Apple

More than 50 new features on PD14

Parallels Desktop 14 supports the Dark Mode.
Parallels Desktop 14 supports the Dark Mode.PHOTO: PARALLELS INC

Parallels Desktop 14 (PD14) for Mac is the latest iteration of Parallels' virtualisation software that lets Mac users run the Windows operating system and software on their Macs.

The latest version comes with over 50 new features, according to its maker. These include faster performance (up to 200 per cent, depending on your Mac computer), less storage - up to 20GB less - for virtual machines (VMs), improved Windows OpenGL support for enhanced graphics, and support for Intel Xeon-based iMac Pro.

Perhaps the most important reasons to get PD14 are that it is fully compatible with Apple's latest macOS Mojave and that Windows 10 VM starts up faster (up to 35 per cent faster, according to Parallels).

On my 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MBP) that is running Mojave, Windows 10 VM starts up almost immediately when I click on it, with the Windows desktop appearing in less than three seconds, compared to around 10 seconds on Parallels Desktop 13.

In addition, there was no noticeable lag when I moved between Windows 10 VM and Mojave. The Windows 10 VM felt like just another app in Mojave.

Another plus is the VM in PD14 takes up less space - nearly 13GB less space than previously in my case.

Furthermore, there are easier tools to monitor CPU and system memory usage. For example, there is a Resource Monitor tool that lets you view, in a glance, the amount of CPU and system memory both Mac and the VM are using.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: From US$79.99 (S$110)

    SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: A Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Core i9, Intel Core M, or Xeon processor, at least 4GB of memory (8GB recommended), 600MB of disk space available on the boot volume

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

And if you love the Dark Mode, or dark theme, in Mojave like myself, you will be happy to know that PD14 supports the Dark Mode too. But the "darkness" does not translate to Windows 10 VM itself. It just means the PD14 app windows have the same dark theme.

Like its predecessor, PD14 continues to have Touch Bar support for Touch Bar MBP released from 2016. For Touch Bar MBP users like myself, this is a boon. For example, when you launch the Microsoft Edge Web browser, there will be the Home, Front/Back, Download and Refresh buttons on the Touch Bar for you to use. This applies to Task View and Taskbar pinned elements of Windows 10 too.

Also, the new version of Parallels Toolbox, a set of useful tools for everyday computing, is included in PD14. And you get to use it in both Windows and Mac.

New features of Parallels Toolbox include the ability to take a screenshot with a simple click, instead of the Command + Shift + 3 in macOS, as well as quickly resizing images by dropping images on a window. Some old but handy tools are still around, including tools for freeing up memory and cleaning up drive.

• Verdict: With its performance boost, lower storage space needed for VMs and full compatibility with macOS Mojave, the Parallels Desktop 14 for Mac is certainly worth the purchase if you need Windows on your Mac.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'More than 50 new features on PD14'. Print Edition | Subscribe