Build Your iOS App on Windows in Just 5 Steps

As an app developer, you may be wondering how to build an iOS app if you only have access to a Windows PC. While Xcode is only available on macOS, there are still ways to develop iOS apps on Windows. You can build an iOS app on Windows in just 5 simple steps. First, you'll set up a Mac virtual machine so you have a macOS environment to work in. Then you'll install Xcode, the integrated development environment required to build iOS apps. With Xcode installed, you can begin building your app by designing the user interface. Next, you'll add functionality to your app using the Swift programming language. Finally, you'll build and distribute your iOS app from Windows. While it may seem complicated, building an iOS app on Windows is easier than ever with the right tools and techniques. In just a few steps, you'll be on your way to publishing your first iOS app built entirely on Windows.

Set Up a Mac Virtual Machine

To build your iOS app on Windows, you'll need to set up a Mac virtual machine. A virtual machine is a program that simulates a computer within your actual computer, allowing you to run macOS on Windows.

There are two main options for macOS virtual machines:

  1. VirtualBox - Free, open-source virtualization software from Oracle. You'll need to download the virtual machine image for macOS separately. Performance can be slow.

  2. VMware - Commercial virtualization platform with a macOS virtual machine template. Typically better performance than VirtualBox but requires purchasing a license.

For either virtual machine, you'll want:

  1. At least 4-6 GB of RAM allocated to the virtual machine for acceptable performance. More is better.
  2. A minimum of 64 GB of storage for the virtual machine, though at least 128 GB is recommended for development.
  3. A relatively recent Intel-based processor with virtualization support enabled in your BIOS. AMD processors will not work.
  4. The latest version of virtual machine software and macOS (currently Monterey 12.1).

Once you have the virtual machine set up, you can install Xcode - Apple's integrated development environment for building iOS apps. With Xcode running on your virtual Mac, you'll be able to build and run iOS apps right from Windows. Using a virtual machine does require some technical knowledge to configure, but with some patience you'll be building your iOS app on Windows in no time!


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Install Xcode on Your VM

To build your iOS app on Windows, you will need to install Xcode, Apple's integrated development environment (IDE), on a macOS virtual machine (VM). Here are the steps to install Xcode on your Windows system:

  1. Download and install a macOS VM software like VirtualBox, VMWare, or Hyper-V on your Windows PC. These will allow you to run macOS on your Windows machine.

  2. Download the latest version of macOS as an .iso or .dmg file. For this, you will need an Apple ID. The current latest version is macOS Big Sur.

  3. Create a new VM in your VM software and select macOS as the operating system. Allocate at least 4-6 GB of RAM and 20-40 GB of storage space for the virtual drive.

  4. Load the macOS installation file in your VM and follow the onscreen prompts to install macOS. This may take some time as it will install a full version of macOS on your VM.

  5. Once installation is complete, download Xcode from the App Store on your macOS VM. Xcode includes everything you need to build iOS apps on Windows.

  6. You can now build your iOS app on Windows by launching Xcode on your macOS VM. Build the app, test it in the iOS simulator, and then deploy it to your iPhone or iPad for testing.

  7. Repeat the build, test, and deploy cycle to further develop your iOS app on Windows using Xcode and macOS VM. With some patience and practice, you'll be building iOS apps on Windows in no time!

Register for an Apple Developer Account

To build an iOS app, you'll need to register for an Apple Developer Account. This will allow you to publish your app on the App Store and make it available to iPhone and iPad users around the world.

Register as an Apple Developer

To get started, you'll need to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. This can be done on the Apple Developer website. There are two account options: an individual account for solo developers at $99 USD per year, or an organization account for development teams at $299 USD per year.

Once you've selected an account type and paid the annual fee, you'll gain access to Apple's developer tools like Xcode, as well as the ability to publish your app on the App Store. You'll also be able to distribute beta versions of your app to testers, get customer reviews, and view sales and download reports.

Add Team Members (Optional)

If you signed up for an organization account, you can invite up to 100 team members to collaborate on app development. Team members will need their own Apple ID to sign in, but they'll have the same access and privileges as you. This option is ideal if you have a group working on the app.

Create App IDs

Next, you'll need to create unique IDs for your app and any companion app services. An App ID is a two-part string used to identify one or more apps from a single development team. It consists of a Team ID issued to you by Apple, and a Bundle ID that you define for your app. You can create App IDs for development and distribution to keep them separate.

Enable App Services (Optional)

If your app uses iCloud, Game Center, In-App Purchase, Apple Pay, or other Apple services, you'll need to enable them through the Apple Developer account. Each service has its own configuration profile with APIs and keys to integrate into your app. Enabling services also allows you to test them during the development process.

By setting up an Apple Developer account and obtaining the necessary access and tools, you'll be ready to build, test, and publish your iOS app for distribution on the App Store. Let your creativity flow and build something great!


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Learn Swift or Objective-C

To build an iOS app on Windows, you must learn to code in either Swift or Objective-C, Apple’s programming languages for iOS.


