Apr 27, 2015 When making apps for an Apple device (phone, watch, computer) you need to use Xcode. A free piece of software created by Apple that allows you to design and code up apps. Xcode only works on Apple's operating system OS X. So if you have a Mac, then you can.
Photo by Rodrigo Galindez
Do I need a Mac to make iPhone apps? Apple Watch apps? Mac apps? The short answer is no. But there's a lot more to it than just that.
When making apps for an Apple device (phone, watch, computer) you need to use Xcode. A free piece of software created by Apple that allows you to design and code up apps. Xcode only works on Apple's operating system OS X. So if you have a Mac, then you can run Xcode no problem. If you don't have a Mac, there are two work arounds that I know of that you can use. So in total there are three ways you can run Xcode. Here's my thoughts on each of them.
1. Using a Mac
This is by far the best option. Using apple's hardware to run Xcode is going to be your best experience for making apps. You might not have a Mac though and buying one can be expensive. I remember when I wanted to first buy a Mac and couldn't get over the price tag. The MacBook I was looking to buy cost $1,200. A PC with similar parts (RAM, CPU, HardDrive, etc...) cost only $400. Three times the money for a stinking Apple logo! In retrospect, the money was well worth it.
If you are interested in going this route and buying a computer, check out my Mac Buying Guide for developers.
Also be on the lookout of place where you could use a Mac for free. Maybe your library has a machine you can use.
2. Using a Cloud Service
This is my second favorite option. It's a really creative solution for helping people make apps who don't have Macs. There are few companies that own a bunch of Mac computers and allow you to access them via the web and control them remotely. It's kind of like renting a Mac month to month. All you need is a web browser to access your machine. The downside to this is you have to pay a monthly fee and you must be connected to the internet to do your work. Here are links to two companies that do this: macincloud.com and xcodeclub.com
3. Virtual Machine
This option involves creating a virtual machine on your computer, installing Apple's OS X operating system, and then running Xcode on that virtual machine. I don't like this option for two reasons.
- It's complicated. It takes a lot of work and technical know how to get your virtual machine set up.
- It's illegal. Apple doesn't sell OS X by itself as a stand alone product. They sell computers with OS X on them. For this reason, you can't buy a copy of OS X and run it on your computer. You would have to download it illegally. Some people argue that Apple would never come after you for doing this but I don't think it's worth the risk and besides, you're going to have a MUCH better experience with an actual Mac. Here's a good summary of the legality.
If you got the budget for it, buy a Mac. I know it's crazy expensive but I believe you'll fall in love with your Mac. If you end up using a cloud service, let me know in the comments what your experience has been. I'd love to hear more.
Ios Apps On Mac
I see a lot of applications talked about on MakeUseOf that say they are for the iPhone and iPad that I would like to use. When I click on the link of the app, it takes me to the app that says it is for iPad and iPhone.
I have a brand new Mac desktop I bought in August of this year and I would like some of these apps. Would they work on my iMac or not. If not, why don’t they make these apps for the iMac to?
For example Ugly Meter and Am I Ugly are 2 apps I would love to try, but they say they are good for iPhone and iPad. What about making them for iMac to?
Please answer this question since it has been bothering me for a long time.
Apple Music On Mac
Most apps for your iPad can not be played on your Mac. Check to see what the app is made for. If it says for iPad and iPhone but does not say Mac, it probably won't work on the Mac. That is why I started this thread to begin with.
It's an interesting point, but I think the truth is that there simply isn't a demand for those kind of worthless time-waster apps on the Mac OS like there is on a mobile platform. Or rather, we already have Flash for that. Chances are that your 'ugly meter' or whatevr already has a flash version online somewhere, so use that. Most of those crappy useless apps are just ports of flash stuff anyway.
To be honest, I'm gad the Mac app store isn't full of crap. The merging of iOS and OSX is not neccessarily a good thing, despite Apple's efforts to push things in that direction.
I would not want the Mac app store full of crap either but would still like the choice to use apps that I find interesting on my Mac should I choose to. To have the choice would be good.
iPhones and iPads are extremely popular, so more developers develop apps for those devices than for Macs, which are quite popular in the US and Europe but not much elsewhere. Plus, the operating system on a Mac is Mac OS X, which is entirely different from iOS on the iPhone and iPad. To bring an iPhone app to Mac, a developer has to rewrite his app and make it compatible with OS X, and many developers don't have the resources or time to do that.
I'd suggest that you use your iDevices for using the casual and fun apps, and your Mac for work purposes or watching videos, etc.
I like your answer but I have no iDevices. I only have a Mac and feel it would be a shame to get an iPhone or iPad just to run certain applications. Your answer though, does though make sense and it helps me to understand why the majority of apps are for the iPhone and iPad and not the Mac.
Thank you for your answer.
I'm afraid you are in the wrong place for your question...
[Unless there are developers around here...] We can neither change nor answer why most iOS Apps are solely available for iOS and not for Mac OS X.
You should better contact each individual developer and tell them that you'd like to see their Apps on your Mac OS X device.
Thank you fort your answer.
I thought someone here would know the reason why, or you never know, there might be a developer who looks at this site and might see my question. At least I now know that there are simulators that will allow you to use iPhone and iPad apps on a Mac. I did not know that before.
Well, I'm afraid this won't help you much either...
In order to run iOS Apps within the Xcode Simulator you need their 'Source Code' (the original Xcode Project files).
I doubt any developer is willing to give them out.
well you need itunes to download and then to sync to ipad or iphone, and use them on the device.
Normally they are written for ipad/iphone.
if you want to run iphone or ipad applications on Mac you need a simulator
[BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
Thank you for your answer. This is the 1st time I've ever heard of simulators where you can run iPad and iPhone apps on the iMac.
there are other simulators like for running palm games, windows mobile, symbian...i know that works on Windows OS