App & Browser Testing Made Easy

Give your users a seamless experience by testing on 3000+ real devices and browsers. Don't compromise with emulators and simulators

Get Started free
Home Guide Replacing Android Emulator for Mac/iOS with Real Devices

Replacing Android Emulator for Mac/iOS with Real Devices

By Shormistha Chatterjee, Community Contributor -

Android is the most widely used and accepted OS in the world. Even Windows must catch up to the widespread acceptance of the functional mobile phone platform that Google owns. 

Android Market Share vs MacOS iOSSource

Hence, the scope of Android testing is ever-growing, and overcoming the drawbacks of using an emulator with a real device cloud is paramount.

Misinterpretation of Android Emulator for Mac/iOS

Emulator/Simulator for Mac/iOS is contradictory as an emulator, and a simulator are different. While they both let the software be run in a simulated environment, they operate differently.

Third-party apps that claim to run Android apps on macOS/iOS are unreliable and unsuitable for conducting comprehensive app testing.  iOS and Android are two different operating systems and are incompatible with each other. Hence, using an Android emulator on a macOS/iOS device is impossible.

  • An Android emulator is a program that mimics the software and hardware of a different system, letting software designed for that system be run on a varied platform. In the case of the Android emulator Mac OS, an emulator would let software designed for iOS devices to run on a Mac. Emulators can be resource-intensive, as they necessitate a significant amount of processing power to replicate the behavior of another system perfectly.
  • An iOS simulator, on the flip side, is a program that simulates a system’s behavior without mimicking its hardware. In the case of Mac/iOS, a simulator would enable developers to test their iOS apps on a simulated iOS device running on a Mac PC. Simulators are less resource-intensive than emulators as they don’t have to mimic the system’s hardware being simulated.

This misinterpretation between the terms emulator and simulator can lead to confusion about the limitations and capabilities of these tools to test software. 

Android Emulator for Mac OS and Real Devices for Testing

Android Emulators and a Real Device Cloud are two distinct methods of testing Android apps.

  • The Android Emulator is a software program that mimics the behavior of an Android gadget on a personal computer.
  • It lets software developers test their apps without using a physical device. 
  • An Android emulator for macOS may provide a virtual environment where developers can run their apps and see their performance on different devices and Android versions.
  • It is very valuable when the app is in the early stage of the STLC
  • On the flip side, Real Devices refer to real physical Android/iOS devices hosted on the cloud infrastructure available 24/7/365 to test under real user conditions. 
  • Real devices provide an accurate testing environment as they use the real software and hardware of an Android, macOS/iOS device as needed.

iOS Simulator and Xcode for testing macOS/iOS Devices

The iOS Simulator is a tool Apple provides as part of its Xcode integrated development environment (IDE) for developing iOS applications.

  • iOS Simulator provides a simulated iOS environment that closely mimics the behavior of a real iOS device, including support for touch gestures, device rotation, and other hardware features. 
  • The simulator also allows developers to test their application’s performance and behavior under different scenarios, such as varying network conditions or different levels of device memory.
  • On the other hand, Xcode is Apple’s official iOS development IDE. It includes a suite of tools and resources for designing, coding, and testing iOS applications. 
  • Xcode also provides code completion, debugging, and version control integration features. Xcode also includes tools for analyzing application performance, debugging code, and profiling memory usage.

Overall, the iOS Simulator and Xcode are essential tools for iOS developers. They provide a powerful environment for designing, coding, and testing iOS applications, allowing developers to create high-quality applications that deliver a great user experience on macOS/iOS devices.

Troubleshooting Common issues with Simulator on macOS/iOS 

  1. Slow performance: If the simulator is running slowly, try increasing the amount of RAM and CPU allocated to the simulator.
  2. Simulator not starting: If the simulator fails to start, ensure the necessary system images are installed. 
  3. Simulator freezing or crashing: If the simulator is freezing or crashing, try resetting the simulator by selecting “Reset Content and Settings” in the “Hardware” menu. You can also try reducing the number of running applications.
  4. No internet connection: If the simulator does not have an internet connection, make sure that the internet connection is enabled in the simulator settings.
  5. Simulator display issues: If the simulator display is distorted or not working properly, try selecting a different device or resolution in the simulator settings.

Importance of Running macOS/iOS Tests on Real Devices

Although one might think real gadgets aren’t a panacea either, due to that they are time-consuming and expensive to acquire, testing on actual devices is the ultimate way to know how the user experience truly. There is no better option to scrutinize the user-app interaction than installing it on a real gadget and giving it to beta testers.

  • No doubts about false negatives and positives, just real results on different device-OS combinations.
  • Any performance faults related to the environment or the device are visible quickly. 
  • As your apps move into a later phase of the SDLC, testing on real device-browser-OS combinations is the only genuine approach to producing reliable feedback and developing a better user experience.

Reaplce Android emulator macOS with Real Device Cloud

The benefit of testing on real devices compared to emulators & simulators is in the name. 

Here are 6 reasons why testing on real gadgets is significant:

  1. Accurate Performance: Real devices provide a more accurate representation of how an application will perform in the real world. Differences in screen size, resolution, and processing power between devices may affect how the app runs. 
  2. Security: Testing on real devices is also essential to identify security problems that might not be visible in emulators or simulators. For instance, an app might have vulnerabilities that only appear when installed on a real device.
  3. Software and Hardware Compatibility: Real devices also represent how an app will function with different software and hardware configurations. Emulators & simulators can only simulate a restricted no. of device configurations, and issues might only appear on definite devices. 
  4. User Experience: The user experience of an app is affected by factors like screen size, touch sensitivity, and device orientation. Testing on real devices lets devs detect and optimize the app for varied use cases, ensuring a better user experience.
  5. Network Testing: Testing on real devices enables developers to test how the app performs on distinct network connections, like 2G/3G/4G, WI-Fi, or Offline Mode.
  6. Access to flagship devices: BrowserStack’s Real device cloud provides access to the most recent mobile devices for testing, like Apple iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7, which can be useful to ensure your app is compatible with the latest software and hardware.

Reaplce Android emulator macOS iOS with Real Device Cloud.pngUsing BrowserStack, you can effortlessly test your web application on real Mac/iOS devices and browsers without needing Android Emulators or iOS Simulators.

Access BrowserStack Real Device Cloud

Which one to choose for Testing?

The choice between using Android Emulator or Real Devices for testing ultimately depends on your precise resources and requirements. If you are willing to run the basic tests or can’t have access to actual gadgets, the Android Emulator might be a better choice. 

But, if you must execute more thorough testing or accurately test device-centric features and real-world circumstances, real devices are the better option. It is also significant to consider the availability and cost of real devices, the physical space, and maintenance necessities.

Emulator and Simulator Real Device Cloud

Featured Articles

What is the best Alternative for Emulator/Simulator?

How to run iOS app on Mac

App & Browser Testing Made Easy

Seamlessly test across 20,000+ real devices with BrowserStack