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Best Vm Software For Mac

Best Vm Software For Mac

As Mac users, we often encounter situations where we need to run different operating systems or applications that are exclusive to other platforms. Fortunately, virtual machine software enables this versatility, allowing us to run Windows, Linux, or other operating systems right within macOS. My journey on finding the best VM software for Mac has been filled with trial, error, and plenty of surprises. In this post, I’ll share my honest experiences with various solutions. Whether you’re a developer, a designer, or someone who simply loves to experiment with tech, finding the right VM software can make all the difference.


VMware Fusion screenshot

VMware Fusion is a solid choice for Mac users who need a reliable and feature-packed virtualization solution. Its seamless integration with macOS and support for a myriad of operating systems, including Windows and Linux, makes it a powerful addition to your software toolkit.

Official Website


  • Robust performance and compatibility with multiple OSes
  • User-friendly interface with extensive feature set


  • Can be costly for individual users
  • Requires a bit of a learning curve for new users

Parallels Desktop screenshot

Parallels Desktop is a popular choice for those who want a smooth and cohesive integration of Windows on a Mac. Geared toward ease of use, its Coherence mode allows you to run Windows apps as if they were native macOS applications.

Official Website


  • Coherence mode for seamless app integration
  • Strong performance with minimal configuration


  • Subscription-based pricing model
  • Some features are overkill for casual users

VirtualBox screenshot

VirtualBox is a free and open-source VM software option for Mac users. It’s a great starting point for those new to virtualization, offering decent performance and basic features without the price tag of commercial alternatives.

Official Website


  • Completely free and regularly updated
  • Supports a wide range of guest operating systems


  • Lacks the polish and depth of paid options
  • May require additional configuration for optimal performance

QEMU screenshot

QEMU is a lesser-known yet powerful open-source machine emulator and virtualizer. It appeals to users who are comfortable with the command line and require advanced customization options for their virtualization needs.

Official Website


  • Highly flexible and customizable
  • Free and open-source


  • Not as user-friendly, best for tech-savvy users
  • Limited graphical user interface options

Veertu Anka screenshot

Veertu Anka is a macOS-native virtualization tool designed specifically for Mac infrastructure as code (IaC) practices. It’s particularly suited for developers who need to manage macOS VMs for continuous integration and delivery environments.

Official Website


  • Optimized for macOS and IaC practices
  • Lightweight and efficient resource utilization


  • Focuses mainly on macOS virtualization
  • May not be ideal for users looking for broad OS support


Venturing into the world of VM software for Mac can feel like exploring a maze of features, compatibility charts, and licensing details. My exploration began with seeking out a way to run occasional Windows-exclusive applications. I quickly realized that the right VM software can also empower my workflow with capabilities far beyond just accessing another OS.

Collaboration becomes easier when working with teams that use different operating systems, as I can reproduce their environments on my Mac. Plus, for security-conscious individuals, VM software offers a sandboxed space to run potentially risky programs without affecting the host OS. Using virtual machines, I’ve been able to secure my primary system while probing into the world of security testing.

When venturing into VM software, consider scalability. Your needs may grow, and the ability to smoothly manage additional VMs or more advanced configurations without switching platforms is a big plus. Learning about Apple’s Hypervisor.framework can provide insights into how VM software utilizes the underlying hardware, which is crucial for optimizing performance and compatibility.

Adjusting virtual machine network settings opens up a realm of networking projects. For instance, VM software can be a playground for testing network configurations or simulating complex network scenarios, which was particularly useful in my networking coursework.

Remember, while the VM software itself is vital, so are the resources and support available. Seeking out comprehensive official support from Apple when needed or diving into user-generated knowledge bases could resolve many questions that arise during setup and use.

Lastly, as an advocate for freedom and flexibility in software, I appreciate the likes of open-source options. Even though they sometimes lack the slickness of paid products, they resonate with my ideology of software accessibility and community development. It’s always admirable to see software enhanced by the community for the community.


Parallels Desktop is one of the most popular VM software solutions for Mac users, known for its seamless integration with macOS. For more information, visit Parallels Desktop.

VirtualBox is a robust free option for those looking to run virtual machines on their Mac. It offers broad OS compatibility and is open-source. Visit VirtualBox for details.

While not specifically designed for gaming, Parallels Desktop can handle games that don’t require intense graphics capabilities.

VMware Fusion is a preferred choice among professionals for its robust feature set and performance capabilities on Mac.

Parallels Desktop allows running Windows simultaneously with macOS, while Boot Camp requires rebooting to switch between the two operating systems.

While most VM software for Mac can run Linux, VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop are known for their strong Linux support.

Parallels Desktop often leads in integrating Mac features like the Touch Bar into the virtual machine environment.

Yes, with sufficient resources, most VM software like VirtualBox and VMware Fusion enables running multiple OSes concurrently on a Mac.

Considerations should include performance, compatibility with macOS versions, ease of use, feature set, and support for the guest operating systems you plan to use.

Yes, it is possible on certain VM platforms, and Parallels Desktop provides options for this, though always adhere to Apple’s licensing agreements.