Parallels Desktop 13 Review: Requirements, Pricing, Pros and Cons

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There are many reasons why Windows simulators are popular even though macOS is already a great platform on its own. It could be because you want to enjoy features that are only available on Windows or you need to run Windows-based apps for school or work. It could also be that you’re simply more familiar with Windows and you’re more comfortable using it than your Mac.

Whatever your reason is, running Windows on Macs has become a lot easier using simulators. One of the popular virtual platforms that you can use to run a different operating system on macOS is Parallels Desktop. This virtualization platform may not be the only software that allows Mac users to run Windows apps, but expert users prefer the speed, efficiency, and ease of use provided by Parallels Desktop.

Parallels Desktop is a great way of running Windows apps on Mac, especially for regular users. Aside from Windows, you can also run other operating systems and other OS-based apps on this virtualization platform.

What is Parallels Desktop 13?

Parallels has released several versions of the Parallels Desktop software already, with each version making it easier to run Windows OS and other operating systems, including older versions of macOS and Mac OSX. But one of the best versions released of this virtualization platform is the Parallels Desktop 13. It is the first version of the software that allows Mac users to launch Windows apps and provide some control using the MacBook Pro Touch Bar. With this version, you can enable the Touch Bar to display various tools and features from the virtual machines. Aside from the Touch Bar, users can also use the new People Bar and Picture-in-Picture features on Windows 10.

Aside from the Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac, Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition and Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition are also available for download.

To use Parallels Desktop 13, these are the hardware requirements you need to consider:

  • At least late 2012 Mac or later
  • 4 GB of memory, 8 GB is recommended
  • At least 850 MB of disk space on the boot volume for the Parallels Desktop installation.
  • Additional disk space for virtual machines, depending on the operating system you want to install
  • If you have an SSD drive, that would be better
  • An internet connection for product activation and other features

Aside from the hardware requirements, you also need to have the necessary software requirements, which include:

  • macOS High Sierra 12.13
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.5 or later
  • OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 or later
  • OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 or later

Here are the 32-bit operating systems you can run on your Parallels Desktop:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 Creators Update
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012 R2, and SP0
  • Windows 7 SP1, and SP0
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows Vista Home, Business, Ultimate, Enterprise SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows Server 2003 R2, SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows XP Professional SP3, SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows XP Home SP3, SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows 2000 Professional SP4
  • Windows 2000 Server SP4
  • Windows NT 4.0 Server SP6
  • Windows NT 4.0 Workstation SP6
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 98 SE
  • Windows 95
  • Windows 3.11
  • MS-DOS 6.22
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, 6, and 5
  • Fedora Linux 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, and 19
  • Ubuntu 18.04, 17.04, 16.10, 16.04 LTS, 15.10, 15.04, 14.10, 14.04 LTS, 13.10, 13.04, 12.10, 12.04 LTS, 11.10, 11.04, 10.10, and 10.04 LTS
  • CentOS Linux 7, 6, and 5
  • Debian Linux 8, 7, 6, and 5
  • Suse Linux Enterprise 12, 11 SP3, and 11 SP2
  • openSUSE Linux 13.2, 13.1, and 12.3
  • Linux Mint 18, 17, 16, and 13
  • Kali Linux 2018.1, and 2017.1
  • Zorin OS 12.1
  • elementary OS 0.4
  • Manjaro Linux 17.0.1
  • Mageia 5, 4.1, and 3
  • Solaris 11.3, 11, and 10
  • OpenBSD 6
  • FreeBSD 11, 10, 10, 9, and 8
  • OS/2 Warp 4.5 and 4
  • eComStation 2 and 1.2
  • Mac OS X Leopard Server 10.5.x
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server 10.6.x
  • Android OS downloaded by the Installation Assistant)

Here are the 64-bit operating systems you can run on Parallels Desktop:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 Creators Update
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 and SP0
  • Windows 7 SP1 and SP0
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows Vista Home, Business, Ultimate, Enterprise SP0, SP1, and SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2, SP2, SP1, and SP0
  • Windows XP Professional SP2
  • boot2docker
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, 6, and 5
  • Fedora Linux 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, and 19
  • Ubuntu 17.04, 16.10, 16.04 LTS, 15.10, 15.04, 14.10, 14.04 LTS, 13.10, 13.04, 12.10, 12.04 LTS, 11.10, 11.04, 10.10, and 10.04 LTS
  • CentOS Linux 7, 6, and 5
  • Debian Linux 8.3, 7, 6, and 5
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server 12, 11 SP3, and 11 SP2
  • openSUSE Linux 13.2, 13.1, and 12.3
  • Linux Mint 18, 17, 16, and 13
  • Kali Linux 2017.1
  • Zorin OS 12.1
  • elementary OS 0.4
  • Manjaro Linux 17.0.1
  • Mageia 5, 4.1, and 3
  • OpenVZ 7
  • Solaris 11.3, 11, and 10
  • OpenBSD 6
  • FreeBSD 11, 10, 10, 9, and 8
  • macOS Sierra 10.12.x
  • OS X El Capitan 10.11.x
  • OS X Yosemite 10.10.x
  • OS X Mavericks 10.9.x
  • OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.x
  • OS X Lion 10.7.x
  • OS X Lion Server 10.7.x
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server 10.6.x
  • Mac OS X Leopard Server 10.5.x

