If you're lucky enough to be using a new M1 Mac, or considering buying one, you'll be wondering if the apps you need to use will work on it - especially since Intel publicly criticised the range of software that's compatible with the M1 processor.
In this article we'll run through all the apps that are ready for the M1 chip - which now includes Photoshop and Parallels - which brings the ARM verison of Windows.
Where the developer has released a M1-ready beta version we will mention that too.
Other apps are running via Rosetta 2 - Apple's tool for translating code intended for Intel processors so that the M1 chip understands it.
Rosetta 2 should mean that most existing Mac apps will run on the new M1 Macs, although they may take a few minutes to start up the first time you run them on the new machine as Rosetta will translate the code so that they can run. Running via Rosetta may also cause some lag - although hopefully it won't be noticeable.
Luckily there is an ever growing list of apps that are already running natively on the M1 Macs. As you would expect Apple has converted all its apps to run on M1, but other companies are also working on updates to their apps. We'll run through what's arrived so far below (in alphabetical order).
Google has shipped a version of Chrome with M1 support. However, some aspects of the browser still uses Rosetta 2.
If you are on a M1 Mac you will see an option to download for a Mac with Apple Chip.
The first build that shipped apparently caused the new Macs to crash though, so a new version appeared on 18 November.
Cinema 4D, Maxon
Cinema 4D was the first pro 3D animation package available for M1 Macs back in November 2020.
Since March 2021 CorelDRAW has been native on the M1 Mac.
CrossOver 20, Codeweavers
The update to CrossOver - CrossOver 20 - makes it possible to run Windows software on the M1 Mac. The update requires the beta of macOS 11.1 Big Sur, as this comes with numerous bug fixes for Rosetta 2 - CrossOver 20 requires the Rosetta technology to run on the M1 Macs.
CrossOver allows users to install Windows apps without requiring the installation of Windows itself. This is a breakthrough because the ARM-based Macs can only run the ARM version of Windows, which isn't readily available yet.
For more about Running Windows on M1 Macs read: Will Windows run on Apple M1?
DaVinci Resolve, Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design has updated DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci Fusion to run natively on the M1 Macs.
DaVinci Resolve 17.1 brings all of the features and improvements of DaVinci Resolve 17.
DaVinci Fusion 17.1 and DaVinci Resolve 17.1 are available as part of the free DaVinci Resolve, but you can purchase premium standalone versions for $299 each for a lifetime license.
The Edge browser has been optimised for the M1 Macs since February 2021.
When downloading Edge from Microsoft's website M1 Mac users should choose the option 'Mac with Apple Chip.'
Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Brave are all optimised for M1 Macs (as discussed below).
From Release 16.3 onwards you can now run InDesign in native mode on M1 Macs. Adobe says: "InDesign users will see similar gains, with a 59 percent improvement on overall performance on Apple Silicon".
Like InDesign, Illustrator is now M1 native. The updates were released in June 2021. You can expect an increase in speed and performance thanks to the update. Adobe says: "Overall, Illustrator users will see a 65 percent increase in performance on an M1 Mac, versus Intel."
On Tuesday 8 December 2020 Adobe released a new version of its image management software Lightroom.
Adobe Lightroom 4.1 is adapted for Apple's M1 Chip - which means significantly better performance on the new M1 versions of the Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
The update also adds support for more cameras and lenses, in addition to the usual bug fixes. For more detailed information, visit the Adobe blog.
The system requirement for Adobe Lightroom 4.1 is macOS 10.14 or later. As usual, the application can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.
The Opera web browser was updated for the M1 Mac in April 2021. Opera claims it "runs 2 times faster compared to the previous version of our browser."
Download Opera here.
Parallels Desktop, Parallels
In April Parallels announced that new version, Parallels Desktop 16.5, offers native support for M1 Macs. This means that it is now possible to run Windows on the M1 Mac - but only an ARM version of Windows is supported.
However, actually getting a copy of the ARM version of Windows is a little tricky: you cannot actually buy the ARM version of Windows, but you can download it free of charge if you join the Microsoft Insider program.
Parallels Desktop 16.5 is available for both Intel and M1 Macs. The upgrade to version 16.5 is free for owners of version 16 (reviewed here). The standard version is available for a £69.99 annual annual subscription. The Pro/Business Edition is £79.99 a year subscription. A free demo version is also available. You can buy Parallels here.
Read more about running Windows on M1 Macs.
On 10 March 2021 Adobe released a version of Photoshop that supports the M1 Chip.
This new version has been shown to give some very significant speed boosts compared to the Rosetta version. PetaPixel ran speed tests comparing the Rosetta and native M1 versions and reported that the M1 Mac mini running the native version recorded the second highest overall score they'd ever seen.
According to Adobe, M1 native version is 1.5 times faster than "similarly configured previous generation systems."
It's not all good news though. There are Photoshop features missing from the M1 version. These include the following:
- Import, Export, and playback of embedded video layers
- Shake Reduction filter
- Preset Syncing
- Share an image button / Quick Share
- Create new Library from document / Libraries Panel menu command
- Home Screen > Shared with you and Invite to edit / Collaborative Editing features.
- Opening or placing U3D formatted files
- Starting Bridge from Photoshop menus
There are also a number of issues flagged by Adobe, including "issues when exporting SVG files and a black screen when viewing a 3D document".
If you need the absent Photoshop features it is possible to switch between the two versions of the app. To switch to the Rosetta version follow these steps:
- Go to Applications folders on your Mac and locate the Photoshop icon.
- Right-click on the app icon and choose Get Info.
- You'll see various options - tick or check the 'Open in Rosetta' box. This will force the Intel version to launch.
