When I bought my M1 MacBook Air, I (perhaps naively) assumed that one day it would be my perfect all-in-one laptop. Obviously able to run macOS for my music production and editing needs, but also Windows 10/11 and Linux distributions running right on the metal.
I knew of Asahi Linux
, a work-in-progress that will eventually accomplish the Linux side of that dream. But I didn’t expect there would be so many obstacles to running Windows on Apple Silicon.
Windows on Macs is a thing people are accustomed to through Apple’s Boot Camp. And while that feature doesn’t exist on new M1/M1 Pro/M1 Max devices, Microsoft does have ARM versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11, but you can’t install either of those on a separate partition of your Mac’s storage drive.
You can, however, use the new Parallels Desktop to run the Windows OS through a virtual machine. That experience is acceptable, and Parallels even enables a virtual TPM 2.0 chip to trick Windows into thinking your hardware is compliant with its stricter security requirements.
If you’re suspecting none of that is officially supported by Microsoft, you’re absolutely right! And any future Windows Update could break the ability to run Windows like this on your new Mac.
But in recent years Microsoft has leaned hard into spreading its software and services across as many devices, platforms and ecosystems as possible. Look no further than the variety of official apps it has developed for Android and iOS. Need another compelling example? Look at its Xbox Gamepass Ultimate initiative, which makes a massive library of its first-party games playable through PC and cloud streaming. No Xbox purchase required.
For Microsoft, having people either on Windows or using its subscription services is a win, right? So why hasn’t Microsoft developed an ARM version of Windows for M1 Macs?
According to a new report from XDA Developers, it’s because Microsoft has a secret deal with chipmaker Qualcomm.