Apple's ARM switch will be the end of Boot Camp

Boot Camp
Boot Camp (Image credit: Windows Central)

Boot Camp

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple is moving from Intel processors to its own Apple silicon on the Mac.
  • Amongst other things, it will signal the end of Boot Camp as a way to install and run Windows on Mac.
  • Going forward, the only option will be virtualization.

Apple has confirmed that switching to its own, ARM-based Apple silicon will signal the end of Boot Camp support.

As The Verge notes:

Apple will start switching its Macs to its own ARM-based processors later this year, but you won't be able to run Windows in Boot Camp mode on them. Microsoft only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to PC makers to preinstall on new hardware, and the company hasn't made copies of the operating system available for anyone to license or freely install.

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft said it only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to OEMs, and that it had nothing further to share at this time.

Then, on John Gruber's WWDC Talk Show, Craig Federighi confirmed that Apple would not support Boot Camp on ARM Macs:

"We're not direct booting an alternate operating system. Purely virtualization is the route. These hypervisors can be very efficient, so the need to direct boot shouldn't really be the concern."

The only wrinkle here is that Apple's Rosetta software, which will be used to help translate software to make it compatible with Apple's ARM Macs will not support virtualization software like Parallels natively. That means companies will have to rebuild their virtualization software for ARM if they want it to be used on Apple's next generation of Macs. This is because Rosetta will not work with Virtual Machine apps that virtualize X86_64 platforms.

As of right now, the only viable solution over the next couple of years will likely be to stick to Intel-based Macs. There is always a chance that Apple and Microsoft might come to some sort of agreement in the meantime though.

Stephen Warwick