Virtual Machine Apps For Mac

  1. Virtual Machine Software For Mac
  2. Mac Virtual Machine For Free
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With virtualization, you can install and use various operating systems on your Mac, including Windows and Linux. For the latter, we recommend using the latest version of Parallels or open-source VirtualBox. Here's a look at how to install and use Linux using each option.

Virtual Machine Software For Mac

Oct 11, 2019  When the new virtual system starts up, use the Virtual Machine/Install VMware Tools menu to install the VMware Tools. After restarting the virtual machine, drag your 32-bit apps.

What is virtualization?

As I noted in a previous post, software virtualization allows you to simulate a hardware environment and run multiple operating systems on one computer. In doing so, these virtual machines can take advantage of the hardware components on a computer such as RAM and storage in complete isolation to the primary operating system.

For those wanting to install Linux on their Mac through virtualization, we recommend using the latest version of Parallels or open-source VirtualBox. The former offers an easier-to-install solution, but you must pay for it after a 14-day free trial. The latter is open-source and free, but more difficult to install. Regardless, each solution will get the job done.

Installing Linux through Parallels

Using Parallels 15 for Mac, you can install a copy of Linux on your computer following the directions below. These steps assume Parallels has already been installed on your machine.

  1. Click File on the Parallels toolbar.
  2. Select New
  3. Highlight Download Ubuntu Linux under Free Systems.

    Source: iMore

  4. Click Continue.
  5. Choose Download to download a copy of Linux onto your computer.

    Source: iMore

Once installed, Linux want you to add a new password for the 'Parallels' user. You can also choose 'Not Listed?' to add a new UNIX user. Regardless, sign into your UNIX account.

  1. Type in your newly created password in the Parallels Tools box.
  2. Click OK.

    Source: iMore

  3. Restart your virtual machine at the prompt.

You can now use Ubuntu Linux on your Mac using Parallels.

Installing Linux through VirtualBox

To install a virtual copy of Linux on your Mac using the open-source VirtualBox, do the following. These steps assume VirtualBox has already been installed on your machine:

  1. Click New in VirtualBox.
  2. Add a name for your virtual copy of Linux.
  3. Choose Linux as the type of installation.
  4. Select the version of Linux to use.
  5. Click Continue

    Source: iMore

  6. Choose a Memory Size. Use the suggested minimum or select another number up to your maximum. The more memory you allocate for your virtual operating system, the speedier it will be.
  7. Select Continue.
  8. Choose the Create a virtual hard disk now radio dial.
  9. Click Create.

    Source: iMore

  10. Confirm VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) as your hard drive file type.
  11. Select Continue.
  12. Confirm Dynamically allocated for storage.

    Source: iMore

  13. Choose file location and size
  14. Select Create.

    Source: iMore

The steps above are just the first part of installing Linux on your Mac. You must now download a copy of Linux to work with VirtualBox to finish the process:

  1. Download Ubuntu Desktop from the Ubuntu website.
  2. Click Download next to the latest LTS version.
  3. Confirm to download.

    Source: iMore

Once downloading this file is complete, go back into VirtualBox.

  1. Highlight the Linux instance on the left side of the VirtualBox Manager.
  2. Choose Start.
  3. Click on the File Icon on the pop-up screen.
  4. Select Add at the top left.

    Source: iMore

  5. Find, then highlight the Ubuntu file you just downloaded.
  6. Choose Open.

    Source: iMore

  7. With the new file highlight, select Choose.
  8. Select Start.

    Source: iMore

From there, following the online directions provided by Ubuntu to finish the installation.

Adjust the settings

Depending on your Mac version and age, you may need to adjust the VirtualBox settings for Linux to make the window bigger. To do so, you must first exit the Linux installation. From there:

  1. Highlight the Linux virtual intallation on the main VirtualBox screen.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Select Display.
  4. Change Scale Factor from 100% to 200%.
  5. Click OK.

    Source: iMore

  6. Click Start to start Linux on your Mac.

You can now change the screen size for your Linux installation and begin using the oeprating system on your Mac.

Which should you choose?

Having installed Linux through both Parallels and VirtualBox on my MacBook Pro, I can tell you the process is easier through Parallels. As you can see above, there are much fewer steps to install Linux through Parallels. The result is the same once the operating system gets installed, however.

If you're already using Parallels on your Mac (to use Windows, for example), you should continue to do so for Linux. The process is simple, and easy-to-follow. However, if you're looking for a free solution or are new to virtualization, consider VirtualBox. Just go into it know you'll need to follow a few more steps.


Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below.

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We all know what a Virtual machine is. For those who do not let’s get the jest of it. Putting it most simply, “a virtual machine is an operating system that is installed on software, which imitates dedicated hardware.”

What actually happens here is that you are allowed to install an operating system without creating separate memory partitions on your memory. It simply gets installed in your current OS as a different operating system. All you need to do then is just power on the virtual machine, and you are ready to work on your new OS.

For instance, and most commonly followed pattern is that you can run a Linux distro on your Windows Operating System. Run MAC on your Windows computer and vice versa. There are many operating systems to choose from, some are lighter than others, some are based on Android too.

So let’s have a look at some popular and best virtual machines:


Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux

Key features: Run multiple OS, resizable windows, support for Windows, Linux, MAC and other non-listed operating system using their image file (ISO, IMG etc).

Let’s start with Virtualbox since it’s the most hands-on of the bunch.

First, you start by installing it on your computer, but virtual machine software aren’t like other apps as the setup goes beyond just installing. Once you install, from there you have to create new virtual image setup and have to tweak a bunch of settings, for example, how much CPU core and video memory it gets from the total installed in your computer. The same goes for selecting the operating system image which you like to run in the settings and the same goes for sound and internet connection. Hopefully, if this is the first time and you are having a hard time, here is a step by step tutorial which will help you through the setup.

