Jan 22, 2019

Learn to Develop iOS Apps on Windows

Is it possible to develop iOS apps for PCs? The short answer is "yes," but it's more complicated to develop iOS on PC than it is on a Mac. Still, while there aren't special iPhone app development tools for Windows, there are some savvy ways that PC users can set themselves up to build iOS apps.

What You Need to Build iOS Apps on a PC

iOS apps are built using a coding language called Swift, which was developed by Apple for use with Xcode, a development environment you can only use on computers running the Mac OS. This means you can't just download the tools you need to make an iPhone or iPad app on a PC without taking some preliminary steps. You won't have to take these steps to become an Android developer, so it's worth considering whether you need to learn how to build iOS apps to reach your goals.

Options for iOS Development on PC

Don't let the fact that you need to take some extra steps stop you. If you really like using your PC and either can't or don't want to invest in a Mac just to learn how to make apps using Swift, you have a few workaround options to consider. If you want to become an iOS developer, do one of these things so you can start using Xcode.

Use a Virtual Machine

Although it's not a good idea to try to install Mac OS on your PC, you can create an emulation system called a virtual machine to develop iOS apps on PC. You'll need a virtualization software program, and then you can install Xcode using that system. This is probably the easiest way to create iPad apps on Windows machines.

Rent a Mac via the Cloud

This is an unusual option, but there are some companies offering to allow people to "rent" Mac computers via the cloud. You're essentially renting the ability to control an operating system rather than actually renting a physical computer. Security can be suspect using this option, and it might not always be the most reliable service — think about Netflix or Hulu stalling while you're trying to binge watch your favorite shows — so it's probably an option of last resort rather than an optimal first choice.

Other Options

If you don't have the skills to create a virtual machine or are dubious about the security of "renting" a computer via the cloud, you may still have some options. If you have any friends or family members who use MacOS computers, you can sidestep the problem of how to create an iPhone app on a PC entirely. Just borrow the computer for your classes. You can also learn Swift, the iOS app programming language, while you save up for a Mac or decide whether you want to buy one. If you're going to make a career out of iOS app development, the purchase may well be worth it as an investment in your future. That kind of expenditure isn't possible for everyone, however. If isn't for you, one of the options listed here should work.