Parallels Desktop 16 was released today, providing some notable new features and performance improvements in the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur.
When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for third-party kernel extensions on which earlier versions of Parallels were built. It forced the developers to design the virtualization software from scratch, 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 zooming and rotating multi-touch gestures, while printing from Windows (with shared printers) allows users to print on both sides and use more paper sizes, from A0 for envelopes.
Virtual machines can now be set to automatically return unused disk space when you turn it off, and Windows Travel Mode claims to be able to increase the 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 is 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 various operating systems.
Finally, in addition to all the work that has been going on under the hood to ensure Big Sur compatibility, Parallels 16 also gives a new look to the software that is more in line with Apple’s redesigned interface in macOS 11.
There is currently no word on whether Parallels will run Windows on the upcoming Apple Silicon Macs that Apple announced at WWDC, but Parallels says it will release more information on this later.
Parallels Desktop 16 requires High Sierra 10.13 or later to run and can be purchased for a one-time fee of $ 99.99 for the standard edition, with the more feature-packed Pro and Business editions available for $ 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 students in the US, Canada, Germany and the UK have access to the reduced Student Edition price. A 14-day trial of the virtualization suite is also available.