Why use an iOS emulator, you asked? Well, if you are among the people who are curious about iOS or you’re among those who haven’t had the chance to use an iPhone, then an iOS emulator is for you. If you are an app developer for the Apple ecosystem, iOS emulators are also great for testing your apps before releasing them for public consumption. You can run iOS applications without using an actual iPhone, thanks to iOS emulators available now.
There are more known Android emulators for PC than there are iOS. In fact, the best iOS emulators are hard to come by because Apple is not very supportive of them in the first place. In this article though, we have narrowed down your choices, so you could skip the endless hunt and start testing your iOS app on your PC.
Inside This Article
What Is an iOS Emulator?
An emulator can be hardware, like handheld emulators, or software, like the Citra emulator, that allows one computer system(host system) to copy how another computer system (guest system) works. It typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system.
In this respect, an iOS emulator allows a PC (Windows or Mac) to run and install iOS applications or games. Using these programs, users can easily access apps and games on their PC just like how it will run on an iPhone or iPad without the added cost of hardware. With iOS emulators, you can also simply test-run apps to easily debug them while developing. So basically, what it does is mimic the operation of an Apple device (iOS) and let you run any application or games on your PC instead of having a separate device for testing any applications.
Best iOS Emulators For Windows and Mac
Now for the meat of the article, let’s jump to the best iOS emulators that made it to our list! Take note that most of these emulators are meant for developers who need to test their apps.
Appetize.io is one of the best iOS emulators available mainly because of its freemium service to its users. If you are a developer, you can use this iOS emulator to easily conduct your testing and other phases of your application development. It is conveniently accessible on any browser, giving you leverage to test your apps off the bat on Windows and Mac. All you have to do is upload your app to the website and you’re good to go.
The best thing about Appetize.io is that its emulator can quickly catch up to the latest iOS, so you can try the most relevant and freshest features of the operating system. That said, it can also emulate older iOS if you want to see how apps look like on those versions.
With regard to pricing, they offer free 100 minutes of streaming time for your apps that can be easily monitored on your dashboard. You can set up alerts to notify you once you have reached the limit. The paid version, on the other hand, starts at $40 monthly.
Appcircle, formerly known as Smartface, is a complete continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) platform with an in-browser iOS emulator. It is mainly marketed to app developers and has one of the most powerful features to help you with the development and testing, down to the distribution of your iOS applications.
While some iOS emulators are just merely simulators, Appcircle vows to be a real emulator. It allows its users to test any iOS application not just on every iOS version but also through different iPhone models, from iPhone 4s to the latest one. The program also includes a module to debug your apps and real-time code changes.
Aside from iOS, Appcircle also doubles as an Android emulator for developers who wish to test their Android Apps.
This is the official iOS emulator owned by Apple to test the beta version of your applications on PC prior to their distribution. TestFlight is Apple’s beta testing platform with both internal and external users, which ensures a much easier process in your final review when publishing to the App Store. Compared to other iOS emulators available in the market, TestFlight is more complicated to run.
Although this iOS emulator is best suited for professional developers, conventional developers are also welcome to try this software. Only applications that are iOS 8.0-compatible or above can be tested on TestFlight.
Do you want to simulate the interface of an iPhone on your desktop? iPadian is the nifty tool that answers your question. This iOS simulator on Windows allows you to take on the appearance of an iPad running on iOS. It also has a customizable interface and includes a lot of interesting web applications.
iPadian also includes popular applications on iPad such as Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as popular iOS games like Angry Birds. However, this simulator doesn’t have direct access to the App Store. You can only use apps that were designed especially for the iPadian simulator.
It is very simple to understand and very easy to use. No need for advanced technical knowledge and is very user-friendly.
Apple’s very own Xcode software development for Mac comes with a simulator for iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iMessage. It’s purely an application development suite to help you start building your apps and see how they will look on an iOS screen. This means that it’s not an iOS emulator strictly speaking because it doesn’t allow you to access the App Store and install apps as if you are using a real iPhone. That said, it’s an excellent tool if you only want to experience the mechanism of iOS like taps, device rotation, scrolling, and other gestures.
6. Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows
The Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows is the recommended simulator to test iOS apps that were developed on Microsoft Visual Studio. It has a useful toolbar at the top that includes options like home, lock, settings, and screenshots to see how your app will respond. From its settings, you can enable the Touch-ID functionality and simulate static and moving conditions like shakes, gestures, and rotation. This tool also provides users with iPhone-like touch gestures and stylus input for Windows devices that are touchscreen capable.
This tool, however, is hard to set up and requires technical know-how in app development. Unless you are a developer, investing in this tool is impractical if you’re only curious about how iOS looks and feels like.
Try Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows
Corellium has virtual mobile devices that are primarily used for testing the security of apps that are currently under development. But, since it’s almost identical to an actual iPhone, it is also a good emulator if you want to see how iOS works. Immediately after signing up, you can create an iOS virtual device based on the latest iPhone and get started on testing the platform.
If you are a developer who wants to test an app, you can let Corellium install your properly-signed apps to begin. Alternatively, it has ready-to-use iOS tools that you can use if you just want to explore. They include almost all the pre-installed apps you’ll find on an iPhone like the settings app, calendar, calculator, and more. However, some of the apps may lack functionality because of the emulator’s lack of a processor. You also can’t use Corellium to log into an iCloud account or download apps from the App Store.
Corellium’s individual plan is worth $99 monthly — certainly not cheap, but it has a free trial if you are not a developer or don’t plan to commit.
Why Should You Use an iOS Emulator?
It’s no surprise that emulator is widely associated with gaming as most gamers use them as a way to play games that are not supported by their current device’s operating system. But aside from this use, there are a lot of ways you can use an iOS emulator:
1. Use for application testing and development
If you are developing an app or website specifically made for an iOS device, then using an iOS emulator is a must. This will eliminate the need for a secondary device and will save you a huge amount of time. Simply install it, load up your application, and check if it works or not.
2. Casual use
As mentioned above, emulators are more popular in the world of gaming. If you are interested in playing a game that is exclusive to iOS, having an iOS emulator for PC would be the cheapest solution compared to buying an Apple device.
Take Your Pick on the Best iOS Emulators.
Emulators, iOS or Android, have been an essential part of today’s technology. Mainly because most developers prefer to test their applications in whatever operating system they’re using before publishing them to the public. Also, it is much cheaper to use an emulator than to buy an Apple device especially when you don’t really need it. Hopefully, this article helps you narrow down your choices when looking for the best iOS emulators.