Bootcamp for running Windows on macOS is not coming to ARM-based Macs

Laurent Giret

Apple announced on Monday that it was transitioning its whole Mac line to its own ARM processors, a process that the company expects to complete in 2 years. For many Mac users, macOS represents the best of both worlds as it’s pretty to install Windows on a Mac, or use it in a virtual machine with tools like Parallels Desktop, but ARM-based won’t be as versatile.

Indeed, Apple has now confirmed that new ARM-based Macs won’t support the installation of Windows through Bootcamp. “We’re not direct booting an alternate operating system,” said Apple’s Craig Federighi during John Gruber’s Daring Fireball podcast (via The Verge). “Purely virtualization is the route. These hypervisors can be very efficient, so the need to direct boot shouldn’t really be the concern.”

Unfortunately, virtualization tools such as Parallels Desktop or VMWare won’t work on ARM-based Macs until they’ve been recompiled for the ARM64 architecture. Even if this eventually happens, Mac users would still need a Windows 10 on ARM license, and a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge that “Microsoft only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to OEMs.”

As it seems, Mac users who really need to use Windows will need to stick with Intel-based Macs, for now at least. Apple announced on Monday that it will continue to release new Intel models during the ARM transition, and the version of macOS for Intel processors will also be supported for many years.