As the proud owner of a Macintosh computer, you must have rued the fact that this operating system does not run many popular programs, developed for the Google Chrome, Linux, as well as the Windows operating system. There is no doubt that the Mac O/S is far more robust and powerful than its Windows counterpart.
Would it not be awesome if you had some means of running applications made specifically for the other operating systems?
Can You Eat Your Cake And Have It?
As an avid gamer, you love the amazing quality graphics and the excellent processing power of Mac-based computers. Still, you feel sad as most popular computer games only run on Windows.
If you are using bespoke software such as those for accounting or stock-keeping on your Windows PC, you will not be able to run them on computers running on the Macintosh O/S.
Here is some good news for you. You can now run those programs by installing virtualization software on your Mac, which allows you to install and run applications designed for other operating systems.
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In this article, we shall compare CrossOver Mac vs Parallels 2021, which are the two leading virtualization software for Apple computers. This CrossOver vs Parallels comparison aims to educate you about the differences between these two programs, determine which is better, and decide whether you should opt for CrossOver Mac or Parallels.
CrossOver for Mac
Depend on CrossOver if you are looking for an application that allows you to launch Windows-based applications from the dock and integrates functionalities of the Mac operating system such as cross-platform copy and paste as well as shared file systems to your Windows programs.
On the one hand, other virtualization software allows you to install Windows O/S and run Windows-only software on the Mac. Still, their installation process is time-consuming and complex, and these programs can slow down even a speedy Macintosh computer.
On the other hand, CrossOver for Mac, developed by Codeweavers, employs only the Windows API (Application Programming Interface) that allows users to run Windows applications on their Macintosh without the Windows operating system.
CrossOver depends on Wine, an open-source program. When you run Windows programs after installation, wine translates the API calls, which permits a Windows software to run, such as “save this file” or “pull up this dialogue box.” It saves you money and time as you do not have to purchase a separate copy of Windows.
Those who have used Wine before are well aware of its clunky interface. CrossOver hides this interface behind an interface that is more like the Mac.
Let Us Compare CrossOver Mac and Parallels
According to the vendor's website, users can rely on this program to run thousands of different Windows software on their Mac, such as design applications, utilities, games, and much more. You will be pleased with the look and performance of those programs when you launch them via the Macintosh dock with CrossOver for Mac.
If this is not enough, you can switch between Windows and Mac programs without rebooting your Mac computer.
Setting up this application is an easy task. The Cross Tie technology of CrossOver simplifies the task of installing Windows software and allows you to install apps with a single click of the mouse button.
Windows is infamous for the quality of its graphics display. Its slow speed takes away the fun of playing games. With CrossOver installed on your Macintosh, you can take full advantage of its amazing graphics as well as its native speed while playing games or running graphic oriented software.
As mentioned before, you do not have to install the Windows operating system on your Macintosh to install other programs, meaning that you save on costs as well as on hard disk space.
The harsh reality is that CrossOver does not support all games designed for the Windows platform, such as Call of Duty 4 and Crysis. It is the same with commercial applications too.
The company I work for has a Windows-only site license for several Adobe programs. However, I was unable to install the latest version of Photoshop on a Macintosh in which I had installed CrossOver.
The good news is that this software supports most applications from Microsoft. Therefore, if you want to install the Microsoft Office package on your Mac, you can depend on CrossOver.
The vendor's website has a page containing a form on which you can provide the name of the software you are unable to install along with details of the company publishing it, plus your email and the link to the software. The company will try to ensure that the next version of CrossOver supports that specific program.
You can view the video tutorials on the Vendor's website if you do not know how to install and configure CrossOver. The publisher's website states that CrossOver supports 16,010 applications.
I strongly suggest that you go through the “system requirements” on the website of the vendor. It provides you with information about the different versions of CrossOver and which one is supported by which Mac operating system.
For example, version 19 of CrossOver supports Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, and El Capitan. If you have a Macintosh running on Yosemite or Mavericks, you need to purchase version 15 or 16 of CrossOver.
Version 19 also features “Bottles,” a distinctive feature of the software, which allows separate Windows environments such as Win7, XP, etc. to be packaged as well as self-contained along with your preferred programs.
Bottles is quite handy as it allows you to effortlessly backup your applications and move them from one computer to the other. Bottles further ensures that you get the suitable version of Windows that your app requires. It is like having several different Windows machines running together on your Macintosh PC.
Can I Evaluate The Program?
Sure! You can download a trial version of CrossOver from the developer's website. You will have to fill up a form with your name and email address to download the trial version. It allows you to try the software and ensure that it meets your requirements before purchasing it.
You can buy the software if satisfied. The company offers different pricing plans, details of which are as follows:
• One year license for a single Mac costs $59.95 and provides you with one year of usage, including upgrades as well as support via email. You also get free phone support.
• One version costs $39.95, but you do not get access to updates, and no email or phone support.
• One-lifetime version costs $499.95 and is inclusive of unlimited upgrades and support via email or phone. You also receive free swag plus as well as support for the Wine.
Existing users can renew their support. They have to log in to their account on the vendor's site to view their renewal options. From time to time, you can purchase the software at discounted prices.
