Real iOS Devices
Real iOS Devices
iOS Simulator vs Physical iOS Devices for App Testing
The Apple iOS Simulator, which ships as part of Xcode, is a tool for developing and prototyping your mobile app. While the iOS Simulator can be used to test your app’s basic behaviour, it is severely limited as a testing platform. In order to effectively test your app across real world scenarios, it is essential to use real mobile devices.
Real iOS Devices vs Simulator comparison
Use the differences between Simulator and physical devices to help you determine what features and functionality to test in Simulator and what to test on physical devices.
|iOS Simulator||Physical iOS Device||Browserstack Real Devices|
|iOS App Functionality|
|Basic functionality testing of iOS apps|
|UI Layout testing|
|UI performance (transitions and animations)|
|System testing (bringing your app to foreground and background)|
|Real User-condition testing (testing interrupts, battery consumption, CPU & memory utilisation)|
|Natural gestures (tap, scroll, zoom, pinch, pinch and zoom and more)|
|Display (resolutions, pixel per point, colors)|
|Hardware functionality (bluetooth, gps, motion support, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and more)||Coming soon|
|App performance testing (processing, graphics, networking speed, etc.)|
|OpenGL ES support||Coming soon|
|Framework Support (ARKit, External accessory, HomeKit, IOSurface, Message UI, etc)|
|API Feature Support (Metal, Metalkit, UIBackgroundModesKey, Support for handoff, UIVideoEditorController in UIKit)|
|100 % Testing accuracy|
Testing your iOS app on real devices in the cloud
Though physical iOS devices have the benefit of testing performance and accuracy, this requires buying, configuring and maintaining a lab of devices. The Browserstack Real Device Cloud gives you instant access to a range of real iPhones & tablets starting from iOS version 8 to test your mobile applications upto the most recent versions, right from your browser.
|Criteria||Real iOS Device||BrowserStack Real Device Cloud|
|Fresh factory reset devices everytime||Difficult||Easy|
|Sharing devices between remote teams||Difficult||Easy|
|Device coverage||Hard to buy and maintain all the devices||Provides wide spectrum of real iOS devices. View entire list.|
|Cost||Up to $1200 per device||$59 per month|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an iOS Emulator and iOS Simulator?
In order to mimic a device that runs on iOS, an iOS Emulator or an iOS Simulator is used. However, do note that there is truly only an iOS simulator since Apple uses custom chipsets and binaries which cannot be reverse engineered to show up virtually.
Why do users opt for an iOS Simulator then?
iOS users represent an important user base for any app or website developer. Interestingly, Apple iOS users spend twice as much on purchasing apps compared to Android users.
However, to test on real iOS devices can be expensive given the cost of maintaining an iOS device lab and constant upgrades required, due to new releases each year. Therefore, iOS Simulator represents a cheap way to mimic an iOS device.
How does an iOS Simulator or iOS Emulator really work?
Like we explained above, there really is only an iOS Simulator due to Apple’s custom chipsets and binaries.
An iOS Simulator basically mimics an iOS app or browser on top of a developer’s operating system. This is viewable in an iPad or iPhone like window. They cannot virtualize the actual hardware conditions of an iOS device, which is the main requirement for comprehensive testing and debugging.
What are the disadvantages of testing on an iOS Emulator or iOS Simulator?
Due to the custom chipsets and binaries of an iOS device, it is not possible to exactly virtualize a real iOS device. This means that a developer cannot mimic real device conditions like restricted memory availability, battery consumption and hence cannot check their app or website performance on a real iOS device.
Reasons like heavy battery drain, memory usage, slow performance are top reasons for users to close a website or uninstall an app. Hence, testing on an iOS Emulator or iOS Simulator is purely a compromise.
Why use real device cloud of BrowserStack instead of iOS emulators or simulators?
BrowserStack provides access to a wide range of iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads, where developers and QA testers can test their websites and apps on real-world conditions. Multiple use cases such as hardware functionalities like battery consumption, natural gestures, camera usage can be tested with ease. Sharing and replicating bugs is easy, via our JIRA and Trello integrations. We also have multiple plugins to integrate with various CI/CD tools like Jenkins, CircleCI.