You can now run Windows 11 seamlessly on Apple silicon Macs with Microsoft’s stamp of approval

You can now virtually run Windows 11 on the newest Apple Mac devices (those with Apple’s own ARM-based M1, M2, or M3 chips) using Microsoft-authorized methods.

The MacBook maker switched from Intel processors in its devices to its own new line of Apple silicon ARM  processors in 2020, and that change meant Mac users who wanted to use Microsoft’s Windows operating systems (or Windows-only apps) were left out in the cold..

For Mac devices with Intel processors, users could turn to the multi-boot utility program, Boot Camp, which enabled users to install and run Windows on their Macs as their chosen operating system (OS) – rather than the default macOS. 

Users with Apple silicon processor devices can’t use Boot Camp, as it’s incompatible and would have to turn to other ways of running Windows operating systems, such as emulators and virtualization programs. There are many virtualization programs out there, but now, Microsoft has chimed in on which ones it thinks are best for this.

Microsoft's blessing

Microsoft published a post on its support website giving its official backing to two methods that can enable a user with Mac devices that have M1, M2, or M3 chips to use Windows 11 on their machine: Windows 365 Cloud PC (a service offered by Microsoft itself) and Parallels

Microsoft has authorized Parallels’ desktop versions 18 and 19 to run the ARM-specific versions of Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Enterprise. 

Users can do this by installing Parallels Desktop version 18 or version 19 and create a virtual machine that lives within your existing OS (probably macOS in this case). It explains that the ARM versions of Windows 11 OS do have limitations that impact a user’s ability to run certain hardware, games, and apps (a long-standing issue with Windows 11 on ARM devices, sadly). This workaround does, however, give users access to most Windows 11 features such as hardware acceleration, many multimedia technologies, and more. 

Some limitations of Parallels include features that make use of Windows’ nested virtualization capabilities like Windows Subsystem for Android, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Virtualization-Based Security (VBS), and Windows Sandbox (this allows users to run isolated apps without affecting or harming your main OS installation). Parallels Desktop for Mac is also not able to run 32-bit Windows ARM versions, as Microsoft cut off support for 32-bit UWP apps for ARM in January of last year. 

Apple also dropped support for 32-bit apps a while ago, with no known workarounds to make them work in modern macOS versions. If you’d like to try the listed features, Neowin recommends Microsoft’s other highlighted service, Windows 365 Cloud PC (which runs in a web browser window, making it much easier to set up), or getting a Windows laptop instead. 

The standard edition of Parallels Desktop 19 will cost you $ 99.99 a year and the Pro version usually costs $ 119.99 a year, but Amazon is currently offering it with a 25% discount at $ 89.99 for a 1-year subscription.

Windows 365

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s in-house solution, Windows 365 Cloud PC, will enable Mac silicon-chip users to stream a fully-fleshed-out and personalized Windows 11 version. Microsoft describes this as a “software-as-a-service solution for organizations of all sizes,” so this isn’t for individual users (yet). 

It offers many of the features Parallels lacks like nested virtualization for testing, support for emulators within the virtual Windows 11 OS, and more. Perhaps we could see Microsoft introduce an individual model akin to the commercial version like it has recently for the premium version of its new flagship digital assistant, Copilot Pro

Of course, Microsoft wants you to run Windows 11 on a PC meant specifically for it, (it even mentions this in the first line of the support post). However, many users like experimenting and personalizing their computing experiences and I think Microsoft’s willingness to accommodate that with its products fosters a positive impression among users and professionals. 

While some Mac and MacBook users may baulk at the idea of running Windows on their devices, there are some useful benefits for people who want to test out Windows 11 programs, or use applications that don’t currently have native Mac support, so it’s good to see Microsoft acknowledge this and offer support and advice, even if it’s through gritted teeth.

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Google Docs will now really let you stamp your mark on your work

Making sure your work gets the respect it deserves will soon be a lot easier in Google Docs thanks to a new privacy tool coming to the service.

The word processor tool, part of Google Workspace, has announced users can now add background text identifiers such as watermarks to their documents.

This means that Google Docs users can now mark their work in order to protect copyright, show that the information within is confidential, or simply notify readers that it is a draft or work in progress.

Google Docs watermark

In a blog post outlining the new feature, Google notes that text watermarks will repeat on every page on your document, making it useful for indicating file status.

Users can also include an image watermark, such as a company logo or sign, or include other images above or behind text. To find the new feature, which has no admin control, users simply need to go to Insert > Watermark > Text

The feature will work across other platforms too, as when working with Microsoft Word documents, text watermarks will be preserved when importing or exporting your files.

Google Docs watermark

(Image credit: Google Workspace)

The tool will be available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers, with the rollout starting in January 2022 and due to take a few weeks.

The news should be a boost to legal and high-end businesses dealing in confidential documents, and comes shortly after a further new functionality also looked to add greater depth to Docs that sees a new process for formal document approvals for high-priority files (such as contracts, legal documents and the like), building upon existing comment and suggested edit features.

Google Docs has also recently boosted its citations feature, making the software a more viable choice for students and academics. When adding a citation to an essay or research paper, users will soon be able to search for sources via an in-built database, and then automatically populate the necessary fields (title, publisher, date of publication etc.).

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