In recent years, the popularity of virtual computing has grown by leaps and bounds. Mac users are no longer limited to running a single copy of macOS on their devices. You can add a virtual copy of Windows or any third-party OS to your system. Keep scrolling to learn everything you need to know about a virtual machine.

Virtual Machine – what is it?

A virtual machine is a software-based computer that includes apps and an OS. The resources of the host computer support it. Configuration and specification files decide how much of the resources will be used by the virtual machine. If you are a Mac user seeking Mac virtual machine software, the most prominent names are VMWare Fusion, Parallels, and Apple’s Boot Camp.

Why use a Virtual Machine?

There are several reasons why Mac users want to use a virtual machine, either permanently or temporarily.

  • Test a New Operating System

Testing a new OS is one of the fundamental reasons you want to set up and use a virtual machine. For instance, Mac developers love getting their hands on the latest macOS versions every June. As a result, many users create a virtual machine on their system instead of using the beta software as the primary OS for their computer.

Wondering why? Pre-release OS software is often riddled with bugs and incomplete features. Sometimes, testing it out on a virtual machine is the best solution so that the beta software does not jeopardize the system’s overall health. If any problem arises when using the beta software, you can delete the virtual machine and forget about it.

Currently, the public beta software of macOS Ventura is available for download. If you want to use its Continuity Camera, Stage Manager, and other features without risking the health of your system, you can create a virtual machine.

  • Use it as a Backup or Clone of Another Machine

You might want to use a virtual machine as a backup snapshot or clone of another machine. The former allows you to access your files and applications from an earlier state without risking the current setup of your computer. The latter will enable you to access content from another computer without going through the process of installing each of the resources separately.

You can also use a virtual machine as a playground where you can make tweaks or change the system files without thinking about crashing your computer.

  • To Experience other Platforms

The most effective non-macOS systems are Linux, Windows, and Ubuntu. While they might not be better than macOS, you may need one. For instance, if you have recently switched to Mac, you know some Windows applications are not compatible with your new computer. So, if you need Windows-based apps to complete your office project, you can create a virtual machine to run Windows. By doing this, you can access all the files and apps of the Windows OS without purchasing another computer.

  • To Keep the Old Operating System in Place

Apple updates macOS software every year. But you can create a virtual machine if you want to hold on to the old operating system while enjoying the features added to the updated OS. You can use a copy of the former in the virtual machine and continue using it even if it has become outdated.

Are there any Downfalls of Using a Virtual Machine?

Virtualization software was not created too long ago, and as these solutions have become user-friendly, more and more users are using virtual machines and taking them out for test drives. But, even then, the tools present some kind of challenges.

Resource allocation is the most common challenge faced by users. When you add a virtual machine to your computer, you take digital assets away from the primary system. Therefore, the storage space is affected, and you might experience performance issues. This is one of the reasons why you must only install virtual machines if you need them.

Furthermore, you must ensure your device comfortably exceeds the minimum requirements before you attempt to install a virtual machine. You will find the requirements online. Last but not least, do not think virtualization is perfect. It still has a long way to go. Under these scenarios, hardware incompatibility is a familiar scene. So, always make sure the virtual machine software is updated.

Get Started!

It is possible to start using virtual machine software on your Mac at no additional cost. The major vendors offer solutions on a trial basis. Then, you can purchase the software after you are satisfied with its features and interface. Also, you may find open-source software for your convenience that is entirely free. However, the open-source software might not offer all the features you need. But it is a good place to start.