Developer Gets Windows for Arm to Run on M1 MacBook

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 27 Nov 2020

Earlier this month Apple unveiled the first MacBook powered by Apple Silicon M1 chips. The new MacBooks run on Arm and boast of better performance as opposed to Intel Macs. A developer by the name of Alexander Graf has come up with an Arm version of Windows for Mac.

macOS offers boot camp for those who want to install Windows and dual boot their Mac. However, the Boot Camp only supports Intel Macs and not the ones with M1 Chip. However, many Mac users require support for Windows and this is exactly what the developer has come up with.

Graf virtualized the Arm version of Windows for Mac M1 with the help of an open-source QEMU virtualizer. The M1 chip is based on Arm and thus it is not possible to install x86 Windows using Boot Camp. However, the developer has found a workaround. Graf explains Windows Arm 64 can run x86 applications albeit at a slower speed. On the brighter side, it is still possible to use install Windows on Mac M1.

The developer could run Windows Arm64 Insider Preview with the help of Hypervisor framework. This way you can use virtualization technologies without the need for coding. However, Graf has made use of a custom QEMU patch so as to improve the performance and bring it closer to near-native.

Needless to say, this is just a workaround and not as stable as Boot Camp. Gref puts up a disclaimer that says “ all patches are on the mailing list – but don’t expect a stable, fully functional system yet.”

Apple is not ruling out bringing Windows to Mac’s powered by M1 chips. Craig Federighi put the onus on Microsoft and said it is up to them if they want the Windows to run on M1 chip as only Microsoft can license its Arm version of Windows for M1 Mac users.

How often do you use Windows on Mac? Let us know in the comments below.