It is the most appropriate choice for beginners, a free and open source hypervisor developed by Oracle. It can load multiple guests operating systems on a single host operating system, even Mac OS. The best part of this kind of feature is that each guest can be started, paused and stopped independently. It can run the operating system in a breeze. The best of its features include its ability to run 64-bit guest’s virtualized application side by side with normal desktop applications. Although there is a limited support for 3D graphics acceleration.

The good news is that it’s open source and totally free, while the other VMware Fusion and Parallels (Virtual machine software) both requires that you purchase an annual license (which is yearly)to get future updates which pack more stability and improvements which sounds great but isn’t cheap on paper.

We want to let you know that you do not have to check other virtual machines if your requirements are very straightforward then the virtual box will be great for you, it can run almost all popular operating systems.

Related: Install and run macOS High Sierra on VirtualBox

VMware Workstation Player

Platforms: Windows, Linux

Key features: 64-bit software, Cortana support in Windows 10.

A division of Dell Technologies, “VMware Inc.”, initially released VMware in 1999. It will provide you a version which is free of cost for non-commercial use. It gives you a platform where you can set up two virtual machines on a single physical machine and use both of them at the same time without any hitch. One of the best features of this virtual machine is that you can save a snapshot at any point in time and then restore it later on at your own ease. This hosted hypervisor runs on x64 version of Linux and Windows operating systems. Another interesting feature is that of unity; you can create a seamless integration between the host operating system and the guest operating system just by hiding the virtual monitor.

Related: Install and run macOS High Sierra on VMware

Parallels Workstation

Platforms: MAC OS X

Key features: Cortana support in Windows 10, OS X’s quick look feature.

Parallels Workstation is a commercial proprietary software released on November 08, 2011. Five years ago, the developer of server virtualization software and desktops, “Parallels Inc.”, came forward with their very first software product. The platform for this hypervisor is x85-compatible. Basically, this hypervisor enables both the virtual machines to work with their processors, their RAM, their Floppy drive and hard disk, as a physical computer contains. Unlike Hyper-V, it provides pass-through drivers for the parallel port and USB devices.

VMware vs Parallels! Difference is subtle


Mac Virtual Machine For Free

Platforms: Linux, MAC, Windows

Key features: 32-bit and 64-bit installer, Control via command line.

QEMU stands for Quick Emulator. It is basically an open source hosted hypervisor which is free of cost. It was developed by Peer Maydell for synchronizing with various operating systems such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, MAC operating system and some other UNIX platforms. It majorly performs hardware virtualization. QEMU is flexible to work with because guest operating systems don’t require patching to run inside it. A very different feature of this virtual machine is that it stores virtual disk images in a special format (qcow or qcow2). This only takes up the disk space in the guest operating system. It also has a VNC server that allows the user to access the screen of the guest Operating system.

The virtual hardware support is limited but supports a wide range of processors including ARM, MIPS and other (Virtual Box support only 32-bit and 64-bit CPU architecture).

VMware fusion

Platforms: MAC OS X

Key features: Upto 5k iMAC monitor support natively (MAC)

VMware fusion was developed by VMware Inc. on June 22, 2017. It is a commercial proprietary software which was designed primarily for Macintosh computers. VMware was written in C, C++ and x86 Assembly. It is a hypervisor that allows Intel-based Macs to run an operating system such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, NetWare. This marked the entry of VMware in MAC based x86 virtualization. The latest version contains bug fixes and security updates.

It comes down that both free and paid version of Fusion provides the ability to run Windows from the Bootcamp partition as a guest operating instance so there will be no need to reboot your computer back and forth to switch from MAC to Windows (applies when your host computer is running on MAC OS). Although, Bootcamp is the free option to run Windows on MAC computers without any virtual machine software it needs to reboot your computer to take full advantage of hardware to gain better performance and stability. But the Fusion does have 5k native iMac display support as well as retina settings. You can use it’s unity mode to launch apps from MAC dock as if it’s native app.

VMware Server

Update: Discontinued

Earlier it was known as VMware GSX Server which can say as Ground Storm X. It is a free though closed source software developed by VMware Inc. on October 26, 2009. VMware Server provides x86 compatible platform. The number of features is comparatively less than that of other software available for purchase, but still, it works well enough for the users. One of the notable features of VMware Server is that it can preserve as well as it can revert to a particular snapshot of each virtual machine within the same environment. Such virtual machines don’t even have a specific interface for cloning virtual machines.

get VM server

Best Virtual Machine On Mac


Hyper Viridian, formerly known as Windows Server Virtualization, is a component of Windows server and was released alongside Windows server 2008. Hyper V can create virtual machines on x84-64 systems running windows. The final version of this native hypervisor was released on June 26, 2008. Its best-known feature is that it can expose a particular virtual machine to one or more networks. Hyper-V comes with some limitations like it does not allows the host operating system’s optical drives to pass through the operating system of guest virtual machines.

Which Virtual machine software is best for you?

Virtual Machines have their sort of merits on computers. Firstly, you do not have to leave or remove the current one because virtual machines can experiment with the other operating system. Then you can always test the newest versions of the operating systems, such as Windows or Mac. Virtual Machines are user-friendly and work efficiently, as easy as opening a new application.

It is not time-consuming as you can avoid various switching and it becomes easy to format hard disks. They are entirely separate from your computer as they will not interfere or damage your software. Virtual Machines allows you to run one operating system surpassing another operating system. The experience of the user remains same on both the virtual machines. When you get a virtual machine on your operating system, it ultimately behaves like you have a separate computer.


Virtual Machine For Mac Os

  • Parallels Workstation