Crafting iOS Apps on Windows: A Tutorial for Beginners

You’ve finally decided to dip your toes into the lucrative world of iOS app development. As an avid Windows user, you’ve hit your first roadblock - how exactly does one go about crafting an iOS app without a Mac? Don’t despair, intrepid coder, where there’s a will (and some open-source ingenuity), there’s a way. In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to setup a virtual Mac environment on your PC and build your first simple “Hello, World!” iOS app. By the end, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next tech unicorn billionaire. Just remember us little people when you’re sipping mai tais on your yacht. But I digress...first, you’ll want to install VirtualBox and download a copy of macOS Mojave. Let’s get started!

Setting Up Your Development Environment

To craft an iOS app on Windows, you'll need to set up a development environment that Apple never intended. But don't despair, with a bit of workaround wizardry, you'll be coding in Xcode on PC in no time.

First things first, install Xcode on your Mac. What's that you say? You don't have a Mac? No worries, simply download Xcode on your friend's Mac, put it on a flash drive, and copy it to your Windows machine. Now you're all set, go ahead and open Xcode! Or not. Turns out Xcode only works on Mac.

Time for Plan B - install a virtual machine to run macOS on Windows. VMware and VirtualBox will do the trick. You'll need a copy of macOS, which you can easily find on your favorite torrent site. Once you have macOS installed in the VM, download Xcode and you're off to the races! You now have a full iOS dev environment on Windows, it just runs inside a virtual machine. Semantics, people!

Feeling ambitious? Give Hackintosh a shot and install macOS directly onto your PC. A bit of BIOS tweaking, kext injecting, and prayer will have you booting straight into macOS, where you can then install Xcode and build to your heart's content. Sure, updates may break things and you won't have support from Apple, but you're a developer now, support is for the weak!

With a bit of determination and chutzpah, you too can craft iOS apps on Windows. Is it easy? No. Is it advisable? Probably not. But you sure will learn a lot about computers! Now go forth and build something nobody asked for. The future is here, on Windows!


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Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash


Installing Xcode on Windows

So you want to build an iOS app, but you’re stuck on Windows? No worries, with a little workaround magic, you’ll be crafting apps in no time.

First things first, you’ll need to install Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE). The only catch is that Xcode is only available on macOS. Not to fear, we have a solution - install a virtual machine! Software like VirtualBox or VMware will let you run macOS on Windows.

Once you have your virtual machine set up, you can download Xcode for free from the Apple Developer website. The installation process is pretty straightforward, just follow the prompts. Now comes the fun part, actually building your app!

Open up Xcode and you’ll see options to start a new iOS app project, choose between iOS apps, watchOS apps, tvOS apps, etc. For this tutorial, select “Single View App” under iOS. Next you’ll need to give your app a name, choose Swift or Objective-C, and select a folder to save your project.

With your project created, you can start building the UI using Xcode’s drag and drop interface builder. Add buttons, text fields, images and connect them to your code. Speaking of code, open the .swift file to start writing the logic for your app. Build out view controllers, write functions, and handle user interaction.

Before you know it, you’ll have built your first iOS app on Windows! Now all that’s left to do is build and run your app on the simulator or an actual iOS device. Who would’ve thought you could craft an iPhone app without ever owning a Mac? The future is now, my friends.

Enrolling in the Apple Developer Program

To build iOS apps, you’ll need to join the Apple Developer Program. Now don’t fret, dear reader, this isn’t as scary as it sounds. Apple won’t make you take some tedious exam or pledge allegiance to the mothership...yet. All you need is $99 a year, a credit card, and the stamina to navigate Apple’s labyrinthine website.

Fork over the dough

First, head to and click “Enroll.” You’ll be prompted to select a developer program—pick “Apple Developer Program.” Next, enter your personal info, agree to some legal mumbo jumbo, and pay the annual fee. Your bank account will shed a single tear, but take heart—think of the fortune you’ll make from your genius app idea!

Verify your account

Apple will now verify your account to make sure you’re not some nefarious bot. This typically only takes a day or two, but can stretch up to a week if the Apple gods are feeling cantankerous. You’ll receive an email once your account is verified and you can start building your app!

Download tools

As an official Apple developer, you now have access to tools like Xcode (Apple’s integrated development environment), iOS SDK (software development kit), and beta OS releases. Go download Xcode, which contains everything you need to build an iOS app.

