Apple Mac Recommendations and Support Policy

This document details the current Apple support policy for SOLIDWORKS and Hawk Ridge Systems recommendations for considering running SOLIDWORKS on Mac.

SOLIDWORKS Support for Apple Mac Computers

If it is essential that your SOLIDWORKS software remain consistently operational, HawkSupport recommends running SOLIDWORKS on a native (non-virtualized) Windows 10 computer that meets these requirements.

There are 4 important considerations when running SOLIDWORKS on Mac:

  • Operating System
  • Support
  • Performance
  • Setup

Operating System

SOLIDWORKS requires Windows 10, so that means virtualization is required to run SOLIDWORKS on Mac. Only eDrawings has a native MacOS application. 

Boot Camp is not supported.

The only virtual hypervisor tested by SOLIDWORKS is Parallels Desktop for Mac. VMware Fusion is not currently supported. Refer to the table below for tested versions:

SOLIDWORKS 2018 SOLIDWORKS 2019 SOLIDWORKS 2020 SOLIDWORKS 2021
Parallels 10 Parallels 14 Parallels 14 TBA

For a full list of system requirements, see this page.

Support

Support for running SOLIDWORKS on Mac will be limited compared to running on a native Windows computer. Technical support for SOLIDWORKS will be limited to functionality, how-to, documentation, enhancements, and software bug fixes. Support involving testing hardware component differences will be limited. Support for the Parallel or MacOS environment itself will be deferred to Parallel support or to Apple support for further assistance.

Technical support will only be provided for core SOLIDWORKS products, including SOLIDWORKS, Simulation, Flow Simulation, eDrawings, and PDM.

Performance

The other important note is that for optimal performance for all SOLIDWORKS products a certified GPU is required. Since there are no GPUs certified for any Apple hardware, this means that performance running SOLIDWORKS on Mac is not guaranteed. SOLIDWORKS constantly updates their list of tested graphics cards. Refer to their graphics testing website for the latest information on this.

For more details about hardware and environment, please see the Hawk Ridge Systems Comprehensive Hardware Guide

Known Issues with Virtual Environments

Although virtualization technology is officially supported by SOLIDWORKS, HawkSupport does not recommend this type of configuration if other options are available. Some issues that we’ve seen so far include:

  • Activation issues

    SOLIDWORKS assigns a unique “Hardware ID” to each computer based on partition information on the drive. Since this information is virtualized in Parallels, it’s more likely to change. This can lead to activation issues.

  • Decreased graphical performance

    Inability to leverage hardware-accelerated OpenGL. See Parallels support KB for guidance.
    Another OpenGL support thread from Parallels to cause issues with sketches and splines specific to Parallels 16.

  •  

    Using a 3rd party software (Parallels) to manage video card switching, resource management, and other essential video functions will never be as effective as allowing a native operating system to do this.

    SOLIDWORKS does not test or certify video drivers for Apple hardware, so stability is not guaranteed.

    Many Mac products have high resolution displays, which can cause issues with SOLIDWORKS toolbars and context menus. It may be necessary to adjust Windows display settings to accommodate for this. In some cases, it may not be possible to get readable text size.

  •  

  • General instability/crashing

    Virtual environments introduce an additional layer of communication and complexity between the user, operating system and its hardware. Error handling and driver integration, among other factors, may be affected by this.

Recommendations for setting up Parallels for SOLIDWORKS on a Mac

Hawk Ridge Systems does not provide support for the initial installation and setup of the Parallels environment. Please consult https://forum.solidworks.com/welcome and http://kb.parallels.com/ for initial Parallels setup support.

Through technical support experience, Hawk Ridge Systems has found that the following should provide  a smoother experience:

  • Install all available Windows updates prior to installation of SOLIDWORKS.

  • Download and install the latest drivers for your video card from the manufacturer’s website. SOLIDWORKS does not verify or support any of the video cards currently being used in Apple computers. Downloading the newest possible driver from the manufacturer’s website will ensure the best possible stability.

  • If you have the “Plain” disk space option selected, make sure that you’ve allocated enough space so that you have at least 10 GB free after installation. Windows and SOLIDWORKS both create temporary “working” files that are later deleted when they aren’t needed. Leaving enough space for these files to be created is essential to the stability of both Windows and SOLIDWORKS.

  • Allocate ample Video and RAM resources to the virtual instance. Allocating 16GB of system RAM and 2GB of Video RAM or more is recommended, but this should not exceed 3/4ths of the total capacity on the machine.

  • Limit the number of files open in one SOLIDWORKS instance, tabs open in your internet browser, and the number of programs running in the background.

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  • VMWare Fusion is another popular virtualization solution on MacOS. SolidWorks does NOT currently support solutions other than Parallels, as described in the article above.

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