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Installing MacOS 12 & MacOS 13 Ventura VM using Parallels

1. Introduction

Currently to install MacOS VM of different than host machine version you need to trick it a little bit.
This might change in future as mac virtualization framework is under constant development.


2. Installing VM in usual way

Firstly create new virtual machine and follow steps on wizard.


  • “+” sing to create new VM
  • choose Download macOS from “Free Systems” bottom horizontally scrolled section.
  • Click on continue
  • On page with VM summary click on Download button
  • Wait until downloading and unarchiving steps are done
Creation of new Virtual Machine in Parallels Desktop 18
macOS 12 virtual machine information page before download
downloading MacOS 12 VM
Unarchiving …
New item “macOS 12” appeared on virtual machine list in Parallels control center

3. Cloning virtual machine into new

Open terminal and clone macOS12 virtual machine into macos13 using command below.

$ prlctl clone macOS\ 12 --name macos13

Clone the macOS 12 VM to VM macos13...

Copying type 0 0    100%

Copying type 0 1    100%

Copying type 0 2    100%

Copying type 0 3    100%

Copying type 0 4    100%

Copying type 0 5    100%

Copying type 0 6    100%

Copying type 0 7    100%

Copying type 0 8    100%

The VM has been successfully cloned.

4. Start newly cloned VM and upgrade system

  • Go to about mac
  • click on Software update
About This Mac menu
About system information
Software update dialog.
License to accept
Account password to provide
Downloading macOS Ventura 13.2.1


During update system will restart.
New macOS version installed

5. Enjoy using 2 different VMs on same host

Now you can use 2 macOS version on same host.

If you already upgraded to version 13 and want to run 12 version then ask someone to share .macvm file with you.




[Optional] Change default installation size

If you want to have different than default 60GB size then this require manual actions:

  1. Open terminal and run commands
$ cd ~/Downloads
$ macurl=`/Applications/Parallels\ --getipswurl`
$ wget $macurl
UniversalMac_12.6_2  14%[=====>  ]   1,84G  11,5MB/s    eta 17m 4s

# example installation with 26GB disk
$ /Applications/Parallels\ ~/Downloads/UniversalMac_12.6_21G115_Restore.ipsw ~/Parallels/macos12.macvm --disksize 26000000000

Starting installation.
Installation progress: 6.00
Installation progress: 8.00
Installation progress: 9.00
Installation progress: 10.00
Installation progress: 87.00
Installation progress: 90.00
Installation progress: 100.00
Installation succeeded.

Now after machine is installed add it in parallels via Open button.

Then you can start both machines at the same time

$ prlctl list -a -o name | grep mac

$ prlctl list -o status,name
running      macos13
running      macos12
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