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M1 MacBooks just got a killer app just in time for the holidays

How to join a zoom meeting
(Image credit: Zoom)

2020 will always be the year the new MacBook Air wowed us with the Apple M1 Chip, and now there’s some even better news coming right before the holidays: Zoom has just launched a native app for Apple Silicon Macs.

While Zoom worked just fine without a native Silicon app, this means the app now works even better for Mac machines running ARM-based CPUs - currently just machines with the M1 chip.

With COVID-19 still raging in many parts of the world, and families spending holidays apart from one another, apps like Zoom are going to be crucial to staying in touch. So an upgraded Zoom app comes at the perfect time.

Designed to run directly with the M1 chip, rather than rely on Apple's Rosetta 2 emulator, the native Apple Silicon Zoom app should improved performance over its Intel-based predecessor. 

The exact optimizations aren’t clear, but according to users on the MacRumors forums the Intel version of Zoom caused a drain of 17 percent over a two and a half hour call. So the tighter integration with the M1 chip , should see that power drain reduced. 

Just bear in mind that when it comes to getting the native Apple Silicon Zoom app, you'll have to download a separate installer from Zoom’s download center.

The update is rolling out today and also includes a bunch more useful features that can be enjoyed by all users, not just those with a shiny new Macbook Pro with M1 or Mac mini M1.

These include better cloud contact integration, new reaction buttons, a raise your hand button when you don’t want to interrupt someone, SMS and MMS support, improved grouping of security options when scheduling up a call, and other smaller tweaks. You can read the full release notes on Zoom’s support site

So that’s a few extra bonuses for Zoom-lovers as we enter the holidays. And don’t forget, Zoom is scrapping the normal 40-minute time limit for free users on key dates throughout the holiday season. Alternatively if Zoom isn’t for you, then you can check out the other best video chat apps instead.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.