Parallels Desktop 12 launches with macOS Sierra compatibility, more speed, and the new Toolbox for Mac

Every August, those of us in the tech blogging business await news from Parallels about the latest edition of the company's virtual machine application, Parallels Desktop. Today, Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac launched with a suite of new tools as well as with improved performance to make running guest operating systems from Windows 10 to Chrome OS on a Mac a breeze. 

Parallels Desktop 12 is already compatible with macOS Sierra as a host operating system, and Parallels has announced performance improvements of up to 25 percent in certain operations. The company realizes that a lot of users don't back up their virtual machines, so each Parallels Desktop 12 license now includes a one-year subscription to Acronis True Image to make incremental backups of those VMs an automatic process.

For the first time, users will be able to purchase and download Windows 10 directly from Parallels Desktop, making setup of a virtual machine environment even easier. And gamers aren't left out of the fun -- Parallels worked with Blizzard Entertainment to optimize the company's wildly popular Overwatch PC game to run seamlessly in a Windows 10 VM.

Playing Overwatch in Windows 10 with Parallels Desktop 12

Playing Overwatch in Windows 10 with Parallels Desktop 12

The big addition is Parallels Toolbox for Mac, which is included with Desktop 12 and will also be available as a standalone Mac app. Parallels Toolbox includes more than 20 single function tools that speed work on both Mac and Windows. Each quarter, Parallels will update the tools and add new functionality. The initial Toolbox for Mac has utilities that:

  •  Provide distraction-free presentation modes for Mac and Windows VMs, including "Hide Desktop Files", "Do Not Disturb", and "Keep Mac Awake". 
  • Archive, encrypt and password protect all files
  • Capture screenshots or record video of a screen, window or area
  • Download videos from YouTube, Facebook and other websites with one click
  • Time management tools (alarm, timer, date countdown, stopwatch)
  • Unpack files from ZIP, RAR and other archive formats 
Parallels Toolbox running on macOS Sierra

Parallels Toolbox running on macOS Sierra

Existing users and subscribers to Parallels Desktop 10 and 11 can update to the new version today, while general availability will happen on August 23. Upgrades for perpetual license customers of Parallels Desktop 10 and 11 are $49.99, while the suggested retail price of Desktop 12 is $79.99. The company is also providing an offer to upgrade to a Desktop Pro subscription for just $49.99 per year -- Desktop Pro includes a five-license Parallels Access subscription for remotely controlling Macs or virtual machines. 

Parallels Toolbox for Mac will be available as a standalone subscription for $9.99 per year, with a 14-day free trial available starting on August 23 from