EDrawings Viewer is the only CAD viewer for Mac which delivers a premier 3D viewing experience for non CAD professionals. EDrawings Viewer enables anyone to quickly and easily view, print and review native eDrawings and SOLIDWORKS files in addition to AutoCAD DWG and DXF files. EDrawings is an email-enabled communication tool that dramatically eases the sharing of product design information.
We are often asked if it is possible to run SOLIDWORKS on a Mac computer – the answer is YES you can! Watch our video summary to find out how.
We know quite a few users running SOLIDWORKS successfully on a Mac, and SOLIDWORKS recently updated their system requirements to include virtualisation such as parallels. However, the limit of this support is that although it will install, it may not run well as Macs rarely have supported graphics cards.
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We therefore would NOT recommend this setup above a Windows based professional workstation.
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Although SOLIDWORKS will run on OS X there are some major considerations to be aware of. SOLIDWORKS cannot run directly on macOS, so first you will need to install Windows on your Mac using an application such as Boot Camp or Parallels. There are other considerations such as graphics performance and the applications you are using SOLIDWORKS for. Watch the video above for a guide to this, alternatively, visit the original Solid Solutions article here.
Other SOLIDWORKS Applications for Mac
SOLIDWORKS do develop several other applications that are available for macOS and iOS. This includes eDrawings Viewer for macOS, as well as eDrawings and eDrawings Professional for iOS. DraftSight is also available for macOS as a beta version.
If you’re currently using SOLIDWORKS and considering a move to Apple hardware, or if you’re currently an Apple user and are considering SOLIDWORKS, we suggest contacting your local reseller (UK and Ireland) to discuss the pros and cons of using SOLIDWORKS on mac OS before making any final decisions.
Learn more about hardware and system requirements. Find your local educational reseller here.
Latest posts by Solid Solutions Technical Team (see all)
- Run SOLIDWORKS on a Mac - April 16, 2019
This is a fairly long-standing issue we come up against on the Innova Systems technical support desk, and also while talking to prospective customers about SOLIDWORKS. The simple answer is that SOLIDWORKS do not develop an Apple Mac version of the software, so we can’t install SOLIDWORKS natively.
We used to recommend the Bootcamp route, which involves installation of Bootcamp and then Microsoft Windows on the partition Bootcamp creates. The issue here is that if you need to access the Apple Mac Operating System (OS), you would need to shut down windows and boot up the Apple Mac OS, because they cannot be running simultaneously. This allows the full use of the hardware (RAM and graphics card) you have in your Apple Mac for Windows.
The alternative solution that we used to steer people away from is Parallels, a virtual machine software that allows you to run another OS inside the Mac OS (inside a window). The reason for not recommending this is that you are sharing the resource of the machine with two operating systems, thus not necessarily having the required resource to run a demanding program like SOLIDWORKS.
There were also historic problems with not being able to use the graphics card properly which would result in exceptionally slow performance when selecting things. This is due to most Macs not having certified graphics cards for SOLIDWORKS and parallels using a virtual graphics card driver or the default Windows driver. The virtual or generic drivers don’t offer the level of performance needed to run SOLIDWORKS correctly.
Innova Systems Technical Director, Ed Hawkins, explains
We have now installed and configured this on over 20 users’ Apple Mac computers and I have to say the response from these people has been amazing.
I have a mid 2014 MacBook Pro, which I’ve been using as a test bed. The specs are listed below:
You will note that this machine has Intel Iris Graphics (specific to the Mac) and not a certified graphics card for SOLIDWORKS.
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So, I installed the latest version of Parallels (version 10) and a fresh copy of Windows 10 into the virtual environment and then set about making SOLIDWORKS work!
It’s pretty easy to get Windows installed, as Parallels guides you through that process very nicely. You can specify how much of the machine’s resource to give to the Windows OS – which is where a high spec Mac will stand you in better stead. It is always a good rule of thumb to assign half the available RAM to the Windows OS, so in my set up, I assigned 4GB of RAM.
The difficult bit is making the “Use Software OpenGL” button inside SOLIDWORKS become accessible. When you first install SOLIDWORKS, this button is ticked and greyed out, so we can’t turn it off. In our opinion, SOLIDWORKS is unusable at this point, as selecting geometry and navigating the software is too slow to be productive.
With a bit of effort, and some registry modifications, I was able to untick the OpenGL box, allowing us to use the graphics card to a much higher potential. The difference in performance was huge, and it allowed me to select and navigate the software much, much faster. One limitation that frustrated me early on was the lack of RealView Graphics (Accurate reflections and appearances), so I set about solving this problem too. I’m happy to report that RealView works perfectly on a properly specced Mac Book Pro!
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a new solution – Parallels has been around for some time, and installing Windows on a Mac for as long. The difference with our solution is that we can make SOLIDWORKS behave as well as a normal windows PC. No more slow selecting or poor rotational speed.
Above is a screenshot of the working set up, albeit in Window mode, not full screen. I have this running at a resolution of 2560 x 1600 in full screen mode and it is functioning very well. Please note: the specification of my Mac, and the resource I can assign to Windows is far from ideal. It would be recommended for people who are creating fairly simple parts with up to 100 features, and assemblies containing up to 500 components. Any more than that, and I think it would struggle.
In summary, the Parallels solution is now recommended by Innova Systems. We are confident of this working well in a production environment, but the spec of the Mac is key to the success. Along with our modifications to the registry in Windows, of course.
Video: See SOLIDWORKS running on Apple Mac
Video: How to run SOLIDWORKS on Apple Mac Computers
Get in touch with us to find out more
Are you based in the UK and interested in running SOLIDWORKS on your Apple Mac? We can demonstrate our configuration to you via a Team Viewer session, or if you prefer and are interested in purchasing SOLIDWORKS we can come out and show you live with some of your data.
Call us on (01223) 200690 or complete this form to organise a consultation
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated to feature new information on our process.