How to Run Power BI Desktop on Mac: Methods and Options for Mac-Loving Users

For those of us who are data analysts and Mac enthusiasts, running Power BI Desktop on this operating system remains a constant challenge due to its specific design for Windows. With the goal of making our lives a little easier, I present a variety of solutions and alternative approaches that allow us, as Mac users, to access and use the capabilities of Power BI on Windows without leaving our favorite environment. From using virtual machines and emulators to cloud options and remote access, here you will find the keys to run Power BI on your Mac and make the most of this powerful data analysis tool from our macOS devices.

Power BI on Mac: Bridging the Compatibility Gap

Currently, we have five main alternatives to run Power BI Desktop on Mac:

1) Virtual Machine

virtual machine powerbimac

2) Emulator

emulator powerbimac

3) Cloud Solution

cloudsolution powerbimac

4) Remote Access

remoteaccess powerbimac

5) Dual Boot Solution

dualboot powerbimac
How to Run Power BI Desktop on Mac: Methods and Options for Mac-Loving Users

1. Virtual Machines: Power BI on Mac Compatibility

Using Virtual Machines to Run Power BI on Mac

virtual machine powerbimac

A popular method is to use virtual machines. You install a virtual machine on your Mac and then install Power BI within the virtual machine. This allows you to run Power BI in its native Windows environment while taking advantage of your Mac’s hardware.

Pros of using a virtual machine to run Power BI on a Mac:

  • Allows you to run Power BI in its native Windows environment while leveraging your Mac’s hardware. This means you can enjoy optimal performance and all the features of Power BI.
  • It is a relatively simple solution to set up and use. Once you have installed the virtual machine and Windows, you just need to install Power BI as you would on any other PC.

Cons of using a virtual machine to run Power BI on a Mac:

  • Requires additional disk space to install the virtual machine and Windows.
  • Can consume system resources, which may affect your Mac’s performance.
  • You may need to reboot your Mac to switch between Windows and macOS.

Overall, using a virtual machine is a good option for users who want to enjoy optimal performance and all the features of Power BI on their Mac. However, it is important to note that some virtual machines may consume more system resources than others. If your Mac is older or has limited resources, you may need to reboot it to switch between Windows and macOS to free up resources.

Most Recognized Virtual Machine Solutions:

Power BI for Mac with Parallels Desktop

Power BI does not have a native version for Mac operating systems.

Power BI for Mac with Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop is a leading virtual machine solution that offers an easy-to-use interface for setting up virtual machines on Mac. It allows Mac users to install and run Power BI Desktop alongside their macOS applications without the need for a separate Windows machine. Parallels Desktop provides a comfortable and accessible solution, even for non-technical users.

How to Run Power BI with Parallels Desktop?
Power BI for Mac with VMware Fusion

Power BI Desktop is not available for Mac users; it is only compatible with Windows operating systems.

Power BI for Mac with VMware Fusion

Another popular virtualization solution for Mac is VMware Fusion. Another popular virtualization solution for Mac is VMware Fusion. VMware Fusion offers advanced features and seamless integration with macOS, making it a reliable choice for running Power BI Desktop.

How to Run Power BI with VMware Fusion?
Power BI for Mac with Oracle VM VirtualBox

Power BI for Mac with Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a free and open-source virtualization platform compatible with Mac. Although it may require more technical knowledge to set up compared to other options, VirtualBox allows users to create and manage virtual machines running various operating systems, including Windows. This is viable option for running Power BI Desktop on Mac.

How to Run Power BI with Oracle VM VirtualBox?

Power BI for Mac with Hyper-V

Hyper-V: Hyper-V is a virtualization technology developed by Microsoft and primarily used on Windows systems. However, with the help of third-party tools such as Vagrant or Docker, you can install and run Hyper-V virtual machines on a Mac. This option may require some additional configuration steps, but it can provide a Windows environment for running Power BI Desktop. Guide to Hyper-V. Guide to Hyper-V

How to Run Power BI with Hyper-V?

How to Run Power BI Desktop on Mac: Methods and Options for Mac-Loving Users

2. Emulators and Their Compatibility with Power BI

emulator powerbimac

Another option available to Mac users is to use emulators, which simulate the behavior of the Windows operating system, allowing Windows applications to run directly on a Mac without the need for a virtual machine and without needing to acquire a Windows license.

Pros of using emulators to run Power BI on a Mac:

  • Does not require additional disk space to install Windows.
  • Consumes fewer system resources than a virtual machine.
  • No need to reboot your Mac to switch between Windows and macOS.

