How to play Fallout 4 on Mac — play the game that inspired the hit TV show everyone is talking about

Fallout 4 on Mac
(Image credit: Future)

Fallout is having a big year. It’s wild given we don’t expect to see the next major series installment, Fallout 5, for absolutely ages. It will arrive after Elder Scrolls 6, which itself feels a lifetime away. 

Why all the heat? Amazon made a Fallout TV show that is so good we’ve heard friends and relatives evangelize about it. That includes folks who would never have considered playing an actual Fallout game. 

That may be changing, though. SteamDb suggests thousands upon thousands of people are coming, or returning, to the Fallout games. And in what seems a rare video game being timely, Fallout 4 has been given a next-gen update. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series players get higher resolutions, new quality modes, and improved frame rates. 

PC players get new content, and the Steam Deck crowd gets a verified label. But us Mac fans? Out in the cold. Fallout 4 was never released for Mac, and probably never will be. 

That does not mean Mac users can’t play it, though. We’ve spent hours this week trying out the various methods for getting it working, using a plain old MacBook Air M1 from 2020. Nothing flashy. 

You’ll find what we consider the three best and simplest methods below — two of them can even be used on the best iPhones and iPads.

How to play Fallout 4 on Mac

Play Fallout 4 offline on Mac

Fallout 4 on Mac Crossover

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Purchase Fallout 4 from Steam 
  2. Download and install Crossover by Codeweavers
  3. In Crossover, press install and search for Fallout 4
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts and select Fallout 4 from within Steam

The easiest way to play Fallout 4 on Mac

Fallout 4 on Mac Xbox Game Pass

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Sign up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 
  2. Go to the Xbox Cloud Gaming website
  3. Sign in to your Xbox account using the avatar button at the top-right of the screen
  4. Search for Fallout 4 in the search bar 
  5. Connect an Xbox (or compatible) gamepad to your Mac, and run Fallout 4

The best way to play Fallout 4 on Mac

GeForce Now Fallout 4 on Mac

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Purchase Fallout 4 from Steam
  2. Download and install the GeForce NOW app from Nvidia
  3. Search for Fallout 4 in the GeForce NOW app
  4. Wait for your session to load and search for Fallout 4 in the Steam window
  5. Press install and, once finished, press play

Method 1 pros and cons: Crossover (offline version)


  • Doesn’t rely on streaming
  • Free trial available
  • Reasonable performance


  • Visual and audio glitches in-game during testing
  • Setup is a bit flaky
  • Purchase required for longer play

Crossover Fallout 4 on Mac

(Image credit: Future)

Crossover is, in theory at least, one of the coolest pieces of software available to Mac users. It lets you play countless PC games and apps on Macs, without having to make it feel as though you’re forcing your Apple computer to run Windows. 

In our experience, it performs significantly better than key rival Parallels, even if that package is a lot more flexible because it runs a virtual version of Windows.

In concept, Crossover is the ideal way to play Fallout 4 on Mac and it works surprisingly well on a basic MacBook Air M1 as long as you are willing to chop down the resolution and settings a bit from native res and “ultra” visuals. 

However, there are some issues. 

Crossover currently only works with the Steam version of Fallout 4, not GOG or Epic Games. It’s also not free beyond the 14-day trial, which we highly recommend trying. It otherwise costs $74 a year or $494 for “lifetime” support and access. 

It’s not without problems when running Fallout 4 specifically too. Some audio, typically music, stutters. And we noticed visual glitches in the opening sequence where you witness the beginning of the game’s apocalypse scenario. 

Crossover does have some settings you can fiddle with to attempt to fix problems and tease out better performance. But this relies on trial and error. While creator Codeweavers does have a section of its website where users can report on game compatibility, there’s no detail on what settings they recommend using. 

One day Crossover will hopefully be the best way to play Fallout 4 on Mac. But right now it does require a bit of patience. 

Fun fact: Crossover is made by some of the same folks behind the open-source project WINE. It’s responsible for the core software behind the Apple Game Porting Toolkit (which would be here were it easier to use) and is the foundation of the compatibility layer used by the Steam Deck.

