Windows and Ubuntu working on Apple Silicon M1 Macs thanks to virtualization

Users have already been running ARM64 Windows and Ubuntu on new Apple Silicon M1 Macs thanks to QEMU virtualization software via the new macOS hypervisor framework. It is not the x86 version of these operating systems though, so any Windows or Ubuntu apps that rely on the x86 architecture will not work even via virtualization.

Here are Windows and Ubuntu working on Apple Silicon M1 Macs via virtualization

Early impressions from users who have been experimenting with virtualizing these operating systems on Apple Silicon M1 Macs have been extremely positive. They have said that the performance is very snappy, even though it is still early progress for QEMU with various patches still in development.

Here are some tweets showing users who have booted up Ubuntu:

And here is ARM64 Windows 10 in action on an Apple Silicon M1 Mac:

Note that ARM64 Windows 10 can run x86 apps but do not expect amazing performance as you get with Rosetta 2.

Most of these successful attempts at booting other operating systems via virtualization require sufficient technical knowledge and are not as simple as using a tool like VirtualBox. The end results are also full of issues, even if initial performance results are encouraging.

Companies like Parallels and VMware are currently working on updates to their apps that would allow users to easily virtualize other operating systems in an easy and user-friendly way. Until virtualization apps get official stable releases for macOS Big Sur on Apple Silicon Macs, we suggest that you wait and avoid any experimentation unless you know what you are doing.

Alternatively, you can give CrossOver a try, which lets you run 32-bit Windows apps and games on Apple Silicon M1 Macs via emulation.

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