There’s no doubt in the fact that iPhone and iPad are two of the best smart devices ever invented. The kind of experience they provide is unmatched, and the kind of games and apps built on the top of that experience also don’t have any parallels in the world. However, not everyone likes to own an iPhone or iPad, and the reasons behind this choice are endless. But at the same time there’s also a sizable population among those non-iPhone owners who likes some iOS apps and games. That’s where iOS emulators come into play – they allow you to enjoy the apps and games built for iOS without owning an iPhone or iPad. Here we’re going to take a look on 15 such iOS emulators for Windows. Let’s get started:
Smartface iOS Emulator
Arguably one of the best iOS emulators available in the market right now, Smartface is widely used to develop and test cross-platform iOS apps on Windows PCs. It’s very popular among developers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to run some iOS apps without being a developer. Of course, you can. It’s available in two versions, one of which is paid. The paid version’s pricing starts from $99, and you can choose between free and paid versions depending on your requirements.
As its name suggests, iPadian is an iPad emulator for Windows. It allows you to run a majority of (but not all) iPad apps on your PC, including some apps which are related to the native iOS features like Siri, iMessage, iMusic etc. The best part is that it is one of those few iOS emulators which allow you to experience iOS the iPad way. There is a major difference in the kind of experience that one receives on an iPhone and iPad, and if you like the later experience more then this is the emulator you need. iPadian is also available in both free and paid versions, and you can choose your version according to the requirements.
If I’ve to choose the most easy to use iOS emulator, it will be Appetize.io emulator. Why? Because it’s super-easy to get started with it. You don’t need to download anything, you don’t need to install anything. All you need to do is open their website in your PC, sign up with an account, upload the app that you want to run in it and that’s it. You can start using your uploaded app from within the browser whenever you want. Moreover, it also allows you to embed your app for being used in any of the websites, a feature that can come handy if you’re a web developer. The limitation of this emulator, however, is that it’s free for first 100 hrs only.
Xamarin Testflight emulator is known for its professional support and high quality user interface. And the best part about it is that currently it’s a project being run by Apple’s own developer teams. Since it’s an official project from Apple, it can perform a number of tasks that can’t be done by other iOS simulators. Setup is easy, and the reviews are also very positive. However, one of its limitations is that you can use only those apps which are based on iOS 8 or above. You can download it from here.
Electric Mobile Studio
The next on our list is Electric Mobile Studio. It is mainly used by professional app developers, and the best part is that it includes both iPhone as well as iPad simulator functionality. Like many of the other apps listed here this one also comes in a free and a paid version. However, the only downside of this emulator is the cost of its paid version, which is slightly higher than the cost of other paid emulators listed here. You can get it from their official website.
Remoted iOS Simulator
This emulator is another product from the team behind Xamarin. Again, it’s a developer-focused emulator, which means that it has been built for the purpose of testing and debugging apps. It uses a Visual Studio environment, which means that it is fast and responsive. It also works with most of the apps developed for iOS, and it also comes with touchscreen support, which means that if you have a touchscreen-enabled PC you can get almost real-iPhone type experience with this emulator.
When you go looking for iPhone emulators on Windows, there are few options that work with popular runtime environments and frameworks. Two of them we’ve discussed already: Xamarin and Reputed iOS emulator, which work with Visual Studio. Another similar option is AIR iPhone, which works on Adobe AIR framework. It can create a new instance of iPhone on your computer, which you can use to run your desired iOS games and apps.
MobiOne Studio is one of the oldest iOS emulators out in the market. However, the sad part is that it has been discontinued by its development team. But that doesn’t mean you can’t download it – you can still get it from unofficial sources, and once you get you can use it not only to run your desired iOS apps but also to develop some of the apps if you’re into iOS development. MobiOne Studio can also enable iOS-styled status notifications, and it’s also not resource hungry. However, its discontinuation means that it may not work for some apps that require latest iteration of iOS.
Another iOS emulator which has grown to become more and more popular overtime is Ripple emulator. Just like Appetize.io it’s also a browser-based emulator, but it requires you to install a Chrome extension. It works in cloud, and it supports almost all iOS apps. And when I say almost all, that also includes the apps meant to work with latest versions of iOS (i.e. iOS 10 and later). The best part of this emulator is that it’s good for both amateur as well as professional users. A shortcoming of this emulator, however, is that it doesn’t work without Chrome browser.
As its name suggests, this iOS emulator is aimed at gaming. With iMAME emulator for Windows you can play a number of iPhone and iPad games on your PC. You can play even iOS 9 and iOS 10 based games on this emulator. Since it’s an emulator aimed at gaming, support for high quality graphics is one of its major features. The shortcomings of this emulator are also because of its extensive focus on gaming alone. For example, it can’t be used for development and testing related purposes.
Before Apple acquired Xamarin the team behind this project was an independent entity. And their work done till date is available for users who don’t want to use Xamarin Testflight for some reason. If you wish, you can download the old Xamarin simulator from link given here. It can be used to test and debug a number of old iOS apps, which may not work on latest Xamarin Testflight emulator due to its compatibility with only recent editions of iOS. If you want to use an app which has been developed for a version of iOS 7 or earlier, you’ll need this old Xamarin instead of Xamarin Testflight.
Just like iMAME this emulator is also focused on gaming. iPhone Simulator is a totally free iOS emulator that can be used for playing iOS games on PC. Again, being a software meant for gaming it has got the support for high quality graphics and audio. It also allows you to easily start playing your games with drag and drop functionality, and its UI is so simple that even beginners and intermediate level users can get started with it immediately.
iPad Simulator is from the same team which has developed iPhone Simulator, but unfortunately it has been discontinued. However, if you can download it from some unofficial sources then it can still be used to play the games developed for iPad on a Windows PC. Again, it allows you to start playing the games with drag and drop functionality, and its UI is simple so anyone can start using it. The only thing that you need to do is search for it and figure out from where it can be downloaded.
Nintendo 3DS Simulator
While it’s not exactly an iOS emulator, it can be used to run a number of iOS games as well. And therefore, this is an emulator meant only for gaming – you can’t use it for other iOS apps, which is its biggest limitation. But if your sole purpose behind looking for an iOS emulator is to play the games of iOS then this limitation shouldn’t bother you. As suggested by its name, it sets up a virtual Nintendo 3DS console in your PC, and you can use that console to play the iOS games that you want to play.
Finally we have the official xCode Simulator developed by Apple. This one comes as a part of iOS Software Development Kit (iOS SDK), and therefore it’s one of the best choices to run an iOS app on Windows. It allows you to choose your desired iPhone environment (i.e. iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 7S etc.) before running the app because it’s part of a software development package. However, it also has a major shortcoming: you can’t run it directly on Windows!
Yep. xCode is available only for Mac, which means that you need to set up a Macintosh virtual machine on your PC in order to run xCode simulator. Clearly, this is not the kind of hassle that you would want to go through only for the sake of running iOS apps, which is the reason why I included this option in the end. However, if you already have a Macintosh VM running on your PC for any purpose then you may probably want to try this option.
These 15 emulators can help you run any iOS app on your PC. No matter which app or game it is, there’s a good chance that at least one of these emulators will be able to run it for you . So give them a try and do let us know which iOS emulator is your favorite (and why) in the comments section.