Swift is Apple's latest programming language used to build iOS apps. It is meant to be more beginner-friendly and fun to code in. Some benefits of Swift are:

  1. Easy to read syntax, with keywords like “let” and “var” to declare constants and variables.
  2. Safe code, with optionals and error handling built-in.
  3. Fast compile times. Swift code compiles faster than Objective-C.
  4. Works with Objective-C. You can integrate Swift into existing Objective-C codebases.

To learn Swift, you have a few options:

  1. Apple's Swift documentation and book on their website. This covers the Swift language thoroughly but may be dense for beginners.

  2. Udemy, Coursera and Udacity all offer highly-rated Swift courses, both free and paid. These video-based courses are a great way to learn visually.

  3. Codecademy and Hacking with Swift offer interactive coding exercises to help you practice what you're learning.

  4. Build a simple iOS app. The best way to learn Swift is to build an app, even if it's just a basic one. You'll encounter issues and learn how to solve them.


Objective-C is Apple's legacy programming language for building iOS apps. While Swift is the future, many existing iOS apps are still written in Objective-C, so it is good to at least be familiar with it. The syntax can be difficult for beginners to pick up, however.

To summarize, choose either Swift or Objective-C to learn based on your current programming level and needs. Both will allow you to build and compile iOS apps on Windows, using additional tools covered in the following steps. Focus on interactive courses and building your own practice apps to become proficient in your chosen language.

Design Your App Interface

To build an iOS app on Windows, you’ll need to design an interface for your app. This involves creating the visual elements that users will interact with.

Sketch initial designs

The first step is to sketch some initial designs for your app’s interface on paper. Consider how users will navigate between screens and what interface elements you’ll need for each screen. Keep your sketches simple but aim for a clean, intuitive design.

Choose a design tool

You have a few options for creating digital designs, such as:

  1. Sketch: A popular design tool for creating iOS interfaces. It has built-in iOS UI libraries to speed up your design process.
  2. Adobe XD: A free design tool from Adobe for designing websites, mobile apps, and more. It offers iOS UI kits to help you craft an iOS-style interface.
  3. Figma: A collaborative design tool with iOS UI libraries and the ability to prototype your designs. The free version should work well for most solo designers.

Any of these would be an excellent choice for designing your iOS app interface. Select a tool you’re comfortable with and familiarize yourself with its iOS UI components.

Add iOS interface elements

In your chosen design tool, you can now add standard iOS interface elements like:

  1. The navigation bar: Add a title and optional buttons like back and menu.
  2. Tab bar: For navigating between the main screens in your app.
  3. Toolbar: For actions that apply to the current screen.
  4. Table views: For displaying lists of content.
  5. Collection views: For displaying grids of content.
  6. Buttons, switches, sliders, and more: For user input and interactivity.

Aim to keep your interface minimal, visually balanced, and consistent with Apple’s iOS design guidelines. Review guidelines to ensure your designs meet requirements for iOS apps.

Prototype and test your designs

With your digital designs complete, you can now prototype them to preview how users will interact with your app. Test the prototype yourself and with others to identify any issues with the navigability or interface elements. Make any needed changes before moving on to development.

With a solid design in place, you’re ready to build your iOS app interface using Xcode. Your designs will serve as an invaluable reference to help you craft an exceptional user experience.


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Add App Functionality With Code

To build functionality into your iOS app, you’ll need to write code using the Swift programming language. Swift is Apple’s programming language for building iOS and macOS apps.

Learn Swift

To get started with Swift, go through Apple’s free Swift tutorials and download the Swift Playgrounds app. Swift Playgrounds allows you to write code and see the results instantly. Some key things to know in Swift:

  1. Variables - Used to store data that can change. Declared using var.
  2. Constants - Used to store data that will not change. Declared using let.
  3. Data types - String, Int, Double, Bool, etc. Used to specify the type of data a variable or constant will hold.
  4. Operators - +, -, *, /, ==, >, <, etc. Used to perform operations on variables and constants.
  5. Control Flow - If/else statements, for loops, while loops. Used to control the flow of logic in your code.
  6. Functions - Self-contained blocks of code that perform a specific task. Use to organize your code.

Build Your App Functionality

Once you have a grasp of Swift, you can start building out your app's functionality:

  1. Add a user interface with UIKit components like UILabel, UIButton, UITextField, UITableView, etc.
  2. Create view controllers to manage different screens in your app.
  3. Handle user input with action methods connected to UI components. For example, a button tap.
  4. Display data on-screen using the variables and constants you define.
  5. Use API calls to get data from remote servers to populate your app.
  6. Save user data with UserDefaults and Core Data.
  7. Add animations and transitions to enhance the user experience.
  8. Handle errors to make your app more robust.

With practice, you'll be building full iOS apps on Windows in no time. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Connect Your App to APIs and Services

To provide useful functionality, connect your iOS app to web APIs and services. APIs allow your app to access data and features from other apps and websites.

Choose APIs to Integrate

Select APIs that provide data and services relevant to your app's purpose. For example, a weather app could use APIs from the National Weather Service or Weather Channel. A music app could use Spotify's API. Do research to find APIs that suit your needs and have terms of service you can comply with.

