By ryan

2008-08-22 13:35:01 8 Comments

Is there any way to tinker with the iPhone SDK on a Windows machine? Are there plans for an iPhone SDK version for Windows?

The only other way I can think of doing this is to run a Mac VM image on a VMWare server running on Windows, although I'm not too sure how legal this is.


@jjxtra 2009-11-11 20:09:02

Xamarin is now my top vote. Purchased by Microsoft and built directly into Visual Studio now and being able to use C# and with all the updates and features they are adding, you can do everything on Windows, even compile, build and initiate deployment. You only need a Mac Mini to act as the deployment server, but you never need to write any code on it.

For games, Unity 3D is my top choice. The editor is free up to 100K annual revenue (perfect for indie). Unity 5+ is fully unlocked as well, even the free version. Unity supports iOS, Android and most other platforms. For iOS and MAC, simply get the cheapest MAC Mini you can find to do the build, but all the development can be done on Windows.

Other options:

PhoneGap also works, but I have found it isn't quite as nice for gaming, but it's pretty decent for regular GUI applications. Again, you'll need a Mac to sign and test your application and be in compliance with Apple's terms of use.

@theJerm 2010-03-15 18:50:53 is a working URL

@hiddentao 2010-05-18 11:55:47

I'm using Airplay to develop a cross-platform game. The good news they're probably fully compliant with the new iPhone OS 4.0 terms and conditions. See

@Ignitor 2012-02-27 07:47:03

See also this question about cross-platform app development for further comments about PhoneGap and Marmalade: Best Cross-platform mobile app development tools

@Wytze 2012-03-16 08:25:46

Phonegap is great, but you can't develop your app entirely on a Windows PC and then just sign it on the iMac and hope for the best. Unless your app is of the HelloWorld variety, you really need to test and debug.

@Mark Cheverton 2012-05-14 14:29:13

There's a Visual Studio extension called Nomad which does support developing entirely on your PC by pushing the PhoneGap builds out to a cloud service.

@Jamie 2013-02-12 13:37:10

I don't believe Marmalade is free anymore, the licence terms have changed.

@jjxtra 2013-11-12 22:43:00

Yea, it's not free anymore. The lowest tier is 15 USD a month.

@user586399 2016-05-26 03:05:00

Xamarian cannot be used unless there is some MAC PC on the network

@rogerdpack 2017-10-27 18:12:32

Actually I guess cordova might qualify, since the UI will be the same (in the end) as it is for android or what not. Though you need a mac to compile the final iOS distro still I think...

@rvazquezglez 2018-06-14 13:15:39

@veerendra pratap singh 2018-04-20 11:59:37

Develop iOS Apps on Windows With Cross-Platform Tools

Cross-platform tools are awesome: you code your app once, and export it to iOS and Android. That could potentially cut your app development time and cost in half. Several cross-platform tools allow you to develop iOS apps on a Windows PC, or allow you to compile the app if there’s a Mac in your local network.

Well, not so fast…

The cross-platform tool ecosystem is very large. On the one side you have complete Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Xamarin, that allow you to build cross-platform apps with C#.

The middle ground is covered by tools like PhoneGap, Cordova, Ionic and Appcelerator, that let you build native apps with HTML5 components. The far end includes smaller platforms like React Native that allow you to write native apps with a JavaScript wrapper.

The one thing that stands out for all cross-platform tools is this: they’re not beginner friendly! It’s much easier to get access to a Mac, learn Swift, and build a simple app, than it is to get started with Xamarin.

Most of the cross-platform tools require you to have a basic understanding of programming, compilation options, and the iOS and Android ecosystems. That’s something you don’t really have as a beginner developer!

