I have a Windows virtual machine that I want to open it from my iPad using VirtualBox, Vmware client, or any free App that allows me to open a virtual machine file (I assume it is local to my iPad). I tried to find a solution but I could not find. There are some advanced, non-free solutions by vmware for accessing virtual machines over the cloud (VirtualHorizon).

Anyone have any clue about Apps that allow me open a virtual machine file from my iPad? P.S. this is not a question for me exactly. I am trying to help someone who can not afford a PC to use Windows/Office for some homework in their iPad.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


Running a virtual machine on an iPad requires a kernel and sufficient CPU support, which is not available on iPads at this time.

I would recommend having a virtualbox system running somewhere else with VNC-server enabled for that virtual host, which you can then connect to from the iPad and see/use the graphical Windows UI.

  • 1
    OP is asking about a solution for a user who does not have a PC. It seems rather excessive to have them set up a remote server for a structure which is already available both online & as native apps.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:58
  • @Fredrik Thanks. Your VNC solution can work. But for now, the persons who need the solution are students who needs to sort themselves out.
    – randomname
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 15:15
  • More specifically I believe you may find that Apple does not allow virtualization platforms on iOS/iPadOS as that would allow you to install things on your device outside of the App Store. So ignoring the constraints of the iPad as a practical virtualization platform, I don't believe is is ALLOWED. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 21:00
  • @SteveChambers There are terminal applications such as a-shell where you can install CLI tools, so I guess it depends on how you look at it.
    – Fredrik
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 21:26

There are no easy wins for running a windows VM on iOS 14. Use native apps or Remote Desktop to a small PC or co-located one is the best current option.

Apple has an explicit hypervisor entitlement listed in the App Store Review guidelines and I disagree with the lack of CPU and kernel support since multiple third party books are written on iOS internals in addition to Apple providing SDK, headers and many developer resources.

This is more about app review and licensing / business models and engineering effort and less about technical feasibility IMO. Apple’s business model is that their first party hypervisor framework is macOS 10.10+ currently and I expect that to evolve substantially during the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon which coincidentally has always powered the iPad.

In the App Store Review guidelines, Apple says it offers limited hypervisor entitlements but no broad prohibition of apps being shipped. Hypervisor are not under some fairly broad restrictions placed on Remote Desktop apps.

Since the 2018 announcement, VMWare already does virtualization on top of raspberry pie class SOC. Even though there aren’t viable first or third party apps entering 2021 for iPad, it’s not outright discouraged by policy or limited hardware performance and the iPad has a lot of headroom and tooling available should this be a market that needs service.

  • I also expect third parties and jailbreak community to lead the way here, but who knows what Apple or Microsoft will see to be in their interest this year and going forward....
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 11:09
  • FWIW these guys got QEMU running on iOS: github.com/utmapp/UTM works fine on iOS11-13, but requires jailbreaking as of iOS14...
    – hanshenrik
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 7:17
  • Indeed. And the M1 chip is going to make far more people port apps / compile code libraries for that arch and make more of this possible very soon I believe @hanshenrik
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 12:06

The other answers here assume you're trying to run the virtual machine on the iPad processor itself, and they're right that the power isn't there. However, you can run Microsoft RDP (among others, but that app is pretty good) and connect over a network to a Windows "machine" running somewhere else.

If your iPad user doesn't have a way to connect over the network, the rest of my answer here won't be of much help.

"Somewhere else" could mean you run the Windows inside Virtual Box just like you're doing now and the iPad connects over the network to it. Be sure that the virtual Windows machine is getting an IP address from the network and not being NAT-ed behind the network address of the host machine. Inside the VM make sure you have the Windows system configured for remote desktop (here's a link: https://www.windowscentral.com/how-use-remove-desktop-app-connect-pc-windows-10-0 ).

And if your user has decent Internet bandwidth, the same principles could be used to connect to a virtual machine running just about anywhere. Amazon's has a service called WorkSpaces cloud deskop solution is free for a few months tto new AWS accounts.

It's a little odd at first to navigate a desktop interface on a touch screen, but it works reasonably well.

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