How to Run Virtualbox on Mac M1 and M2 In 2024

VirtualBox on Mac M1 and M2 in the traditional sense isn’t currently possible due to architecture incompatibility. Here’s the breakdown:

The Situation:

  • VirtualBox primarily runs on x86-64 architecture, while M1 and M2 chips use Apple’s own ARM architecture. These are fundamentally different and incompatible.
  • While VirtualBox has a preview beta version for M1/M2 (7.0), it currently only supports 32-bit emulated Intel CPUs, limiting guest OS options significantly.


While VirtualBox isn’t a viable option at the moment, some alternatives can help you achieve similar functionality on your M1/M2 Mac:

1. Parallels Desktop: This popular virtualization software has native support for M1/M2 chips and allows running various guest operating systems, including Windows 11 ARM version, Linux distributions, and older Windows versions (with limitations). However, it’s a paid application.

2. UTM: This open-source virtualization solution offers basic functionality for running Linux ARM images on M1/M2 Macs. It’s free and under development, with potential for future expansion.

3. Cloud-based options: Services like Shadow and Paperspace offer virtual desktops with pre-installed software, including Windows and Linux, accessible remotely through your M1/M2 Mac. This option requires a stable internet connection and monthly fees.

4. Boot Camp (Intel Macs only): If you have an Intel-based Mac, Boot Camp allows creating a dual-boot system with Windows. This method isn’t applicable to M1/M2 Macs.

Important Notes:

  • Each alternative has its own pros and cons in terms of features, compatibility, ease of use, and cost. Research and choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences.
  • Keep in mind that some guest operating systems, like newer Windows versions, might still have limitations or require specific versions due to ongoing development for ARM architecture.

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