Parallels Desktop for Mac 13: ready for macOS High Sierra

    A year ago, the 12th version of Parallels Desktop , a utility for Windows virtualization on macOS, was released. Fast. Simple. Convenient. But we were not idle. During the year, we met off-line with users, conducted additional polls among those who bought and tested our software, studied promising new products from Apple and Microsoft, delved into user problems, and also ran thematic forums . All this made it possible to pay more attention to requests and take into account key wishes. And today I want to talk about some of the features of the new - 13th - version of Parallels Desktop. There is a lot of curiosity not only for developers, but also for ordinary users. Under the cut, the most interesting innovations are described. There are about fifty of them. Enjoy! Well, share your impressions in the comments.

    One-click Windows 10 installation

    Previously, when installing Parallels Desktop, users had a problem - where to get Windows to try how the product works. Even if the user had a DVD with Windows, then on the Mac he had nowhere to stick.

    In the new version, everything has become much simpler: now, when installing Parallels Desktop 13, it is automatically offered to download and install Windows 10 right in the Mac window. The whole installation will take no more than 15-20 minutes (if you have good Internet of course). After the user tries our product, he will be able to enter the license key Window, if he has one or - buy.


    On the new MacBook Pro, instead of a number of function keys, the Touch Bar is used, which is essentially a long and narrow touch screen. With Parallels Desktop 13, you can customize the Touch Bar for you. Including launching Windows applications, opening certain folders, managing specific functions, and so on.

    By default, in Parallels Desktop 13, ready-made keystrokes are available for some frequently requested applications.

    If no Windows application is running when working with Parallels Desktop 13, then the Windows taskbar is displayed in the Touch Bar (this is convenient when working in Coherence mode when the guest desktop and taskbar are hidden).

    If, say, you start Word, then the main formatting buttons will appear in the panel.

    If the default keys do not suit you, then you can select the ones you need, in Parallels Desktop 13 there is a touch panel setup wizard for this.

    The most needed people are always at hand

    Parallels Desktop 13 integrates the People Bar . This tool is only preparing for the official release in the new September update of Windows 10, while it is already available to our users. How it works? Most of us eventually develop a certain circle of friends, relatives, colleagues, and business partners. Often chatting with them, we have to constantly open an email client and instant messengers (for example, Skype) in order to find the desired contact and write a letter or message. In order not to climb contact lists and menus every time, you can configure the People Bar name panels with all contacts for specific people. Although there can be no more than three contacts on a Windows People Bar, there are no such number limits on a Mac Dock with Parallels Desktop 13.


    This feature is well known to owners of modern TVs. Suppose you are watching an interesting program, but here the commercial break begins. Nobody likes to watch ads, and you temporarily switch to another channel. And in order not to miss the moment of the end of advertising, you can display a small image of the previous channel in the corner of the screen so that you can glance out of the corner of your eye if the program you watched has begun again. Parallels Desktop 13 implements exactly the same function - you can display small windows that display life in your virtual machines.

    In order not to switch between virtual machines, checking the degree of completion of some tasks, display them on the desktop in the form of a “picture-in-picture”. The size of the windows, the transparency and the “always on top” position can be changed. It is also convenient from the point of view that you do not need to remember which VM which OS or application is currently running, just glance and click on the desired window. And to make the content of these picture-in-picture look nicer, post-processing using pixel shaders on the GPU is used. The most useful feature of the Picture-in-Picture mode is that it is fully functional not only for reading. You can increase the size, quickly do something in the virtual machine, and then reduce the size of the back for control. Really very comfortable. Checked by yourself.


    With Parallels Desktop 13, file operations on Windows and Mac can be up to 20-50% faster than in version 12. We also improved the mechanism for working with USB devices, the speed increase in most scenarios was 40%. On virtual machines with a default amount of memory, snapshots are taken 16% faster, and on machines with an increased volume, 100%.

    Up to 32 virtual processors and up to 128 GB of virtual RAM (Pro version for iMac Pro) can now be allocated to each virtual machine. This was done in anticipation of the announced iMac Pro, which will be equipped with as many as 18-core processors, which with the help of Hyperthreading can turn into 36 virtual processors.

