Parallels, the popular way to run Windows, Linux, and even other versions of macOS, has just released version 16 with some exciting new features for those that require virtualization.

The most important aspect of Parallels 16 is that it is ready for macOS Big Sur host and guest when macOS Big Sur is released to the public this fall. One of the key reasons to upgrade a virtualization application each year is to maintain the highest level of compatibility with the latest versions of macOS.

New features of Parallels 16

  • DirectX 11 is now up to up to 20% faster and OpenGL 3 graphics are improved in Windows and Linux.
  • Windows Travel Mode can increase laptop battery by up to 10 percent longer
  • Virtual machines (VMs) can be set to automatically return unused disk space when shutting down.
  • There are new multi-touch gestures for Windows apps such as smooth zoom and rotate multi-touch gestures.
  • New enhanced printing when printing from Windows (with Shared Printers) allows to print on both sides and use more paper sizes, from A0 to envelope.
  • Runs even more Windows application (ProPresenter 6).
  • Moves to the Apple hypervisor kext to avoid System Extension alerts.
  • 3D support for Metal applications in macOS VMs.

“Parallels invested more than 25-man-years of engineer programming to take full advantage of the new macOS Big Sur architecture and revamped kernel extensions to deliver our best Windows-on- Mac performance ever for our Parallels Desktop 16 customers,” said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support. “The innovative new features in Parallels Desktop 16 include the world’s first support for Metal applications with 3D capabilities running in a macOS Big Sur virtual machine on a macOS Big Sur host. Performance improvements include launching twice as fast*, up to 20 percent faster Windows resume and shutdown*, faster DirectX and more.”

Parallels 16 for Mac Pro

Parallels 16

If your organization has a fleet of Mac Pros, there are some new features of the Pro edition of Parallels that might interest you.

  • Assign up to 32 vCPUs and 128 GB vRAM for each VM.
  • New Microsoft Visual Studio plug-in simplifies application testing
  • Name your custom networks for more organized and productive testing.
  • You can run and test Microsoft Hyper-V based virtual machines in your Parallels Desktop virtual machine.
  • Complimentary Vagrant, Docker, and Jenkins plugins/providers for developers.
  • You can make a new virtual machine from a snapshot of the existing VM. The linked clone occupies only a fraction of disk space that is used by the parent VM, as it reuses disk sectors that are the same for both VMs.
  • If you need to transfer a VM elsewhere, you can now export it in a compressed format as a solid file for easier and faster upload and transfer to new hardware.

Business Edition

For IT departments that need to manage a host of Parallels installations, Parallels 16 has some features to simplify workflows. All of the following features are included in the Pro edition as well.

  • Configure virtual machines with preinstalled applications to upload for employees to download and run on their Mac devices.
  • Centralized administration provides flexible controls to manage access to new Parallels Desktop upgrades, new feature releases, upgrades and new macOS releases.
  • Admin credentials are no longer required for Parallels Desktop to update itself, making it easier for IT and users to keep it current if they are not the local admin of the machine.
  • Parallels Desktop installation on macOS Big Sur does NOT require approval of system extension, so installation is fast, seamless, and does not require rebooting the host Mac.

Extra Features

All subscriptions to Parallels included Parallels Toolbox 4. It has a way to download audio and video from websites, quickly lock your screen, prevent your computer from going to sleep, and much more. In all, it contains 30 useful utilities.

Parallels Access 6 is also included with a subscription to Parallels, and it enables users to remotely access up to five PC or Mac computers from an iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. It includes support for using a mouse on iPad, as well as a new person help feature that allows you to generate a link for friends and family and let them install a preconfigured copy of Access so you can help them with them purchasing a copy.


Parallels 16 can be purchased for $99.99. If you have for the subscription ($79.99 per year), you’ll simply need to check for updates, and it’ll be available to download. If you own Parallels 14 or 15, you can upgrade for $49.99.

Wrap Up

The release of Parallels 16 comes on the heels of Parallels Mac Management 8.5 adding new functionality for iPad and iPhone management. As always, there is a free trial available for Parallels if you want to compare it to your current virtualization software

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