Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Something a bit more Advanced: Running MapInfo Pro on an Apple Mac

Eric Robinson Our customers occasionally ask about running MapInfo Pro on an Apple Mac. While Pitney Bowes does not officially support the OSX operating system, there are a number of reliable ways in which Mac owners can run MapInfo Pro on Intel-based Apple hardware. MapInfo Pro is a Windows application, so you’ll need to be able to run a properly licensed version of Windows on your Mac. In this article, I’ll show you some good options for accomplishing this.

BootCamp

BootCamp is a utility that is provided for free with OSX for use on Intel-based Apple hardware. With BootCamp, you can choose during start-up whether to use OSX or Windows. Its main benefit is that you are able to run Windows natively at full-speed on supported hardware. Unfortunately, it requires you to switch modes back and forth, which can be a bit tiresome.

Virtual Machine (VM) Platforms

These 3 platforms mentioned below allow you to run Windows and native OSX apps side-by-side within your Mac’s desktop. I have found this approach very easy to use and works quite well provided that you understand the limitations. The main drawback of using a VM is that it requires the system resources to be partitioned such that neither operating system gets the full resources of the hardware. For this reason, it may not be suitable in situations requiring heavy-duty processing. However, when MapInfo Pro is not being used, the VM can be shutdown, which will return the resources to OSX.

Pro_on_Mac
MapInfo Pro v15.2 on MacBook Pro alongside Apple Music (with a Rolling Stones song playing in the background...)

Parallels

Parallels is a well-supported, stable and high-performance product. I have used it daily for the last 4 years with MapInfo 32 and 64-bit versions. This is my personal favourite because it is fast, stable and easy to configure. Currently, I am using Parallels v11 on El Capitan which provides transparent bi-directional access to Windows and OSX disk resources. This makes disk management and backup simple and easily justifies its rather modest price tag.

VMWare Fusion

Fusion is another well-supported and robust commercial virtual machine platform. There has been no testing of Fusion on a Mac by PB staff. Informal reports by customers suggest that MapInfo Pro runs reliably and fast within this environment.

VirtualBox

VirtualBox is an Open Source virtual environment owned by Oracle Corporation. It is freely available for use and well supported by the open source community. We have done some limited testing of VirtualBox and have some folks which use it regularly and reliably. It does require a bit of patience to get it properly configured but otherwise is a solid option particularly for the budget conscious.

Configuring your VM Environment

Regardless of which platform you choose, you’ll need to configure a few settings for your Windows VM in order to get the most out of the experience:
  • Minimum Resources: 2 CPU cores, 2gb of RAM and 30gb of disk space
  • A stable Ethernet MAC address
  • Screen resolution settings particularly in cases where you have a high-resolution retina display or using dpi scaling.
  • Your Windows environment should conform to the specs in your MapInfo release notes including supported versions, installed OS patches and administrative access.
All in all, it is pretty straight-forward getting MapInfo to run on your Mac. Give it a try!

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Article by Eric Robinson, Principal User Experience Architect
When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Pro" journal, Eric enjoys talking to MapInfo Pro users and working on the next MapInfo Pro release. When not working he likes skiing and hiking the beautiful Adirondack mountains of upstate New York.