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Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop for Mac

Overview

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
Incentivized
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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Awards

Products that are considered exceptional by their customers based on a variety of criteria win TrustRadius awards. Learn more about the types of TrustRadius awards to make the best purchase decision. More about TrustRadius Awards

Reviewer Pros & Cons

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Pricing

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Parallels Desktop Standard Edition

$99.99

On Premise
per year

Mac App Store

$99.99

On Premise
per year

Parallels Desktop Pro Edition

$119.99

On Premise
per year

Entry-level set up fee?

  • No setup fee
For the latest information on pricing, visithttps://www.parallels.com/products/desk…

Offerings

  • 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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Comparisons

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Reviews and Ratings

(83)

Attribute Ratings

Reviews

(1-25 of 31)
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June 21, 2024

Parallels for Mac.

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • The configurations & space allocations can be done on parallels.
  • It integrates very well with the Mac; copying/pasting and sharing files can be done between the two platforms - Windows/Mac.
  • It supports virtual machines, Touch-ID (which works on Mac and will work on Windows, too), and bridges the gap between two operating systems.
  • The price is very expensive. For small businesses and individuals this could be steep.
  • Sometimes there are integration and interfacing issues.
  • This tool's memory usage is high at times, which lowers the Mac's power and availability.
Eduardo Ponce de León | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Windows loads and runs even faster than on a PC
  • I can access any OS from within my macOS session.
  • It does not consume too many resources and I can multitask.
  • The use of external storage devices are always seen as local hard disks and this makes it difficult to manage certain mobile information.
  • The weight of the Windows load files are very large and it is like having a complete computer with the OS loaded on the hard disk of my local machine.
Joshua O'Hazza | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Gives me access to Windows 11
  • it's extremely responsive, very fast.
  • user friendly
  • has a great layout
  • overall look feel and use cases are highly recommended by me!
  • Maybe an interactive tutorial video for new users to click along with the video for the video to continue as a teach guide, learning windows was difficult at first!
  • Ability to find it online as the tool i needed to use rather than attempting to download malware to use windows 11 from the web.
  • maybe a built in chatbot for when you're using parallels you can ask questions and assist with tasks in the platform solution.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • 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.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Runs Windows in a virtual environment
  • Does not take up a lot of additional overhead
  • Runs fast and seamless
  • Easy to setup and use
  • There are a lot of configuration options that can seem overwhelming.
  • Some features are not clearly explained.
  • Frequent updates sometimes interrupt workflow.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Easy to use: even on first interaction, users feel that is really intuitive how can be used
  • Good support
  • Fast and reliable comparing to other tools
  • For our company use case, the only thing that can suggest to improve on Parallels is to improve a little bit more memory consumption - when lots of processes are running on the host machine, it can be noticed that memory consumption is a little bit higher than what is desired, which is understandable, since is virtualization
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Installs new VMs including OS configuration.
  • Integrates mac and windows seamlessly.
  • It can be configured to run a VM "the old-fashioned way" or simply let you run applications no matter the OS.
  • Having to buy a new upgrade whenever Apple updates the OS with its yearly releases seems a bit excessive.
  • The integration features between Windows and Mac are enabled by default, which can clutter both sides; I would rather it was not default.
Jose Almiñana | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Installation process is clean and simple
  • The "Coherence" option allows for seamless user interface integration with Mac OS
  • Sharing files across the different partitions is transparent for the user
  • Windows partition requires often reboot, as some user interface features have issues
  • Updates to newer version require additional licensing
  • No additional suggestions
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Fast Windows Emulation
  • Multiple OS Support
  • Parallels Tools with many useful apps
  • Ability to unify MacOS and Windows
  • The ability to do snapshots, backups, and other types of branching for VMs is a little confusing and takes a bit to get used to
  • The Parallels tools frequently pop up windows advertising functionality, while this is helpful at times it can also happen when you are doing a presentation or typing in a password.
  • Careful using the VMs on a shared cloud drive such as Dropbox or OneDrive, there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of files which are updated when running a VM and this can clog up your Dropbox or OneDrive sync for minutes to hours even on a 2gb connection.
Will Goad | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • 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 slightly...how 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)
Cameron Michael Rhoads | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • It allows easy back and forth between operating systems. Can access all my Mac documents within my Parallels [Desktop] instance.
  • [It] is a fully functioning Windows operating system on my MacBook.
  • My MacBook gets incredibly hot when I run Parallels [Desktop]. Like scorching hot.
  • My MacBook's battery only lasts 1 hour when running Parallels [Desktop}. Normally will last over 4 hours.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Takes good advantage of hardware
  • Virtualizes very efficiently
  • Is fast and responsive
  • Allows virtually seamless integration of overlapping OS'
  • It could launch faster
  • the licensing model forces upgrades often
  • Has a relatively high resource footprint
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Emulated a Window environment
  • Reflecting the MAC finder/file structure
  • Runs fast and stable (doesn't crash)
  • Occasionally have restart issues and get stuck on a black screen
  • Windows passwords don't sync with OSX passwords
  • Exhaust Fan always runs heavier when using Parallels
  • has issues handling multiple monitors (3 or more)
Jonah Dempcy | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • File Transfer - You can easily transfer files between Parallels virtualized desktops and the host desktop either through Copy and Paste functionality, or Drag and Drop. You can also configure shared folders.
  • Switch Between Virtual and Host Desktop - You can configure swipe gestures on a MacBook Pro to be able to switch between the virtualized and host desktop. You can also launch apps from the OS X Taskbar.
  • Performance - Apps in Parallels run quite smoothly on my 2015 MacBook Pro, as of 2020. Considering they are running on a 5-year-old computer, I give Parallels top marks for performance.
  • Support for more versions of OS X. For instance, I would like to install Snow Leopard, but it is not supported. Parallels supports Snow Leopard Server but it is prohibitively expensive now, having gone up in price due to rarity and also likely because of people needing it due to the lack of support for normal Snow Leopard.
  • Compatibility issues with certain versions of OS X, meaning you have to continually upgrade Parallels for it to work with the current version of OS X. It would be better if older versions of Parallels continued to work bug-free with updated versions of OS X.
  • Lack of support for gaming and multimedia - The newest version of DirectX is not supported at the time of this writing, and some games that run at 90-110 FPS on host architecture or BootCamp run at only 20 FPS in Parallels.
January 24, 2020

