These days, running Windows on your Mac is pretty straightforward thanks to virtualisation software. You can even manage it without paying a single penny thanks to VirtualBox, but the truth is, if you're serious about running Windows apps on your Mac, then Parallels Desktop is the tool to choose.

Parallels allows you to emulate just about any flavour of Windows as well as older builds of OS X and even Linux too. You can set up as many virtual machines as you want - your only limit is available disk space, the system requirements of your chosen VM and whether or not you have valid install media (and product key).

Over the years Parallels has evolved its feature set to make running Windows apps on your Mac as seamless as possible - you can set up your VM in Coherence mode for example where the Windows desktop is hidden away and your applications run directly from your Mac desktop in their own window, with key Windows tools such as the Start menu accessible from the menu bar. It works well for those who aren't interested in anything than getting certain apps to run on their Mac.

Setting up your VM is straightforward with simple wizards and intelligent presets (such as your regional settings coming from your Mac) speeding things up further.

VMs have always been a drain on system resources, and while you can't expect to enjoy the same level of performance from one, Parallels Desktop takes steps to close the performance gap further, promising faster loading times for documents, reduced memory usage and even better power usage (save up to 30% on battery life).

Although a little pricey - the cost of Parallels is more than a copy of Windows - if you're serious about emulating Windows or Windows apps on your Mac, or want access to older versions of OS X for compatibility purposes, it's the go-to virtualisation app you need.

So, what's new in v12?

- Parallels Toolbox for Mac: 20 tools that simplify everyday tasks on your Mac.
- Simplified backup: One year of Acronis True Image 500 GB cloud backup storage
- Support for Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch PC game.
- Support for Windows 10 Xbox app, for streaming and playing all Xbox games on a Mac
- Schedule Windows updates for an appropriate time at night to avoid time-consuming disruptions
- Control storage space used by VMs directly from the Optimised Storage in macOS Sierra.
- Store Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer passwords in Mac Keychain®.
- Assign special behaviours to Windows apps
- Easily cancel time-consuming VM actions.
- Keep Windows ready in the background, instead of suspending the VM
- Many performance updates such as ip to 90 percent faster Snapshot creation, up to 60 percent faster suspend of VMs, up to 25 percent faster Shared Folders performance, compile Visual Studio® projects on shared folders up to 25 percent faster and up to 10 percent battery life improvement

Verdict ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

Gets better with each new release - if you're serious about running Windows apps on your Mac, Parallels Desktop is the tool you need.