Method 2: Xbox Game Pass


  • Extremely easy
  • Doesn’t require a copy of Fallout 4
  • Provides access to loads of other titles


  • Requires a compatible gamepad
  • Soft image
  • Equivalent of the lower-end Xbox

Xbox Game Pass Fallout 4 on Mac

(Image credit: Future)

For sheer ease of use, you can’t beat Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming. It can be used within a browser window, you don’t have to actually own a version of Fallout 4, and there’s no contract that means you have to pay for more than one month at a time. Bliss. 

Ready for the bad bits? You will need the top tier of Game Pass to access Cloud Gaming, and it costs $16.99 a month. 

This won’t let you see Fallout 4 at its best either. While image quality is pretty good compared to what game streaming looked like years ago, Cloud Gaming currently runs the Xbox Series S version of games, not the Xbox Series X ones. 

The picture also looks softer and less detailed than it would be on an actual console, thanks to the way the video feed is compressed to use up less bandwidth and reduce latency. We still find Fallout 4 perfectly enjoyable through Game Pass, but there’s a slight Vaseline-smeared look when Fallout 4 is played on a Mac. 

You also can’t play it with a mouse and keyboard, as some purists will say you should. And remember, we’re playing an Xbox console version of the game here, so you will need a gamepad.

Method 3: Nvidia GeForce NOW


  • Free version available
  • Low latency 
  • High visual quality


  • Queue for free streaming
  • High-end subscription is pricey
  • Runs using Steam version of Fallout 4 only

Fallout 4 on Mac GeForce Now

(Image credit: Future)

GeForce NOW is in one sense the worst of all worlds. You end up streaming a game over the internet, rather than locally on your actual Mac’s hardware. But you still need to own it. And, at the time of writing, only the Steam version is supported. 

However, GeForce NOW is currently our preferred way to play Fallout 4 on Mac. You are effectively playing the game on a high-end gaming PC in the cloud, meaning you can use one of the best gaming controllers for Mac or a mouse/touchpad and keyboard. 

Graphics are excellent as a result too, as is the image quality of the stream itself. Whenever you play a streamed game, there are dual image quality concerns: what are you really playing the game on behind the scenes, and how much does the picture get squished as it makes its way down the figurative pipe? 

These are not major worries with GeForce NOW, which makes Fallout 4 look and feel great. You can also try it for free as the service has an ad-supported tier. 

This limits the power of your virtual cloud PC, but it’s more than enough for Fallout 4. And based on our testing, a MacBook Air is limited to 900p resolution (1080p is the official max). 

Wait times are the real reason to move on from the free version once you’ve given it a go. While these can be relatively short at lower-demand periods in the day, at one point we ended up in a queue of more than 200 people — it took well over an hour to get through. Sessions with the free version of GeForce NOW are also limited to an hour. For most, the free GeForce NOW isn’t a truly feasible way to play.

There are two key tiers of GeForce NOW paid subscription. Priority increases your power ceiling, for greater headroom for higher-end visuals and higher frame rates. It costs $9.99 a month or $49.99 for six months.

GeForce NOW Ultimate provides the equivalent of a PC with an RTX 4080 graphics card, increasing the maximum resolution to 4K and the maximum frame rate to 120fps (at 4K resolution). This naturally increases the demands on your home internet, and Nvidia recommends at least 45Mbps for a good time. It costs $19.99 a month or $99 for six months.

Verdict: What's the best way to play Fallout 4 on Mac?

Sad but true, the most stable, simple, and quality-assured way to play Fallout 4 on Mac is with the use of a game streaming service. Our favorite GeForce NOW doesn’t even make the best use of the recent “next-gen” update either, as PC users already had much of what the upgrade promised. 

Still, is GeForce NOW a good way to play Fallout 4? Absolutely, especially if you are willing to pay for higher-quality access to avoid having to wait for a server slot. 

However, we absolutely recommend everyone try out Crossover’s 14-day trial. We couldn’t quite get Fallout 4 to run flawlessly, but it does run fairly well, and lets you play countless other PC games on Mac without streaming. 

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance contributor who has written about tech and entertainment since 2008, and covered the rise of the iPhone first-hand. Today he writes about audio, fitness tech, computing and TV/film, as well as mobile tech. Publications in his back catalogue include WIRED, Ars Technica, TechRadar, T3, Stuff, What HiFi and Forbes, among others.