Having said that, let’s look at a couple of options:

If you’re familiar with Windows-based development tools and IDEs, and if you already know how to code, it’s worthwhile to check out Xamarin. With Xamarin you code apps in C#, for multiple platforms, using the Mono and MonoTouch frameworks. If you’re familiar with web-based development, check out PhoneGap or Ionic. You’ll feel right at home with HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript. Don’t forget: a native app works different than a website… If you’re familiar with JavaScript, or if you’d rather learn to code JavaScript than Swift, check out React Native. With React Native you can code native apps for iOS and Android using a “wrapper”. Always deliberately choose for cross-platform tools because it’s a smart option, not because you think a native platform language is bad. The fact that one option isn’t right, doesn’t immediately make another option smarter!

If you don’t want to join the proprietary closed Apple universe, don’t forget that many cross-platform tools are operated by equally evil companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe and Amazon.

An often heard argument against cross-platform tools is that they offer limited access to and support for smartphone hardware, and are less “snappy” than their native counterparts. Keep in mind that any cross-platform tool will require you to write platform-specific code at one point, especially if you want to code custom features.

@Sandeep Anand 2018-04-09 05:50:40

After googling, I found out some of the tools like 1. Xamarin 2. Monocross 3. PhoneGap 4. Codename one 5. Windows Bridge for iOS


@Karoly Nyisztor 2017-12-12 09:47:36

Visual Studio + Xamarin will do the job.

Visual Studio

Yet, I'd recommend you get a Mac and develop iOS apps in Xcode.

When in Rome, live like the Romans do.

@Clearer 2018-05-01 11:38:27

Xamarin outside of Mac will not allow you to write iPhone apps -- i.e. this is not a viable solution.

@fb55 2010-05-25 19:31:18

Oracle VirtualBox allows users to install Mac OS X in a virtual machine. If you are comfortable with it, you could just use that way to use Xcode. This is legal if you "dual boot" your mac into windows, then install the VirtualBox within windows (or linux).

Other possibilities are cross-compilers such as Appcelerator Titanium (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) or MonoTouch (.NET).

@Martin Erhardt 2012-03-21 20:43:03

Using a virtual machine is illegal or isn't it?

@techieWings 2014-02-10 12:45:58

illegal ways are not appreciated

@fb55 2014-03-05 16:17:39

Definitely legal, when you've got Windows running as the only system on your Mac.

@Rachel Henderson 2012-10-28 00:47:55

Most of "so called Windows solutions for iOS development without Mac" require Mac at the end just to sign and send to app store. I checked a few, not all though (who has the time?)

At the end it's just too much trouble to learn "their super special easy way to program iOS without Objective-C", they have lots of bugs. Really the goal they are setting is unachievable in my view.

Also a lot of time they make you use Objective-C equivalent statements simply in another language. They kind of look the same but there are always subtle differences that you have to learn on top of obj-c. Which also makes even less sense, because now instead of learning less you have to learn more. So where is the gain? Also they cost a lot, because they are very hard to develop.

Many lack any debugging abilities whatsoever.

In my honest opinion, if you are a hard-core iOS developer then for sure buy the best Mac and learn objective-c. It's expensive and takes time, but if it's your path, it's worth it.

For an occasional use, it's just easier to rent a remote Mac service, like

@Ignitor 2012-10-28 13:53:46

I am not familiar enough with PhoneGap to write a review but I like the idea: cross-platform Apps written with the wide-spread techniques HTML5+JavaScript.

@Prof. Falken 2013-05-06 14:58:34

[][1] have plans for xCode development, from (as of now) $10 a month. I am sure others have too. [1]:

@Anonymous Penguin 2013-05-30 22:15:05

@ArtA. now is MORE than maincloud.

@Alex Beardsley 2015-08-03 17:06:45

I had no idea this service even existed. I just want to explore and play with it and was about to give up for now doing all these crazy workarounds, but this is so much easier. Great tip!

@MA-Maddin 2018-04-18 08:50:22

"now [...] you have to learn more. Also they cost a lot [...]" ..... "buy the best Mac and learn objective-c. It's expensive and takes time [...]" Conclusion: iOS development is in either case expensive and takes time. ;)

@Durai Amuthan.H 2017-05-11 17:49:20

Using Xamarin now we can develop iPhone applications in Windows machine itself with the help of Xamarin Live Player.