Cons of using emulators to run Power BI on a Mac:

  • There may be compatibility issues with some Power BI features.
  • Performance may not be as good as with a virtual machine.
  • It can be more difficult to set up and use an emulator than a virtual machine.

Most Recognized Emulator Solution:

Power BI for Mac with CrossOver

Power BI for Mac with CrossOver

CrossOver is a tool that allows Mac users to run Windows applications, including Power BI, through emulation. It simulates the behavior of the Windows operating system on a Mac, providing a convenient solution without the complexity of setting up a virtual machine.

How to Run Power BI with CrossOver?

3. Cloud-Based Solutions

How to Run Power BI Desktop on Mac: Methods and Options for Mac-Loving Users

Cloud-based solutions offer another viable option for Mac users to access Power BI without needing to install any software on their devices. By utilizing cloud-based Power BI options, users can access all the capabilities of Power BI through their web browsers.

PowerBI Service
Power BI, a popular business intelligence tool by Microsoft, unfortunately does not have an official version for Mac. However, Mac users can still access Power BI through a web browser by signing in to the online service. This allows them to leverage Power BI's powerful data analysis and visualization capabilities without needing to switch to a Windows machine.

Power BI Service

The Power BI service offers a web-based interface that allows users to create, view, and share reports and dashboards entirely in the cloud. This approach eliminates the need for local installations and enables real-time collaboration with other users.

If you’re looking for an option that is completely free and requires no additional software, Windows installation, or server setup, then you can use the web-based version of Power BI that can be accessed from any browser on your Mac OS. You can sign up for Power BI for free at Microsoft.com and then access and set up the Power BI service completely free and from any internet-enabled device.

Guide to Power BI Service
Power BI for Mac with Azure VM

Power BI for Mac with Azure VM

Azure Virtual Machines, a cloud-based solution offered by Microsoft Azure, enables Mac users to access Power BI by deploying a Windows virtual machine in the Azure cloud. This provides seamless access to all the capabilities of Power BI without the need to install any software directly on the Mac. Azure Virtual Machines offer a flexible and scalable solution for running Power BI on a Mac through cloud-based infrastructure.

How to Run Power BI with Azure Virtual Machines?

4. Remote Desktop Solutions: Running Power BI from Mac

remote access powerbimac

For Mac users who have access to a Windows machine, setting up remote desktop solutions provides a simple way to run Power BI. These allow users to remotely connect to a Windows machine from their Mac, giving them full control over the Windows environment and enabling them to run Power BI Desktop as if they were using a Windows machine directly. In recent years, these solutions have significantly improved, making them a more attractive option for running Windows applications on Mac, including Power BI.

Power BI for Mac with Microsoft Remote Desktop

Power BI for Mac with Remote Desktop

Microsoft Remote Desktop is a notable remote desktop solution that allows Mac users to connect to a Windows machine and run Power BI Desktop seamlessly. This provides users with the full power of Power BI Desktop while working on their Mac.

How to Run Power BI with Microsoft Remote Desktop?

5. Dual Boot Solution: Running Power BI with BootCamp

dualboot powerbimac

For Mac users with an Intel chip, using Boot Camp is a good option to enjoy optimal performance and all the features of Power BI on their device.

Power BI Boot Camp

Power BI for Mac with Boot Camp

You can install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp. This will allow you to run Power BI smoothly on your Mac, but it will require you to partition your hard drive and reboot your Mac each time you want to switch between Windows and macOS.

How to Run Power BI with Boot Camp?


Overview of Products and Solutions

Review and compare the main features and benefits of the most recognized tools so you can choose based on your needs.

2023 Comparison of Tools to Run Power BI Desktop for Mac
This comparison table shows the main features and benefits of each option, so you can choose based on your needs. This chart helps you decide whether to use a virtual machine, remote access software, or cloud streaming to run Power BI and analyze your data with various product names.
How to Install and Run Power BI on Mac OS. This comparison table shows the main characteristics and advantages of each option so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Understanding Power BI Licenses and Downloading the Tool

If you are new to Power BI, understanding the basics of Power BI and its licensing levels is crucial.

Understanding the Different Power BI Licenses

powerbi whatis

The “What is Power BI” section offers a comprehensive overview of Power BI, including the different licensing options available. This information will help you make an informed decision about which Power BI license best suits your needs, whether you are a casual user or a professional data analyst.

