac Screenshots

Screenshot of Parallels Desktop running Windows applications, on a Mac.Screenshot of the ability to switch between operating systems without rebooting.Screenshot of Coherence Mode, which minimizes distraction.Screenshot of file sharing between Mac and Windows.Screenshot of application development and testing in Windows, Linux, and virtual macOS (Pro & Business Edition).Screenshot of license management in Parallels Desktop (Business Edition).

Parallels Desktop for Mac Videos

Windows on a Mac with Parallels Desktop 19
Parallels Desktop 19 for Mac Business Edition

Parallels Desktop for Mac Competitors

Parallels Desktop for Mac Technical Details

Deployment TypesOn-premise
Operating SystemsWindows, Linux, Mac
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Parallels® Desktop for Mac is used to run Windows on Intel or Apple silicon. Users can switch between Mac and Windows applications, while retaining the macOS appearance, or use the familiar Windows desktop aesthetic.

Parallels Desktop for Mac starts at $99.99.

Oracle VM VirtualBox, VMware Fusion, and CrossOver are common alternatives for Parallels Desktop for Mac.

Reviewers rate Usability highest, with a score of 10.

The most common users of Parallels Desktop for Mac are from Small Businesses (1-50 employees).
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Reviews and Ratings


Attribute Ratings


(1-2 of 2)
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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We are an all Apple environment, but still, we have plenty of applications that require us to run Windows. In some cases, we have entire departments that have this need, and in other instances, it’s a single user. Prior to implementing Parallels Desktop, we had some people who were lugging around an old Dell laptop in addition to a MacBook Pro for a single application. The IT department also uses to easily spin up virtual machines for testing and training on our machines.
  • Quickly share resources between the host machine and guest. Great for when we process data in MacOS and then need it in a virtual machine.
  • Coherence mode is great for a lot of users. They don’t even realize the app isn’t running natively on the host operating system.
  • The user interface for managing virtual machines isn’t my favorite.
Parallels Desktop is great for when you need to run resource-hungry applications in a guest's operating system. If you’re simply looking to test drive other operating systems, there are certainly free ways to do that. However, I have found that once it came time to actually put the guest operating system to use Parallels Desktop offered a much better, more seamless solution.
Application Virtualization
  • Supported administrations moved to an all Apple environment.
  • Reduced the need to run the application servers for low use applications.
At the end of the day, it seemed like Parallels Desktop has the fastest product with a feature set that was most important to our users. Additionally, it seemed to hit a mark where it was easy enough for our less tech-savvy users, but powerful enough for our users that really wanted to stretch the software and its capabilities.
The Raisers Edge, Blackbaud Education Management Solutions (formerly Blackbaud K–12 ON Solutions), Financial Edge NXT
Parallels Desktop is used by our Information Technology department and our Advancement department. The advancement department is in charge of establishing and maintaining relationships with donors. We are a Mac environment, and have Windows applications that are needed on our Mac devices. We've also used Parallels Remote Application Server to virtualize some of these pieces of software.
Basic troubleshooting of the application is handled by our Technology Support Specialist who is our first line in support requests. This level of support is able to resolve a majority of the issues we have had with the product. Additionally we have a Network Administrator who is much more familiar with virtualization technologies and has been using Parallels for over a decade. The Network Administrator would be the point of contact for external support if necessary.
  • Application virtualizaiton on laptops that don't run a support OS.
  • OS virtualization for testing
  • Legacy software - we have some applications which have been retired from production, but we still need a historical report from them every so often
  • We are an educational institution and we've used it for cybersecurity and development classes.
  • We are seeing a decline in the use of the software as more of our products are web native.
Users are familiar with the application which will keep us going for a little while. However since we are seeing a decline for a need for the software, I wouldn't be surprised to find that this answer changes dramatically in the near future. We would probably keep it to some extent, but we would probably reduce our licensing count.
We have had rare occasions to contact support about the product. Most questions were easily answered from the knowledge base. When we have had to contact support they were able to provide us with a couple of different solutions and enough resources about how to accomplish said solutions that solving the problem was easy enough.
