Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur.
When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ground up, but that challenge has now been officially completed.
While support for Big Sur is the headline feature, Parallels 16 also comes with several new features and improvements. This version claims to launch twice as fast and offers a 20 percent improvement in DirectX performance, with OpenGL 3 graphics in Windows and Linux also said to be improved.
There are new multi-touch gestures for Windows apps such as smooth zoom and rotate multi-touch gestures, while printing from Windows (with Shared Printers) now allows users to print on both sides and use more paper sizes, from A0 to envelope.
Virtual machines can now be set to automatically return unused disk space when shutting down, and Windows Travel Mode claims to be able to increase laptop battery by up to 10 percent.
Elsewhere, Pro Edition users can now name their custom networks, and export virtual machines in a compressed format that are a said to be a fraction of their pre-compressed size. Parallels has also launched a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio to simplify testing on different operating systems.
Lastly, in addition to all the work that has gone on under the hood to ensure Big Sur compatibility, Parallels 16 also brings a new look to the software that’s more in keeping with Apple’s redesigned interface in macOS 11.
There’s no word at present whether Parallels will run Windows on the forthcoming Apple Silicon Macs that Apple announced at WWDC, but Parallels says it will release further information on this further down the line.
Parallels Desktop 16 requires High Sierra 10.13 or later to run, and can be
purchased for a one-off fee of $99.99 for the standard edition, with the more feature-laden Pro and Business editions available at $79.99 per year on a subscription basis.
Users with Parallels Desktop 14 and 15 (including Pro and Business Editions) can upgrade for $49.99, while college students in the United States, Canada, Germany and U.K. have access to the reduced price Student Edition. A 14-day trial of the virtualization suite is also available.