You can get Photoshop from Adobe's website.
Premiere Pro, Adobe
Adobe's video editing software can run natively on the M1 Macs.
Speed tests of the beta version had already shown amazing results: In some cases, Adobe's software ran up to 80 percent faster on an M1 Mac than the same version on an Intel computer. In particular the functions that use Apple's Neural Engine benefited from the port to the ARM version.
In our tests, prior to the update an M1 MacBook running Premiere Pro 15.1 needed 11 seconds to edit one minute of video material. With version 15.4 this time is reduced to three seconds. It's also better than an Intel MacBook running Premiere Pro 15.4, which takes almost 10 seconds to edit the minute of video material, and a Windows computer with the RTX-3090 graphics card - which takes six seconds.
The only disadvantage is that Adobe has discontinued support for older rendering engines such as CUDA or OpenGL for Premiere Pro.
There are a few other functions missing for now:
- Recording of the workflows
- Export to Wraptor DCP
- Import and export of the Gopro Cineform codec
- Import of some XDCAM formats (XDCAMEX)
- Export to P2 movie format
- AAF import and export
- Synchronization of settings via Creative Cloud
The Office apps - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook are now ready for the M1 processor.
As of 15 December Microsoft has made the Office suite of apps for Macs universal - which means they will run natively on M1 and Intel Macs.
Microsoft had already announced that the apps were able to use Rosetta 2 in order to run on the new Macs, but that meant there was a lag of about 20 seconds while they start up.
We have an Office for Mac buying guide.
You can get Microsoft Office from Microsoft's website.
Image editing program Pixelmator Pro version 2.0 supports Apple's new M1 processor, which means higher performance on the new models of Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
The update also brings a refreshed interface that, among other things, makes it easier to find the effect you want. Users will also be able to adapt the look to their own needs.
The system requirement for Pixelmator Pro is macOS 10.14.4 or later. The price tag is £38.99 from the Mac App Store.
Twitter updated its Mac app in November so it's now compatible with the M1 chip. The app design has also been updated.
Download it from the Mac App Store.
A new version of the popular video playback program VLC has been released. VLC 3.0.12 is optimised for Apple Silicon.
It has full support for the ARM64 architecture in Apple's new Macs.
Most developers who add full support for Apple Silicon and the new M1 Macs do so by embedding it in the existing program, a so-called universal binary. However, there VLC 3.0.12 has two separate versions: One for Intel Macs and one for Apple Silicon Macs.
Why VLC has chosen to do so is not clear, it may be to do with components that have not been updated yet.
To get the optimised version on an M1 Mac, you must first install the update to 3.0.12 and then check for updates again. This way you can download version 220.127.116.11, which has only ARM64 code.
Other news is a slightly updated interface to fit in Big Sur, improvements in Blu-ray and WMV as well as various bug fixes. On Windows, crashes when using Direct3D filters have been fixed.
World of Warcraft
Blizzard is the first gaming company to release a title optimised for the new Mac models.
Blizzard has adapted World of Warcraft for the new M1 processor, which means that it is already possible to play the game with full performance. All users need to do is update to version 9.0.2.
Blizzard has a long tradition of optimising its games for macOS, so hopefully it's only a matter of time before the company's other games are adapted for the new M1 processor.
Games that have not been optimised will hopefully work decently with the help of the emulation tool Rosetta 2. Exactly how it is with the compatibility for individual games remains to be seen.
We can probably count on the games in Apple Arcade already being optimised, so if you want games that are guaranteed to work with the new Mac models, it might be worth checking out that service.
Other apps and tools optimised for M1
There are lots of other apps that have been optimised for the M1 chip. You can check this website to see if the app you use is listed.
- 1Password from 1Password
- Alfred from Crayons Ltd
- Affinity Photo, Serif
- Audio Hyjack and other apps from Rogue Amoeba
- Avast, Avast Software
- Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, Blackmagic Design
- Carbon Copy Cloner, Bombich Software
- Cinema 4D from Maxon
- CleanMyMac X, MacPaw
- DaisyDisk, Software Ambience
- DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic
- djay from algoridddim GmbH
- Fantastical from Flexibits
- FileMaker Pro, Claris
- Geekbench 5 from primatelabs
- Groove and other apps from apogeedigital
- MacCleaner Pro, Nektony
- NTFS for Mac from Paragon Software
- Octane X from OTOY
- OmniGraffle and other apps from OmniGroup
- PDF Expert and other apps from Readdle
- PDFelement and other apps from Wondershare
- Pixelmator from Pixelmator Team
- Premiere Rush, Adobe
- Quicken from Quicken Inc
- RapidWeaver, Realmac
- Scrapple from Literature & Latte
- Scrivener from Literature and Latte
- TeamViewer from TeamViewer
- Thunderbird, Mozilla
- Transmit and other apps from Panic
- Tweetbot from Tapbots
- VirusBarrier, Intego
iPhone and iPad apps
Because they use the same family of processors as the iPhone and iPad the M1 Macs will be able to run iOS and iPadOS apps - as long as the developer agrees to port them over (some apps won't be suited to the Mac, for example a game that uses the accelerometer or where there is a suitable Mac version already).
In July 2021 there were around 47 iOS apps available on the Mac App Store.
Early on it was possible to install iOS apps that were not visible on the Mac App Store on Macs, however Apple has since removed the ability to 'sideload' iOS apps on M1 Macs.
As for what you can't run on an M1 Mac, sadly it isn't possible to run older versions of macOS on M1 Macs and you can't currently run Windows on an M1 Mac either.
For more advice about downloading and installing apps read: How to install apps on the Mac