Microsoft Announces OpenCL and OpenGL Compatibility Pack for Windows 10 on ARM

Photoshop now runs natively on an ARM machine

The initial reviews of the ARM-based M1 power Macbooks Mac Mini have been great. On the other hand, despite releasing products like Surface Pro X earlier, Microsoft is still struggling with Windows on ARM. The most important issue for Windows on ARM is app compatibility. Since Windows is considered an open platform compared to macOS, it is tough for Microsoft to have apps developed for the ARM instruction set.

Earlier this year, Microsoft partnered with Collabora to build DX12 mapping layers for the OpenCL and OpenGL platforms where native driver support is not available. According to Microsoft’s dev blog, the compatibility pack for Windows 10 on ARM is finally available for users and developers. Specifically, the support for Adobe Photoshop using DX12 mapping on OpenCL and OpenGL platform, i.e., Windows on ARM.

The Photoshop version is still in Beta mode, but it supports features like GPU acceleration using the mapped OpenCL and OpenGL layers. The compatibility pack is available to download via Microsoft store to anyone using Windows on the ARM platform. One needs to install the compatibility pack along with Qualcomm DirectX 12 pack to run the ARM version of Photoshop runs natively, and then it can easily use features like GPU acceleration.

Currently, the OpenCL and OpenGL compatibility Pack only runs Photoshop, but users on the Windows Insiders program can download the insider version of the compatibility pack. The insider version can run any apps developed for the OpenCL version 1.2 and earlier and OpenGL version 3.3 and earlier.

Lastly, only those who have the latest build of windows on their ARM device can download the compatibility pack. For more information, head over to the Microsoft Dev Blog.

Mohsin Naeem


Mohsin is a budding writer who has a thing for PC hardware and gaming. He has been building computers according to the need of his clients and is well versed in the area. He is an economics major and the analytical skills he learned from his academics adds to his writing and gives him a unique way to observe the tech industry.