Using this Xamarin live player dev/deploy/debug cycle can now be done without an Apple system.

But to sign and release the app Apple system is required.

Find the reference here

I checked the reference nothing dodgy

@NandhaKumar 2017-01-03 06:29:08

Follow these instructions, You can easily install MAC OS through virtual box.


1.Above 4GB RAM in your computer.

2.Internet connection to install it.

Follow the below link:

@Red Mak 2013-06-03 22:19:52

This is a new tool: oxygene which you can use to build apps for iOS/Mac, Windows RT/8 or Android. It uses a specific language derived from Object Pascal and Visual Studio (and uses .net or java.). It seem to be really powerful, but is not free.

@Ted 2016-05-02 15:03:56

we can now write swift code thru the browser.

We might be able to use this for iPhone development in the future

@dawnerd 2008-09-16 00:24:37

You can use WinChain

Quoting the project page:

It's the easiest way to build the iPhone toolchain on a Windows XP/Vista computer, which in turn, can take Objective-C source code that you write using their UIKit Headers (included with winChain) and compile it into an application that you can use on your iPhone.

@BlueShark 2015-01-06 12:38:58

so is this free to use and you can develop ios apps that you can put on the apple store??

@user586399 2016-05-26 03:07:06

Ooops !! The latest build was in Dec 3, 2007 ????

@Hemant Singh Rathore 2014-02-14 11:35:10

You can use Intel XDK with that you can develop and publish app for iOS without mac.

Click here for detail.

@Alfonso Fernandez-Ocampo 2016-10-11 17:45:19

do you need to know objective C language to use Intel XDK?

@prusswan 2014-10-02 07:45:56

(accurate as of late 2014)

For access to the native tools (Xcode etc) there are two main options:

1. Virtual machine

Look around for the mavericks (10.9) vmware image that works with a modified Vmware Workstation/Player. Once the machine is able to boot, it can be updated to 10.9.5 with no apparent issues.

The good: relatively low learning curve (if you are somewhat familiar with vms)

The bad: reduced performance due to virtualized environment, no 3d acceleration (QE/CL)

2. Hackintosh

This is the sensible option if you are planning to procure new hardware (or at least partly), instead of retrofitting existing equipment (but you might be lucky to have one of the common OEM models (like Dell) that already have recipes written for it)

The good: no penalty on hardware performance, which might even surpass that of a real mac. The same hardware can also be used for other OSes if you are open to multibooting

The bad: higher learning curve, more hardware limitations (no drivers for certain Intel wifi etc) which may translate into higher investment if you had no intention to get new hardware originally

Needless to say, both options above are frown upon by the fruit company, so licensing compliance is not part of the discussion.

3. An actual mac (added in 2016)

This option is perfect for people who already have a mac and use it as a Windows development machine via Bootcamp etc. This also has the least support issues (apart from complications that may result from multi-booting), so it is recommended for those looking for a long-term solution (hardware that works not just for the current OSX version but future versions as well)

@AnthonyLambert 2015-07-30 15:35:11

Not sure some tools licensing code works on Hackintoshes... They use some APIs to create a machine hashkey from the machines hardware like HD ids and such. I believe Xamarin fails to work on some Hackintosh boxes for example. If using Xamarin from visual studio on a Windows PC buy the cheapest Intel Mac Mini from ebay to be your build machine.

@OZY 2015-01-03 13:00:19

If you want it to be legitimate, you have two options, cloud based Mac solutions or cross-platform development tools. You may consider the hackintosh approach or virtual machines if you don't care about legal stuff. If you have a decent PC, running a virtual machine would be the easiest way to go. You may never know which hardware will have driver issues on a hackintosh.

I've tried all these approaches and they all have pros and cons, but for the second group, I feel kind of guilty. I develop apps to make a living and I wouldn't want to rip off someone else for it.

If you are making a small project, cloud based Macs may prove useful. Rent it for a short time, develop your project and off you go. Don't bother learning anything new.

