Sometimes, using Windows is unavoidable. You may need the Windows platform at some point, whether it’s due to work, familiarity, or a specific function. Does that mean that you need another laptop or desktop to run Windows 10?
Steve Jobs famously referred to Bill Gates as “unimaginative,”, as shown in the 2013 film Jobs (watch on Prime Video). The classic Apple – Microsoft rivalry was once an industry hot topic. However, fortunately, Apple supports running Windows right from your Mac. Here is how to go about it.
Options to Install Windows
There are a few options for running Windows on a Mac; each offers advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs.
Apple developed Boot Camp Assistant to partition your hard drive into two sections, one for macOS and one for Windows 10. This partitioning method is an excellent solution because when you boot up your PC, you can select which operating system to use, and all your PC’s resources are utilized. The Boot Camp Assistant method is ideal for maximum performance for those running system-intensive software like audio or video production tools. However, you’ll need to reboot back into macOS to use any macOS features or applications. Switching back and forth between the two operating systems can be cumbersome as a reboot is required every time.
This option has become available recently. Many Microsoft users are familiar with the cloud-based Windows 365 application that allows access to Windows tools, like Office, over the internet. However, many macOS users may not be aware that Windows 365 can also work for Apple PCs and offer you the ability to utilize a cloud-based Windows 10 machine. If you’ve ever remotely accessed your office PC from home, Windows 365 is a very similar process.
However, there are a few drawbacks to this option. First, performance will be affected by slowdown and dips in overall processing speed because you’re accessing a remote machine. Secondly, Windows 365 isn’t a free service and charges around $25 per month for just one user. With monthly fees and mediocre performance, Windows 365 may not be ideal for macOS users.
Parallels is a program that creates a virtual machine which is capable of running Windows 10. This virtual machine operates within your macOS environment. It mimics the behavior of Windows and allows you to install and run Windows applications. The benefit of using a virtual machine is that you can always access macOS and a virtual Windows operating system simultaneously.
This method also lets you seamlessly switch between macOS and Windows applications without a reboot, like the Boot Camp Assistant method. However, the downside is that your Apple PC is running two operating systems at the same time, which takes up extensive resources. Even with the convenience of having access to both operating systems, you may encounter lags and sluggish performance.
Compatible Mac Models
Ideally, all Apple machines would easily run Windows 10, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Generally, any Intel-based Mac after 2012 should run and support Windows 10.
Below is a more specific list of Windows Compatible Macs:
- iMac Pro
- MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac after 2012
- Mac Pro after 2013
- MacBook after 2015
Note: At this time, Windows 11 isn’t compatible with Apple machines due to a security implementation.
Steps to Install Windows
The first step to installing Windows 10 requires a file you can download from Microsoft. Go to the Microsoft Software Download page and select Windows 10.
Once you have the Windows 10 ISO file, you’re ready to work with Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant, found in the Utilities folder.
Before accessing Boot Camp Assistant, ensure you meet the requirements before proceeding.
Verify you have the following:
- At least 64 GB of available storage
- A flash drive with at least 16 GB of available space for Windows driver software
- A full copy of Windows 10 that includes the license code
1. Boot Camp Assistant
Insert a flash drive with at least 16 GB of storage into an available USB port on your Apple PC. Go into the Utilities folder and open Boot Camp Assistant, then choose the ISO image you downloaded previously from Microsoft.
Boot Camp Assistant may indicate you need to download drivers specifically for Windows. Both the ISO file and drivers should be downloaded to your flash drive.
Note: You can use older, unsupported Windows versions like Windows 7, but you’ll need to work with compatibility issues and download specific drivers for this version.
Boot Camp Assistant must create separate sections of your hard drive, one for macOS and the other for Windows 10. You can select the size of your new Windows partition and increase it from the default 40 GB if you choose.
Once you’ve verified how much space to allocate for the Windows partition, click the “Install” button.
4. The Install
Now Boot Camp Assistant will begin installing Windows 10 onto your Apple machine. You’ll need to keep an eye on the process, as there may be additional prompts requesting driver installs.
5. Run Windows or macOS
Now that the installation is complete press the Alt key when booting up your Mac. You should see multiple partitions with options of selecting either macOS or Windows 10. Once your machine boots into the desired operating system, reboot again to change operating systems when needed.
The Best of Both Worlds
While macOS has been at the forefront of creating user-friendly, unimposing interfaces and innovative tools, sometimes life requires us to step into the world of Microsoft. A company application, familiar productivity software, or graphics-intensive game may require the Windows platform. Fortunately for macOS users, this isn’t a problem with options like Apple’s Bootcamp Assistant, where you can run Windows 10 from your compatible Mac machine.