We often get asked about whether it’s possible to run SOLIDWORKS on a Mac. As we have several customers successfully running SOLIDWORKS on Mac computers, the short answer is: Yes, you can!
However, it’s time for the long answer, as there are some things to be aware of…
In 2019, SOLIDWORKS updated their system requirements to include virtualisation software such as Parallels.
However, this only means that the software can be installed. SOLIDWORKS make no guarantees regarding performance or stability as the hardware itself is unsupported.
For this reason, we always recommend SOLIDWORKS be used on a Windows-based professional workstation. Our Hardware page contains a variety of compatible computers for SOLIDWORKS to suit your requirements and budget.
Although SOLIDWORKS will run on a Mac computer, there are some important considerations to be aware of.
HOW TO INSTALL SOLIDWORKS ON A MAC
SOLIDWORKS cannot run directly on MacOS, so first you will need to install a genuine copy of Windows on your machine using an application like Parallels.
Parallels allows you to run a virtual copy of Windows within MacOS. The advantage is that you can easily switch between Windows and MacOS within the same session.
It is worth noting that this setup can suffer from poor performance, particularly if you are running multiple programs on both Windows and MacOS at once.
Since Apple released the M1 and M2 chips produced by ARM, things have become a little more complicated.
Officially, only x86 CPUs are supported for SOLIDWORKS. The M1 and M2 chips are x64.
To get SOLIDWORKS operational on these machines, users will need to install the 64bit ARM version of Windows, and make some modification to the Windows pre-requisites - a process which can be quite intimidating for some users, and which may not work in the future.
Once you have correctly set up your Mac, then you can proceed to install SOLIDWORKS with this step-by-step guide.
Our expert Technical Support team and hardware specialists are able to help you navigate the challenges of installing and running SOLIDWORKS on a Mac.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE USING SOLIDWORKS ON A MAC
Once SOLIDWORKS is up and running on a Mac, you may notice that the graphics don’t quite match an equivalent Windows workstation.
This is because Apple don’t offer laptops with appropriate video cards such as the NVIDIA RTX Professional series, AMD Radeon Pro series, or the Intel Arc Pro series.
Without these cards and their approved drivers, SOLIDWORKS lacks access to the OpenGL technology that drives a lot of its advanced graphics options.
This means that options like RealView graphics and Enhanced Graphics Performance may be unavailable.
There are some workarounds out there, but these are not always reliable and are not supported by SOLIDWORKS, Apple, or Solid Solutions.
Your best bet for help with using Parallels is their own official support, particularly their FAQs and forums.
Be aware, however, that many fixes are not officially supported by SOLIDWORKS and may involve manual edits to the registry, a process which carries a significant level of risk.
CAN I RUN OTHER SOLIDWORKS APPLICATIONS ON MAC?
We don’t recommend running the more demanding SOLIDWORKS programs such as SOLIDWORKS Visualize or the SOLIDWORKS Simulation and Flow Simulation add-ins on Mac, as not enough resources can be committed to running them effectively.
However, there are several SOLIDWORKS application designed specifically for MacOS and iOS.
These include eDrawings View, eDrawings, eDrawings Professional, and DraftSight.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is also designed to run in any browser on any device, so you can review, edit, and manage your CAD data wherever you are, even if you’re using an Apple device.
Visit the 3DEXPERIENCE platform website to find out how you can harness the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Services and get the most out of your designs.
If you are considering attempting to use SOLIDWORKS on Apple hardware, then we recommend contacting us to discuss pros and cons of using SOLIDWORKS on MacOS before any final decisions are made.
Looking for More Tips?
Sign up to our CPD-accredited training courses.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete beginner or are intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS, either online or in a classroom local to you.
We also have a load of free SOLIDWORKS tutorials across our site, or you can check out our YouTube channel for more tips and tricks.
Don’t forget, with a SOLIDWORKS subscription, you can contact our expert Technical Support team to help you out with new commands and modelling tips.
Call us on 01926 333 777 or drop an email to email@example.com and one of our certified SOLIDWORKS Engineers will be in contact.