However, if your project is getting big, cross-platform frameworks seem to be the only alternative. The critical thing is that you need to choose wisely. There are so many hybrid frameworks, but what they do can be summarized in one sentence as "diplaying web pages in an app wrapper" and developers' negative experience with hybrid frameworks also affects native frameworks.

I tried three of these (Titanium, Smartface and Xamarin) and they all claim to produce "real native output" and in my opinion their claims are correct. You need to test and see it yoursrlf, it's not easy to describe the native feeling. In a previous comment, it was indicated that it takes some effort to learn these platforms, but once you get to know them, you can develop not just iOS applications but Android applications as well, all with the common code base. And of course, they are much cheaper than a cloud Mac. Some of them are even free. You would need a Mac only for store submission.

If you know JavaScript, try Titanium and Smartface and if you know C#, try Xamarin. Just note that for the device simuator, Titanium is dependent on a Mac, but Smartface has a simulator app for Windows development and it works better than I expected. On the other hand, Xamarin requires a Mac in your network.

@Oscar Acevedo 2014-12-17 16:55:53

If you want to create iPhone apps but no Mac, then you should try

It allows you to easily develop native iOS apps, like with XCode, deployable on any iPhone, iPod or iPad (jailbroken or not).

Use your favourite IDE to code in Objective-C, C++, C or ARM assembly, like in XCode. ARC and blocks are supported.

Compile your iPhone apps directly inside Visual Studio

It works on Windows all versions (XP, 7, 8), FreeBSD and Linux

Now with iOS8 support.

@Sirens 2015-07-12 03:21:20

As per SO policy, can you disclose your affiliation with your recommended site?

@Erel 2014-12-16 08:31:09

B4i is a new development tool that creates native iOS apps. It runs on Windows. When a full compilation is required (in most cases it is not required) the project is compiled on a hosted builder. Each compilation takes about 5 seconds. B4i

@Yo el mismo 2014-09-22 14:45:39

is possible but in HTML 5 use but you You must be an expert in java for Simple animations also test the app on an real device is It is a headache but it is possible to

@Seryozha 2014-05-19 21:40:07

As many people already answered, iPhone SDK is available only for OS X, and I believe Apple will never release it for Windows. But there are several alternative environments/frameworks that allow you to develop iOS applications, even package and submit to AppStore using windows machine as well as MAC. Here are most popular and relatively better options.

PhoneGap, allow to create web-based apps, using HTML/CSS/JavaScript

Xamarin, cross-platform apps in C#

Adobe AIR, air applications with Flash / ActionScript

Unity3D, cross-platform game engine

Note: Unity requires Xcode, and therefore OS X to build iOS projects.

@benbot 2014-05-25 13:00:17

You can't use unity to make iphone games on windows because you still need xcode to compile the project unity exports.

@Seryozha 2014-05-26 12:30:46

I missed that, thanks for comment.

@Andrew Grant 2008-08-26 16:46:56

It's certainly possible to develop on a Windows machine, in fact my first application was exclusively developed on the old Dell Precision I had at the time :)

There are three routes;

  1. Install OSx86 (aka iATKOS / Kalyway) on a second partition/disk and dual boot.
  2. Run Mac OS X Server under VMWare (Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) onwards, read the update below).
  3. Use Delphi XE4 and the macincloud service. This is a commercial tool set, but the component and lib support is growing.

The first route requires modifying (or using a pre-modified) image of Leopard that can be installed on a regular PC. This is not as hard as you would think, although your success/effort ratio will depend upon how closely the hardware in your PC matches that in Mac hardware - e.g. if you're running a Core 2 Duo on an Intel Motherboard, with a NVidia graphics card you are laughing. If you're running an AMD machine or something without SSE3 it gets a little more involved.

If you purchase (or already own) a version of Leopard then this is a gray area since the Leopard EULA states you may only run it on an "Apple Labeled" machine. As many point out if you stick an Apple sticker on your PC you're probably covered.

The second option is the more costly. The EULA for the workstation version of Leopard prevents it from being run under emulation and as a result there's no support in VMWare for this. Leopard server however CAN be run under emulation and can be used for desktop purposes. Leopard server and VMWare are expensive however.