And there you have it. For less than the cost of a round of drinks, you’ve unlocked the keys to the iOS kingdom. Now you can build wondrous apps to delight, entertain and distract all of humankind! Or at least make your $99 back. Godspeed, developer! The App Store awaits.


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Photo by Walkator on Unsplash


Learning Objective-C or Swift

To build an iOS app on Windows, you’ll need to learn either Objective-C or Swift, the programming languages used to develop iOS apps. Now, you may be thinking, “Great, more coding. Just what I need in my life.” We feel you. Coding is hard, time-consuming work that often ends in frustration, rage-quits, and deleting entire projects only to start from scratch.

Why Bother?

But building an iOS app can be rewarding! You’ll gain a useful skill, expand your mind, and if you make something people want, maybe even earn some cash. The pain of learning to code is temporary, but the benefits are forever.

Pick Your Poison

Objective-C is Apple’s original iOS programming language. It’s verbose but powerful. Swift is newer, sleeker, and easier to read, but may change more over time. For beginners, Swift is probably your best bet. It’s simpler to set up and learn, with an interactive coding environment, Xcode Playgrounds, to experiment in.

  1. Objective-C: Apple’s original iOS programming language. Verbose but powerful.
  2. Swift: Newer, sleeker language that’s easier to read. Best for beginners.

Resources to Get Started

Once you’ve chosen a language, here are some resources to help you learn:

  1. Apple’s official programming guides. Free, in-depth, and straight from the source.

  2. Udemy courses. Structured video tutorials to teach you Swift or Objective-C. Options at various skill levels and budgets.

  3. Treehouse. Fun, interactive coding courses with projects to build real iOS apps. Subscription-based.

  4. Stanford's free iTunes U courses. Video lectures and materials from Stanford's intro programming courses.

While learning to code iOS apps on Windows may not be the most fun or painless activity, it’s a valuable skill that can open up new opportunities. Stay patient through the frustration, start with the basics, use helpful resources, and before you know it, you’ll be building your own iOS apps on Windows! Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some rage-quitting of our own to do.

Designing Your App Interface

Buttons, Switches and Sliders, Oh My!

So you’ve figured out the basics of Xcode and now you’re ready to design your app’s interface. Time to make some choices. As an iOS developer, your options for interface elements are plentiful. Buttons and labels are a given, but you’ve also got switches, sliders, pickers, alerts, and my personal favorite, the humble text field.

Decisions, decisions. Do you want a switch for a binary choice or will a segmented control with multiple options suit your users’ fickle tastes? Sliders are slick but will your users understand that dragging the knob left means less of something? (Pro tip: they won’t.) And for the love of all that is pixelated, please don’t put 20 buttons on one screen. No one wants to play a high-stakes game of app interface roulette.

While you ponder the pros and cons of each UI option, your cat is busy swatting at the cursor on your screen, helpfully selecting and unselecting interface elements at random. Bad kitty! No treat for you. (But really, she’s the best.) Eventually you settle on some buttons here, a slider or two there, maybe a switch if you’re feeling sassy. You fire up the iOS simulator to preview your handiwork.

Looking slick! Your interface elements are perfectly centered, sized just right. You've included placeholder text to show how each element will be labeled. The cat gives a meow of approval. But don't get too cocky, rookie. You've still got to make all these buttons and sliders actually do something. And that, dear reader, is where things get really interesting.

Onward to writing code! Your iOS interface awaits. And the cat still wants a treat. You should probably give her one before getting back to work.

Building the User Experience

The User Experience: An Epic Journey

Building an app is a bit like going on an epic quest to Mordor, except instead of battling orcs and destroying rings of power, you’re battling bugs and crafting code. As any good hobbit knows, the journey is just as important as the destination. Your users are like little Frodos, relying on you, the developer-wizard, to guide them to app bliss.

So in a very Tolkien-esque way, you must map out the user experience (UX) with empathy and care. Think of your app as a story, with the UX as its plot. What challenges and rewards will your users encounter along their quest? How will you keep things lighthearted and whimsical, even when frustrations arise? The UX should flow naturally from one task to the next, like a river meandering through a verdant countryside.

Beware the evil UX beasts that dwell in poorly designed apps! Things like:

-Hidden buttons: Tricksy buttons that disappear like goblins, frustrating users.

-Confusing navigation: Getting lost in an app is like wandering dark forests of Lothlorien.

-Too many permissions: No one wants an app that’s greedier than a dragon hoarding gold.

