Replace Windows Emulator for iOS with Real Devices
By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor - January 25, 2023
So, you’re a software tester and you need to test Windows websites and apps on your iOS device because that’s all you can access at the moment.
Believe it or not, this is actually a common scenario among BrowserStack users. This conundrum is one of the primary reasons they decided to get on a BrowserStack plan. But more on that later…
The obvious solution to such cases is to look for a Windows emulator for iOS devices, right? Something like this, perhaps? Wouldn’t that be ideal?
However, we don’t live in an ideal world. This article will discuss the disadvantages of using a Windows emulator for iOS and present you with a reasonably priced and infinitely more effective solution to your testing woes.
Wait, what’s the issue with using a Windows emulator for iOS devices?
I promise I’m not trying to mislead you into buying a BrowserStack plan. Even in the emulator link I offered above, you’ll see the following lines:
“Unfortunately, it’s practically not possible to run Windows 10 or Windows 10 (ARM) on Apple products natively.”
“sadly this is just an emulation and it’s probably impossible to run Windows on ARM natively on an A9 processor,” a dev said.”
“It’s also worth noting that TCG accelerator, which is used to run the OS within the app, can only run at about 70% of the speed…”
Don’t forget that emulators are generally slow, as explained below:
“The difference between instruction sets is one of the reasons why emulators sometimes underperform. Every CPU instruction the emulator receives must translate from one instruction set to another. Furthermore, this instruction set translation takes place on the fly.
The translation of instruction sets forms the basis of how emulators simulate an entire device inside your computer. Another way to look at it is as a real-world translator rapidly relaying a conversation between two people who speak different languages. Even if the translation is very fast, you will always encounter some loss in speed. The more complex the languages, the slower the translations.”
A few other common reasons for emulators failing to meet the mark:
- Emulators are a watered-down version of the OS in question and do not replicate all features of the said browser. Additionally, when installed on different devices and operating systems, the software must adjust and align with various hardware and software specifications – something emulators or simulators cannot offer while testing.
- Emulators run on a PC and use the LAN and internet access of that device, which is usually quite robust. In the real world, websites/apps will have to render on mobile browsers that may not have access to high-speed internet. Therefore, it is not possible to judge site/app performance in weak network scenarios.
- When running on mobile devices, the software will have to run on limited resources, particularly CPU and memory. If the software is not tested in these conditions, it will inevitably fail in real user conditions. This is also true for other network-related features like calls, incoming messages, etc. Native device features like low battery also cannot be tested via emulators/simulators.
Now that you know why you should replace Windows emulators for iPhones, iPads, and the like, let’s discuss what you’ll replace them with.
Replace windows emulators on iOS with Real Windows Devices
Now, obviously, I’m not going to suggest that you purchase thousands of real Windows devices. If you’re testing software via an iOS or macOS workstation, that should not be a material obstruction in the flawless testing of Windows-based sites and apps.
BrowserStack facilitates your access to completely real, pristine, secure, and real browsers and devices on the cloud. You pay for a single plan and run software in real user conditions to verify the issues actual users will face when using it.
As an example, let’s say the Windows app you’re testing needs phone camera access to perform its main functions. That is not something you can test with a Windows emulator for iPhones.
Similarly, a Windows emulator on iPad won’t let you run geolocation tests or check how the app’s text renders in a different language.
For any app or website seeking to gather and retain a global audience, these are mandatory tests. You cannot release apps that have not been put through such tests and expect them to be well-received. Chances are, new users will bury your app’s page in negative reviews, which will detract more users from downloading and using your software.
However, a single BrowserStack plan can spare you and your company these worst-case scenarios. You’ll have thousands of real browsers and devices to choose from, including popular Windows devices, be they desktop or mobile.
Along with 3000+ real browsers and devices, here are a few other features you get with access to BrowserStack’s real device cloud:
- A diverse set of debugging tools, including Screenshots, Video Recording, Video-Log Sync, Text Logs, Network Logs, Appium Logs, Device Logs, and App Profiling.
- In-built support for responsive testing, network throttling, geolocation testing, and natural gestures, all on real devices.
- Support for accessibility testing to ensure app access for differently abled users.
- Robust foundations for parallel testing that can speed up tests by 10X and empower faster time-to-market without any compromise on app quality.
- Relevant, popular integrations to facilitate easy automated testing:
- App Live (for manual app testing): Gradle plugin, Fastlane plugin, Jira, Trello, GitHub, AppCenter, TestFlight
- App Automate (for automated app testing): Appium, Espresso, XCUITest, EarlGrey
- Live (for manual website testing): Chrome Developer Tools for Desktop & Mobile, Firefox Developer Tools, Safari Developer Tools, Firebug Lite, MeasureIT
- Automate (for automated website testing): Selenium, Puppeteer, Playwright, Cypress, and CI/CD Tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, etc.
For more details, have a look at the complete list of integrations on BrowserStack.
If you’re googling “Windows emulator iPad”, “Windows emulator for iPad”, “Windows emulator on iPhone” or “Windows emulator for iPad free”, I’m not here to discourage you….unless you’ve already gone beyond the initial stages of testing.
Emulators are great for testing early on in the CI/CD funnel, unit tests being the best examples. However, once you’re done with a reasonable number of integration tests, and have an MVP at hand, testing needs to be moved to real browsers and devices, the reasons for which I have outlined above.
If untested in real user conditions, your software will hold it’s users back from achieving the best possible experience. This defeats the entire purpose of building and releasing software.
If you’re still not convinced that your software needs real device/browser testing, just Sign up for a FREE Trial with BrowserStack and start testing on real browsers, desktop and mobile devices for free. Run your software through the real thing, and the difference in results will speak for itself.