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Microsoft confirms that Windows 11 won’t support Apple's M1 Macs

Microsoft Windows 11 running on an Apple MacBook laptop.
(Image credit: rawf8/Shutterstock)

Owners of a Mac machines running the Apple M1 chip with a keen eye on dual-booting Windows 11 will be disappointed to learn that Microsoft has said that running its upcoming operating system on an M1-powered machine is “not a supported scenario” either by Parallel Desktop or directly on the hardware itself. 

This doesn’t mean that Mac users are stuck with macOS, as it’s still technically possible to run Windows 11 on an M1 Mac computer. The statement, which was originally given to The Register, simply means the OS is not supported in any official capacity. Which could create headaches for Mac owners who persist with running the OS down the line. 

For starters, if you were to experience any issues with Windows 11 on an M1 Mac and decided to contact Microsoft support you’d likely be told that you’re on your own to fix the issues. Plus, future Windows 11 updates will not factor in M1 Macs so there’s every possibility that a future software patch could cause unforeseen problems for users running the OS on a Mac. 

Of course, just because Windows 11 isn’t officially supported on M1 Macs doesn’t mean the OS can’t still be accessed through virtualization solutions like Parallel Desktop. While Microsoft doesn’t offer ISO images for Windows on ARM, you can get a VHDX file for the Windows Insider Preview Build that can be used to get Windows 11 running in Parallels on an M1 Mac. But as mentioned it's not officially supported. 

And issues are already beginning to surface due to the lack of official support. Last week a Windows 11 Virtual Machine running on an M1 Mac with Parallels Desktop 17 started to experience hardware compatibility errors on a Dev Channel Windows Insider build. Though Parallels quickly patched this problem and appears to have resolved the issue for now. 

Microsoft’s stance on Mac support could change in time, especially if there’s enough demand from Apple users wishing to run Windows 11 on their devices. However, in the short term at least, you’ll need to be pretty tech-savvy if you want to play around with Microsoft’s latest iteration of the world’s most popular OS on an M1 Mac. 

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.