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How To Install & Run Windows 11 On a Mac (inc. M-Series Macs)

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If you want to install Windows 11 on a Mac, here we show you the easiest way to run Windows 11 on a Mac including on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs.

Windows 11 was released by Microsoft on October 5th 2021 and after a slow start, is now used by over 400 million devices in 2023.

There are various ways to run Windows on a Mac although very few of them allow you to install Windows 11 on a Mac due to Windows 11 requiring a physical TPM module.

However, here we show you how to use Parallels to install Windows 11 on a Mac including on both Intel Macs and the latest Apple Silicon Macs with M1, M2 or M3 chips.

Parallels is the best way to run Windows on a Mac and makes it easy enough even for beginners to install Windows 11 on a Mac within minutes.

You can use Parallels free for a trial period while you test it out too although after 14 days you’ll need a subscription to keep using it.

Microsoft also allow you to use Windows 11 for free unless you want to customize the appearance of it in which case you need to  activate it with a license key.

Windows 11 on Mac and TPM

The requirements for running Windows 11 on a Mac are a little trickier than installing Windows 10 on a Mac.

This is because Windows 11 requires support for Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0. TPM 2.0 is built into the motherboard of a computer to ensure the integrity of the operating system’s security.

Unfortunately, most Macs do not have a TPM built into the motherboard. In fact, even many Windows PCs built before 2014 do not have a TPM and cannot run Windows 11.

However, some Intel Macs do have a TPM built into the CPU which in theory, allow those Macs to officially support Windows 11 physically.

Intel Macs which have a TPM built into the processor and in theory should be able to officially support Windows 11 are:

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • Mac mini (2018)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, 2017)
  • Mac Pro (2019)

However, to officially support Windows 11 Apple would have to update macOS to support TPM and Windows 11 and that seems highly unlikely as Apple is currently discontinuing all Intel Macs in favor of Apple Silicon Macs.

You can however still install Windows 11 on Intel Macs using Apple’s free Boot Camp utility by making an edit to the Windows registry during the installation process.

Unfortunately though you can’t use Boot Camp to install Windows 11 on M-chip Macs as Boot Camp isn’t available for Apple Silicon Macs.

Apple decided to remove Boot Camp from Apple Silicon Macs making it harder for Mac users to run Windows.

The good news is that the virtual environment Parallels allows you to install Windows 11 on both Apple Silicon and Intel Macs by simulating the TPM module virtually.

This means that Windows 11 features such as BitLocker, Secure Boot, and Windows Hello are supported in Windows 11 on a Mac running in Parallels.

Parallels is also the only solution officially authorized by Microsoft to run Windows 11 on a Mac so it’s far more likely to work better on a Mac and be supported on a Mac in future updates to Windows 11.

TPM modulation has been available in the Professional version of Parallels for quite a while already and so adding the feature to the Standard version for Windows 11 was an easy move for Parallels.

You can use Parallels for free for 14 days to test it out although after you have to subscribe.

A Parallels subscription costs $99.99 for home users although existing users can upgrade for $69.99 to the latest version of Parallels 19.

You can check out our full review of Parallels for more on how it works and what it can do or read on to find out how to install Windows 11 on a Mac with it.

Can You Install Windows 11 on Apple Silicon Macs?

You can install Windows 11 on M-series Macs using Parallels as we’ll show you but there are a few drawbacks to consider when doing so.

As already mentioned, Windows 11 requires a physical TPM chip and the Apple equivalent is its T2 chip.

Parallels can cleverly emulate the TPM module allowing you to run Windows 11.

Therefore you can run Windows 11 on Apple Silicon Macs using Parallels but it’s important to be aware that you can only run Windows 11 for ARM on M-chip Macs.

It’s not yet possible to run the standard x86 version of Windows 11 using Parallels like you can on Intel Macs.

Windows ARM is very similar to the standard version of Windows but is compatible with less software as it only works with ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) chips such as the Apple Silicon chips.

The good news is that Windows ARM can translate many Intel x86 Windows applications to work in it although it often results in poorer performance and in some cases won’t work at all.

How To Install Windows 11 On A Mac

Firstly, you’ll need at least 64GB or more free storage space on your Mac startup disk to install Windows 11.

This is the bare minimum you’ll need but we strongly recommend at least 128GB of free storage space as automatic Windows updates will quickly eat up that space.

The Windows 11 download is around 5GB alone so if you’re running low on disk space, you may need to recover some hard drive space on your Mac to download it.

If you can’t or don’t want to delete anything from your Mac hard drive, you should get an external hard drive to transfer files from your Mac and free-up some space on your Mac.

If you don’t want to follow the installation instructions below, you can also watch us install Windows on an M3 Mac below using Parallels:

With this in mind, follow these instructions to Install Windows 11 on either an Intel or Apple Silicon Mac.

