M1-powered MacBooks can run some Windows apps


CrossOver works as a translation layer for Windows apps, allowing them to run on macOS.

Virtualization apps like Parallels and VMware are a different story, of course, since they could technically offer an emulation layer that would allow the Windows operating system, and its accompanying apps, to operate on an Apple Silicon Mac, but of course there are challenges to this approach, since it would involve translating instruction sets at a very low-level machine code level that's well beyond what Apple's own Rosetta 2 is created to handle.

Apple's policy is that the only approved way to install iOS apps is to get them from the Mac App Store and the only way for developers to distribute iOS apps to Mac users is via that same store.

However, the new M1-based MacBook Pro shows off the results of lots of work behind the scenes to enhance this with instantaneous switching between graphics modes.

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The fork, available as open source, requires MacOS 11.0 or better, and provides accelerations on Macs running the new M1 processor. It turns out you can still run Windows apps on these new Macs using CodeWeavers' CrossOver software, and it comes as a surprise (even to CodeWeavers) how well it works.

Of course given that Windows 10 on ARM is an OEM-only product you cannot exactly take a ISO and install it on a new Macbook Pro, but according to Apple, they will not stop Microsoft from developing a version of the OS for their new laptops. They were also able to use the graphical performance of the M1-powered MacBook models to play games like Among Us and Team Fortress 2. "Imagine - a 32-bit Windows Intel binary, running in a 32-to-64 bridge in Wine / CrossOver on top of macOS, on an ARM CPU that is emulating x86 - and it works!" they said.

Apple has started to transition to using its own Silicon in its range of Mac devices, starting with the M1 chip.