CrossOver allows you to run Windows software on your Mac. Because CrossOver integrates the applications with macOS, games like Grand Theft Auto V, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, and The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, or productivity apps like Quicken launch like any native program. It's as simple as a double-click.
CrossOver system requirements:
Intel or Apple Silicon (M1 or newer) based Mac running macOS 10.13 or later
1 GB disk space (additional space required for Windows applications)
Note: To ensure your macOS is compatible with CrossOver, consult the table near the bottom of our CrossOver page.
(1) Download the CrossOver installer from the CodeWeavers website.
(2) Locate the file in Finder (usually in your Downloads folder).
(3) Double-click to extract the file.
(4) Launch CrossOver and select Move to Applications Folder.
Note: If you do not want CrossOver in the Applications folder, drag and drop CrossOver to install it anywhere on your system. However, CrossOver is only available to all users on a machine when installed in the Applications folder.
The CrossOver trial has all the functionality of the full version; however, after 15 days, installed Windows applications are disabled. (CrossOver periodically prompts you to register before the trial period ends.)
Clicking Buy Now opens the CodeWeavers store. The email address and password you use when purchasing CrossOver from codeweavers.com are required to unlock the full version. If you have already purchased your license, click Register.
Clicking Buy opens the CodeWeavers store. The email address and password you use when purchasing CrossOver from codeweavers.com are required to unlock the full version. If you have already purchased your license, click Unlock with Purchase Info.
After startup, you can unlock CrossOver by going to CrossOver > Unlock CrossOver.
Enter your email address and password in the CrossOver Trial dialog box, and click Unlock.
Note: If unlocking for all users, you need your Mac username and password.
From the CrossOver main menu, select Unlock CrossOver.
Next, enter your email address and password in the dialog and click Unlock.
To open the unlock CrossOver dialog for a system-level install, use the following command:
$ sudo -H /Applications/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/cxregister
To open the unlock CrossOver dialog for a user-level install, use the following command:
$ sudo -H ~/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/cxregister
When CrossOver is purchased from codeweavers.com, an activation code is not needed to register. However, if you bought CrossOver from a third party and received an activation code, click Enter an Activation Code from the Unlock CrossOver dialog box, and complete the Enter Activation Code form.
CrossOver installs Windows applications into bottles. A bottle is a virtual Windows environment (e.g., Windows XP or Windows 10) with its own C: drive, fonts, registry, and software. You can install multiple programs into a bottle, but generally, CrossOver creates a new bottle for each application.
Keeping applications in separate bottles prevents them from interacting with or damaging one another. For instance, you could test out a new version of a particular program in one bottle while keeping your original one in another. Multiple bottles are also helpful whenever a specific application requires otherwise undesirable settings.
Applications generally fall into two categories:
Listed — A listed application is an application that appears in CrossOver's application database. CrossOver determines as many install details as possible.
Unlisted — An unlisted application is an application that does not appear in CrossOver's application database. CrossOver does not default any install details for unlisted applications.
(1) Type the application name in the search bar on the Install menu. CrossOver populates a list of applications matching the search criteria.
(2) Click the application's tile to proceed to the install details. If the application is not listed, see installing an unlisted application.
CrossOver automatically downloads the installer file and the required dependencies if an application is freely available on the internet. No further action is needed to configure your application once each install detail has a check mark. Click Install to proceed.
If CrossOver cannot obtain an installer file because it is unavailable for download or requires login credentials, you must provide the installer file location.
(1) Click Edit to access your file system.
(2) Navigate to the location of the installer file.
(3) Select the file and click Choose Installer.
(4) When CrossOver displays a check mark for each detail, click Install.
During installation, Windows software may prompt you for input (e.g., language selection, end-user license agreements). If you believe the install has frozen, look for dialog boxes from the Windows program before clicking Cancel in CrossOver. Canceling the install can result in an unrecoverable problem that requires you to delete the target bottle.
The program you are installing may require input to complete the setup. For example, when Notepad++ is finished installing, you must click Finish.
Once the application is installed, CrossOver creates an icon on the Home screen and in the bottle made for the application.
