How to Run Windows Applications on a Mac with Wine

If you switched from a Windows PC to Mac, it may take quite a while to get used to the new operating system. There are a few inconveniences you might run into such as a new interface, new shortcuts, and new accessories. However, the biggest problem you have to face lies in applications. Not only macOS does not support a variation of third-party apps, but also you will find out that your favorite Windows apps and games are not available on Mac. Luckily, it is possible to install and run these apps on macOS with some help from other software. There are some of them. But in this article, we will guide you on How to Run Windows Applications on a Mac with Wine.

What is Wine?

Wine is a program made for running Windows software on non-Windows operating systems. While it’s most often used on Linux, Wine can run Windows applications directly on a Mac. It also does not require a Windows license or Windows running in the background.

How to install and configure Wine

How to Get Wine on a Mac

There are several ways to get Wine on a Mac. The official website now provides official builds of Wine for Mac. However, these binaries allow you to run Windows apps but don’t provide any helpful tools for installing and setting up applications. So they’re best for advanced users that are already familiar with Wine.

Instead, you should consider one of the third-party programs that use the Wine source code. These apps provide a more convenient interface which helps you quickly install and configure common applications. They often perform tweaks that you have to perform by hand if you use the base Wine software. They include their own Wine software, too, so you only have to download the installer.

We’ll be using WineBottler for this tutorial. This app seems like the most popular option among Mac users. It can create Mac .app bundles for Windows programs, which allows you to run Windows app like native macOS programs.

You can download WineBottler here. Make sure you get the version that’s compatible with your macOS version. Open the downloaded DMG file. Drag and drop both Wine and WineBottler applications to your Applications folder to install them. You can then launch WineBottler from your Applications folder.

How to Run Windows Software on a Mac With WineBottler

WineBottler lists many different programs you can easily install. For instance, you can install various versions of Internet Explorer if you need to test websites with them on your Mac. The Windows version of Steam is also available, which allows you to run some Windows-only games on your Mac. Choose any of these options and WineBottler will automatically download, install, and configure these applications on your Mac.

The installed application will appear under the “On My Mac” tab in the WineBottler window. You can also uninstall them from here if you like to. Click an application and it will launch in a window, you will see its own icon on your dock.


To run another application that doesn’t appear in the WineBottler list, you can simply download it. After that, right-click or Ctrl-click its .exe file and select Open With > Wine. WineBottler allows you to quickly execute the .exe directly if you need to. You can also choose to install the application in a Mac .app file created by WineBottler.

If you choose to convert it to a macOS application bundle, you will be taken to the Advanced screen in WineBottler. Import the .exe file used to install the application and you can install it as a .app using the options here.

Depending on the application, you may need various third-party libraries from the Winetricks list, DLL override options, or runtime arguments here to make it work. However, that often isn’t necessary. Executing .exe files directly with Wine should generally work.

To make sure the PC software you want to use is compatible with WineBottler, search for it in the application database here.

Requirements

To install Wine on your Mac, you will need the following:

If you’re on a Mac running OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or later, you should be fine.
An account with administrative privileges, with a password required
An internet connection
To find out what version of macOS you’re using, go to the far left side of the toolbar and select “About This Mac.” Under the big “macOS” or “OS X,” look for your version number. You’re good if it’s 10.10 or higher.

You need an Admin account on your Mac since only Admins can install programs. During the installation, you’ll need to be logged in to this Admin account. An Administrator account is one that has administrative rights.

Installing Wine on Mac OS Monterey Big Sur

Wine runs fine under macOS Big Sur, but only on machines with Intel CPUs.

Installing Wine on Mac OS Monterey

If you have an arm61 Apple Silicon / M1-based computer with Mac OS Monterey installed, Crossover 20 (a commercial version of Wine) may be used. This installation has been extensively tested by Codeweavers.com, and it appears to work well.

Alternatives

When it comes to running Windows on macOS, WineBottler is not necessary the best option for you. In fact, it will be more useful if you have a single program or a handful of programs that work well.


If you want to test out a lot of software or you use software that Wine doesn’t support well, you should use virtual machines instead. These offer more or less guaranteed compatibility with Windows software on a Mac

There’s also other software that allows you to run the Windows app on your Mac without installing Windows itself. Some of them are also Wine-based programs, like PlayOnMac, Wineskin, and Crossover. Crossover is the only option that isn’t free but it does offer the cleanest interface as well as more powerful tools.

Crossover


You can always try the traditional way by using BootCampAssistant. It’s an utility that comes pre-installed on recent Intel-based Mac models. By installing a separate installation of Windows 10 on your Mac, BootCamp allows you to switch between macOS and Windows easily. You can find our guide on how to use it here. However, this method requires restarting your Mac in order to switch between OS. Besides, it requires quite a large amount of storage and resources from your Mac.

Boot Camp


ParallelDesktop is another amazing choice for you. This program also allows you to install a Windows 10 copy on your Mac. But unlike BootCamp, you don’t need restarting your computer to switch between the OS. Instead, you can run Windows and macOS parallelly as Windows will appear in the form of an app window. ParallelDesktop is useful if you need to move your files between the OSs or making comparisons. Of course, it still requires a large number of resources as well. You can check out this guide for more information.

Parallels Desktop Pro

The Verdict

And that’s how you run Windows applications on a Mac with Wine. WineBottler may not turn your Mac into a PC, but if you just need to use one or two Windows programs. It’s a great way to get access to the software you need without installing a second operating system onto your computer. Otherwise, you can try the mentioned alternatives.


If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments!

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