If you're interested in option 1) I would suggest starting at Insanelymac and reading the OSx86 sections.

I do think you should consider whether the time you will invest is going to be worth the money you will save though. It was for me because I enjoy tinkering with this type of stuff and I started during the early iPhone betas, months before their App Store became available.

Alternatively you could pickup a low-spec Mac Mini from eBay. You don't need much horse power to run the SDK and you can always sell it on later if you decide to stop development or buy a better Mac.

Update: You cannot create a Mac OS X Client virtual machine for OS X 10.6 and earlier. Apple does not allow these Client OSes to be virtualized. With Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) onwards, Apple has changed their licensing agreement in regards to virtualization. Source: VMWare KnowledgeBase

@Dmitri Nesteruk 2008-12-18 23:45:11

OSX runs in a VM, so in theory it is possible. However, there are a few problems. Getting networking support in a VM (I'm talking about VMWare) for OSX is extremely hard. Also, the whole thing is going to be very slow, and I don't think it's a case of throwing RAM at it.

@Zakaria 2012-10-28 11:31:06

@DennisPalmer I wouldn't recommand this buy as the cheap Intel Core 2 Duo Mac Minis are slow and generally shipped without keyboard + mouse. I think that for 650$ you can get a really cool Macbook (pro or air) with a 4 Gb of memory.

@CoderDennis 2012-11-13 16:10:55

@Zakaria yes, a lot has changed in the past 3 years! I had plenty of keyboards, mice and monitors laying around when I bought my Mac Mini, so at the time it was a fine choice. Oh, and I only paid $360 for it. Haven't shopped eBay for used Macbooks in a long time, but that's a great suggestion.

@Zakaria 2013-02-24 14:24:25

@DennisPalmer I totally agree with you : At that time, it was a great choice. I put that comment in purpose to refresh that post because, as you stated, nowadays, macbooks are a good alternative.

@Mr. King 2013-05-16 15:23:37

I'd just like to point out that using VMWare ESX is free so long as you don't have more than 32 GB of RAM, you answer says that running VMWare is very expensive :/

@Will Wu 2013-06-23 10:20:55

From, you just need to spend RMB 980 to get a Mac Mini.

@sudo 2014-06-03 02:36:17

No offense, but this sounds like a lot more trouble than it's worth. Old Macs are cheap on eBay and can run Xcode just fine.

@ghenne 2011-03-05 16:02:20

Check out NS Basic/App Studio. It's Visual Basic for the iPhone. (though you can also code in JavaScript). It produces WebApps which can be distributed without going through the App Store. Apps will also run on other platforms, like Android. NS Basic/App Studio

@Some Guy 2008-12-03 05:10:24

Check out this:

Over view

It is a project that attempts to be able to cross-compile programs written in a variety of source languages to a variety of target languages. One of the initial test cases was to write programs in Java and run them on an iPhone. Watching the video on the site is worthwhile.

With that said, I haven't tried it. The project seems quite beta, and there isn't a lot of activity on their SourceForge site.

@MenofAfewword 2009-12-08 03:49:06

Check this Link Dragon Fire sdk

@priamos 2011-05-16 20:08:10

A devkit that allows one to develop iPhone apps in Objective-C, C++ or just plain C with Visual Studio:

Check it out at iOS build env

You can build iPhone apps directly within Visual Studio (2008, 2010, Express).

Pretty neat, it even builds IPA files for your app after a successful compilation. The code works as is on jailbroken devices, for the rest of the planet I believe the final compilation & submission to the App Store has to be done on a Mac. But still, it enables you to develop using a well-known IDE.

@Keith Adler 2009-10-07 16:44:21

You will soon be able to use Adobe Flash CS 5 to create Apps for the iPhone on Windows:

flashcs 5

flashcs5 apps for iphone

@Steve Harrison 2009-10-12 08:39:18

See the various posts at for why this is a bad idea.