Life Saver

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • I like how it is a separate entity from the workings of my Mac. I can access the programs on Windows in a separate section on my desktop.
  • Parallels allows Windows to run seamlessly.
  • Parallels uses a lot of RAM, so unless your machine has 16 GB of RAM, it will probably run slowly.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to setup
  • Support for all major guest operating systems
  • Good integration within macOS
  • Good performance
  • Expensive
  • Pricing and release model forces yearly upgrades
  • Some default settings can be undesirable if wanting to reduce integration with macOS
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Simple, intuitive Windows virtualization: Parallels makes it easy to create a guest operating system on your Mac. From there, users can easily access legacy business applications that work only on Windows.
  • Coherence Mode: Allows Windows applications to run side by side with Mac applications in MacOS—this gives users a more cohesive environment to work in, enabling them to be productive and not requiring them to switch contexts constantly.
  • Performance: Parallels continues to focus on enhanced performance with every new release.
  • Price: While Parallels offers great functionality and support for their price, there are free options available that satisfy my needs, namely, VirtualBox.
  • 3D Performance: This is less of a knock against Parallels, and rather a shortcoming of virtualization in general - it's hard to get "bare metal" performance from a virtual machine when using 3D applications.
  • Upgrade Justification: For some time, Parallels has struggled to justify an upgrade to its users, other than "compatibility" with the latest MacOS. This continues to be the case.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • You don't need to switch between host and guest system like other virtual systems.
  • Apps from the guest system shows in menu which makes them seamless to use.
  • Even the most resource intensive software run smoothly such as visual studio.
  • The overall requirement to run this on older laptops is bit too high. If you are running with less than 8 GB ram, it slows down the system quite badly.
  • Installation is quite tricky.
Damien Dolan | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
  • Snapshots, being able to create images of your Windows VM daily
  • Share folders across machines
  • Disk IO, never seems to be a hog
  • Size, it seems bloated
  • We have had issues with users trying to reclaim disk space. Not sure if it is just us or a known hassle
  • Updates seem few and far between
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