How to run SOLIDWORKS on Mac


Developed by Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corp SOLIDWORKS is a computer-aided design modeling tool (CAD), that helps to plan, design, and visualize all assets connected to construction, etc. SOLIDWORKS has all modern functions and tools for generative design, work sharing, visualization, etc. Over two million Engineers and Designers choose SOLIDWORKS, so if you are one of them, please read our article below if you wish to run it on your Mac.

Why SOLIDWORKS doesn’t run on Mac?

There are several reasons why some apps don’t run on Mac. It may 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, despite it, there are still hundreds of apps that can only run on 32-bit Macs. In our case, the reason is that SOLIDWORKS native Macintosh version simply doesn’t exist. At the present moment, there is no information about the release date and the possibility that SOLIDWORKS will be available for Mac.

How to run SOLIDWORKS on Mac

The most popular solution for running SOLIDWORKS on Mac/MacBook is virtualization software. Despite the fact, that emulators usually use much of the resources of 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 to run graphically demanding apps and games. Also, you can change desktops and copy any files between your Parallels program (Windows Desktop) and OS X freely. Both Student or architecture versions can be run easily.

Running SOLIDWORKS through Parallels

SOLIDWORKS on mac with parallels

If you wish to run SOLIDWORKS on Mac, Parallels Desktop can be a solution. This is software for Windows virtualization on Mac (including Macs with M1 chip) with the full support of DirectX and GPUs. It allows you to install Windows 10 on Mac with a couple of clicks and switch between macOS and Windows instantly. You can run Windows just like on a regular PC and install SOLIDWORKS on your Mac/Macbook.

Download Parallels Desktop

Running SOLIDWORKS though other virtual machines

Other popular software is VMware Fusion. It is a software hypervisor that allows running virtual machines like guest operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, NetWare, and Solaris. Fusion can drive heavy, GPU-intensive applications and games with top 3D graphics. Fusion now provides hardware-accelerated DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1 capabilities to virtual machines.

Download VMware Fusion

Also, the most well-known free alternative programs are VirtualBox, Wine, Proton, and QEMU, but you will be required advanced skills to run SOLIDWORKS by them.

Running SOLIDWORKS on remote server

If you have a powerful Windows-based server, and a wide-scale internet connection, another method is SOLIDWORKS running on Windows on a Server machine (in the cloud, or remote desktop) and looking at the screen from your Mac.

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

Running SOLIDWORKS on Windows 10 using Boot Camp

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. Note, that you need no less than 64 GB on the hard disk of your device. We recommend having 128 GB of free space. 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 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 or later

Mention, that 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)

Note: Mac M1 chipsets doesn’t support BootCamp

Software Alternatives

If all steps were unsuccessful, or you wish to run native software instead of SOLIDWORKS. There is professional software that allows users to export projects to SOLIDWORKS and import projects from it, as well as create similar projects in similar fashion. Among the best alternatives are TurboCAD for Mac, ArchiCAD for Mac, eDrawings, FreeCAD.

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