How to Run iOS Apps on macOS

Most of us have a good number of apps on our iPhones and some of those apps are ones that we use often. Do you ever wish you could run some of those apps on your Mac? It would be nice to be able to do this and luckily for some applications, it is possible to do so.

Many of the everyday applications you use on your iPhone, can be run on your Mac and can simply be found in your Mac’s App Store. If you’re a developer looking to test your iOS applications on your Mac, there are simulators that you can use to run your apps.

My name is Eric and as a software engineer and long-time computer enthusiast, I know that being able to use your favorite applications on different platforms can be a real plus. I also know that being able to develop and test applications on your own system is important to most developers.

Keep reading below if you would like to find out more about how to run some of your favorite iOS apps on macOS. I will also discuss how you can run and test applications that you develop for iOS on your desktop.

1. Running Apps from the Mac App Store

If you’re looking to run some of the typical everyday apps that you normally run on your iPhone, then you might be in luck. If you have a newer Mac with an M series processor (currently M1 or M2), then many iOS apps from the App Store are compatible with your Mac.

All you need to do is go to the App Store on your Mac and look for them. There you can search for applications or take a look at the applications you currently have downloaded on your iPhone and download them to your Mac.

There is one caveat to this and that is that only some applications have been enabled to work on macOS. The developers of the application have the choice of whether or not to make it available to macOS and if they have not, you will not be able to download and install it.

Other than that, you just need to check to see if you have an M series processor and I will cover how you can check that in the next section.

How to Tell if You Have an M Series Processor

To download and use iOS applications on your Mac, you need to have an M1 or M2 processor. You can check to see what processor your system has with the following steps.

Step 1: Open the Apple Menu

Click on the Apple symbol located in the upper left corner of your desktop.

Step 2: Select About This Mac

Click on About This Mac to bring up the information about your system.

Step 3: Look for M1 or M2 in the System Information

Look at the system information popup window and check to see if it indicates that you have an M1 or M2 processor.

If you see an M series processor listed on the About This Mac screen then you are good to go and you can run iOS applications as long as the developers of that application have allowed users to do so.

2. Using iOS Apps without a Touch Screen

One issue you may face when running an iOS app on your Mac is that it may act and look a little different. The main difference will be that you don’t have a touch screen on your Mac and iOS apps are controlled through a touch screen when using them on your phone.

To use the application you may need to enable alternative touch controls for the application. To do this, click on the app name in the top left corner of the screen and select settings.

Then click the radio button to turn on Touch Alternatives.

You will then see available options such as the ability to tilt, swipe, and scroll.

3. Running iOS Apps You Develop on Your Mac

If you are developing your own iOS applications, there’s a good chance you are using Xcode to do so. If you are not already using it and are just learning how to write iOS applications on your Mac, then you will probably want to install Xcode either from Mac Terminal or the App Store.

Xcode has a simulator that will help you to run the iOS application that you develop on your Mac. This allows you to test your application before installing it on an iPhone. Xcode is free from the App Store or Mac Terminal.

The iOS simulator is a virtual environment that lets you run your iOS applications but it does not get installed by default when you install Xcode. You will need to install the simulator once you have Xcode up and running.

To install it, open Xcode and go to Preferences. Then go to the downloads tab and look for the components section. There you will find the simulator. Click on it and it will be installed. Once installed you can run any app that you are developing in the simulator.

There are other development tools you can download from the App Store or find online that have virtual iOS simulators or emulators. Some of them are free and others you must pay for. 


Below are a few questions that are related to running iOS apps on macOS.

Why don’t some iOS Apps show up In Mac’s App Store?

Not all iOS apps are available in Mac’s App Store. It is up to each individual developer as to whether or not they want to make their app available on macOS. If you can’t find it in Mac’s App Store, then most likely the developer has not made it available for macOS.

Can I run iPad applications on my Mac?

Yes, you can! Just like running iPhone applications described above, it is the same for iPad apps. You can find them in the App Store, download them, and run them as long as the developer of the app has decided to make it available on macOS.

How can I run iOS apps if I don’t have an M series Mac?

I have not tried any of them but I have heard of some websites that can create a virtual iOS environment that you can run iOS apps on. I don’t know how well they work or if they are safe so you would want to investigate them first before using any of them.


Many of the iOS applications that you run on your iPhone can also be downloaded and run on your Mac as long as you have a Mac with an M series processor and the developer has made the application available on macOS systems.

If you’re developing iOS apps, you can run and test them in Xcode’s iOS simulator which is part of Xcode but must be downloaded within Xcode’s feature settings.

I hope the information above has helped you to be able to run your iOS apps on macOS. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *