Crossover for Mac Review

At a glance


  • 14-day free trial
  • Doesn’t require a full version of Windows
  • Improved interface and ease of use
  • Regular updates, good technical support


  • Some Windows apps aren’t compatible
  • Can be complicated to use
  • Requires Rosetta on Apple Silicon

Our Verdict

Codeweavers is one of the simplest ways to run Windows apps on a Mac, and you don’t even need Windows.

CrossOver is based on WINE, which is a free, open-source program, but can be quite difficult to use.

Like Wine, Crossover uses a compatibility layer to allow Windows apps to run on the Mac without requiring a full version of Windows to be installed. That can save you a lot of money as you need to buy a copy of Windows for use with virtualization programs such as Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. But although WINE is a free, open-source program, it’s too complicated for most non-technical users, so the team at Codeweavers developed CrossOver as a more straightforward and user-friendly alternative. They also provide technical support to help with installing a wide variety of Windows games and software.

CrossOver Price

That technical support means that CrossOver isn’t free. It costs $74 (about £58) for a copy of CrossOver with 12 months of support, or you can pay $494 (around £391) for lifetime support. However, there’s a 14-day free trial available, so that you can see if it works with the Windows software that you want to run before buying (and there’s also a version of CrossOver available for Linux as well).

For alternative options, including WINE, take look at our roundup of the best Virtual Machine software for Mac.


At the moment, CrossOver is based on code written for Intel processors, so it relies on Apple’s Rosetta to run on Macs with Apple Silicon, but performance still seems to be pretty good, and Codeweavers states that it is working on native support for Apple Silicon for the future.

CrossOver doesn’t just work with Windows games, but many CrossOver users are dedicated Mac gamers, so much of Codeweavers’ work is focused on getting it to work with popular Windows games. And, in fact, the Game Porting Kit that Apple released in 2023 to help games developers produce Mac versions of their games is based on open-source code from Codeweavers – so these guys really know what they’re doing. There’s also a database on their website that provides compatibility information and advice for running hundreds of Windows apps and games.


CrossOver has always intended to be more user-friendly than WINE. It does this by allowing you to install Windows apps into Bottles – self-contained files that can be launched and run on your Mac without requiring a full copy of Windows. You can create lots of different bottles for different apps, and bottles can even be configured to provide compatibility with different versions of Windows. This is useful as it allows you to create bottles that are suitable for older games and software that might require a particular version of Windows In order to run properly.

Even so, CrossOver can still be quite complicated at times, so version 22 introduced a new interface, redesigned to be more Mac-like, and also to provide more help when installing many Windows apps and games.

When you launch CrossOver you see the main Install window, which lists some popular Windows apps and games, such as Grand Theft Auto V and the Quicken accounting software for business users. There’s also a search tool that provides information on hundreds of other Windows apps, and an indication of how well they run with CrossOver. But, as we discovered, there are degrees of compatibility here, with some apps that run well, while others may run with problems, and some may not work with CrossOver at all. But, somewhat to my surprise, I was able to install and run a 20-year old copy of Microsoft Publisher from an old DVD with no trouble at all, and also Icewind Dale II, an old favorite game that doesn’t seem to be widely available these days.

Latest updates

In recent months, CrossOver has had a regular series of updates, many of which focus on improving support for individual Windows games. Version 22.1 fixed problems that were affecting games such as BioShock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V, and version 23.0 introduced limited support for some games, such as Diablo IV, that use Microsoft’s DirectX 12 graphics software (something that even Parallels Desktop is still working on). Diablo IV got a further performance boost with version 23.7, along with Counter Strike 2 and a number of other games, while the recently released version 24.0 provided compatibility with the latest version of WINE, as well as a number of additional interface improvements.


The sheer effort that the Codeweavers team puts into providing regular updates for CrossOver is impressive, and we’ve had good experiences using their tech support to get help running the Windows version of Steam on our ageing office iMac. Even so, CrossOver can still be a little daunting at times, so it’s definitely worth downloading the trial version to see how well it works with your favourite Windows games and other Windows software.

Source : Macworld