We all know that there are plenty of Android emulators out in the world for both Windows and macOS devices. But what about iPhone emulators? Well, if you’re looking for an iOS emulator for testing your new app, or just to run some iOS apps on your computers, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 iOS emulators for Windows 10 and macOS you can try.
iOS Emulators for Windows and Mac (January 2021)
There are not many iOS emulators out there. Apple is very stringent about emulation and always blocks and kills such apps. That said, there are still a few iOS emulators that you can use for both testing new apps and running iPhone apps on your Windows or Mac computer. We will be including both types of emulators in this list. So, regardless of your use-case, you will find something that fits your needs.
As always, you can skip ahead to any particular emulator using the table of contents given below.
Appetize.io is one of the easiest to use iOS emulators. It’s cloud-hosted which means you don’t need to install any apps on your computer. Plus it’s compatible with Windows 10 and macOS.
With Appetize, you get access to iPhones from iPhone 5s to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and a couple of options from iPads and iPod Touch as well. You can choose the OS version from iOS 10 to iOS 14. That’s pretty cool.
Appetize is mainly meant for developers. As such, you can’t install just about any app on the emulator here. You need a public key for the app you want to install.
The reason I have included this at the top of this list is because it’s incredibly easy to use, and it offers a nice free tier that allows you 100 minutes of usage in a month. You can also pay for additional use time and more features.
Check out Appetize.io (website)
If you’re an iOS developer, you obviously already use Xcode on your Mac (or hackintosh) to build your apps. If you do, you probably don’t need another iOS emulator or simulator on your computer just to test your app. Xcode has a really good iOS emulator built in for testing purposes and so you can run your app on a virtual device instead of deploying it on a physical device.
The best thing about the built in Xcode emulator is the fact that you get access to a variety of devices and screen sizes with different iOS versions. What’s more, the emulator works really fast and it’s really smooth which is pretty awesome. Obviously, you can’t install any random app on these emulators either, you will have to have the source code for the app you want to install on the emulator.
Download Xcode (Free)
One of the best iOS emulators for Windows 10, iPadian is a completely paid solution, so you can’t really get a free trial or anything for it. As the name suggests, this is an iPad simulator.
Like other simulators, you don’t get things like the App Store with iPadian. You only get access to a particular set of apps, although there are over a 1000 of these apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, and others.
iPadian is pricey, as far as emulators go, which is the only reason that it’s not number 1 on this list. However, if you’re looking to get an iPad experience on your Windows machine, you can definitely consider using iPadian.
Download iPadian ($35)
TestFlight, which is now owned by Apple is pretty much the official way that Apple wants its developers to beta test their apps once it’s ready to roll out to users.
TestFlight brings developers support for testing their apps on iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Plus, since iMessage apps are a thing now, TestFlight emulator supports those as well. So if you’re working on an app for an Apple device, TestFlight pretty much has you covered.
That said, you do need to have an App Store distribution profile in order to use TestFlight with your apps. Plus, since this is a developer oriented solution, you can’t install just any random app on it either.
Check out TestFlight (Free)
5. Electric Mobile Studio
Lastly, you can check out Electric Mobile Studio as well. This is also a paid app for testing out and running iOS apps. However the interface here isn’t all that good. Plus, EMS iOS emulator is mostly aimed at testing HTML 5 and JS apps on iPhones and iPads.
It comes with WebKit and Chrome debugging tools to allow developers to test out their web apps. You can also run multiple instances of emulators with Electric Mobile Studio which can be helpful if you’re trying to test out your app in multiple devices at the same time.
Download Electric Mobile Studio (Free trial, $39.99)
Bonus: Apple M1 Macs
If none of the emulators seem to be doing the job for you, currently the best way to run iOS apps on a computer is just by using the new Apple M1 MacBooks and Mac Mini. These devices run on Apple’s new ARM chipsets and they can run iPhone apps with ease.
You can find the iPhone apps in a separate section in Mac App Store. Previously, you could also sideload iPhone apps, by using the .ipa file for the app you want to use. However, Apple has banned the sideloading of iPhone apps on M1 Macs, so your only option is to install the approved apps from the App Store.
Easily Run iOS Apps Using These Emulators
There aren’t a lot of iOS emulators out there these days. Most iOS simulators have been discontinued, or are aimed purely at developers. While simulators like the one built-into Xcode and options like TestFlight are pretty good, there are other options out there as well, especially if you’re looking to test your iPhone apps on Windows 10.