Ever wanted to run iOS apps on your PC? Well you can! Here are the best iOS emulators for Macs and Windows computers.
Macs have a lot of apps. Windows PCs have a lot of apps. But compared to the iPhone, Mac, and PC app offerings combined are slim. There are literally MILLIONS of apps and games that are designed to run on iOS.
The sad thing about this is that you need an iOS device to run them. Or, at least you used to. In recent years a number of iOS emulators have popped up for both Mac and Windows. What in an emulator?
In short, an emulator is an app itself that emulates (presents to be) a specific hardware device–such as an iPhone. Because the emulator appears to be a hardware device, you can install software on the emulator that normally requires that device to run–software like operating systems, including iOS.
Emulation is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the technology has been around for decades now. There are emulator apps that let you run Windows on a Mac, Android on a PC, and even old gaming consoles, like the Atari, on the Mac or PC.
And on e your emulator app is loaded up with the desired operating system, you can then install any app that operating system runs inside of the emulator. It should be noted that the iOS emulator apps we list below are different than the technology Apple has developed to allow iOS developers to easily port their iOS apps to the Mac.
That technology is not emulation since it doesn’t allow the iOS operating system to run on the Mac.
If you want the real emulation deal, so to speak, you’ll need one of the apps below. We’ve provided the app’s download link, developer’s description, and cost so you can choose the right one for you.
Simulator App In Xcode
- What it is: Xcode is Apple’s official developer tools. It includes an app that lets you simulate iOS on your Mac.
- Platform: macOS
- Developer’s description: “Simulator app, available within Xcode, presents the iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch user interface in a window on your Mac computer. You interact with Simulator by using the keyboard and the mouse to emulate taps, device rotation, and other user actions.”
- Download: https://developer.apple.com
- Cost: Free
- What it is: A browser-based iOS emulator that works on any platform.
- Platform: Any platform that supports modern web browsers can use this emulator.
- Developer’s description: “Appetize.io enables you to run native iOS and Android mobile apps directly in your browser. No downloads, plugins, or extra permissions needed. Our customers use Appetize.io for app demos, training, customer support, development, testing, automation, and more.”
- Download: www.appetize.io/demo
- Cost: Free trial, then plans start at $40 per month.
Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows
- What it is: An iOS simulator for users of Visual Studio
- Platform: Windows
- Developer’s description: “The Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows allows you to test your apps on an iOS simulator displayed in Windows alongside Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio 2017.”
- Download: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/xamarin/tools/ios-simulator/
- Cost: Free trial followed by monthly subscription
- What it is: Technically, it’s not an emulator, but a simulator that mimics the iOS experience on your laptop.
- Platform: macOS
- Developer’s description: “iPadian is a simulator, not an emulator. It gives you an impression of using the iOS, so that you can see and feel the difference between Android and the iOS. iPadian does not create a local version of the iOS on your device. iPadian does not allow you to access the iOS app store. Using iPadian you can run only apps which were designed especially for iPadian simulator(+1000 Apps and Games) including Facebook, Spotify, Tiktok, Whatsapp, Crossy road, Instagram and more.”
- Download: https://www.ipadian.net
- Cost: $25 (limited time offer)
- What it is: A virtual device platform that runs on ARM servers in the cloud.
- Developer’s description: “Physical devices aren’t efficient. Emulators aren’t accurate. We combine the best of both in a high-fidelity virtual environment.”
- Download: www.corellium.com
- Cost: See website.
Electric Mobile Studio
- What it is: A Windows-friendly iOS web development platform.
- Platform: Windows
- Developer’s description: “Electric Mobile Studio is a powerful product for Mobile Web Developers. The product accurately simulates the iPhone and iPad Web Browsing experience and is highly customizable. In addition a unique set of responsive design tools make the product a perfect fit for mobile and responsive Web designers and developers alike.”
- Download: www.electricplum.com/studio.aspx
- Cost: Free trial then $39.99.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who are iOS emulators for?
iOS emulators are primarily designed for developers so they can test code designed for mobile operating systems on their desktop devices.
Q: Are iOS emulators free?
A couple are–and most have free trials. But you will need to pay for a majority of them if you want to continue using them.
Q: Can I play iPhone games on an iOS emulator?
You should be able to on most emulators. However, if the game relies on specific hardware–like a gyroscope–that the computer running the emulator doesn’t have, you may not be able to play the game.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.