You might have heard of Android emulators for PC, but it is less common to have iOS emulators for PC. Using an iOS emulator to load the mobile application onto your desktop has many advantages like playing mobile games and using mobile-based apps on your PC which has a bigger screen. There are not as many easy to use or user-friendly iOS emulators as there are for Android, because iOS emulators are still at nascent stages.
An emulator is a tool that replicates the mobile iOS operating system onto one’s PC or desktop computer. These emulators can be useful for both users and developers in various ways.
Some of the applications listed below might be too technical for a regular computer user without much technical knowledge as they are mostly for developers. But if you are looking for free or trial-period iOS emulators for your PC, Windows, and Mac operating systems, then the below list will be useful to you.
The best iOS Emulators that we will include in this article are:
- iOS Simulator in Xcode
- Electric Mobile Studio
- Remote iOS Simulator for Windows
The above iOS Emulators are described below in more detail:
Appetize is a freemium iPhone simulator where some features are free to use and if you want more complex features, you will have to pay for it. The platform is a web browser-based and developers can use Appetize.io for running iOS simulators in the browser. Appetize.io can be used for embedding applications on websites, during the testing, and many other phases of expansion.
The main benefits of Appetize.io are that it is available to stream immediately supporting any browser and that it is fully managed and up to date with its services. You can also select any choice of device, operating system, and app version to run Appetize.io. You can also track and audit usage through an agent, fine-tune access controls, and permission.
The price of Appetize.io for the paid version is on the higher side starting from $40 a month for the basic version and going up to $2,000 a month for the enterprise version. You can get up to 100 minutes of streaming time in one concurrent session for various applications, from the free trial period of this iOS emulator.
Ripple is an iPhone emulator for PCs, in the form of a Chrome extension. The main platform for Ripple is a browser-based web extension. It is a popular emulator for testing cross-platform mobile applications and HTML5 applications without the added setting up process, that is usually involved in other emulators
Ripple is mainly directed towards programs like PhoneGap and WebWorks, mostly aimed at helping developers instead of general users. For developers, Ripple provides features such as HTML DOM Inspection, JS Debugging, and Automated Testing. This emulator is mainly used by technical developers, rather than general users because it is made for people with the pre-requisite technical knowledge.
Another added benefit is that if you choose to have a new device, Ripple does not need to be restarted. Ripple has only one free pricing plan and does not have a premium version, which means you can get added benefits for free.
TestFlight is owned by Apple. Beta testing for developers is made simple with TestFlight. It is extensively used by developers to test their iOS applications, using the code Xamarin. Apple uses TestFlight as a recommended technique for testing apps. TestFlight is a completely free application.
The main platform for TestFlight is the Mac laptop. TestFlight gives access to internal and external testers and groups where developers can invite nearly 10,000 external testers using email addresses. If you are a developer, you could also use public links to invite testers on TestFlight.
The extensive documentation available on TestFlight is an added benefit for iOS emulator for PC. TestFlight supports apps for iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and iMessage. It also provides the option of external beta testing during and before review. You will need to have an App Store distribution profile to sign in and the emulation is extremely technical, so you would need to have prior background in this area.
4. iOS Simulator in Xcode
Xcode is Apple’s own native simulator for iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iMessage. The simulator allows developers to prototype and builds test apps during the development process. Xcode behaves like a standard Mac app while stimulating the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
There are many benefits to the Xcode simulator. It can find major issues that can be resolved during design and early testing. Xcode can test your app through developer tools that are available only for the simulator. You can also additionally become a member of the iOS Developer Program which will familiarize you with the Xcode development experience. If you use Xcode as the primary development tool, then different types of interactions can be emulated such as taps, device rotation, scrolling, and other user actions.
Mac users can test web apps by using Safari with Xcode. This is one of the main advantages for iPhone and Mac users while using Xcode. Xcode also only has a free plan and there is no need to pay to use the iOS emulator.
5. Electric Mobile Studio
Electric Mobile Studio is a paid emulator to test and operate iOS applications on Windows computers. It offers a full product trial for 7 days for free, which can be used to test if you want to use the full product.
Electric Mobile Studio provides a complete emulation of iPhones, iPads, and responsive applications. It also offers the opportunity to use the same product on two different devices for setting up work in your office or at home. The main platform for this emulator is Windows and it is solely designed so that iOS apps can be used on Windows.
Developers prefer this iPhone emulator for Windows 10 because of integrated WebKit and Chrome debugging tools which provide easier options for their jobs. You can also add hot-key navigation keys for mapping your favorite shortcuts. Using Visual Studio, Windows users can combine this tool for iOS apps.
The main drawback of Electric Mobile Studio is the price of the emulator and that the trial period is noticeably short. It might be useful for you if you are a developer who works on both iOS and Windows operating systems.
6. Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows
Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows is a promising way to test iOS applications on Windows PC. Microsoft provides detailed documentation for the website so that users can test their apps with this iOS simulator.
This simulator is a developer-focussed tool that is pre-loaded in Visual Studio 17 and Visual Studio 2019. The installation process is simple as it is established for Windows automatically as part of Xamarin.
Remoted iOS Simulator has an interesting toolbar and provides options such as Lock, taking a screenshot, rotating left and right, shake gesture, Toogle in-call status bar, Toogle keyboard and stimulates memory warning. You can also use the settings and a reboot button. It also has touch screen support and sound handling.
If you are not satisfied with it, you can also disable the iOS simulator for Windows without much of a hassle. The tool also supports iPhone-like touch gestures and provides a stylus input. There are both free and paid versions of this simulator.
iPadian is a unique tool which provides an experience like an iPad or iPhone on Windows and Mac computers. These solutions do not allow you to upload an application and test it as the other simulators do for developers. Moreover, you have to pay to use an iPadian and there is no free version.
iPadian works as a custom simulator along with your OS, where people can install apps similar to iOS from their app store. iPadian does not create a local version of iOS on your device. It also does not allow you to access the iOS app store. iPadian also does not support iMessage like other emulators mentioned in this article. iPadian is thought to be a considerably basic simulator that is still not as advanced for developers to use.
iPadian only imitates the basic features of the iPad on your PC. If you prefer the look and feel of an iPad or iPhone and would like to experience something similar on your PC, then the iPadian might be useful for you.
As you can imagine, it is quite difficult to find an iOS emulator compared to an Android emulator. The above emulators and simulators mentioned are mostly at their original stages and are used by developers. If you only want to use an iOS emulator onto your PC, then these iOS emulators will be useful for you. They provide many features and options to choose from including various testing methods and developer features.
Among the list mentioned we suggest that the best iOS emulators for technical users are Appetize.io, Ripple, and TestFlight because they offer the most advanced features compared to the other iOS emulators that are out there.