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Recommendations for running ArcGIS Pro on a Mac

Caution:

Running ArcGIS Pro on a Mac is not an officially supported virtualization environment. However, Esri has executed testing for two virtualization environments and found them to be sufficient for most workflows if configured as described below.

There are two ways to use ArcGIS Pro on a Mac.

The first is with Boot Camp, which allows the user to install Windows Desktop OS on a hard disk partition on the Mac hard drive. This allows ArcGIS Pro to run natively on a Windows partition on the Mac. The second option is to use a Windows Desktop OS virtual machine (VM) within the MacOS. Both of these options are explained in sections below, after the recommended minimum hardware requirements.

Recommended minimum hardware requirements

To use ArcGIS Pro on a Mac, a contemporary Mac (MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro) with a quad core Intel processor, 256 GB storage, and 8 GB RAM or better is required. The virtualization software (hypervisor) can also take advantage of a GPU if one is available.

Running ArcGIS Pro natively on a Windows partition (Boot Camp)

Boot Camp allows you to install Windows within a dedicated hard disk partition on your Mac. In this configuration, Windows runs natively, accessing the Mac hardware directly. You can access Windows by restarting your Mac, holding down the Option key, and selecting the disk partition that contains your Windows operating system.

This may be useful if you want to run ArcGIS Pro and access the available underlying hardware directly, instead of the overhead of installing and running virtualization software. The limitation is that you cannot access MacOS and its applications at the same time. To access MacOS and its applications, you will need to restart your Mac.

To run ArcGIS Pro in Windows installed natively with Boot Camp, you will need your ArcGIS Pro installation files and a Windows installation DVD or disc image (.iso), if you haven't already set up Boot Camp.

The Boot Camp Assistant helps the user install Windows within a dedicated hard disk partition. The Assistant can be accessed from the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder in MacOS. For more information about Boot Camp, see Apple's Support site.

Running ArcGIS Pro in a Windows VM on MacOS

If accessing MacOS applications and ArcGIS Pro through Windows at the same time is an important part of your workflow, you will need to run a VM. There are two common deployments: Parallels and VMware Fusion.

Option 1: Virtualizing using Parallels

Parallels provides desktop virtualization capability for MacOS and is available in several editions (Desktop, Pro, and Business). In addition to the Parallels software, you will need your ArcGIS Pro installation files and a Windows installation DVD or disc image (.iso). You can also choose to run Windows from an existing installed Boot Camp partition or from a Windows virtual machine installed within the Parallels environment. For more information, see the Parallels site.

When specifying the amount of physical hardware resources from your Mac hardware to allocate to the virtual machine in Parallels, use the following minimum configuration shown below or better.

CPU and Memory

  • CPU: 4 virtual processors
  • Memory: 6 GB

Graphics

  • Graphics memory: 1 GB
  • Don't enable vertical synchronization

Optimization Options

  • Performance: Faster virtual machine
  • Power: Better performance

Option 2: Virtualizing using VMware Fusion

VMware Fusion is another option for virtualizing Windows and ArcGIS Pro on MacOS. You will need a copy of Fusion, in addition to the ArcGIS Pro installation files and a Windows installation DVD or disc image (.iso). You can also choose to run Windows from an existing installed Boot Camp partition or from a Windows virtual machine installed within the Fusion environment. More information is available on the VMware website.

When specifying the amount of physical hardware resources from your Mac hardware to allocate to the virtual machine in Fusion, use the minimum configuration shown below or better.

CPU and Memory

  • CPU: 4 virtual processors
  • Memory: 6 GB

Graphics

  • Shared graphics memory: 2 GB

Optimization Options

  • Enable the Accelerate 3D Graphics option to allow support for DirectX and OpenGL.

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