I recommend CrossOver for those interested in running Windows applications on their Mac without having to install the Windows operating system.
I shall now review Parallels to help you understand CrossOver Mac compared to Parallels and find out which is better. I have used the same Mac computer and the same version of the Mac operating system to ensure proper comparison.
Parallels vs CrossOver Mac
I have already mentioned above that CrossOver simulates the Windows O/S. It is due to this that it cannot run all Windows-based programs. Parallels, on the contrary, creates a virtual partition on your Mac computer in which you can install Linux, Windows, or any other operating system.
It implies that you have all the bells and whistles associated with Windows. However, unlike in CrossOver, you have to purchase a copy of Windows and install it on the virtual partition.
Parallels lets you buy Windows 10 directly through it and then install it on the virtual partition. If you already have a license for the Windows O/S, you can use the installer disk to install it on Parallel. Be prepared for a pleasant surprise once you install Windows on your Mac on the virtual partition created by Parallels.
Is Parallels Better Than CrossOver Mac?
The speed and ease of use of Windows via this method is the major reason why IT professionals choose Parallels over other similar programs.
Also, Parallels forms a tight integration with the host operating system, meaning that both host and guest run smoothly and independently of each other. Some of the pros of Parallels include:
• Effortless Installation
• Fast performance
• Flexible folder and file tools
• The option to open Mac files in Windows applications
• The option to install virtual macOS machines directly from the Macintosh recovery partition
If you are a hardcore gamer, I suggest that you use the power of Boot Camp (comes pre-installed on the Mac) along with Parallels to boot directly into Windows, as this provides them with the bonus of native graphics card support.
Parallels is also the virtualization software of choice for users who want to use Windows versions of programs such as AutoCAD or Microsoft Office or native Windows applications like WordPerfect Office and CorelDraw.
Supports Many Operating Systems
You need not worry about your version of Windows or Mac operating system, since Parallels supports, virtually, all versions of Windows (XP, 2000 onwards), and the majority of macOS versions. You can always check here to see which OS and version of Windows Parallels' support.
The amazing power of Parallels can be experienced in its capability to run different operating systems on your Mac. For example, you can create one partition for Windows and the other for Linux. It is an awesome feature if you want to use customized programs developed to run on the Linux operating system on your Mac.
Run Windows on Mac Without Rebooting
Version 17 of Parallels, the latest, is by far, the easiest to use, fastest, and the most powerful software for running Windows on Mac without rebooting.
Plenty of Tools to Simplify Tasks
It also contains more than 30 utilities to simplify daily tasks on Windows and Mac. You can use its “host” and “guest” feature to move apps, files, and more from Windows to Mac.
Unlike other virtualization programs, this application does not slow down your Mac when you are running Windows applications.
If this is not enough, you can drag & drop files, copy & paste images, and share files and folders between Mac and Windows apps.
Is CrossOver Mac Better Than Parallels?
No! Once you have used both the applications, you will agree that Parallels is more powerful. Setup is extremely easy.
The software detects what you require to get started. If you need Windows, the application will prompt you to Download Windows and install it.
It also allows you to choose the version of Windows you want to install. It is a boon for individuals who own a licensed copy of Windows (apart from version 10) and want to install that on their Mac.
Easy Switching Between Operating Systems
With Parallels installed, you can easily switch between different operating systems without rebooting your Mac. You also have the option of selecting your view. Use the “Coherence” mode of Parallels to make Windows invisible while running its software.
You can also use Parallels to set Windows to occupy the entire screen of your PC. This is a boon for those who are new to the Mac.
Full Support for The Latest of Mac
Version 16 of Parallels was fully optimized and compatible with macOS Catalina 10.15, Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, as well as Mojave 10.14. Parallels 16 also boasted of support for Sidecar and included new privacy and security features. However, the new Parallels 17 now supports macOS 12 Monterey. You can just check to see if Parallels supports your device or operating system.
Run Graphic Intensive Games
Unlike older versions, version 17 supports DirectX9, 10, and 11… all of them via Apple Metal. Thanks to its support of DirectX11, you can run graphic-intensive games and applications such as Fallout 4, Age of Empires, FIFA 19, Lumion, Max 2020, ArcGIS Pro, and much more.
By the way, you can send files from your Mac operating system through a Windows-based email application.
CrossOver Mac versus Parallels — The Price Factor
Many good things cost more and this principle applies to software too. Parallels is a subscription-based software. A new license costs as follows for a single user:
• $79.99 for home and student use
• $99.99 per year for the Professional edition, suitable for testers, developers, and power users
• $99.99 per year for the business edition, ideal for use in work settings
If you already own an older version of Parallels, you can upgrade it to version 17 for:
• $49.99 for home and student use
• $49.99 per year for the Professional edition
You also have the option to use the vendor's website to view the prices for additional licenses. Select the version you want and use the selection pane to change the number of computers on which you want to install Parallels.
For example, finding out how much 3 copies of a “home and student” version will cost vis a vis what the same number of licenses will cost for the Pro edition. Remember, there are no subscription charges for the “home & student” version.
I hope that the above CrossOver vs Parallels comparison will help you determine which is better for you.