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Parallels Desktop 18 streamlines Windows 11 installation, adds Xbox controller support, improves performance on M1 Ultra

Parallels 18
(Image credit: Corel)

What you need to know

  • Parallels Desktop 18 just rolled out with a long list of new features and improvements.
  • The program allows users to run virtualized versions of Windows or Linux on Mac hardware.
  • Parallels Desktop 18 simplifies the process for installing Windows 11, adds support for Xbox and DualShock controllers, and improves performance in several areas.

Parallels Desktop is a popular tool for running Windows or Linux on Mac hardware. Now, the latest version of the utility promises better performance and a long list of new features. Corel, the makers of Parallels, just rolled out Parallels Desktop 18. Following the update, Parallels will work better with ProMotion displays, run better on M1 Ultra chips, and will deliver better performance for x86 apps running on Apple's M-series chips.

Here are some of the biggest changes that come with Parallels 18:

  • On Mac computers with a ProMotion display, Windows will now adopt display refresh rate changes automatically if it has been changed in macOS.
  • A new virtual controller device is automatically created in Windows when a Bluetooth controller is connected to the Mac, allowing users to play Windows games with Xbox, DualSense, and other game controllers.
  • Parallels Tools update will be installed upon Windows restart to prevent unwanted interruptions.
  • Download and install Windows 11 via the in-product offer. (Intel-based Macs only)
  • On Mac Studio with Apple M1 Ultra chip, assign up to 62 GB RAM and up to 18 CPU cores to Windows and get up to 96% faster Windows 11 on your Mac.
  • Improved USB 3.0 support: Works with live data streaming devices (webcams, game capture devices, and a range of other video and audio streaming devices, including Elgato HD60 S, SOCT Copernicus REVO, and more). 
  • Parallels Tools driver responsible for Shared Folders functionality has been re-built to ARM architecture to provide better compatibility with Intel applications in Windows running on Apple M series Mac. 

The complete changelog for Parallels 18 (opens in new tab) outlines all of its new features and changes.

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Parallels Desktop 18 | $100 (opens in new tab)

Parallels Desktop allows you to run virtualized versions of Windows and Linux on Macs. With it, you can run over 200,000 Windows applications on your Mac side-by-side with your favorite macOS apps.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).