On an Intel Mac it was possible and legal to run a "Mac-on-Mac" VM, i.e. to run macOS within a virtual machine hypervisor running on macOS. Does any product or demonstration exist for the same on an Apple Silicon (M1) Mac?

For its part, VMWare's most recent public update included a bullet point

macOS VMs are not in scope in the short term. There are challenges there which will require Apple to work with us to resolve.

with no further explanation to be found in the remainder of their blog post. Has their competitor Parallels had better luck? Or, if the "challenges" are more of the contractual or simply "polished user experience" sort, perhaps a more independent hobbyist or hacker has overcome them at least in a proof-of-concept fashion?

To be clear in this question I am not specifically asking if it's possible to run an older Intel version of macOS on an ARM processor (which admittedly would fulfill similar purposes but likely in a less-performant way), but mostly whether there is currently any way to run an Apple Silicon macOS guest under an Apple Silicon macOS host?


2 Answers 2


The macOS guest on top of macOS host running ARM hardware is supported officially by parallels with Monterey v12.

Previously on Big Sur, there were five OS guest options with Parallels:

  1. Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview
  2. Ubuntu 20.10, 20.04
  3. Fedora Workstation 33-1.2
  4. Debian GNU/Linux 10.7
  5. Kali Linux 2021.1

Of those, Windows and Linux ARM OS ran on Apple Silicon (M1).

The VMware Fusion hypervisor doesn’t officially support Apple Silicon (M1) guest yet.


Yes, there is now! The macOS version of the UTM app supports Monterey M1 guests and even has a wizard to assist in automatic installation. Some other options might also be on their way from their respective development teams.

Originally, the Apple Silicon M1 processor was released alongside macOS 11 Big Sur, but I never found any product or technique claiming to support that macOS version.

The VMware Fusion team described the situation early on as:

macOS VMs are not in scope in the short term. There are challenges there which will require Apple to work with us to resolve.

A contributor to the open source macOS/iOS UTM app described the [/one?] challenge as:

there is no [option to present M1 hardware directly to the VM] available in macOS Big Sur. It is coming in the next release of macOS, Monterey, later this year

And indeed with Monterey, the ARM-based macOS VM story has been changing:

  1. An open-source proof of concept appeared for an M1 guest on an M1 host (step-by-step walkthrough at e.g. https://mrmacintosh.com/you-can-now-virtualize-macos-on-an-m1-mac-with-macos-monterey/).
  2. The developers of the UTM app have hinted that they are working on support for M1 macOS virtualization in an unreleased dev-monterey branch of their codebase. Update: as of the 3.x releases, the UTM app's support for macOS Monterey guests is now available! Beyond the automatic installation, there's not currently a lot of "user friendly" features like file transfer or copy/paste or USB passthrough between guest and host, but the basic VM is a go.
  3. Parallels has a knowledge base article ("Last Review: Feb 3, 2022") covering how to Install macOS Monterey 12 virtual machine on a Mac with Apple M1 chip.
  4. As of my last edits here, there's still no mention of Monterey guest support in VMware Fusion's latest blog posts. The latest September 2021 version (v0.4) of their testing guide for their Tech Preview still lists a "macOS Guest VM" as "Not currently supported". I did find this post walking through various Monterey installation workarounds for Fusion but it's unclear if they work in the M1 or only the Intel case.
  5. Oracle® VM VirtualBox™ will not support this. Despite its generic-sounding name and its temporary usefulness to Apple customers throughout the 10.4.4–10.15.3 eras of OS X and macOS, the VirtualBox developers are focused solely on x86 virtualization (excluding x86 emulation). That is: only x86 guests running only under x86 hosts. Since an M1 box is not an x86 box, VirtualBox will no longer be relevant to Mac users going forward for any guest OS. (My conclusion here is based on the verdict among moderators of its forum that an ARM port would be completely unpossible; and another moderator of the VirtualBox forums closed this ticket with "VirtualBox is an x86 emulator. I don't think that an ARM port (or a PowerPC, or a Sparc, or a <InsertFavoriteArchitectureHere>) will ever happen." The team has apparently always been solely focused on the one CPU architecture and has indicated they will continue that tradition for Apple Silicon as well. So that makes the other big pressing question — whether or not they ever intended to move off their deprecated custom .kext onto the currently supported Hypervisor.framework — moot unless Apple ever migrates back to x86 processors in the future.)
  • Re 5: Based on the thread (verdict) you link to the non-availability of VB for ARM/M1 isn't related to the devs not being interested but rather due to the fact that VB is a slightly different product than VMware or Parallels ("VirtualBox is an emulator of PC peripheral hardware").
    – nohillside
    Feb 3, 2022 at 19:08
  • 1
    @nohillside Thanks for the feedback, I reworded it to be a bit more positive ("focused on the one" instead of "not interested in the others") and also added a bit more info about the other relevant way the VirtualBox team has …remained loyal… to their implementation despite Apple's policy changes regarding kernel extensions.
    – natevw
    Feb 3, 2022 at 19:34

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