Parallels Access recreates Windows and Mac software as tablet apps for the iPad

Parallels Access recreates Windows and Mac software as tablet apps for the iPad

Summary: Parallels Access lets iPad owners use Mac and Windows apps, with interface tweaks to make the software better on a touchscreen device.


Parallels has released an app that allows Windows and Mac OS X software to be used on the iPad.

Parallels Access customises the way apps are launched and how they respond to make them better suited to a touchscreen device.

Mac and Windows apps are run through a launcher, which presents each one as a large touchscreen icon. The launcher is automatically populated but apps can be added or removed.

Apps launch in full screen, with Access adding support for touchscreen taps and swipes, and a magnifying glass. When a user fails to tap squarely on a screen button, the app makes a best guess at the most likely intended action, making it easier to use touch with tiny buttons and other UI features designed for a mouse pointer.

Users can switch between running apps by tapping to bring up a quick bar.

Words and graphics can also be copied from within apps and pasted to other iPad apps or between Mac and Windows apps, using iPad-native select and drag copying.

Access works by streaming applications from a Mac or Windows PC over a network to the iPad. The machine can't be used while the connection is active. Parallels Access can operate on both 3G and wi-fi networks but Parallels recommends using a broadband wi-fi network for a more stable connection.

Early reviews of Access report the software's smart-tap feature works well but that resizing the apps for the iPad's screen can result in a slightly grainy look and that small toolbars and drop-down menus are still fiddly on the tablet. Responsiveness seems to be affected by the quality of connection but is relatively good when connected via wi-fi or LTE but more laggy on slower connections.

Access is available for an annual subscription of £54.99 in the UK and $79.99 in the US for each computer being accessed. The Mac agent is available now and the PC agent is in a beta period, during which it is free.

Parallels Access app can be installed on a second-, third- or fourth-generation iPad or an iPad Mini running iOS 6. On the desktop side, Access can be used with OS X 10.7 Lion, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, with experimental support for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, and with Windows 7 and 8, with experimental support for Windows XP and 8.1.

Further reading about iPad

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • Just Think What Would Happen...

    If a Windows Phone, or Android, had "iOS" apps...
    You know damn well that governmentally protected apple would be suing the pants off of the offender.... And Winning...
    • Um, based on what law

      All trolling aside, seriously, what legal justification are you claiming with your unsupported claim.
      FTR, your claim is 100% wrong. I know no such thing.
      • What About...

        What about all the suits apple filed to stop computer manufacturers from making clone machines that ran iOS ??? All the while, setting up their desktops, so that they can run Windows ??? AND THE GOVERNMENT LETS THEM GET AWAY WITH IT... They shut down the clone makers didn't they ???
        Answer that one ???
        "Unsupported" ???
        There is NO LEGAL JUSTIFICATION for the things that apple gets away with ???
        ANSWER THE QUESTIONS DeusExMachina !!!
        Then Quit Feigning Ignorance, or just preaching stupid !
        • Um, MS licenses the OS. Apple doesn't. End of story. -QED

  • Re: Parallels Access....

    Currently testing the Parallels Access trial on my iPad. A great concept but it clearly is software that needs some work. Poor resolution is my main gripe when working in Office 365 nothing is sharp. I guess given Parallels high standards this will resolved swiftly.

    There is no doubt Parallels is the best virtualisation software out there enabling complete integration with the host Mac machine. I have Windows 8.1 running on Parallels flawlessly. No need for physical installation when you can keep it virtual with equal performance.

    Nice one Parallels for bringing Windows functionality to the iPad just a few issues to iron out.
  • NOOoooooo Software Subscription!

    I have been playing with the software on my iPad and it's definitely needs refinement. It's nice to run old windows software on an iPad, weird, but convenient.

    I HATE subscription software. I won't buy it. I tend to purchase a new system for work every five years, and I don't change anything in that time, (other than security updates, and free version updates). All the software that is installed by the end of the first week is the exact same stuff that's on that machine(s), five years later when they are given away.

    I will not give into yearly software subscriptions. If it means changing platforms or operating systems, I would do that. However, so far I have always found a competitors software product that does the exact same thing and does not require a yearly subscription.

    So software companies beware!! I am NOT the only person who would rather use a slightly inferior, (but usually perfectly fine), substitute software product to AVOID subscription-style, or lease usage terms.
    • Sounds like you are avoiding

      paying for anything.
      Not only subscription software but any software (free version updates)
      Which is cool if you are working the same way and doing everything the exactly as you did 5 years ago.
  • SplashTop

    I have been doing the same thing with a WiFi connection from my PC to my iPad using SplashTop. It's even fast enough to watch HI DEF video.
  • Sooo, another deceptive article title

    Because, from the description, Parallels Access isn't so much "recreating" Windows/OS X software as they're setting up remote access to an existing Windows/OS X machine that's already running the software...except that you can only do this when the remote machine isn't already in use.