    Support for Intel VTune Amplifier has also been improved, support for LBR and tools based on hardware monitoring counters for Linux (perf and Mozilla rr) have been introduced.

    Ready for High Sierra

    In September, the release of a new version of macOS - High Sierra is expected. We got access to the beta version in advance and adapted all our innovations to the new features of this OS. Thus, on the new OS, all our features will work without problems.

    Scaling smoothing

    46% of copies of Parallels Desktop 12 run on devices with Retina displays. In 37% of them, at least one virtual machine has native resolution enabled (Scaled mode). This is because not all Windows applications are adapted for hi DPI. Applications do not draw text correctly, controls run into each other, and menus look very small. To combat this ailment in Parallels Desktop 13, we are improving the quality of the image on the GPU by post-processing the image. Scaled mode allows you to achieve the proper image quality.

    Permission change

    In the new version of Parallels Desktop, the code responsible for dynamically changing the resolution of the windows of virtual machines has been seriously redesigned. Now, when rebooting, switching from full-screen mode to window mode, when manually resizing windows, this happens smoothly, without jerking and blinking of the black tap.

    And since we are talking about resolution, another new feature will be interesting primarily for web designers and web developers who regularly check how their projects look on screens with different resolutions. Parallels Desktop 13 introduced the option to quickly select a resolution for a specific virtual machine.

    Go to the bright side

    Which interface do you like - dark or light? We interviewed Parallels Desktop users, and over 80% of respondents preferred the light option. That is why in the 13th version of our utility we made the interface in bright colors. But for fans of the "classics" there was still the opportunity to switch to a dark interface using a switch.

    Work with OpenGL

    Our team worked on the graphics. Now we are actively working on OpenGL 3.2. We are trying to expand support for popular programs. For example, with Parallels Desktop 13, your work in one of the most popular DIALux evo design and lighting planning applications will be possible. This program requires Open GL 3.2 and we supported it.

    We also made Parallels Desktop 13 a popular computer game, Northgard . Starting with the 12th version, we are actively working with the gaming community. For our part, we intend to continue to do this further. If you have any wishes for launching your particular favorite game on our virtual machine, do not hesitate to write about it on one of our thematic forums. We’ll come, we will take into account the opinion, we will help!

    A gift box with tools for everyone

    Parallels Desktop comes with a set of useful utilities for all occasions - Parallels Toolbox. It appeared in version 12 , but this time we added a number of new utilities (total of about 30):

    • Change resolution
    • Download audio
    • Clear disc
    • Find duplicates
    • Create animated GIF

    For example, “Create GIF” allows you to make an animation gif of the required resolution from a fragment of any video file in a few clicks. It is very convenient if you are engaged in SMM or are fan of gifs with cats. And “Find Duplicates” can look for duplicates of any files and unused applications on the computer. So if you run out of free disk space, then just run this utility, and it will make a list of all duplicate files. In addition to it, you can run “Clean Disk” to clean out unnecessary files.

    The Parallels Toolbox is also available for Windows users, which can be downloaded from our website. And to all owners of Parallels Desktop 13, it relies for free.

    New Help

    We have significantly revised the product help, making it contextual. Now, on each settings window, you can click on the "?" and get help for each specific setting on the page.

    New Trial

    The trial version will now begin its countdown only from the moment the virtual machine starts. The user can install the product, see the settings, create virtual machines, import a PC or configure Bootcamp VM, but the trial time counts down to 14 days only after he presses the start button of the virtual machine.


    In this release, we managed to achieve the best in the history of our Windows performance products on Mac computers, as well as implement innovative useful features and tools designed to help users quickly and efficiently cope with their tasks. I hope you will have the opportunity to appreciate our new Parallels Desktop 13. Download the trial version here .

    P.S.We have been thinking for a long time how to name our new product, because the previous version was 12, and the number 13 causes panic in some people. We had ideas to make 14 right away, or use 2018, as Microsoft does, but after seeing that Apple also releases version 13, we also settled on the number 13. For the most inquisitive, we prepared an easter egg on this subject. Will you find? The first to find the treasure and post the screenshot in the comments is the annual license for Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac Pro + Parallels Toolbox as a gift.

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