@gfdx 2013-12-10 09:15:53

Please take a look at Xamarin. They have an extension for Visual Studio (

Taken from their site:

Xamarin provides Visual Studio add-ins so that you can develop your iOS, Android and Windows apps all in a single solution. The Xamarin extensions support building, deploying, and debugging on simulator or device.

@hsalimi 2014-03-08 11:07:05

But Xamarin development for iPhone needs Xamarin, mac edition.

@Prashant Nikam 2013-09-05 06:53:05

So the bad news is that XCode is needed for its iOS Simulator as well as its Application Loader facility for actually uploading the programs to iOS devices for "real" testing. You'll need XCode for signing your apps before submitting to the App Store. Unfortunately, XCode is only available for OS X.

However, the good news is that you may be able to purchase OS X and run it in a virtual machine such as VMWare Workstation. I don't know how straightforward this is, as it is rather difficult to get OS X to run on non-Apple hardware, but a quick Google search shows that it is possible. This method would (likely) be cheaper than purchasing a new Mac, although the Mac Mini retails in the US for only $599. Some posts I've seen indicate that this may or may not be legal, others say you need OS X Server for virtualization. I'll leave the research up to you.

There are also services such as MacInCloud that allow you to rent a Mac server that you can access from Windows via remote desktop, or through your browser. Unfortunately, I don't think you'd be able to use Application Loader, as you have to physically connect the device to your computer, but it would work for development and simulation, at least.

Good luck!

@Parand 2008-09-16 16:59:31

The SDK is only available on OS X, forcing you to use a mac. If you don't want to purchase a mac you can either run OS X on a virtual machine on your windows box, or you can install OS X on your PC.

In my experience the virtual machine solution is unusably slow (on a core2 duo laptop with 2G ram). If you feel like trying it search for the torrent. It's probably not worthwhile.

The other option is to install OS X on your PC, commonly referred to as a hackintosh. Hackintoshes work quite well - my friend just sold his mac because his Dell quad core hackintosh was actually much faster than the apple hardware (and cost about 1/3). You can find lots of articles on how to do this; here's one on how to install on a Dell Inspirion 1525 laptop: hackbook pro tutorial

Of course both of these options are likely counter to some licensing scheme, so proceed at your own risk.

@ρss 2014-07-22 10:02:30

The link in this answer is outdated. Can someone update it ?

@prusswan 2014-10-02 07:26:07

hackintosh info gets outdated pretty easily, it is better to follow the sites that are dedicated to the subject (like osxlatitude for dell models)

@Maurice 2010-11-24 23:53:07

You don't need to own a Mac nor do you need to learn Objective-C. You can develop in different environments and compile into Objective-C later on.

developing for the iphone and ipad by runing osx 10.6(snow leopard)

This article one of our developers wrote gives a pretty comprehensive walk through on installing OS X Snow Leopard on Windows using iBoot, then installing Vmware (with instructions), then getting your iPhone dev environment going... and a few extra juicy things. Super helpful for me.

Hope that helps. It uses Phonegap so you can develop on multiple smart phone platforms at once.

@Mark Gibaud 2013-03-08 20:12:02

Hooray! You can now more easily accomplish this with the latest Xamarin.iOS, using a network-linked mac providing the build and deployment capabilities.

See here for more details:

introduction to xamarin ios for visual studio

@user586399 2016-05-26 03:13:48

Xamarin requires a mac pc on the network

@Taranfx 2013-02-22 10:27:32

You can install OSX on PC but experience wont be great and it needs lot of work. Alternate is to use a framework/SDK Codename one: which is based on JAVA and can be used to code in WP8, Android, iOS on Windows (eclipse) with all extensive features

Features Overview:

  1. Full Android environment with super fast android simulator
  2. An iPhone/iPad simulator with easy to take iPhone apps to large screen iPad in minutes.
  3. Full support for standard java debugging, profiling for apps on any platform.
  4. Easy themeing / styling – Only a click away

More at Develop Android, iOS iPhone, WP8 apps using Java Disclaimer: This is my review for the product

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