Please read my question fully, I searched many questions but that doesn't answer my question fully. We are planning to develop an iOS app using PhoneGap, so we have also purchased $99 Developer license for it. So far we are good, but as per my research I found that we cannot build iOS app on windows, we compulsory need mac for it.

My question, is it necessary to use mac even if we don't have intend to submit to app store currently? Just we need to test our app on iPad so that once we have bug free application we can purchase mac and build release version out of it before we submit to app store.

Is this possible? Since we are a Java shop and this is our first project for iOS, please excuse me if I am asking something obvious.

  • 4
    As far as I know (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong), you need XCode to test apps on iOS via the iOS Simulator and app upload facilities, and XCode is only available for OSX.
    – MattDMo
    May 30 '13 at 4:14
  • Also, this question will probably be closed as off-topic, since Ask Different is NOT a programming site, as discussed in the FAQ. Check out StackOverflow instead and use the [osx] and [ios] tags there.
    – MattDMo
    May 30 '13 at 4:17
  • 1
    @MattDMo The question as asked might be a borderline case but I'm willing to let it stay as it mainly focuses on tools and processes (and not on actual code). Your first comment is spot-on (you actually need XCode both for the simulator and for installing apps on the device), could you post it as an answer?
    – nohillside
    May 30 '13 at 5:23
  • This is already asked here stackoverflow.com/questions/22358/…. And Xcode is not mandatory for iOS development. For eg:- jetbrains.com/objc. But if you need to use phonegap then you might need Xcode.
    – iDev
    May 30 '13 at 5:24
  • Thanks all for your reply, what I want is just I want to test my developed app in my own iPad without going through hassle of buying mac just to deploy "hello world" app, but if this is definitely not possible, it really sucks. May 30 '13 at 5:43

Run on PhoneGap on a PC until you hit a roadblock.

You can always post here on whatever specific roadblock you hit, but as the iOS toolchain has matured, you don't necessarily need Xcode to make an app anymore.

So, you have dozens of tools to start and once your delay to development costs you more than the $250 it might cost to pick up a used Mac - you can decide to buy tools that make your development move faster or cost less due to quality or other costs to development that better tools will reduce for you over time.

  • +1, that was my point. Xcode is not needed for iOS development.
    – iDev
    May 30 '13 at 18:25
  • 2
    @ACB - isn't it needed for code signing for App Store submission?
    – MattDMo
    May 31 '13 at 16:30

So the bad news is that XCode is needed for its iOS Simulator as well as its Application Loader facility for actually uploading the programs to iOS devices for "real" testing. You'll need XCode for signing your apps before submitting to the App Store. Unfortunately, XCode is only available for OS X.

However, the good news is that you may be able to purchase OS X and run it in a virtual machine such as VMWare Workstation. I don't know how straightforward this is, as it is rather difficult to get OS X to run on non-Apple hardware, but a quick Google search shows that it is possible. This method would (likely) be cheaper than purchasing a new Mac, although the Mac Mini retails in the US for only $599. Some posts I've seen indicate that this may or may not be legal, others say you need OS X Server for virtualization. I'll leave the research up to you.

There are also services such as MacInCloud that allow you to rent a Mac server that you can access from Windows via remote desktop, or through your browser. Unfortunately, I don't think you'd be able to use Application Loader, as you have to physically connect the device to your computer, but it would work for development and simulation, at least.

Good luck!

  • 3
    Note that running OSX in a VM on non Apple machines is not allowed by Apples EULA - which might matter for a professional developer
    – mmmmmm
    May 30 '13 at 15:08
  • 2
    To make it clear, Xcode is really not needed for iOS development. You can use its command line tools to build an app and push to iOS device. However it is recommended to use Xcode.
    – iDev
    May 30 '13 at 18:23
  • @Mark You are very correct. Also, out FAQ makes running OS X on non Mac hardware off-topic, but the mere mention of it being possible is clearly fine and good for people to know. We would likely close or edit a question asking how to do it, though.
    – bmike
    May 30 '13 at 20:05
  • @ACB - I'd love if you asked a Jeopardy style question - how could you push an app to an iOS device without using Xcode or a Mac. Let me know if you'd like me to ask and you to do the answering.
    – bmike
    May 30 '13 at 20:06

It is possible to run OS X in VMWare Player on Windows 7 - I have seen it done and used it this way. However, the biggest drawback is performance - and it took two people a few days to get it working correctly. My suggestion would be to skip the Windows 7 platform and go directly with a MAC since your plans include that anyway.


You can use Smartface for iOS development on Windows; in any of the development step it does not require any Mac or Objective-C knowledge.
Only at when submitting to AppStore Mac and Developer program subscription is required.

  • Can you load an app written with onto an iphone or iPad without using an OS X machine?
    – mmmmmm
    Nov 6 '14 at 15:12
  • Yes, it is possible. Nov 27 '14 at 9:40

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