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valheim for mac - cover

3 Ways To Play Valheim on Mac

Last updated:

June 2024 Update: Valheim for Mac has now been released!

Valheim hasn’t been released for Mac but there are still a few easy ways to play Valheim on a Mac in 2023 including on Apple Silicon Macs.

Valheim is a viking inspired brutal survival and exploration game for up to 10 players that sold more than a million copies in the first week of its release on 2nd February 2021.

At the moment, Valheim is only available for Windows, Xbox and Linux and there is no version for Mac or PlayStation.

The good news is there are still a few ways to get Valheim on a Mac as we’ll explain.

Valheim For Mac: How To Play It

Normally we recommend using a virtual machine as the best way to play Windows games on Macs.

However, the demands of Valheim mean that there’s a lot of glitches playing Valheim using virtualization software on a Mac.

We therefore recommend using the following solutions as they are by far the easiest and most reliable ways to play Valheim on a Mac in 2023.

1. GeForce Now (Apple Silicon & Intel Macs)

GeForce Now is NVIDIA’s gaming platform that allows you to play Windows only games in the Cloud.

Since Boot Camp is not available on Apple Silicon M1/M2/M3 Macs and virtual machines don’t run Valheim very well, GeForce Now is by far the best way to play Valheim on an M-chip Mac.

Although Valheim is only available on Steam for Windows, you can connect your Steam account with GeForce Now For Mac and play the Windows version of Valheim on a Mac via your linked Steam account.

It’s important therefore that you must own Valheim on Steam before you can link it to GeForce Now.

valheim on steam

Gaming on a Mac using GeForce Now is extremely fast and you won’t notice any lag or dropped frames.

Even better, GeForce Now is free for one hour of gameplay so you can play Valheim on a Mac for up to an hour for free although if you want to play longer, you need to pay for a GeForce Now subscription.

Note that GeForce Now is available in most major regions including the USA, Europe, Japan, Russia and Australia but is not available worldwide.

If GeForce Now is not available in your country, you can also try using a VPN on your Mac which will allow you to unblock it in your region.

To play Valheim on a Mac using GeForce Now just follow these instructions:

valheim for mac in geforce now

  • Install GeForce Now on your Mac. If you see a warning “NVIDIA GeForce Now” is an app downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?” click on Open.
  • Drag and drop the GeForce Now app into your Applications folder.

install geforce now

  • You then need to link your Steam account to GeForce Now in order to play Valheim on your Mac. To do this, log into your Steam account and click on the chain-link to open the Game Sync options.

sync steam geforce now

  • It’s important that your Steam games profile is now set to “Public”. You then need to link your GeForce Now account by signing into it via Steam.

link geforce now steam

  • You must then go back to the GeForce Now app and confirm that you have logged-in and synced to the Steam account. GeForce Now will then confirm you are linked to Steam and show you the number of games that are linked.

geforce now mac linked steam games

You will then see Valheim in your GeForce Now games library and can play Valheim on your Mac.

Since everything is streamed over the Cloud, GeForce Now works on any Mac made after 2009 so it even allows you to play Valheim on older Macs.

This also means you can play Valheim on both Intel Mac and Apple Silicon Macs.

GeForce Now is free for 1 hour of gameplay so you can play Valheim on your Mac for free first although you may have to wait up to an hour for a free slot first.

geforce now free queue

To skip the queue and for more than one hour’s gameplay you need to click on Upgrade or Join Now in the top right of the screen.

GeForce Now costs $9.99 per month for up to 6 hours per session and $19.99 for up to 8 hours gameplay per session.

The $19.99 RTX 3080 subscription also includes faster servers and support for 4K resolution with up to 120 Frames Per Second (FPS).

Note that for this subscription GeForce Now recommends running at least macOS 10.13.2 or later on a newer Mac such as the MacBook Pro 2016 and later, MacBook 2016 and later, MacBook Air 2018 and later, iMac 2017 and later, iMac 27″ Late 2015 or later, Mac Mini 2018 and later, Mac Pro 2019 and later, or iMac Pro.

You can find more information about GeForce Now subscriptions here.

You can check our full GeForce Now For Mac review for more.

2. Xbox Cloud (Intel & Apple Silicon Macs)

valheim on xbox cloud gaming

Another way to play Valheim on a Mac is by using Xbox Cloud. Xbox Cloud allows you to play Valheim on any Apple device including iPhone, iPad and Macs.

The Xbox Cloud version of Valheim is currently a Game Preview which means it is still a work in progress but pretty much exactly the same as the full game.

Xbox Cloud (also known as Xbox Cloud Gaming) is Microsoft’s online Cloud gaming service which allows you to play Xbox games on a Mac in a browser with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Xbox Cloud allows you to play the Xbox version of Valheim on a Mac within minutes of signing-up.

