Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

Ipad / IOS emulation on a PC

With products like Foreflight being available only on an Ipad, and requiring a modern Ipad too, I did a random google for IOS emulators and found there seem to be loads e.g.

Do these actually work and do they run “real” apps?

Clearly you cannot have a conventional VM (like VMware, which I use all the time) to give you IOS because IOS runs on an ARM CPU whereas Windoze runs on an 80×85 CPU. It would have to be emulated opcode by opcode, etc, which would make it run vastly slower, but anyway IOS cannot be installed on non Apple hardware (except the Xcode emulator on a Mac). What would be possible is writing native code to implement the IOS system calls – basically write an IOS emulator – and then the apps would run, but nobody will do that willingly because it would be so much work, and apps which are CPU intensive within the app would run very slowly because they would be running on an emulated CPU.

One route would be to simulate OS X on a Windows machine and then use Xcode to simulate an IOS device.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Xcode’s’ iOS simulator is x86, not ARM, so even if you could get an ‘app store’ app on there somehow (which is actually impossible anyway as far as I know) it still couldn’t run.

Apple are working on a thing internally called Marzipan which will soon let iOS app builders build native Mac apps based upon their iOS apps with minimal effort. Something like that running on a Hackintosh or in a virtual machine could solve your issue.

But it’s a shed load of hassle compared with just getting a new iPad…

Last Edited by stevelup at 28 Mar 13:37

Are there any news on that? Can you run it on a MacOS from a VirtualBox or any way around? I would like to try Foreflight and test it features before I decide to buy an iPad, because I’ve been a long time hater of apple products.

Czech Republic

New ARM Macs can run some iOS/iPadOS applications. But I assume you don’t want to get one, in that case, an iPad would be cheaper.

Not possible to run anything iOS/iPadOS on VirtualBox or any other way on x86 as far as I know.


Arm emulators does exist on pc, Android SDK does have one.
Emulating M1 soc is another story and you need IPadOS deliverable, that is another story.
And security won”t be enforced so as to install an Apple ID, the Apple servers won’t let you do…

Last Edited by greg_mp at 09 Oct 20:33
LFMD, France

A used iPad Air 2 can be purchased for about $200 USD or if I did my math correctly about an hour and a half worth of fuel

KUZA, United States

AIUI, VMWARE (my preferred VM) or Virtualbox or any of the other VMs runs the app code natively on the real physical CPU. That is how it gets a fairly normal performance. It isn’t emulating anything. it just uses the CPU feature which switches the CPU between multiple tasks, like an RTOS does.

As soon as you are emulating i.e. interpreting the opcodes and executing them in software, the performance goes down at least an order of magnitude. Maybe not so terribly if somebody has supplied the operating system API which runs natively, as as soon as the application makes a system call (e.g. to read a file into a buffer) that runs at full speed.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
7 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top