Parallels Desktop 13 Pros and Cons

One of the main features of Parallels Desktop 13 is that it brings Windows apps to the Mac’s Touch Bar. It supports Mac Touch Bar integration for Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint, and browsers, such as, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. When you open the Windows Start Menu or Desktop, you can immediately see the Taskbar pinned elements, along with Task View, Cortana, and settings in the Touch Bar. Most of the Windows programs that run in Parallels Desktop can be quickly customized with preset Touch Bar actions if the built-in set of functional keys is not sufficient.

Aside from enhancing existing Mac features, Parallels Desktop is also able to build on Windows tools as well. Parallels Desktop 13 integrates the Windows 10 Insider Preview’s People Bar, a Windows 10 feature that allows users to pin contacts to the Taskbar. Although Windows you can only pin up to three People Bar contacts, the Dock on macOS doesn’t limit favorite contacts. It even displays larger photos for easy viewing.

The new Parallels Desktop 13 also includes Picture-in-Picture (PiP) View, a Windows feature that creates windows of other active virtual machines (VMs). These VMs are always visible on top, even when an application is in Full Screen mode. With this, you can easily monitor and work with multiple operating systems and apps simultaneously on one screen. It also allows you to watch a video while switching between macOS Spaces and other programs. Aside from PiP View, here are other popular Parallels Desktop customization settings you should try:

  • Coherence – Windows is invisible while using Windows apps on a Mac
  • Full Screen mode – Enjoy your windows and apps on fullscreen
  • Window mode – Windows in a window in macOS

The Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition also features a customer-inspired Single Application mode. This mode lets IT admins deliver, lock, and secure invisible Windows virtual machines with specific applications to the Dock. This makes it easy for users to discover and use Windows apps just like Mac apps. Parallel Desktop 13 also provides a couple of visual and display improvements for better transitions and improved scaling resolution.

There are also more than 30 easy-to-use utilities for Mac and Windows included in Parallels Desktop 13. Some of the more popular utilities include:

  • Clean Drive – This tool allows users to easily free up disk space.
  • Presentation Mode – This mode prevents embarrassing notifications, accidental display of personal files, and screensaver lockout delays when doing a presentation.
  • Download Video – Download videos from YouTube, Facebook, and other streaming websites in just one click.
  • Find Duplicates – This allows you to easily search any drive or folder to filter identical files, even with different names, and free up your storage space.
  • Record Screen – Record a video of your entire screen, an active window, or a selected area with audio.

Parallels Desktop 13 Pricing

Parallels Desktop 13 is available for new subscribers and upgraders from the 11th and 12th version. If you have an existing Parallels Desktop software, you can upgrade to the Parallels Desktop 13 version using this link.

For new subscribers, you can get your copy of Parallels Desktop 13 from the developers’ website or at online stores around the world. Here are the prices for the various Parallels Desktop 13 packages:

  • Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac – $79.99
  • Upgrades for existing Parallels Desktop 11 and 12 for Mac – $49.99
  • Parallels Desktop Pro Edition subscription – $49.99 per year
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition – $99
  • Parallels Desktop for Business – $99

Parallels Desktop 13 has a free 14-day full-featured trial period so you can see how the app works and try out the different features.

How to Use Parallels Desktop 13

To use Parallels Desktop 13, you need to download the software from the website. You can directly buy the app or download a trial version. Once the installer has been downloaded, click on the file to install it on your computer.

After the installation has been completed, you’ll find Parallels Desktop in your Menu Bar at the top of the screen. Click on the Parallels icon, which is two red vertical lines, to launch the software. This menu allows you to choose your view, manage your devices, enter a different mode, and other actions.

There are several ways to open a Windows app. You can choose to launch the apps from the Windows Applications folder in the Dock, the Windows Start menu, the Dock, via Spotlight searching, or using Launchpad. You can identify Windows apps easily by the Parallels Desktop symbol found in the lower-right corner of the app’s icon. You can also install new apps from the Windows Store, from the internet, or via CD/DVD.

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