You don’t need an Xbox to use Xbox Cloud but you do need an Xbox Game Pass subscription and ideally an Xbox Controller to play the Xbox version of Valheim on a Mac although you can use your keyboard too.

Note that Xbox Cloud Gaming is only available with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – it is not available with the PC Game Pass subscription.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate currently costs $16.99 per month but you can cancel at anytime and the first 14 days are just $1.

Xbox Cloud also only works in the Microsoft Edge, Chrome and Safari browsers – it does not support Firefox.

We recommend using Safari on a Mac to play Valheim in Xbox Cloud for the best performance although we’ve had absolutely no problems playing in Chrome too.

If you don’t have an Xbox controller and use Google Chrome, you can also install the Keyboard & Mouse Controller add-on which allows you to use Xbox Cloud without an Xbox controller although playing Valheim on a Mac this way is not as good as using a controller.

To play Valheim on a Mac with Xbox Cloud just follow these instructions.

  • If you don’t already have one sign-up for an Xbox Game Pass subscription. You can currently get the first 14 days for just $1. Note that Xbox Cloud is only available with Game Pass Ultimate so it’s important you don’t select the PC only plan.

xbox game pass pricing

  • Go to Xbox.com/play.
  • Click on Sign In at the top of the page and login with your Xbox username and password.
  • Search for “Valheim” in the Xbox Cloud Gaming search bar and click on the green “Play” button.

valheim on xbox cloud gaming

  • You will then be prompted to connect an Xbox controller to your Mac via Bluetooth. You must have an Xbox controller to use Xbox Cloud – it will not work with a Mac keyboard, trackpad or mouse.

connect xbox controller to mac

  • To use your Xbox Controller with your Mac make sure that Bluetooth is turned on on your Mac. Then press and hold the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on and it will light-up. Press and hold the small Bluetooth pairing button on the front of the Xbox controller to activate pairing mode. When pairing mode has been activated, the Xbox button will start flashing rapidly. On your Mac, click on the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and go to System Preferences and select Bluetooth.

connect xbox controller mac

  • Select your Xbox controller from the list of Bluetooth devices that appears and click Pair.

bluetooth xbox controller mac

  • You can now use your Xbox controller to play Valheim on your Mac in Xbox Cloud. You can disconnect the Xbox controller from your Mac at any time by going back into the Bluetooth settings or turning-off Bluetooth. You can also use the Controlly app if you want to have more control over how your Xbox controller works with your Mac.
  • Valheim will then take a few seconds to launch in your Mac’s browser via Xbox Cloud.

xbox cloud gaming launching

  • You can then play Valheim on a Mac just as if you were playing it on an Xbox. The game performs surprisingly well in a browser with virtually no lag or latency although it helps if you have a fast internet connection.

playing valheim on a mac in xbox cloud

The only limitation of Xbox Cloud gaming is that Game Pass games are limited to 30 frames per second (30fps) so the graphic quality isn’t as good as playing it on PC or an Xbox but is still playable.

3. Boot Camp (Intel Macs Only)

The other way to play Valheim on a Mac is by installing Windows for free with Boot Camp.

You can then play the Windows version of Valheim on your Mac via the Steam store.

Boot Camp is a free tool in macOS that allows you to install Windows in a partition on your hard drive so that you can use your Mac as a Windows PC whenever you want.

Note that Boot Camp only works with Intel Macs and does not work with M1/M2/M3 chip Macs.

Since Boot Camp is a free utility, and you can now install Windows 10 for free on a Mac without an activation code, the only thing you’ll have to buy is Valheim from the Steam store.

Can You Play Valheim in Parallels?

Parallels is a virtual environment and usually our recommended way of running Windows on a Mac as it allows you to run macOS and Windows at the same time.

It also allows you to run Windows on M-chip Macs to play Windows only games like Valheim.

However, the problem is that the graphics acceleration in a virtual machine like Parallels is not good enough for a game like Valheim.

The result is that buildings and walls will not render well and the gameplay is very choppy.

You’d get killed pretty quickly by a boar chasing you in Valheim using Parallels as the gameplay is so slow.

Boot Camp allows you to dedicate all of your Mac’s graphics card to running Windows and Valheim so the performance is much better.

The same applies to Crossover which is a different type of Windows emulation software but suffers the same problems running Valheim as Parallels.

As a result, the best way to play Valheim on Mac on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs is by using GeForce Now.

When Is Valheim Coming To Mac?

At the moment, there is Valheim for Mac release date but the developers of Valheim Iron Gate have stated that:

A Mac-version will be released if there is any significant demand for it.

At the moment, there is a Change.org petition to get a port of Valheim made for macOS so if you’re desperate to play it on macOS you can add your name to the list.

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