VMware Fusion is a popular virtualization application, and on the Mac, it has been one of the best ways to run Windows and Linux applications. It took a while, but VMware is now up to date for Apple’s new generation of ARM-powered Mac computers.
Following the release of a free technical preview in July, VMware 13 Pro and Player are now officially available – the first major update since 2020. The new version supports older Intel-based Macs and, for the first time, M1-powered Mac computers and M2 tokens. No matter what Mac you have, VMware 13 Pro adds a Trusted Virtual Platform Module, allowing Windows 11 to install without tricks or workarounds.
As with Parallels Desktop, the M1/M2 version is limited to running operating systems with native ARM support, including Windows 11 (which itself can emulate most x86 Windows 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 by Intel. With Mac M1/M2, VMware only supports OpenGL 4.3, which means that many 3D-accelerated games and applications won’t work.
Given those limitations, Parallels Desktop still seems like the best Mac virtualization app to most people. Parallels fully supports file sharing and other features common to 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 is $100 and an upgrade is $70.