So...I have an iPad and MacBook Pro.

I bought my iPad because I thought I needed it but now I'm thinking to sell it since I just found out that Xcode offers an iOS simulator.

Is it possible to develop a fully working iOS app without actual test hardware?

3 Answers 3


Clearly: No. The simulator does not offer hardware access (gyroscope, accelerometer, etc.) and also, you just don't get the feeling for your App, which is very important in iOS development. You can't use the gestures and you don't know how it reacts if you work with it. so it is definitely not advisable. I tried to use the simulator in the beginning, but some frameworks don't even run on it.

  • 2
    There are tons of apps you can develop that don't use gestures, the camera, or tilt/shake, so that't not necessarily a limitation. As a result I don't agree with "Clearly: No." I still wouldn't recommend it, if for no other reason that even if you're not using any of that stuff, there's plenty of code that will run on the simulator but will crash a device. Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:42

well, it is possible, but you won't be able to do the on device testing. You can develop all iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and mac applications on mac computer/ laptop; you can test those apps on simulator as well, but for actual testing on device - you need these devices, as simple as that.

So finally, it is possible but it won't be assuring you the quality/ performance of the app unless you test on physical device.

I hope I've been able to help. :)

BRs -Sudeep Agicent Technologies

  • +1 Agreed. You can definitely do it, but you run a huge risk of it not actually running on the device. The single biggest issue is that the simulator doesn't have the memory limitations of the device, so it's very easy to write something that will crash the first time it's on a device, without knowing it. Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:39

Yes, it is possible, but in most cases it's not a good idea. You can certainly use the app and use a lot of things, but -as already mentioned- some frameworks are not present on the Simulator.

One of the notably absent frameworks is the InApp purchases, so if you're targeting that, you won't be able to simulate it (I haven't tried in Xcode 4 tho, but I'm sure it doesn't work).

Also already mentioned are GPS, Accelerometer, Cameras, etc. You can't have those (off the record, as bad as Android 'Simulator' is, you can certainly use some of those in the Android Sim).

Is it recommended? It depends. Nothing will give you better feedback about your app than a real device, however, for certain simple applications, the simulator is definitely more than enough.

Consider (use Google) which features you need for your app, and then take your decision based upon what's available. Don't underestimate the Simulator, but don't try to replace a real device with it because you'll be disappointed.

If you're targeting iPhone and iPad, you'll want to have both, the UI feels (and should) be different.

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