Mac & macOS

Using VirtualBox 7 on ARM Macs – in theory…

With VirtualBox 7, the VM solution gets native support for Apple Silicon. But that's still no reason for popping champagne corks...

Oracle released VirtualBox 7 as a beta version. Probably the most popular free solution for setting up virtual machines (you can find everything about it in this VirtualBox guide) not only learns a few new tricks in version 7, it also finally becomes officially compatible Apple's M-Macs. Without much fanfare, Oracle not only updated the classic Mac version, but also released a native version for M1/M2/Mx Macs. Reason to pop the champagne corks? Spoilers: nope...

Virtualbox for Apple Silicon: Still a long way to go

To make it short: You can go to the Beta Releases actually download a version of the virtualization solution from VirtualBox that works natively and directly on Macs with M1 or M2 processors. To do this, select the entry with *macOSAArch64.dmg and install the version. So much for the good news.

VirtualBox for Apple Silicon: No fake, but no real added value either...

The bad: At least as of this tutorial, it's pretty much useless to you. The reason: Officially, the ARM version of VirtualBox only supports it so far 32-bit operating systems, even if you supposedly can activate 64-bit support when setting up a virtual machine. Windows 11 or Windows 10 are already gone and acknowledge the start in Virtualbox on an M1 Mac with an error message.

VirtualBox 7's new VM Assistant still gives hope, but...

Even the specially adapted one ARM version of Windows 11, which are sold under Parallels and Co. works perfectly, can be accessed after a successful download via the Windows Insider Program not import into VirtualBox 7 on Mac.

...neither 64-bit systems nor the available Windows 11 on ARM images currently work under VirtualBox 7

In my quick tests on an M1 Pro MacBook, I wasn't even able to start ARM Linux under VirtualBox 7. Noisy VirtualBox forum the ARM release of the virtualization software is currently at best a very early tech demo that will take a while to mature. If you have had a different experience, please let us know ;-)

In general, VirtualBox 7 is still unstable, but betas have that in themselves ^^

After all, the VirtualBox 7 beta on x86 systems officially and directly supports Windows 11 and even does that Virtualization of macOS easier.

Windows on ARM Macs: Alternatives

Until VirtualBox on ARM Macs is ready, commercial solutions such as Parallels Desktop or VMWare are probably the best way to use Windows 10 or 11 on Apple Silicon - despite various stumbling blocks. With UTM but there is one more Open source alternative to VirtualBox, which probably also enables Windows 11 on Apple Silicon with a little tinkering.

UTM should also bring Windows 11 and Linux to Apple Silicon free of charge (source: UTM homepage)

So far, my (admittedly rather half-hearted) attempts at walking with it have not yet been crowned with success. If you know of another solution to simply use Windows or Linux on ARM Macs, please let us know.

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Product prices and availability are correct as of the date/time shown and are subject to change. All pricing and availability information on at the time of purchase applies to the purchase of this product.

We collect even more about everything that has to do with the Mac here for you. We're collecting tons of VirtualBox guides for anyone who hasn't stepped into the golden ARM cage from Cupertino however here for you.

Boris Hofferbert

Freelance journalist, enthusiastic about technology since the blissful Amiga days, Apple desktop fan and Android fan on the go, gambles on Windows, can’t do without music (from classic rock to ska to punk) and audio books, likes to take postcard photos, always has at least two cell phones and is very happy about one coffee donation ;-)

Ein Kommentar

  1. UTM works very well on the M1 Macbook Air. Mine only has 8GB of RAM but can easily run Ubuntu 22 LTS. However, I do not use the downloads from the UTM gallery, but download the arm images manually and then install them. For Windows it probably needs more than 8GB RAM, but it should be enough for most Linuxes. Debian and Arc Linux also run well with UTM.

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