Unlisted applications may not run correctly or at all. Therefore we recommend installing unlisted applications in a separate bottle. Installing an unlisted application into an existing bottle may cause other Windows applications in that bottle to behave incorrectly.
To install an unlisted application, from the Install screen, do the following:
(1) Click Install an unlisted application.
(2) Click Edit for installer file detail.
(3) Navigate to the installer file location.
(4) Select the installer file and click Choose Installer.
(5) Click Edit for the bottle install detail.
(6) Enter a name for the bottle in New Bottle Name.
(7) Select a bottle type from the New Bottle Type menu.
Note: If you have difficulty installing an unlisted application, check the CrossOver Compatibility Center.
The Home view displays icons for all installed Windows applications. However, because many software packages contain or depend on other items, you will often see icons in this list that you did not explicitly install. To launch a Windows application from CrossOver, double-click the application icon.
Double-click an icon to run a Windows application, or drag an icon from CrossOver's main window to the macOS Dock and launch the application from there.
To remove an icon from the main menu, right-click it and select Hide from Home.
Hiding an icon from the main menu does not delete the application from your disk or impact desktop integration.
To restore a hidden icon to your Home, select the bottle, right-click the icon and choose Show in Home.
When you install a Windows application, CrossOver creates an application icon in your Launchpad. Locate the icon in Launchpad and launch the program by double-clicking, or drag the icon to your dock for easier access in the future.
CrossOver integrates your Windows applications with your native desktop environment. For example, in hierarchical menu systems such as Xfce, CrossOver creates shortcuts in a menu called Windows Applications. In an environment like GNOME, use your desktop's search function to locate application shortcuts. If you cannot find a shortcut, run applications from CrossOver or use the command line.
When you install CrossOver with the
.bin package, it creates command-line shortcuts for starting applications in
~/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin. For example, if you installed Office 365, launch Microsoft Word from the command line by running:
Shortcuts for private bottles are in the directories specified in the PrivateShortcutDirs section of the cxoffice.conf file, while shortcuts for published bottles are in the ManagedShortcutDirs.
If the Windows application allows, you can open documents using the shortcut by specifying the document path as an argument. For instance:
$ ~/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/winword letter.doc
To see the list of available shortcuts, use:
$ grep -l desktopdata/cxmenu ~/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/*
Using the command line to start a program launches the most recently installed version. So, for instance, if you install Word 2013 in one bottle and then install Word 2016 in another, the shortcut
winword will start Word 2016.
To start an application using the
--cx-app option, specify the bottle and the name of the executable. For example, Microsoft Word's executable is called
winword.exe, so it is run with:
$ /Applications/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/wine --bottle bottle-name --cx-app winword.exe
Or, for a single-user install:
$ ~/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/wine --bottle bottle-name --cx-app winword.exe
Similarly, to open a Word document, run:
$ ~/CrossOver.app/Contents/SharedSupport/CrossOver/bin/wine --bottle bottle-name --cx-app winword.exe letter.doc
For a complete list of applications that work with the
--cx-app command, run this:
$ find "~/Library/Application Support/CrossOver/Bottles" -iname "*.exe"
.exe files on your system are system tools or subcomponents of other applications, and running them could cause unpredictable or destructive things to happen. Therefore, running a Windows application is never a good idea unless you understand its origins and purpose.
CrossOver installs Windows applications into bottles. A bottle contains a C: drive and all its standard folders (e.g., Windows and Program Files), as well as:
A Windows registry.
One or more Windows applications.
Saved user data.
Unless you specify otherwise, CrossOver installs each application into a new bottle.
Multiple bottles are helpful when a particular application requires otherwise undesirable system settings. It is also possible to maintain bottles that emulate different Windows versions. For instance, an older application may run best in a Windows XP bottle, while a more modern one requires a Windows 10 bottle.
When a bottle is selected, CrossOver displays the Run with Options and Run Command buttons, and the Bottle Actions, Advanced Settings, Control Panels, and Bottle Details menus in the right sidebar.
Open C: Drive — Open the contents of the selected bottle's C: drive in the file manager.
Install Applications Into Bottle — Install an application into the selected bottle.
