Enable 3D acceleration in MacOS 11 (Big Sur) virtual machines
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Enable 3D acceleration in MacOS 11 (Big Sur) virtual machines


Article ID: 315314


Updated On:


VMware VMware Desktop Hypervisor


This KB provides information on how to enable 3D acceleration on Mac OS 11 (Big Sur) Virtual Machines.


VMware Fusion 12.x
VMware Tools 11.x



MacOS 11 (Big Sur) hosts and later, macOS 11 (Big Sur) guests and later.

Process to enable 3D acceleration:

To enable 3D acceleration on Mac OS 11 (Big Sur) Virtual Machines follow the steps below:
  1. Open .vmx file from VMware Fusion. In Virtual Machine Library, right-click on a virtual machine, then press the option key and click Open Config File in Editor.
  2. Add the following two lines to the .vmx file:
appleGPU0.present = "TRUE"
svga.present = "FALSE"
  1. Save the .vmx file and then open it in VMware Fusion.
Since the bundled version of VMware tools (11.1.5) does not support resolution autofit for macOS guests, the resolution can be set manually if required.  To do so, add two additional lines to the .vmx file (as above) after replacing the xxx with the desired sizes:
appleGPU0.screenWidth = "xxx"
appleGPU0.screenHeight = "xxx" 

These options are only checked at VM power on time.

Alternatively, autofit can be enabled by upgrading to VMware tools 11.2.0.
  1. Download VMware tools 11.2.0 from VMware Downloads.  
  2. Install VMware tools 11.2.0 in macOS Big Sur guest.
  3. In the virtual machine's 'Settings' click 'CD/DVD' mount darwin.iso, click 'Connect CD/DVD driver', then power on the virtual machine and install tools from guest's CD/DVD.  


  1. In macOS Big Sur virtual machine, click About this Mac > System ReportGraphics/Display.
  2. Text Metal: Supported exists. 


  1. OpenGL-based applications are not supported.
  2. Some Metal-based applications may not run well as only a subset of Metal is currently available inside of the virtual machine.
  3. On some specific hardware rendering crashes, macOS guest panics, vmx crashes problems may occur.