We did not. The budget owner at the time declined the option. Since that time I have become the budget owner and would have opted to purchase premium support. This has been a shift across the board with our institution, employing less people, but purchasing more premium support options to provide employees with better tools and support.
After taking over ownership of the product in our institution, the first time we had to renew I had a laundry list of items that I wanted to see addressed. The sales team was able to connect me with the support that I needed to resolve all of my issues.
Will Goad | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Parallels Desktop is used in my organization and with our customers to support Windows Apps when there is no Mac Application or the Mac Application is not fully featured.
We have a legacy application where only administrative functions can be performed in a Windows App. For some of our customers, all users are Mac users. Parallels and their Coherence Mode provide a near-seamless virtual machine/desktop experience for these users. Coherence Mode means they don't have to deal with a windows environment and can work side by side with our app and their other Mac apps (Adobe Creative Cloud apps, for example).
  • Windows (or other OS) virtualization on machines running MacOS
  • Using Windows apps side by side your Mac apps
  • Coherence Mode allows you to hide the Windows Virtual Machine and only interact with the Windows Apps (no Windows desktop in browser window)
  • I think that over time it slows down, but this is really linked to Windows bloating.
  • I think Coherence Mode could improve the windows search window populates and moves around sometimes is weird. (this could be changed in settings, but I'm not sure)
  • Memory Usage optimization (again, they do a great job, so I'm nitpicking here)
Do you have to use Windows Apps, but don't want to leave your Mac Environment? If so, you need to use Parallels. I love Windows, but I'm so embedded in the Mac ecosystem that I don't want to go back to Windows. Parallels make that possible. Do you need to copy/paste/share files and information between your Mac and Windows environments? Parallels make that seamless and better than Bootcamp or other virtualization options.
Application Virtualization
  • It has allowed us to keep customers and keep them happy.
  • It has allowed me to keep my current computer.
  • It has made it possible for me to experience our app the way all customers see it without having to switch machines.
If you can follow a prompt and click a button, you can install Parallels. We chose Parallels because they make it so simple to buy, install, set up, and add licenses. I work with Creatives and getting them to run a Windows environment is a painful task. With Parallels, we can do it for them in minutes and "hide" Windows.
We have 2 internal users of Parallels and 10 clients who use the tool. Internally, they are CS and Engineering. On the customer side, they represent marketing/creative users within their respective organizations.
Are you able to follow simple software installation instructions? The tool is so simple to install and it just works. Once you download the .pkg file, the installation is guided with the system doing most of the work for you, as long as you can read and click. Advanced functions like switching to coherence or setting memory limits is very simple also.
  • Ability for mac users to access critical windows apps from their Macs
  • Need for the VM to be installed on the local machine (not accessed remotely)
  • Need for the ability to remove as much of the VM/Windows environment as possible
  • Need to share files and copy/paste between local MacOS and local Windows VM
  • It has allowed us to keep providing a fully featured application to clients using Mac instead of Windows.
  • I believe we are utilizing it fully for our needs.
The software just works. I will say the renewal process is frustrating if you are decreasing seats, but otherwise the software and the account management is simple and perfect.
VIrtual Box - It was not easy for non-technical users to install. Parallels makes it simple to install and work on a VM. Virtual Box does not, in my opinion. I'm sure it works well for tech savvy users like devs. But for folks who just need the software to work, Parallels is hands-down superior.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
Coherence mode in Parallels allows a user to use Windows apps on their Mac machine, while hiding so much of the windows environment, including the desktop. This was a game changer, as I had to go to creatives who love Mac and hate Windows and persuade them to use a Windows vm. Could not have done it otherwise.
I would have bought Parallels Desktop sooner and not tried other software or workarounds.
  • Implemented in-house
Change management was minimal
Use Coherence mode, as it makes disruption minimal.
  • Installing a new OS can sometimes be tricky
Follow the download instructions and you will be great.
They have been easy to reach and helped greatly with technical questions, as well as sales questions. With sales questions, I did not like the answer, but it was prompt.
No, it is not offered.
No, because the software works.
Super easy to set up and get running. If you can read and click, you will be fine. Love this.
  • Installation is easy
  • Setting memory and other setting is easy
  • Coherence mode makes it easy to forget you are using a virtual machine.
  • Downgrading licenses is my only issue
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