I just enrolled as an iOS developer. I now need a device to test my app on a real device and not solely on the simulator.

The iPod Touch seems to be the cheapest option. Will this be enough to test my apps? Or would it be better to buy an iPad, iPhone 3G[S] or iPhone 4?

What device would you get to test?

  • I'm not sure whether this question would be better on StackOverflow or not. Did you search there? – Loïc Wolff Mar 23 '11 at 10:06
  • 2
    Actually, I think Programmers (SE) would be more appropriate, but since there are already reasonable answers here, I vote to keep this here. – Philip Regan Mar 23 '11 at 16:12
  • @Loic I think it's al about the community, rather than the pre-defined site subject. All those divisions are too patronizing to me - I prefer a world with border free countries. And sorry for going too far in the analogy! :P – cregox Mar 24 '11 at 4:49

That totally depends on the apps you want to do.

Do they need GPS localization? A microphone? Front or back cameras? Hi-res camera?

Besides, you can't test an iPad app on the iPhone, so you'll need an iPad no matter what.

Edit: According to the comment, an iPod Touch would be enough for you.

  • That's clear. The app right now doesn't need camera or localization - only an internet connection is needed. And that'll be true for most of my coming projects. – mseo Mar 23 '11 at 11:07
  • @mseo then an iPod Touch would be perfect for you. – Loïc Wolff Mar 23 '11 at 11:54

As a developer and a designer I want to get my hands on every platform my software may be used on. For iOS I test on iPad, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and the simulator. But I only own an iPad and a 3GS, the others I borrow. I think it is also important to watch other people interact with my software using the different devices. These smart devices serve such different purposes for people that their expectations of how software should work on them varies widely.

I recommend asking around and finding some friends who own and regularly use these devices to help test your software.


If you plan on supporting any older devices in the market, you need to acquire the oldest slowest device which you plan on supporting, preferable one not upgraded beyond the oldest OS version which you plan on supporting. Old used iPod Touch's from someplace like eBay might be suitable.

It's also important to test on a newer device running the most current iOS version (and at least two test devices if you want to test with any new iOS beta versions as well as the current release.)


If I had to choose one, I would pick the newest iPhone because:

  • It's the only one that got all features and you can try anything you need in it
  • It have always been where most of the units (and money) are
  • It's generally easier to adapt things from iPhone to iPad than the other way around

As others said, there's a lot more to it than picking one and I do agree with the opinions already expressed. Of course it's better to know which features you need and adapt to your own requirements.

But if I'd had to choose only one to begin with, it's the iPhone.

  • Do you still recommend iPhone 4 as the best as test device after several years! If not, which one should we use? – Krunal Apr 28 '15 at 11:17
  • In fact, yes. Only reason I pointed 4 (the latest release back then) instead of older ones was the front face camera, which was a huge and pretty unique feature. So much almost every phone now has it. But I'll update the answer anyway, thanks for bringing attention! ;) – cregox Apr 28 '15 at 12:58
  • So do you recommend iPhone 4? – Krunal Apr 29 '15 at 14:05
  • For a completely general and blind recommendation, iPhone 4 comes right after 5 and 6. Today I recommend the 6. The only reason to get an older generation, or the oldest one, is if you want to reach all markets so you can make sure it will work on a slower machine. – cregox Apr 29 '15 at 14:36

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