  • Download Parallels for Mac and run the installer. You can use the free trial to try it first.
  • Double click on the Parallels download and when prompted by macOS click “Open” and then click “Accept” on the End User License Agreement.
  • Parallels will now download the installer and then prompt you for your Mac admin username and password to continue the setup.
  • Parallels will ask permissions to access your Mac Desktop, Downloads and Documents folders. Click on “Finish”.

parallels desktop permissions

  • Parallels will then automatically download and Install Windows 11 when you click Install Windows. If you’re using an Apple Silicon M1, M2 or M3 Mac it will download and install Windows 11 ARM.install windows 11 m1 & m2 Mac
  • Parallels will then start to download Windows 11 from Microsoft.

parallels downloading windows 11 on m1 and m2 mac

  • Once is has validated the install, Parallels will then start the Windows 11 installer on your Mac just as if it were installing Windows on a PC.

parallels windows installer

  • When this is completed, you’ll get an “Installation Complete” message.

windows 11 install complete m1 m2 mac

  • To finalize the setup, Parallels will prompt you for your Parallels username or password. You can setup an account if you don’t already have one or sign in with your Apple, Google or Facebook account too.

sign into parallels account

  • After you’ve signed-in, Parallels will give you access to a 14 day free trial but if you’ve purchased a Parallels license already, you can enter the license key next.
  • Parallels will then display the Windows 11 End User License Agreement which you must click on “Accept” before continuing. You’ll then have full access to Windows 11 on your Intel Mac or Windows 11 ARM on an Apple Silicon M-chip Mac.

windows 11 installed on apple silicon m1 and m2 mac parallels

  • Since you’re using a fresh install of Windows 11, the first thing you’ll need to do is install the latest updates for Windows 11 from Microsoft. To do this, go to the Windows Start Menu > Settings > System > Windows Update which is in the bottom left hand corner.
  • Windows 11 may prompt you to activate it at this point but you can simply click “Close”. Windows 11 is free to use and you only need to activate it with a key if you want advanced customization options such as changing the wallpaper or desktop theme.

windows 11 activation parallels

  • Click on “Check for updates” button in the top right corner of the Windows Update screen and then install the updates. This can take some time depending on the speed of your internet connection.

update windows 11 parallels mac

  • When you have installed all the updates, Windows 11 will then restart to apply them.
  • Once Windows has restarted, you can then configure Parallels to optimize how it uses resources on your Mac. To do this, go to your Windows 11 desktop and select “Actions” from the Menu bar across the top and then select “Configure” at the bottom of the Menu.
  • You’ll then see the Windows 11 Configuration Window in Parallels. The most important setting to change is the CPU & Memory allocation under the “Hardware” tab. You can leave the settings on “Automatic” if you want Parallels to manage it for you but we recommend increasing the Memory on Apple Silicon Macs. So for example, if you have an Apple Silicon MacBook Pro with 16GB of unified memory, you can allocate at least half of this to Parallels (i.e. 8GB). This makes it easier for your Mac to run Windows in Parallels smoothly at the same time as macOS.

windows 11 virtual machine configuration parallels

  • There are many other options you can configure in Parallels. If you click on the “Options” tab across the top for example and select “Sharing”, you can configure how macOS and Windows 11 share files and folders.

windows 11 on m1 mac - parallels sharing

  • The other thing you might like to configure is how you want macOS and Windows to interact. If you want all of your Windows and Mac apps blended in the Dock for example, then use Parallels in “Coherence” mode.

parallels windows 11 coherence mode

  • To activate Coherence mode go to “View” at the top of your screen in Parallels and select “Enter Coherence”. Then select the blue icon in the top-left of the Window to activate Coherence mode.

coherence icon parallels

  • You can exit Coherence mode by going to the “View” Menu again and selecting “Exit Coherence”.

If you choose to use Parallels in the default Windowed Mode instead of Coherence Mode, you can easily switch between macOS and Windows by pressing CMD+TAB on your Mac at any time and there’s no lag when resuming the virtual machine.

Once you’re happy with the setup, that’s it. You’ve completed the installation of Windows 11 on your Mac.

From here, you can install Windows apps or gaming platforms in on your Mac such as Steam, Microsoft Office or any other Windows only games and software that won’t work on a Mac.

  • Although it’s optional, you can also install Parallels Toolbox to get extra features such as tools to clean disk space, uninstall apps, manage windows screenshot tool and other things to make using Windows easier on a Mac. To install Parallels Toolbox simply go to the menu at the top of the screen and select Parallels > Install Parallels Toolbox For Mac and then click Install Now.

windows 11 parallels toolbox mac

How To Use Windows 11 In Parallels

Parallels can run macOS and Windows 11 in different modes depending on how to use them.

The best mode to run it in is Coherence Mode which means the two operating systems work seamlessly together.

You can however switch to three other views: Window View Mode, Full Screen View Mode and Picture-in-Picture View Mode.

coherence mode parallels windows 11

Coherence Mode merges macOS and Windows into one but if you want to use them separately, use Windowed Mode.

windows 11 running on a mac

You can also optimize Windows 11 depending on how you plan to use it.

If you go to the menu at the top of the screen and select Actions > Configure you can choose to optimize Windows for specific tasks such as Productivity, Software Development, Software Testing, Design and Gaming.

Note that some customization modes are only available if you upgrade to Parallels Pro.

parallels configure windows 11 installation

By default most settings in the Hardware tab are set to Automatic but you can manage external hardware connected to your Mac such as Printers and external hard drives in Windows.

Will Windows 11 Run on Mac With Windows 365?

Windows 365 is a new Cloud service by Microsoft that allowa Mac users to use Windows 11 online in any browser.

Microsoft Windows 365 was released on August 2nd 2021 but at the moment is only available to businesses with subscriptions starting at $30 per user per month.

However, accessing Windows in the Cloud doesn’t give you as much freedom as installing it physically on a Mac with a virtual machine.

Note that Windows 365 is not part of Microsoft 365 which is the online replacement for Microsoft Office For Mac.

If you have any problems installing Windows 11 on your Mac let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to help.

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