Do you want to develop an app for iOS? However, the only thing that prevents you from using it is mainly Windows? Maybe you just want to explore the possibilities of iOS application development but don’t want to commit to purchasing an iOS device. It does not matter why you want to know if it is possible to develop iOS applications on a Windows PC.
If you’ve ever wanted to build iOS apps on a Windows PC, there is a high tendency that you will have issues. As Apple does not allow its operating system on hardware outside of its own, you cannot buy a computer with macOS. Even though open-source such as Swift is available, we still advise that you use some of these options for your own personal use.
Use a Cloud-based Mac
An easier way to develop with macOS on a PC is to rent a Mac in the cloud. Various services such as MacinCloud, MacStadium, and XCode Club can be used to connect to a cloud-based Mac through a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP).
Prices are different from service to service; however generally begin at $20 per month, with different hardware options best suited to your needs. You can utilize the standard remote desktop client on Windows 10 to access the rented Mac. Some Linux operating systems also provide standard RDP clients. Once logged in, you can install XCode and build your application.
Cloud-based Mac services typically provide the following:
- A good and useful Mac, which means there is a need for you to access a physical Mac.
- Virtual Mac; meaning you have to get access to a virtual Mac instead of data running in virtualized software.
- Mac Build Server is a special type of Mac that can be used to compile iOS applications.
If you have some technical experience and skills, you can utilize virtualization software and operate a virtual Mac on your PC. The above service basically performs the same operation on its server and then charges for access to the virtual machine. When you set it on your computer, you can actually get the middle man function out of the way.
Unfortunately, it takes a bit of technical knowledge to get this functional. The two most known software for virtualization is VirtualBox and VMWare Workstation. You can download them online and then google for instructions on installing the current macOS (Mojave) via VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation.
Afterward, start a new virtual Mac and download XCode. This is similar to running a real XCode on Windows.
Use cross-platform tools to develop iOS apps on Windows.
The cross-platform tool is great: you only need to write code for an application once and then transfer it to iOS and Android. This can potentially reduce 50% of your time and cost of application development. Many cross-platform tools allow you to develop iOS apps on your Windows PC, or if you have a Mac on your local network, you can compile the app.
The ecosystem of cross-platform tools is very large. On the one hand, you have a fully integrated development environment (IDE) like Xamarin that you can use to build cross-platform applications using C#.
The only thing that stands out about all the cross-platform tools is that; they are not suitable for beginners! Accessing a Mac, learning Swift, and building a simple application is much easier than getting started with Xamarin. Most cross-platform tools require a basic knowledge of programming, compilation options, iOS, and Android ecosystems. Here’s something an inexperienced developer doesn’t really know.
Basically, a good IDE, Unity, is an engine for game development and can be useful for Android, iOS, Windows, and several other platforms. However, its fast development and powerful features also make it an excellent choice for developing non-gaming applications.
Cloud Build in Unity’s function supports iOS development under Windows through simple steps. When you register as an Apple developer and start using Unity’s cloud build, you can easily set up, create, and develop iOS projects. Using the free development and editor, you can create iOS applications entirely in Windows. The only time you will be needing a Mac is the compilation stage.
Code with a Swift Sandbox
One of the open-source languages you can use is Swift, which means you can run it efficiently on any hardware. If you bring the language to Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you can also launch it in the browser. You can use Swift Sandbox to learn Swift and code without Mac or XCode.
After running a code in the Swift Sandbox, it is sent to the webserver. The web server does the compilations before returning the result. At the same time, you can run the code in your browser — if the language has been transferred to Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Develop a Hackintosh
In addition, you can create a “Hackintosh”, which is a personalized PC running macOS. Out of all the options listed so far, the particular one requires the greatest effort; however, it is also available for users who want to use a separate physical computer to run macOS. If you want to get more information on Hackintosh, you can find some resources from the places listed below.
The best source of information on anything that has to do with Hackintosh is here. There are How-To sections, and inside them are links that lead to different tutorials you can use to build your Hackintosh and install High Sierra.
Reddit offers interesting conversations on different topics, and you will also find solutions to most things there. The community offers a great way to connect with like-minded people to get different help and also help others.
On websites like 9to5mac.com
Websites such as 9to5mac.com provide updated news and articles regarding Hackintosh.
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Originally published at upstack.co on March 8, 2021, by Emmanuel Ighosewe