Install Parsec app on macOS

This article covers installation and basic configuration of the Parsec app on macOS.

Table of contents

Requirements
Installation
Logging in and connecting
Hosting on macOS
Parsec Audio Capture Driver
Other tips

Requirements

Parsec is available for macOS 10.14 (Mojave) or newer, and requires Metal support. Parsec does not support case-sensitive file systems. For hosting, Parsec requires macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or newer as well as preferably 2019 hardware or newer. For details on supported hardware, check our hardware and software requirements.

Installation

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  • Click 'Continue'

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  • Modify your install location if preferred, otherwise click 'Install'

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  • Click 'Close' to finish the installation

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Logging in and connecting

  • Launch Parsec from your Applications folder
  • Log in or create an account if you haven't already

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  • 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

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The mac's 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.

 

Hosting on macOS

Parsec now supports hosting on macOS, which means you can connect remotely to a macOS device. For a comparison on the features supported by macOS hosts and Windows hosts, see our feature matrix.

Requirements

At the moment you must have macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or newer, and we highly recommend 2019 hardware or newer. Hardware older than 2019 is not guaranteed to work and may not be updated to work. If you're using the login screen version of Parsec, there are additional requirements.

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

Setting up macOS hosting for the first time

To enable hosting on macOS, you must give Parsec a few permissions due to Apple's permission policies. Unfortunately these steps cannot be automated. Follow these steps to set up hosting:

  • On the 'Computers' tab, click the 'Setup' button

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  • You will be redirected to the 'Host' tab in the Parsec settings. Here you need to give Parsec permissions to be able to host, listed in yellow at the top of the page

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  • Microphone permissions:
    • Click 'Request Permissions'
    • Click 'OK' on the prompt that shows up

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  • Accessibility permissions:
    • Click 'Open Preferences' to open macOS's settings
    • Ensure 'Accessibility' is selected at the left
    • Click the lock at the bottom to make changes
    • Turn on the Parsec checkbox. If you don't see Parsec, click the plus and select Parsec in the applications folder

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  • Screen Recording permissions:
    • Click 'Open Preferences' to open macOS's settings
    • Ensure 'Screen Recording' is selected at the left
    • Click the lock at the bottom to make changes
    • Turn on the Parsec checkbox. If you don't see Parsec, click the plus and select Parsec in the applications folder

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  • Restart the Parsec application to fully apply the changes

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  • Open your Parsec settings, and in the Host tab, ensure 'Hosting Enabled' is set to 'Enabled'

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Once that is done, you should have all permissions set up. To set up Parsec audio, keep reading further below.

 

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 when hosting. Due to how our audio driver works, you'll not get audio on the local computer while it is active, it'll only be heard remotely. However, we have a section below on how you can avoid this behavior, after installation.

Installing and uninstalling

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

After installing, ensure that 'Parsec Audio Capture' is selected under your System Preferences > Sound > Output, as per the example image below.

If you have any issues, also check that Parsec has microphone permissions (there will be a yellow warning in the Host tab if it does not), and that the Audio setting in the Parsec host settings is set to use 'Parsec Audio Capture'.

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Allowing local and remote audio at the same time

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.

If you want to get local audio at the same time as remote audio (for a Parsec user remoting into your computer) you can create an aggregate audio device in macOS and use that to send audio to the local computer at the same time as the Parsec Audio capture device. Follow Apple's instructions to create an aggregated audio device.

 

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
  • If the macOS host is asleep, it is unable to host sessions. To prevent your macOS host from sleeping, access your System Preferences > Battery and ensure it is configured similarly to the image below

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