What is Power BI? What are its License Types?

Downloading Power BI

Power BI is a versatile and powerful business intelligence tool provided by Microsoft. While it is very popular among Windows users, there is a growing demand for Power BI on Mac as well. Unfortunately, there is currently no official version of Power BI Desktop for Mac or a dedicated Power BI app for Mac users. However, there are workarounds that allow Mac users to leverage the capabilities of Power BI.

One option is to use virtualization software or remote desktop applications to access Power BI Desktop on your Mac. By running a Windows virtual machine or connecting to a remote Windows computer, you can use Power BI Desktop on your Mac. This enables Mac users to create, analyze, and share interactive data visualizations seamlessly. 

Another alternative is to consider running Power BI in a web browser. Microsoft offers a web-based version of Power BI known as Power BI Service that can be accessed on macOS. This allows Mac users to view and interact with Power BI reports and dashboards without having to install any additional software.

For those who prefer a more native experience, Microsoft has hinted at the possibility of releasing Power BI for Mac in the future. While there are no confirmed release dates, Mac users can stay updated with the latest announcements from Microsoft regarding the availability of Power BI on macOS.

In conclusion, although there is currently no official Power BI Desktop application for Mac, Mac users can still leverage Power BI through virtualization, remote desktop, or the web-based Power BI Service. Microsoft is aware of the demand for Power BI on Mac and may potentially release a dedicated Power BI app for macOS in English, providing a native Power BI experience for Mac users.

To download Power BI Desktop, you can go to the official Power BI website or the Power BI Desktop webpage.

From there, select the version of Power BI Desktop that matches the architecture of your Windows OS. You can choose the language in which you want to install Power BI.

Download Power BI for Free
How to Run Power BI Desktop on Mac: Methods and Options for Mac-Loving Users

Frequently Asked Questions about Power BI on Mac

  1. Can I run Power BI Desktop natively on my Mac? No, Power BI Desktop is designed for Windows operating systems. However, you can explore the methods and options mentioned in this article to run Power BI on your Mac.
  2. What is the difference between Power BI Desktop and the online version? Power BI Desktop is a locally installed application that offers advanced data modeling and report creation capabilities. The online version of Power BI provides a web-based interface for accessing and interacting with Power BI content, with some limitations compared to Power BI Desktop.
  3. Do I need a Windows license to run Power BI on Mac using virtual machines or emulators? Yes, to run Power BI on a Mac using virtual machines or remote desktops, you will need a valid Windows license. Make sure to obtain a license and follow the terms of use set by Microsoft.
  4. Are there any performance differences between running Power BI on a Windows machine versus a Mac? Generally, running Power BI on a native Windows machine can provide better performance compared to running it on a Mac through virtual machines, remote desktops, cloud solutions, or emulators. However, advancements in virtualization technology have minimized the performance gap, allowing Mac users to have a satisfactory Power BI experience.
  5. Is Power BI for Mac as feature-rich as Power BI on Windows? Power BI Desktop on Windows provides the most extensive range of features and functionalities. While alternative solutions for Mac users may offer similar capabilities, they may not provide the exact feature parity of Power BI Desktop on Windows.
  6. Can I collaborate with Windows users when running Power BI on Mac? Yes, regardless of the method or option you choose to run Power BI on your Mac, you’ll be able to collaborate with Windows users seamlessly. Power BI content is compatible across platforms, allowing you to share and collaborate on reports and dashboards with Windows users.

Key Points to Consider

Running Power BI Desktop on a Mac is no longer an insurmountable challenge. Mac users have a variety of methods and options at our disposal. From virtual machines and emulators, which simulate a Windows environment on our Mac, to cloud-based solutions and dual boot options like Boot Camp, which allow us to boot directly into a Windows operating system. Additionally, remote access provides us with the ability to connect to a Windows PC from our Mac, offering another way to use Power BI.

We must not forget the cross-platform alternatives and the Power BI mobile app, which further expand our access and utilization options for this powerful business intelligence tool. These alternatives allow us to access Power BI from anywhere and any device, ensuring that we are always connected and can work with our data efficiently.

It’s important to remember that the world of technology is constantly evolving. Over time, new options and improvements in existing ones are likely to emerge, which could make using Power BI on Mac even easier. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the Power BI ecosystem and be on the lookout for new solutions that fit our needs as Mac users. This way, we can continue to fully leverage the capabilities of this tool and stay at the forefront of data analysis.