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How to run iOS app on Mac

By Apeksha Gupta, Community Contributor -

Running iOS apps on a Mac is a popular and convenient way for iOS developers to test their apps. The process of running iOS apps on a Mac is made possible through a technology called virtualization, which allows you to create a virtual environment on your Mac that runs a different operating system. In this case, the virtual environment runs iOS, and you can use it to test and run your iOS apps.

Running iOS Apps on Mac

Running iOS apps on a Mac can be done in a few different ways. The easiest way is to use BrowserStack’s real device cloud; all that you have to do is signup for a free account and start testing instantly.

Alternatively, you can run iOS Apps on Mac using Apple’s Xcode development environment; This will allow you to create an app from scratch and then run it on your Mac.  This guide explains how to run iOS apps on Mac using the following methods:

  • Running iOS Apps on Mac using BrowserStack
  • Running iOS Apps on Mac using Xcode

Running iOS Apps on Mac using BrowserStack

BrowserStack allows you to seamlessly test on 3000+ different devices, browsers, and versions. You can test your Android apps and iOS apps on real devices.

Sign up for BrowserStack

  • Login to BrowserStack’s App Live platform from your Mac.
  • You can either upload an app from a URL or a local system. If you would like to test an existing app that is available on the App Store, you can install the app once you select the device in the next step.
  • Next, Select the iOS device. After selecting the device and uploading the app, a real device will be opened with the app installed on it.

ios pp 

For testing an iOS App, BrowserStack Live gives following out of the box features:

  • Show Home Screen: Using this option, the user can come to the Home Screen of the device; it’s similar to the physical Home button on the iPhone.
  • Install New App: The user can install a new app on the go using this option.
  • Capture Screenshot: It will capture the screenshot of the current screen as shown below.

ios app on mac

  • Kill/Uninstall: Using this option one can kill the running App or Uninstall the same.

kill app

  • Rotate Device: Rotating Device change the screen orientation from portrait to Landscape and vice-versa.

rotate device

  • Change Location: By using the change location option, the user can change the geolocation of the device so that the App can be tested for different geolocations.

change location

  • Throttle Network: Apps behavior can be tested for different network speeds using this option as shown in the image below:

change network ios app

  • Change Language: Using this option the language can be changed from the listed menu of languages for the Apps.

change language real device

Running iOS Apps on Mac using Xcode

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to run iOS apps on a Mac using Xcode:

Download and Install Xcode

The first step in running iOS apps on a Mac is to download and install Xcode. Xcode can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and is available for free. Once you have downloaded and installed Xcode, you can use it to create a new project, and build and test your iOS app.

BrowserStack App Live Banner

Launch Xcode and Create a New Project

To launch Xcode, simply search for Xcode in Spotlight or find it in the Applications folder on your Mac. Once Xcode is launched, you can create a new project by clicking on File > New > Project. You’ll be asked to select a template for your project, and you can choose from a variety of templates depending on the type of app you’re building.

Install the iOS Simulator

The iOS Simulator is a virtual environment that runs iOS and lets you run iOS apps on your Mac. The Simulator is not installed by default with Xcode, so you’ll need to install it before you can use it to run iOS apps. To install the Simulator, go to Xcode’s Preferences, select the Downloads tab, and look for the Components section. In the Components section, you’ll see a list of components that can be installed, including the Simulator. Simply click the Install button next to the Simulator, and Xcode will download and install it for you.

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Build and Run Your iOS App

With the iOS Simulator installed; you can now build and run your iOS app. To build your app, simply click the Run button in Xcode. Xcode will compile your code and launch the iOS Simulator, and your app will be installed and run on the Simulator just as it would on a physical iOS device. You can use the Simulator to test your app, and you can use Xcode’s Debug area to debug any issues you encounter.

Test Your iOS App on Different Devices

One of the benefits of using the iOS Simulator is that you can test your app on different devices, including different models of the iPhone and iPad. To test your app on different devices, simply go to the Hardware menu in the Simulator and select the device you want to use. Xcode will automatically switch the Simulator to the selected device, and you can test your app on that device.

Still confused on whether to use a simulator or real device cloud?

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