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SOLIDWORKS Elite Specialists

Tech Support Blog: SOLIDWORKS on a Mac

Tuesday April 19, 2016 at 11:50am

We are often asked if it is possible to run SOLIDWORKS on a Mac computer – the answer is YES you can. We know quite a few users running SOLIDWORKS successfully on a Mac and SOLIDWORKS recently updated their system requirements to include virtualisation such as parallels. However the limit of this support is that although it will install, it may not run well due to the lack of supported graphics card and therefore graphics acceleration.


SOLIDWORKS do develop several applications that are available for OS X and iOS. This includes eDrawings Viewer for OS X, as well as eDrawings and eDrawings Professional for iOS. DraftSight is also available for OS X as a beta version.

Although SOLIDWORKS CAD will run on OS X there are some major considerations to be aware of:

  • Installation

The process for running SOLIDWORKS on a mac isn’t as simple as installing and activating the software. Since SOLIDWORKS is not developed for OS X, you’ll first need to install Windows on your OS X device using an application such as Bootcamp or Parallels.

SOLIDWORKS Mac Installation

  • Graphics Performance

Once you do get SOLIDWORKS running, you may notice that the graphics performance is not on par with Windows workstations, especially if you’re using a Macbook. This is because Apple do not offer laptops with workstation-grade video cards, such as the NVIDIA Quadro and ATI FirePro lines. These cards have drivers that support a technology called OpenGL, which SOLIDWORKS uses extensively.

This means some display options like RealView aren’t supported when used with Apple laptops (Mac Pro desktops are available with these cards). There are some workarounds for this but again these are not supported by SOLIDWORKS or Solid Solutions.

Your best bet for help with Paralels is their own support particularly their FAQ’s but are not officially supported by SOLIDWORKS and involves manual edits to the registry do so at your own risk and can cause issues with certain fucntions such as draft analysis.

A similar process may be possible under boot camp however this will need your own research and again is at your own risk.

  • Unsupported by SOLIDWORKS, Solid Solutions & Graphics Card Manufacturers

Another consideration is that our help desk will not provide support for OS X installations, which means you may have to sort out any potential hardware or software issues on your own should you encounter them. If we encounter an issue we will try to replicate on a supported platform and suggest basic trouble shooting if we cannot replicate on a windows pc with supported graphics card. After this there is little we can do to help as we will not receive any support from SOLIDWORKS and the graphics card vendors. 

If you’re currently using SOLIDWORKS and considering a move to Apple hardware, or if you’re currently an Apple user and are considering SOLIDWORKS, we suggest contacting us to discuss the pros and cons of using SOLIDWORKS on OS X before making any final decisions. 

Learn more about hardware and system requirements.


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