How to Install 3ds Max on a Mac

How to Get 3ds Max on a Macbook

3ds Max is probably the best 3D modeling software for Windows computers, however it is unfortunately not supported on macOS. If you decide to switch from a Windows PC to a Macbook, you will need to either select a 3ds Max alternative that is available to Mac users and learn to use it, or install Windows OS on your Macbook. There are two main ways to do the latter: install Windows alongside macOS via Boot Camp or use virtualization software like Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion or VirtualBox. This article describes pros and cons of each method so you can decide for yourself how better to install Windows to run 3ds Max on your Mac.

Option 1: Download Windows 10 and 3ds Max on a Mac With BootCamp

installing windows 10 on a macbook air with bootcamp

Boot Camp comes with your Macbook for free, and it allows you to install Windows alongside macOS, so you can choose which of them to boot on startup. Mac’s Boot Camp Assistant will help you install Windows, partition the startup drive and install necessary drivers.

If you install Windows via Boot Camp, Windows will have all of your Macbook’s resources and can run programs with the maximum possible performance. That’s why dual-booting is ideal for running resource-intensive programs like video-editing software or high-end games.

On the other hand, only one operating system will be able to run at the same time, so you will have to reboot into Windows in order to use 3ds Max. Another possible drawback is fact that Windows and macOS use different file systems, and you will not be able to open Mac files on Windows or vice versa unless you install specific third-party drives for it. That is not a problem when using virtual machines.

Step-by-step instructions to install Windows with the help of Boot Camp Assistant

Option 2: Run 3ds Max on a Macbook Using a Windows 10 Virtual Machine

Virtual machines allow you to install and open Windows 10 in a window on your Mac desktop. Windows will “think” it’s running on a real computer, when it is running inside an app. With virtual machines you run both macOS and Windows at the same time, which is handy if you want to open 3ds Max alongside your Mac applications. However, when you run a virtual machine, your computer’s resources are split between the two operating systems, so everything may run slower than usual.

Install Windows 10 and 3ds Max on macOS With Parallels Desktop

how to use windows on a Macbook Pro with parallels

Parallels Desktop is very intuitive and easy-to-use for regular computer users. The app will configure everything for you, even download Windows 10 or utilize the one you already downloaded via Boot Camp. You can open Windows in a separate window (including a full screen mode), or you can turn on Coherence mode. In Coherence mode the virtual machine will run in the background, while 3ds Max or other Windows programs can run alongside your Mac apps. You can even put Windows programs on your macOS desktop or pin them to Dock. Parallels Desktop allows you to copy and paste or drag and drop between Windows and macOS without any problems.

Parallels Desktop prices start at $79.99, however there is a free trial period available.

Installing Windows 10 on a Mac via Parallels

Get Windows 10 and 3ds Max on Mac OS X With VMware Fusion

how to get windows 10 on macos x with vmware fusion

VMware Fusion is another popular virtualization software for Macbooks. It is close to Parallels in terms of functionality and pricing, but VMware’s Fusion supports a larger number of operating systems than Parallels. On the other hand, Parallels is easier for beginners, and runs a little smoother. Otherwise, these two programs are approximately on the same level.

Install Windows 10 and 3ds Max on a Mac OS Via VirtualBox

how to run windows 10 on a macbook with virtualbox

If you don’t plan to spend extra money on virtualization software, there’s always VirtualBox by Oracle. VirtualBox is a pretty decent free alternative to paid software if not slower, less polished and missing some handy functions. If you need to run some resource intensive Windows programs (like 3ds Max), VirtualBox might not be the best choice for you. VirtualBox also requires more technical knowledge than, for example, Parallels, as users need to tune some settings themselves when installing it. However, if you are a power user already or don’t mind doing a little more work, VirtualBox may be a good (and free!) alternative.

How to Install Windows on a Macbook via VirtualBox

2 thoughts on “How to Install 3ds Max on a Mac

  1. Reply
    asselin - November 3, 2020

    Me fille est en école d’archi, elle a besoin d’utiliser 3DS MAX, j’ai vu que cela est possible sur un MAC, mais quel config je dois prendre pour un IMAC en terme de processeur, carte graphique pour que cela ne soit pas lent.
    Merci d’avance pour ton aide

  2. Reply
    Sarah - November 8, 2021

    I run Maya, the industry standard for CGI and VFX in film on my Macbook Pro and export to Unreal. I don’t need 3DS Max.

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