Quit All Applications — Close all applications in the selected bottle. If an application is unstable or not responding and quitting the bottle fails, selecting Quit All Applications stops all processes still running inside the bottle. This may result in lost work if you have unsaved changes.
Delete Bottle — Delete the selected bottle.
DXVK — DXVK switch. DXVK is a Vulkan-based translation layer for Direct3D 10 and 11.
CSMT — Command stream multi-threaded (CSMT) switch. CSMT enables multi-threaded Direct3D processing.
High-Resolution Mode — High-resolution mode switch. When enabled in CrossOver Mac, pixel doubling is turned off, and CrossOver reports a high-resolution (192 DPI) to the application. If the application handles this correctly, graphics display in more detail. Not all applications render correctly in high-resolution mode.
In addition to the tools installed along with Windows applications, CrossOver provides several built-in control panel tools.
System settings should be changed using the configuration tools available on your system because most Windows control panels are unsupported and often don't work as designed.
Wine Configuration — Access a range of bottle configuration settings applicable when troubleshooting system integration issues.
Game Controllers — Game controller or joystick configuration.
Simulate Reboot — Replicates a Windows reboot for the selected bottle.
Task Manager — Display a list of processes running in the selected bottle. The task manager is helpful when you need to stop specific unresponsive processes.
Internet Settings — Network configuration.
List of software installed in the selected bottle and bottle description.
Additional bottle commands are available in the Bottle submenu via CrossOver's menu bar.
New Bottle — Create an empty bottle.
Export Bottle to Archive — Create a compressed copy of the selected bottle. Before installing new software or modifying bottle settings, we recommend creating a bottle archive in case you need to revert the bottle to a previous state. Bottle archives can also be used to move a bottle to a new machine.
Import Bottle Archive — Restores an archived bottle.
Publish Bottle — Publish a copy of the selected bottle. Bottles are private when first created. A private bottle is accessible only to the user who installed it and is in that user's home folder. Once published, all the users of your system have access to the bottle's applications and data.
Note: CrossOver stores published bottles in a public directory (
Update Published Bottle Update a published bottle. Changes made to a published bottle are unavailable to other users until the published bottle is updated.
CrossOver preferences are available from the CrossOver > Preferences menu. These settings modify the behavior of CrossOver as a whole, affecting all bottles uniformly.
Preferences are stored separately for each user. Therefore, changing your preferences does not impact other users on your Mac.
Check for CrossOver Updates — Occasionally, between major releases, CrossOver is updated. Select this option and CrossOver automatically checks for updates.
Remind About Submitting Ratings — When enabled, CrossOver reminds you to submit ratings for installed applications. Ratings help us improve future versions of CrossOver and inform other users how well applications work with CrossOver.
CrossOver creates icons for installed applications in the folder shown here. To change the folder, click the folder and choose a new location.
Automatically Download New Installation Recipes — CodeWeavers staff and volunteers are constantly updating, refining, and adding to the list of community-supported applications via the CodeWeavers CrossOver Compatibility Center. When enabled, CrossOver periodically synchronizes itself with that list of applications. Disabling this feature does not prevent you from installing applications via the website.
Hide Entries for Untested and Known-not-to-work Software — We keep track of many applications that do not yet work with CrossOver. If you do not want these applications to appear as suggestions when installing applications, check this box.
Launch Installer Assistant When CrossOver Opens a
.exe File — When this option is selected, CrossOver opens the Installer Assistant whenever CrossOver opens a Windows executable (
.exe) file. Otherwise, CrossOver runs the Windows executable.
Cache of Downloaded Installers — When CrossOver obtains an installer file during the install process, it keeps a copy of that file for future installs. If you need free disk space or are experiencing issues reinstalling software, click Clear to remove cached files.
For additional assistance with CrossOver, go to our Support page. It is accessible from the menu on the CodeWeavers website. In the upper right corner of the CodeWeavers website, expand the menu and click Support.
The support page contains tutorials and solutions to common questions for Mac (1), Linux (2), and ChromeOS (3), as well as a compatibility database (4) with application ratings and other relevant information.
CrossOver is a trademark of CodeWeavers, Inc. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are owned by their respective companies.