VMware Fusion is a popular virtualization application and is one of the best ways to run Windows and Linux applications on a Mac. It’s taken a while, but now VMware has been updated for Apple’s new generation of ARM-based Macs.
Following the release of the free Tech Preview in July, VMware 13 Pro and Player are officially available, the first major update since 2020. The new version supports older Intel-based Macs and for the first time Macs with M1 and M2 chips. No matter what Mac you have, VMware 13 Pro adds a virtual TPM that lets you install Windows 11 without any hacks or workarounds.
As with Parallels Desktop, the M1/M2 version is limited to running native ARM-supported operating systems, including Windows 11 (which in turn can emulate most Windows x86 applications) and some Linux distributions. There are a few other differences: file drag and drop is still limited to Intel Macs, and DirectX 11 graphics is still only supported on Intel. On M1/M2 Macs, VMware only supports OpenGL 4.3, which means many 3D-accelerated games and applications won’t work.
Given these limitations, Parallels Desktop still seems like the best virtualization application for a Mac to most people. Parallels fully supports file sharing and other common features of Apple Silicon and works with DirectX 11 (but not DirectX 12). However, VMware Fusion Player is free for personal use, while Parallels is expensive – a non-upgradeable license costs $100 and an upgrade costs $70.