As you might have guessed, there are limits. You can’t run 32-bit ARM applications, in part because Microsoft recommends against using 32-bit software for all versions of Windows ARM. Devices will only work if they have Windows 11 ARM drivers. You cannot use anything that depends on another virtualization layer, such as Android apps, Linux systems, and Windows Sandbox. Don’t expect to run some games, as anything that requires at least DirectX 12 or OpenGL 3.3 won’t work.
Microsoft has officially approved how to run Windows 11 on ARM-based Macs, if not in the way you might hope. In a new support post, the company has “allowed” the use of Parallels Desktop 18 to run ARM versions of Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise on M1 and M2-based Macs. If you need Windows to work, you could theoretically use a virtual machine without bothering your IT manager.
It’s possible to run Windows 11 in Parallels on ARM Macs as of 2021, and it even works pretty well. However, you had to use the Insider preview of the operating system at the time, and Microsoft said at the time that it had no plans to support the new Macs. The approved approach eliminates licensing headaches, and Parallels Desktop 18 now lets you download and install Windows 11 with ease.
This won’t satisfy users who want native Windows support like they already have with an Intel-based Mac running Apple’s Boot Camp. You won’t get the performance or compatibility you’ll get on a PC built for Windows on ARM. This is probably the closest thing to an Apple-Microsoft partnership, and it could do the trick if there’s a productivity app for Windows out there.
As The Verge explains, it’s unclear how Microsoft changed the license – so far only ARM versions of Windows have been licensed directly to PC vendors. We asked the company for comments. Parallels says you can purchase Windows 11 Pro licenses individually or follow your employer’s normal purchase process.