I need to plug an iPad/iPhone into a Mac Mini so I can debug web pages running ApplePay on them using the macOS Safari developer console.

Complication: The Mac mini is in a server cupboard three rooms away (considerably further away than the hard USB 5 metre limit). It runs headless and I VNC into it via my desktop PC.

So, how to connect the Apple devices without physically moving them? Is there some sort of wireless USB bridging device out there?

Currently installed software versions:

  • iOS: iOS 11.4.1

  • macOS: macOS High Sierra 10.13.6

  • Desktop Safari: Safari 11.1.2

  • Please edit the question and mention the version of iOS running on your devices along with the version of macOS and Safari running on Mac mini.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Aug 16 '18 at 11:27

Follow the instructions below one by one:

  1. On your iOS device, go to Settings app → Safari → Advanced and enable the switch for Web Inspector.

  1. On macOS, launch Safari and in the Menu bar, go to Preferences → Advanced and check Show Develop menu in menu bar.

  1. You will need to physically connect your iOS device to Mac mini using the Lightning cable once.

  2. Once the iOS device is connected, in Safari menu on macOS, enable Develop → Your device name → Connect via Network.

  3. Unplug the cable and check whether Develop → Your device name shows up in Safari on macOS.

  4. Safari app needs to be running and frontmost on your iOS device for it to appear under Develop menu in Safari on macOS.

The above configuration is demonstrated on devices running macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 and iOS 11.4.1 (latest version at the time of writing).

  • Brilliant - never knew this was possible. Works for the development iPhone but alas not for the iPad. Thank you.
    – dartacus
    Aug 16 '18 at 13:56
  • 1
    Do you need to connect the cable just for the first time, or every time you start using this feature?
    – Robo Robok
    Jan 19 '19 at 8:52
  • @RoboRobok I thought this to but this is not the case. First the cable is required, but after that you have connected you can go to Safari > Development > iPhone and check Connect through Network. After that you can unplug the USB-cable.
    – Mark
    Jul 24 '19 at 14:04
  • it works but it crash all the time - maybe for huge data 2MB+ on the page
    Jun 4 '20 at 13:21
  • @BGBruno Check if you are running the latest version of iOS/iPadOS and macOS software.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Jun 4 '20 at 16:29

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