[orignally posted to stackoverflow.com - it was suggested that this would be a better place for it]

I'd like to start experimenting with iOS development, but to coin an (awful) phrase: "I'm a PC". I love my Windows 7 laptop and don't want to move wholesale to a MacBook Pro. Instead what I'd like to do is buy a Mac Mini and use it as a server. I've read that:

  • A Mac Mini is suitable for iOS development. Add more RAM for a better experience.
  • MAC OS does support VNC.

I use VNC daily to access Linux machines, but I've never used a Mac. By "never" I literally mean I have never put my hands on a Mac keyboard - and I've been a programmer for 25 years.

What I specifically don't know - and would like an answer to - is whether using a VNC client from Windows will give me the full Mac OS desktop, sufficient to fully administer the machine and then run the iOS development suite at full fidelity. And if not VNC, then what?


1 Answer 1


Yes, VNC will give you access to the full Mac desktop and to Xcode for iOS SDK development, if the Mac is so configured. Apple sells remote admin tools that use this protocol.

The problem with using VNC for iOS development is that you will also need access to the Mac's USB port to do any direct app loading and debugging on an iOS device.

If you can do without needing to connect a debugger, you can transfer Ad Hoc iOS app builds and provision files from the Mac to your PC and use iTunes to install your apps for testing.

If you want to try it out, there are reported to be services that will rent you VNC access to a Mac in a data center somewhere. You will need admin/root access to install the iOS SDK tools.

If you prefer RDP to VNC, iRAPP is a commercial RDP terminal server available for use on Mac OS X.

  • 1
    Over a fast network this solution works great. At work I have a big PC as my main desktop and a Macbook Pro stuffed in the corner of my desk that I just VNC into for when I have iOS development to do. Aug 14, 2012 at 19:26

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