Wherever I search, I can't find any resources on how to run Docker on an iOS device.

Is iOS a valid host OS for Docker?


Docker is an automation tool, which facilitates deployment of applications using Linux feature called Linux Containers. Docker provides neither virtualization nor emulation environments. As of today, running Docker containers requires using Linux (support for other operating systems, like Oracle Solaris and Windows Server is in the development phase).

Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows are separate products that run a Linux virtual machine inside the host OS and provision containers inside that machine.

There is no way of running a Linux virtual machine in iOS, hence iOS cannot be a "host for Docker".

Besides operating system, even if you ran Linux on iOS, you would need to also consider the CPU (that is also true for Raspberry Pi recommended in the comments under the other answer). Most available Docker images use binary packages for Intel/AMD architecture, not ARM limiting the use cases compared to running it on MacBook.

  • 1
    "There is no way of running Docker containers on operating system other than Linux." This is not true; Docker also runs on Solaris, for example, where it leverages Zones -- a container-like virtualisation feature that predates Linux containers. – calum_b Aug 29 '16 at 12:59
  • That's true, also Windows Server. But either is not officially released yet, afaik. Changed the wording, thx. – techraf Aug 29 '16 at 13:14

iOS would be an extremely poor choice for docker use. Setting aside that code needs to be signed to run on iOS, these general design considerations raise problems to implement docker on iOS:

  • Apps don't run in background
  • memory is severely constrained
  • CPU is constrained
  • power is constrained

The iOS design makes running persistent server tasks difficult and in the end, wouldn't it make sense to run docker on a swarm of networked raspberry pi and just orchestrate the setup and configuration from iOS?

For that I run prompt and ssh into Linux or Mac hosts to set up docker instances and control them.

  • I see your point. My intention was to be even more productive on the go with an iPad to make my MacBook obsolete. Sometimes (often) I need a Terminal and with Docker I could run Ubuntu for professional stuff, while still having iOS for private stuff. – jonas-schulze Aug 28 '16 at 21:37
  • 2
    A hootoo wireless router, raspberry pi 3 and a 128 GB memory stick would set you back maybe $75 to program docker on a desert island. If there were cell coverage for the iPad, you're set, @Ecofritze – bmike Aug 28 '16 at 21:40
  • Doing so I would not need Docker since I could run anything I need directly on the Raspberry Pi. I'm just looking for a more elegant / simple / Apple-like solution. – jonas-schulze Aug 28 '16 at 21:49
  • For some people, an iPad is just not a suitable replacement for a Mac. I don't think you're going to be successful in your quest to run Ubuntu on your iPad as a guest OS. – samh Aug 28 '16 at 23:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .