The 5 Best iOS Emulators for PC

Test and run iPhone apps on Windows

If you'd like to know how a particular app will appear and function on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch from a Windows laptop or desktop, you'll need an iOS emulator for PC. This type of software is helpful for app developers, quality assurance professionals, or anyone looking to run iPhone apps on a PC.

We compiled a list of the best iOS emulators for Windows. Check these out and see which ones might work for your needs.

These apps are available for different versions of Windows. Check individual application requirements to see if an emulator works with your operating system.

01
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Best Browser-Based iOS Emulator: Appetize.io

Appetize.io running in a browser on Windows 10
What We Like
  • No software to install.

  • Works on any device.

  • The free version is ideal for simple development validation and testing.

  • Has premium options for professional developers.

What We Don't Like
  • Occasional lag as the canvas representing the iOS device is rendered.

  • Only works in a web browser.

Appetize.io allows you to upload your app to its website or through an API. Within seconds, your app runs within any major web browser on your PC. The service offers advanced features in addition to emulation, including automated testing, scalable enterprise deployments, and network usage analysis. 

A free trial plan limits you to one concurrent session and 100 minutes of app streaming per month. Paid subscriptions range from $40 per month up to $2,000 for large-scale requirements.

02
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Most User-Friendly iOS Emulator: Smartface

The Smartface iOS emulator
What We Like
  • Frequently updated to keep up with operating system updates.

  • Reliable and user friendly.

What We Don't Like
  • A slight performance loss for CPU-intensive apps.

  • Requires an Apple device to work.

Smartface is a powerful emulator that supports iOS development on PCs, allowing for a cross-platform programming experience. It requires an iOS device with the Smartface app to be connected to a Windows machine, which must have iTunes installed for recognition purposes. Once that setup is in place, you can initiate emulation with a couple of taps and clicks.

03
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Most Powerful iOS Emulator for PC: Xamarin.iOS

The Xamarin.iOS emulator
What We Like
  • Code iOS apps from a PC.

  • More flexibility than other iOS emulators.

What We Don't Like
  • Takes time and technical know-how to set up.

  • Requires a Windows PC and a Mac.

Configuring Xamarin to build and test native iOS apps on a PC is no easy task. Still, once it's up and running, it's a powerful environment for coding iOS apps from a PC. Xamarin gives you access to the same UI controls that Objective-C and Xcode offer, while also being able to code in C# with the .NET BCL behind it. This programming is done within the Visual Studio IDE.

At a minimum, you need a Windows machine with the latest version of Visual Studio and a network-connected Mac with Xamarin.iOS and the Apple build tools installed. These tools consist of the latest versions of Xcode and the iOS SDK, which are available for download with an Apple Developer account.

04
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Best Makeshift iOS Emulator: Adobe AIR

Adobe AIR for Windows 10
What We Like
  • Supported by a reputable company.

  • Frequent updates to reflect the changing iOS interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't provide a perfect 1:1 emulation.

  • Has limited functionality.

Using the Adobe AIR runtime framework, you can create a new instance of the iOS GUI on a Windows PC. While not technically an emulator in the true sense of the term, this tool allows developers and testers to get a feel for what an app will look and behave like on iOS without running it in that operating system.

Hardware replication limits mean that you don't get an apples-to-apples comparison in terms of an app's behavior. Also, what you see within AIR iPhone may not be exactly what renders or occurs on an actual iOS device. Still, if you want an idea of what something looks like on an iPhone, AIR Adobe is a suitable option.

05
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Best iOS Emulator for Beginners: Ripple

The Ripple iOS emulator
What We Like
  • A minimal learning curve for those unfamiliar with emulators.

  • Ideal for testing websites for iOS devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Hasn't been updated in a few years.

  • Isn't supported by its developers.

Ripple is a browser-based tool that emulates mobile environments, including iOS. It's specifically designed to assist with the development and testing of HTML5 applications. Ripple requires Google Chrome and the Ripple Emulator add-on, which can integrate with other tools for debugging and running automated test scripts.