The 5 Best iOS Emulators for PC

Test and run apps for iPhone on Windows

If you'd like to know how a particular app will appear and function on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch from your Windows laptop or desktop, you'll need an iOS emulator for PC. This type of software can come in handy for app developers, quality assurance professionals, or anyone looking to run iPhone apps on their PC. We've compiled a list of the best iOS Emulators for Windows.

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

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.

  • Free version is ideal for simple development validation and testing.

  • 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 via their website or through an API. Within mere seconds, you can run it 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 two concurrent users and 100 minutes of app streaming per month. Paid subscriptions range from $40/month all the way up to $2,000 for large-scale requirements.

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
  • Slight performance loss for CPU-intensive apps.

  • Requires an Apple device to work.

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

Most Powerful iOS Emulator for PC: Xamarin.iOS

The Xamarin.iOS emulator.
What We Like
  • Code iOS apps from your 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 PC is no easy task; however, once it's up and running, you'll have a powerful environment for coding iOS apps from your 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, all within the Visual Studio IDE.

At minimum, you'll need a Windows machine with Visual Studio 2017 and a network-connected Mac with Xamarin.iOS and Apple's 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.

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.

  • Limited functionality.

Using the Adobe AIR runtime framework, you can create a new instance of the iOS GUI right on your 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 actually running it in that operating system.

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

Best iOS Emulator for Beginners: Ripple

The Ripple iOS emulator.
What We Like
  • 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.

  • No longer supported by its developers.

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