how to run power bi on mac

How to run Power BI on Mac

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a data management service developed by Microsoft for enterprise customers. It is capable of taking information from a variety of sources, such as databases and spreadsheets, as well as websites. The user can then easily organize the data coming from all these disjointed sources for easy analysis. Alternatively, Power BI can analyze the data by itself, using state-of-the-art data mining techniques such as Artificial Intelligence. Either way, the purpose of the service stays the same, to generate actionable business intelligence by using data that is already being collected by the company and looking at it in a holistic manner. After analyzing the data, it can also be compiled into an easy-to-digest report using Power BI’s data visualization capabilities.
Although Power BI is not a single program – most of the hard work is done on Microsoft’s servers in the cloud – the most convenient way to interact with the tool is Power BI Desktop program. This program, unsurprisingly, is exclusive to Microsoft Windows. Nonetheless, it is possible to run Power BI on Mac as well. The guide below will outline the specifics.

Why Power BI doesn’t run on Mac

There are several reasons why some apps don’t run on Mac. It could be an incompatibility with Mac or macOS version. Also, MacOS Catalina and Big Sur don’t support 32-bit apps. Most developers are designing new, 64-bit versions of the apps, but, in spite of that, there are still hundreds of apps that can only run on 32-bit Macs. In our case, the reason is that Power BI Desktop native Macintosh version simply doesn’t exist. At the present moment, there is no information about the release date and the possibility that Power BI will be available for Mac.

How to run Power BI on Mac

The most popular solution for running Power BI Desktop on Mac/MacBook is virtualization software. Despite the fact that emulators usually demand quite a lot of computing power out of a Mac, some of them, for example, Parallels, VirtualBox, or VMWare, can help to run different programs on OS X with minimal losses in the performance of your machine. Moreover, some of them are compatible with DirectX 11, which can help with running graphically demanding apps and games. Also, you can change desktops and copy any files between your Parallels program (Windows Desktop) and OS X freely.

Running Power BI through Parallels

run power bi on mac with parallels

If you wish to run Power BI on Mac, Parallels Desktop can be a solution. This is an application that allows for Windows virtualization on Mac with the full support of DirectX and GPUs. In simpler terms, what this means is that it allows you to install Windows 10 on Mac with just a couple of clicks and switch between MacOS and Windows instantly. So you will be able to run Windows and install Power BI just like on a regular PC.

Download Parallels Desktop

Running Power BI through other virtual machines

Another popular virtualization program is VMware Fusion. It is a software hypervisor that allows running virtual machines like guest operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris. Fusion’s current versions provide hardware-accelerated DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1 capabilities to virtual machines, which allows them to run heavy, GPU-intensive applications and games with top 3D graphics.

Download VMware Fusion

You can also try VirtualBox, Wine, and QEMU, however, these programs are not very accessible to users and require advanced computer skills to use.

Running Power BI on remote server

If you have a powerful Windows-based server and a fast internet connection, another method is Power BI Desktop running on Windows on a server machine (in the cloud, or via remote desktop) and looking at the screen from your Mac.

You can use TeamViewer, AnyDesk, or other software for this purpose.

Running Power BI on Windows 10 using Boot Camp

Note: Mac M1 chipsets are not supported by BootCamp

BootCamp allows users to choose the system to work in on startup, however, you won’t be able to switch between systems like in Parallels. Do note that you will need no less than 64 GB of free space on your device (we recommend having 128 GB). After Windows installation completes, your Mac starts up in Windows and opens a ”Welcome to the Boot Camp installer” Window. You will need to reboot your machine every time you want to switch from Mac to Windows and vice versa. To set up Windows via BootCamp, please, do the following:

For OS X El Capitan 10.11 and older

Important: for MacOS versions prior to OS X El Capitan 10.11 you will need to create bootable Windows USB.

  1. Download Windows ISO file
  2. Open Boot Camp Assistant (Go to Applications > Utilities)
  3. Define the Windows partition size choose downloaded Windows ISO file
  4. Format Windows partition and go through all Windows installation steps
  5. When Windows boots for the first time follow on-screen instructions to install Boot Camp and Windows support software (drivers)

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