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How to get VMWare Fusion Pro 13 for free

VMware Fusion Pro 13 running on a Mac Studio (Source: Broadcom)

Virtualization app VMWare Fusion Pro 13 is now free for personal use. Here's how to get it for your Mac.

VMWare's new owner Broadcom announced that it was acquiring the company in 2022, and the deal was completed in November 2023. Now Broadcom says that it wants to simplify how it sells its Windows virtualization apps, and that includes for personal use.

"The most exciting part is that Fusion Pro and Workstation Pro will now have two license models," wrote Broadcom's Michael Roy in a blog post. "We now provide a Free Personal Use or a Paid Commercial Use subscription for our Pro apps... [so] everyday users who want a virtual lab on their Mac, Windows or Linux computer can do so for free simply by registering and downloading."

There are several steps to registering and downloading, though.

How to get VMWare Fusion Pro 13 for free

  1. Go to Broadcom's support website
  2. Click on Register at top right
  3. Sign up then when asked to build a profile, click "I'll do it later"
  4. Now go to a separate download page
  5. Click on the latest version number (current 13.5.2)
  6. Tick the box to agree to the terms and conditions
  7. Click on the download icon next to VMware Fusion 13.5.2 (for Intel-based and Apple silicon Macs)
  8. When asked about "additional verification," click Yes
  9. Broadcom displays all your registration details, but now add in your full postal address
  10. Check that the page has selected I agree, then click Submit
  11. Lastly, you're returned to the download page where you need to now click the same download icon again

Note that at time of writing, Broadcom's servers appear to be under some strain. Downloading will take a long time to start. And, in our trials, it timed out a few times.

What VMWare Fusion Pro 13 does is specifically give you the ability to run alternate operating systems in a bottle — like the ARM version of Windows on your Mac. Without delving into the differences between the two, Windows for ARM is not the same as the full Intel Windows so you have to get the correct version of Windows to run on VMWare, and for the most part, the correct apps.

But then even if a great deal of business software was originally on Windows and may not have come to the Mac, much of it is now online. With a cloud version of an app, you don't need any Windows virtualization and can just work from any browser on the Mac.

Also, much business software actually has come to the Mac. So for instance it is better to run the native version of Microsoft Word or Excel than it is to get the Windows ARM edition.

Plus if the reason to get Windows is to play games, then a much better option than VMWare is to use Whisky.