Configuring macOS virtual machines running on a Mac computer with Apple silicon in Parallels Desktop 19

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If you are running a macOS virtual machine on a Mac with Apple silicon, you may notice a lack of a cogwheel configuration icon.

This is because, currently, adjusting the configuration of such a virtual machine (VM) is only possible by either using the command line interface or, in the case of display resolution, editing a configuration file inside the virtual machine package.

For a macOS virtual machine running on a Mac computer with an Apple silicon, the following settings can be adjusted: 

And more. For reference, Parallels Command Line manual can be used, however, the manual refers to general virtual machine control, and macOS virtual machines may have additional limitations due to virtualization framework. Below, we are reviewing the most common configuration options, covering the majority of situations.


Note: macOS Arm VM's disk size is 60 GB by default. It can be set to a different value during the manual installation process in Parallels Desktop 18 and above, but once the virtual machine is created, the disk size cannot be changed.


Display resolution 

In Parallels Desktop 19 on macOS Sonoma, dynamic display resolution is enabled by default for the VMs with macOS 14 and newer versions and all new VMs. The virtual machine will adjust its resolution according to the window size and physical display resolution. Currently, there is no option to control this.

Memory

To adjust the amount of RAM allocated to the virtual machine, open Terminal and execute the following command:

prlctl set <vm_name> --memsize <megabytes>

A command to allocate 4GB of memory to a virtual machine called "macOS 13" would look like this:

prlctl set "macOS 13" --memsize 4096

CPU

Similarly to memory, a command to set the number of CPUs looks like this:

prlctl set <vm_name> --cpus <number>

e.g.:

prlctl set "macOS 13" --cpus 4

Network

List network adapters

prlctl list "<vm_name>" -i | Grep -E 'net[0-9] \('

e.g.:

prlctl list "macOS 13" -i | Grep -E 'net[0-9] \('

The output would look like this:

Toggle Shared/Bridged network mode

prlctl set "<vm_name>" --device-set <network_adapter_id> --type <bridged/shared>

e.g.:

prlctl set "macOS 13" --device-set net0 --type bridged

Change MAC address

prlctl set "<vm_name>" --device-set <network_adapter_id> --mac <mac_address>

e.g.:

prlctl set "macOS 13" --device-set net0 --mac 123456789ABC

Add Network Adapter

prlctl set "<vm_name>" --device-add net --type <bridged/shared> --mac <mac_address>

e.g.:

prlctl set "macOS 13" --device-add net --type bridged --mac 123456789ABC

Sample output:

Sound Devices

By default, a sound device is already present and active in the virtual machine, and adding additional ones is not supported. However, for some specific cases it might be required to remove or re-add the sound device. It can be done by using the following command in Terminal: 

prlctl set "<vm_name>" --device-add sound

e.g.:

prlctl set "macOS" --device-add sound

To remove the device, the following can be used:

prlctl set "macOS" --device-del sound0

Disable sharing the host machine's home folder with VMs

By default, the host machine's home folder is shared with guest machines and it can be found on your guest macOS VM in Locations > My Shared Files.

To disable it, use the following command: 

prlctl set "<vm name>" --shf-host-defined off


Note: only Parallels Desktop Pro and Business editions support the prlctl command-line utility. If you run Parallels Desktop Standard Edition, you can change most settings by directly editing the config.pvs file. To do that:

  1. Shut down your virtual machine.
  2. Locate the virtual machine .macvm file: click on Parallels icon > Control Center > right-click on the virtual machine > Show in Finder
  3. Right-click on the .macvm bundle > Show package contents.
  4. Locate the config.pvs file and open it in TextEdit: right-click config.pvs > Open With > Other, check the Enable All Applications option, select Text Edit, and click Open.
  5. Locate any required parameters using the Cmd + F keyboard shortcut to open the search bar and change them as you see fit:
     
    • To change the number of CPU cores allocated to the virtual machine, locate the <CustomCpu dyn_lists=""> parameter, and below it, change the number inside the <number>X</number> tag, where X is the currently allocated number of cores.
    • To change the amount of RAM allocated to the virtual machine, locate the <RAM>ABCD</RAM> tag, where ABCD is the currently allocated amount of RAM in megabytes.
      Important: Make sure that the value of neighboring string: <RamAutoSizeEnabled>0</RamAutoSizeEnabled> is indeed 0. If not, change it from 1 to 0, otherwise the new RAM amount won't apply.
    • To toggle the virtual network adapter mode between Shared and Bridged, locate the <EmulatedType>N</EmulatedType> tag, where N = 1 for Shared mode and 2 for Bridged.
    • To assign a specific MAC address to the virtual machine, locate the <MAC></MAC> tag and insert the required MAC address inside the tag, removing the colon marks. E.g., to assign 1A:2B:3C:4D:5E:6F, use <MAC>1A2B3C4D5E6F</MAC>.
    • To disable sharing the host's home folder with guest VMs, locate the <ShareUserHomeDir>X</ShareUserHomeDir> parameter and change it from 1 (enabled) to 0 (disabled). 

Share Mac files with the virtual machine (macOS 12 and older)

If you're running a macOS version 12 and older, we suggest sharing files between the virtual machine and the Mac using the native macOS file-sharing feature as you would between two physical Mac computers.

Add a secondary virtual hard drive

You can add more virtual hard drives to the macOS virtual machines, by using the command line interface. There are several notes and considerations, however:

1. Only plain disk types are supported for macOS virtual machines. It will take up as much space as the virtual disk is set to, unlike expanding disks.

2. You can add up to 4 drives to the virtual machine, after which the command will no longer add more disks. It is one of the framework current limitations.

3. As it utilizes a command line, it is available only for Parallels Desktop Pro and Business editions.

To add a hard drive to your virtual machine:

Open Terminal and execute the command below:

prlctl set "<vm_name>" --device-add hdd --type plain --size 75000

e.g.:

prlctl set "macOS13" --device-add hdd --type plain --size 75000

Note: --size parameter is in megabytes, so in this example a disk for 75GB will be created, adjust as required. 

Change the name of the virtual machine

To change the name of your macOS virtual machine, open Terminal and execute the command below:

prlctl set "macOS 13" --name "macOS 13 New Name"

where "macOS 13" is the current name of your virtual machine.

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