How to download Power BI Desktop on mac OS/ Macbook?

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Microsoft Power BI is one of the most popular analytics tools available in the market. Office 365 ecosystem is a value addition that makes Power BI even more popular.

E5 License Microsoft Apps

We have been using Microsoft OS for decades and Microsoft has provided a group of tools that we are using on daily basis such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, etc.

I have seen many fortune 500 companies that have moved completely to Microsoft services and large transformation projects are happening for multiple other companies. Reports from Tableau and Qlikview have been migrated to Microsoft Power BI because companies are leveraging the complete ecosystem which Microsoft offers and reducing the overall cost.

Source: Statista

If we see the market share of Microsoft OS it is clearly visible that Microsoft has captured 76.33% market share and the second is macOS.

Even if windows have high dominance there is some organization that provides mac laptop to their employees because of the better performance that mac offers.

But, Microsoft Power BI is not available for mac users currently and also Microsoft is not planning to launch a separate tool for mac users in the future.

So now the important question is how to use Microsoft Power BI in macOS.

Use Virtual Machine

  1. Set up Virtual Machine on Cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). For setting up the VM in AWS, you can check the article Launch a Windows Virtual Machine. For setting up the VM in Azure, you can check Quickstart – Create a Windows VM in the Azure portal, and for GCP, you can check Creating and starting a VM instance  |  Compute Engine Documentation.
    Now, the question is there are 3 major cloud providers offering virtual machines which one will be suitable for your requirement? You can check the article Cloud comparison: AWS EC2 vs Azure Virtual Machines vs Google Compute Engine
  2. Once your VM machine is set up then you can download the latest version of Microsoft Power BI to the virtual machine.
  3. You can use the Microsoft Remote Desktop application available in Mac App Store to get access to the VM.
Microsoft Remote Desktop – Mac app store


  1. You can upgrade the computing resources very easily without worrying about any hardware changes.
  2. Pay as you use will determine that you are only being charged for your usage and not for any monthly or yearly charges.
  3. You get strong backup support and even if there is some problem with your current Mac device but your .pbix files will be saved on the virtual hard disk.
  4. You get lesser wait time and even there are fewer changes of VM getting hanged which is often seen due to laptop heating issues, memory shortage, etc.


  1. If your internet connection is off for some reason, then you can not connect to the VM and report development work progress will get hampered.
  2. VM is slower as vCPUs are half the speed of a physical CPU means 4 core CPU is actually 2 core vCPUs. So you will have to allocate more core while setting up the VM.
  3. There is an additional delay while using the virtual machine due to the network latency.
  4. It is not very easy to set up VM and non-technical people will find it difficult to set up VM.

Use Remote PC

Another way of using Power BI is to use a separate windows pc or laptop and then access the windows devices using applications like Team Viewer, Any Desk, Remote Desktop Connection, etc.


I do not see any pros in using a remote pc as it will add additional dependency and cost to using Power BI.


  1. Additional Cost
  2. Only Physical upgradation of computing resources is possible.
  3. Additional Dependency, you will have to make sure that the remote pc is on and does not go to sleep mode.
  4. Reliable internet connectivity is required.

Use Parallels

Parallels is a product that creates a VM inside your Mac. I really like the product because it offers flexibility to its users. You can install multiple OS such as Linux, Windows, or another copy of Mac OS on your Mac device. Also, using a simple installation process you can create the VM in your Mac and use it to run Power BI on your Mac Device. Let`s see the pros and cons of the Parallels to know more about it.


  1. Open Windows applications side by side with your macOS applications, without having to restart your Mac
  2. Copy and paste text or drag and drop objects between Mac and Windows.
  3. Run Windows games and other 3D applications.
  4. Transfer all your data from a PC and use it on your Mac.*
  5. Easily share files, devices, and other resources between Windows and Mac.
  6. Install other operating systems, such as versions of Windows, Linux, another copy of macOS*, and free virtual appliances—and use them together.
  7. Easy Installation process


  1. Minimum cost 99$ for home and student use offering 8GB vRAM and 4 core vCPUs.
  2. Mac can get heated when using parallels and running heavy applications in it.
  3. Due to windows bloating, Parallels gets slow down.
  4. Mac battery drains faster.
  5. Consumes a lot of RAM thus a minimum of 16 GB of RAM should be present in the Mac using parallels.

Use Workspace Screen provides you to package applications and their dependencies in a container which is a lightweight isolated virtual environment. These containers run on top of a turbo virtual machine which is an application virtualization engine. You can add Power BI to your workspace and then start using it through your Mac.


  1. Turbo containers use a special, lightweight application-level VM called Turbo VM. Turbo VM runs in user mode on top of a single instance of the base operating system.
  2. Turbo Container startup time is very less in seconds.
  3. Containerized applications consume only a small percentage of additional CPU and memory consumption relative to native applications. In nearly all cases, Turbo overhead is negligible.


  1. Expensive Pricing

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