Install Parsec app on macOS

This article covers installation and basic configuration of the Parsec app on macOS. Parsec is supported on macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or greater and requires Metal support. Parsec does not support case-sensitive file systems.

Install Parsec app on macOS

  1. Download the installer
  2. Double click installer to run
  3. Click 'Continue'
  4. Click 'Install'
  5. Click 'Close'

Login and connect

  1. Launch Parsec from your Applications folder and log in or create your account.logging_in.png
  2. Add a friend via the sidebar, or login with the same account on another computer that can host, then click 'Connect' on your local macOS computer to join the host computer.
    • Mac function keys may not interact with the Windows host as expected. You'll need to change the default behavior of your Apple keyboard to pass these hotkeys. Apple provides a great tutorial on changing these

Hosting on Mac

macOS hosting is in preview. This means it does not include some of the features of Windows hosting, and may have bugs or occasional crashes. While macOS hosting is a preview release, you may need to use it in combination with another remote desktop application just in case something goes wrong.

If you have pre-2019 hardware, Parsec hosting may not work, or you may not receive an ideal experience. Unfortunately the 2013 Mac Pro (regardless of what year purchased) do not contain modern enough AMD GPUs to offer high performance video encoding, thus do not currently work and may not be updated to work. Versions of macOS prior to Catalina may eventually be supported, but we are prioritizing Catalina or newer. 

Host specs:

Minimum OS Recommended hardware
macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer 2019 Mac hardware or later (including Apple M1)


To enable hosting on your macOS computer, follow the steps below. Please note that due to Apple's permission policies on macOS, you will need to manually enable several permissions in the 'Host' tab in order for Parsec to capture the screen, capture audio (microphone loopback) and accessibility permissions in order to inject your keyboard and mouse inputs. Unfortunately, the following steps cannot be automated. 

  1. Click the 'Settings' cog
  2. Click the 'Host (Preview)' tab
  3. Click 'Open System Preferences' when prompted to allow requested permissions
  4. Grant 'Parsec' screen recording permission
  5. Click 'Later'
  6. Grant 'Parsec' accessibility permission
    • This setting is required to use command hotkeys when using the macOS client. Additionally, we recommend enabling 'Immersive Mode' to ensure hotkeys are passed to the host.
  7. Grant 'Parsec' microphone permission
  8. Restart the Parsec app
  9. Ensure 'Hosting Enabled' is set to 'Enabled'

You can view and modify these permissions in macOS by visiting System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy.

Your feedback

Currently, we are only looking for feedback related to bugs and crashes on 2019 or newer macOS hosts running Catalina or newer. We define a bug as something that Parsec claims the hosting preview can do, that is not working on your system. We define a crash as something that causes the Parsec application to unexpectedly quit. 

Example of a bug report

When attempting to use the paid second screen feature on an M1 host, the second screen is black. I have retried this many times and each time the screen is black. My M1 MacBook Pro is plugged into a USB-C display, and this is the display that is causing the black screen. My M1 MacBook Pro is running 11.5.2.

Example of a crash report

I have noticed when I copy a large text block to the macOS host, the client shows a red network warning and the macOS host disappears from the computers list. When I connect to this host using another remote desktop product to check on its state, I notice the Parsec app is no longer running. There is also an Apple crash log which I have added to this message. I have tried copying and pasting a large text block several times and each time it behaves the same.

Example of a bad bug report

Receiving an Error 15000 when attempting to connect to a Mac Pro 2013.

Why this is a bad report: This configuration is not supported, thus it is not a bug that it doesn't work.

Example of another bad bug report

I noticed that when I plug in my MIDI keyboard into my client device, it doesn't appear on my macOS host and I can't use it.

Why this is a bad report: This is a feature request, as Parsec does not support passing MIDI devices to the host. Refer to the list of supported features in the table above.

Where to send bug and crash reports

If you are a Parsec for Teams customer, please deliver feedback to your Parsec account rep and/or Customer Success. 

If you are a Parsec Warp or Parsec free user, please write the feedback on the Discord server linked in the help section of the app.

Parsec Audio Capture Driver

Installing this driver and the most recent version of the Parsec installer for macOS are required to stream audio to Parsec. You then must also select "Parsec Audio Capture" as your audio output device, as well as give Parsec microphone capture permission. Due to how our audio driver works, we need to capture a virtual microphone that is a loopback device directly connected to the output of the Parsec Audio Capture output device. When using the Parsec Audio Capture output device, you will NOT get local audio output on macOS host, to the system speakers for example.

In order to install or uninstall this driver, you must download and run the files linked above.


Other tips

  • By default, macOS supports official Bluetooth Xbox One, PS4, Xbox One Series S/X, PS5 and Made For Apple controllers only. If you've tried your Bluetooth controller and it doesn't work with macOS, but it is an official first party controller as mentioned above, Apple recommends upgrading to the latest version of macOS
  • When you're connecting to your own computer, you'll have full permissions. If you're joining a friend, they need to manually give you keyboard and mouse permissions in case you want to use that.
  • Quitting the Parsec Application during the stream requires you to follow the standard quitting shortcut (Command + Q)
  • Mac function keys may not interact with the gaming PC as expected. You'll need to change the default behavior of your Apple keyboard to pass these hotkeys. Apple provides a great tutorial on changing these
  • Prevent your macOS host from sleeping. If the macOS host is asleep, it is unable to host sessions.