Register as a Developer

Most APIs require you to register as a developer to obtain credentials for accessing the API. This typically involves providing information about you and your app, and agreeing to the API's terms of service and privacy policy. Make sure you understand the terms before integrating the API.

Add the API Integration

To use an API in your iOS app, you'll need to make network requests to the API from your code. This is typically done using a library like Alamofire to simplify the networking code. You'll construct URL requests with your API credentials to access the API endpoints.

Handle the Response

When your app receives a response from an API request, it will contain the data in a format like JSON or XML. You'll need to parse that response to extract the relevant data, and handle any potential errors. Display the data in your app's interface to provide value to users.

Keep Credentials Secure

Never embed API credentials directly into your iOS app. This could allow anyone to access the API if the app's code is decompiled. Instead, use the .plist file or environment variables to store credentials. For web APIs, use OAuth to allow users to authorize your app to access their data without exposing credentials.

Following these steps will allow you to leverage web APIs and provide a rich experience in your iOS app. Conduct thorough testing of any API integrations before releasing updates to your users.


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Test and Debug Your iOS App

Once you’ve built your iOS app, it’s time to test it and work out any issues before releasing it to users. Thorough testing and debugging is essential to providing a high-quality experience.

Run Your App on the iOS Simulator

The iOS Simulator allows you to run and test your app on your Mac without needing an actual iOS device. You can simulate various iOS devices and iOS versions to ensure your app works as intended before deploying to the App Store.

To run your app on the Simulator:

  1. Open your app in Xcode

  2. Select your app target and the iOS Simulator as the build destination

  3. Click the Run button to build your app and run it on the Simulator

  4. Test all aspects of your app to identify any bugs or issues

You can also enable debugging to add breakpoints, step through code line by line, and view values of variables. The Debug area in Xcode provides debugging tools to analyze your app.

Test on Physical iOS Devices

While the iOS Simulator is useful, it’s important to also test on actual iOS devices. Some issues may only appear on a real device. You'll need an iOS device, an Apple Developer account, and a paid Developer Program membership to build and deploy apps to your devices for testing.

To test on an iOS device:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your Mac

  2. Select your app target and your connected iOS device as the build destination

  3. Click Run to build your app and install it on the connected device

  4. Tap the app icon to launch it on your device and test all features

  5. Look for any issues and debug as needed directly on the device

Testing on multiple devices with different screen sizes, iOS versions, and hardware configurations will result in an app optimized for many users. Make any final fixes needed before releasing your app on the App Store.

With rigorous testing and debugging on both the iOS Simulator and physical iOS devices, you'll work out issues and ensure your app delivers a stellar experience before launching to eager users. Your patience and diligence will result in a high-quality app.

FAQs: Can I Really Build an iOS App on Windows?

Yes, you absolutely can build an iOS app on Windows. Here’s how:

Use a Cross-Platform Framework

Cross-platform frameworks like React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin allow you to write code once and compile it for multiple platforms, including iOS and Android. These frameworks use native components, so your apps will have a truly native look and feel.

Rent a Mac

If you want to build an iOS app using Swift or Objective-C, you'll need a Mac to run Xcode. Your options include:

  1. Renting a Mac in the cloud from a service like MacinCloud or MacStadium. You can access the Mac remotely and build your iOS app.
  2. Buying an older used Mac Mini. As long as it's running macOS 10.14 Mojave or later, you can use it to build iOS apps.
  3. Using a coworking space or makerspace. Many of these facilities rent access to Mac workstations by the hour.

Use a CI/CD Service

Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) services like Bitrise and Xcode Cloud allow you to automate the building, testing, and deployment of your iOS apps from Windows. You write your code on Windows, commit it to your repository, and the CI/CD service takes care of the rest, running your builds on Mac infrastructure.


build ios app on windows, how to build ios app on windows
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FAQs: Can I Really Build an iOS App on Windows?

Despite some extra setup, you have several good options for building iOS apps on Windows. The key is using a cross-platform framework, renting Mac infrastructure, or leveraging a CI/CD service to handle the compiling and building of your app. With the right tools and workflow in place, you can build a high-quality iOS app without ever touching a Mac. Stay focused on writing great code, and let the services handle the rest. Building for iOS on Windows may require some extra effort, but for many developers, the end result is well worth it.


With all the tools and resources available today, you have the ability to build an iOS app without an Apple computer. By using a Windows PC and following a few simple steps, you can setup an iOS development environment, build an app, and deploy it to the App Store. While the process may seem daunting, if you take it step by step, you'll have your first iOS app built in no time. By the end of this journey, you'll have gained valuable experience in cross-platform development and expanded your skill set. With some hard work and persistence, you can achieve great things. Now go forth and build something amazing.


ITZ Total Solutions is a 100% Mobile and Web Application Development Company, but comes to you with invaluable valued technology. At ITZ Total Solutions, quality is one of the biggest measurements when delivering the solutions for any of our services.

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