Do iPadian Emulators still make sense for Testing Websites and Apps?
Shreya Bose, Community Contributor - July 15, 2022
Before exploring how effective iPadian emulators or simulators are for software testing purposes, let’s quickly discuss what it is, in the first place.
What is an iPadian Emulator?
iPadian is an open-source simulator that replicates the appearance and interface of an iOS device on PCs running Windows, Mac, and Linux. Essentially, when downloaded and run, it launches an alternate desktop environment that looks and feels like an iOS home screen.
To run, iPadian requires Adobe Air to be installed. iPadian does not trigger a local iOS version on the target device. It can also allow users to experience what an iOS device will look and feel like from a graphical point of view, not how it will function.
iPadian does come along with its own app store, carrying a significant number of apps, which tries to provide a sense of what it’s like to use the App Store. However, it cannot access or emulate the iTunes app.
Note: Often, the terms “iPadian simulator” and “iPadian emulator” are used interchangeably. However, according to iPadian.net, “iPadian imitates the appearance, design or basic features of an Apple device (simulating), whereas emulators reproduce the features and actions of systems (emulating)”. Therefore, iPadian is not an emulator and cannot provide those services.
Is iPadian Emulator suitable for testing websites and apps?
In a word, no.
To ensure that we are not being unreasonably harsh with that verdict, let’s list out the shortcomings of iPadian simulators or emulators.
- iPadian only simulates the aesthetic layer of iOS on top of a Windows OS. It does not allow users to actually experience how iOS operates in terms of its actual features and functions.
- Users cannot access the iOS App Store. They can only run apps specifically designed for iPadian.
- iPadian cannot be used to run iTunes.
- iPadian might not be entirely safe, according to various pieces like this and this. It may render your device vulnerable to malware and other malicious elements.
- iOS is designed for touch screens, and interacting with it (through iPadian) via a mouse and keyboard provides a less than ideal user experience.
Therefore, not only does the iPadian simulator or emulator not offer the real user conditions necessary for comprehensive test websites and apps, it can actually put your device in harm’s way.
Any website or app tested on an iPadian emulator is not fit for the public release because it is not being tested in the end-user circumstances it must eventually serve. Imagine testing an iPhone app on a simulator that does not let you access the App Store. In the absence of such a key function, how can you be sure that the app would even download correctly in the first place?
Testing Websites & Apps on Real iPad Devices
For websites and apps to be truly ready for widespread public usage, they must be tested on real browsers and devices. They need to be installed, operated on, and monitored on the actual devices, browsers, and operating systems that users work with.
To run real device tests, QAs have to test across browsers, devices, and operating systems, including the different versions of each. For example, a website must be tested on multiple versions of Chrome, running on multiple iOS and macOS devices. These devices must also run multiple versions of macOS and iOS – all to ensure that the software runs perfectly on all device-browser-OS combinations.
Needless to say, accessing a large number of different Apple devices, installed with numerous OS versions and browsers is not an easy task. Some major organizations do tend to build their own device lab and keep populating me with new browsers, devices, OS versions, test automation frameworks, and other necessary paraphernalia.
However, setting up and maintaining such a device lab would be demanding on finances and human resources. Dedicated personnel would be required for the maintenance, upgrading, and monitoring of the device lab. These are costs that every organization or testing team may not be able to afford.
Fortunately, a more cost and effort-intensive alternative do exist. By using a real device cloud such as the one provided by BrowserStack, testers have to worry about nothing but actually running the tests.
BrowserStack offers 3000+ real browsers and devices, hosted entirely on the cloud. That means a user simply has to sign up for free, choose which device-browser-OS combination they’d like to test on, and start testing. This applies to manual testing & automation testing.
Instead of iPadian simulators, testers will find it far more effective to check software efficacy on real iOS and macOS devices. This is a simple task on the BrowserStack Cloud. Users can easily test across widely used real iOS devices including iPhone 12, 11 Pro Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8, 6s, iPad 12, Air & Mini & more, running on the latest iOS versions 7 to 15.
Read More: How to Perform UI Testing on iOS Devices
Additionally, BrowserStack comes with a plethora of integrations for easy, hassle-free testing. Some of these integrations include:
- Live (for manual website testing): Chrome Developer Tools for Desktop & Mobile, Safari Developer Tools, Firefox Developer Tools, Firebug Lite
- App Live (for manual app testing): Gradle plugin, Fastlane plugin, Jira, Trello, GitHub, AppCenter, TestFlight
- Automate (for automated website testing): Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer
- App Automate (for automated app testing): Appium, Espresso, XCUITest, EarlGrey
- Percy (for automated visual testing of websites): Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, Storybook
For more information, have a look at the complete list of integrations on BrowserStack.
If you are curious about testing websites and apps on BrowserStack, try Test University. You can access real devices for a hands-on learning experience, and seamlessly pick up the fundamentals of software testing on our device cloud. Sign up for free to get started.
Due to its shortcomings, iPadian emulators are not suitable for final-stage testing of websites and apps meant to run on iOS and macOS. While it may be tempting to use iPadian because of its free or lower-priced versions, tests will be unreliable, and bugs will escape into production, thus creating a sub-par user experience, hurting brand credibility and revenue pipelines.
It is much more prudent to conduct iPad testing on the real thing. The results generated on the BrowserStack device cloud can be considered entirely reliable since tests are run in the exact end-user environments. Testers can identify bugs before customers do, thus providing a pristine UX every time.