-Non-intuitive interfaces: An app that’s hard to use is as unwelcoming as Moria.

To craft a magical UX, put yourself in the shoes of a hobbit and see the world through eyes filled with wonder. Keep your app natural, whimsical, and uncluttered. Guide users with a subtle hand and gentle nudges in the right direction. Reward them for milestones along the way. Most importantly, make the experience feel effortless and fun. If you do that, your users just might start calling you Gandalf!

Or at the very least, they’ll love your app and the epic adventure you’ve created. The end. cue dramatic Lord of the Rings music


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Photo by Arnold Francisca on Unsplash

Coding the App

So you want to code an iOS app on Windows, do you? My friend, you’ve come to the right place. Just follow these steps and you’ll have a gorgeously useless app in no time.

1. Install Xcode

You’ll need to install Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE), on your Windows machine. Just kidding! Xcode only runs on Macs. Instead, install Visual Studio for Windows and the Xamarin framework. This will allow you to build iOS apps without needing a Mac.

2. Choose an Editor

Next, pick your poison: Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, or Xamarin Studio. They’re all free and work great. I prefer VS Code because its name makes me feel like a hacker in an action movie. “We’re in. dramatic typing sounds I’ve hacked into the mainframe!” See? So much intrigue.

3. Download iOS SDKs

Now download the iOS SDKs which include the iOS Simulator so you can build and test your app. The simulator lets you see how the app will look on different iOS devices without needing the actual hardware. It’s the next best thing to having your own iPhone! You’ll also need CocoaPods, a library manager for iOS. Say that five times fast.

4. Pick a Language

You can code your iOS app in:

  1. Swift: Apple’s own language, meant to replace Objective-C. Cleaner and more modern.
  2. C#: Popular, versatile language used with Xamarin.
  3. Objective-C: Older, more clunky but still works.

I recommend starting with Swift or C#. They’re easier to learn and more beginner-friendly. Objective-C is for masochists.

5. Build the UI

Time to design your app's interface! Use Interface Builder or code it manually. Add buttons, text fields, images, and more. Make it pretty! This is your chance to channel your inner artist. Go wild with custom fonts, color palettes, layouts. The world is your oyster! Within reason. Don’t do anything too weird.

Keep at it and soon you'll have crafted an iOS app on Windows. You rebel, you! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to hacking the mainframe. dramatic typing sounds resume

Testing Your App

The Agony and Ecstasy of Testing

After slaving away for hours, days, or weeks (depending on your pain tolerance) to build your iOS app, it’s time for the moment of truth - testing. This is where you find out whether your app is a work of pure genius or an epic fail. But don’t despair! Testing is actually kind of fun, in a mildly masochistic way.

  1. Start by installing your app on a physical iOS device. The iOS Simulator is handy during development but no substitute for the real thing. How does your app look on the screen? Are the buttons the right size for human fingers? Does it feel snappy or sluggish? Fix any issues now before unleashing your creation on innocent users.
  2. Next, tap through all your app’s features and functionality. Try entering weird text into fields, tapping buttons repeatedly, swiping in all directions. Basically, do your best to break the thing. Any bugs you discover now won’t embarrass you later in the App Store reviews.
  3. Ask a friend or family member to test your app. Having a fresh set of eyes on your app can reveal usability issues you never considered. Watch them use your app and note anywhere they seem confused or frustrated. Make improvements and then beg them to test it again. Repeat until they can breeze through your app without issues.
  4. Once your app seems solid, consider beta testing with a larger group. Services like TestFlight and HockeyApp make it easy to distribute your app to beta testers and collect their feedback. Review the feedback, make final tweaks, and your app will be ready to submit to the App Store!

The testing process may not always be fun, but it's the only way to ensure your iOS app is high quality, user-friendly, and ready to delight customers. With enough testing (and patience!), you'll turn your app into a real work of genius. Keep at it, you're almost there!


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Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash


FAQs: Build Ios App on Windows

So you want to build an iOS app but don’t have a Mac? No worries, it is possible with a little elbow grease and patience. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about building iOS apps on Windows.

Do I really need a Mac to build iOS apps?

Technically, yes. Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE) used to build iOS apps, only runs on Macs. However, workarounds exist using virtual machines that emulate the Mac environment on Windows PCs. It’s a bit of a hassle but gets the job done if you’re determined.

What is a virtual machine and how does it work?

A virtual machine, or VM, pretends to be a separate computer within your actual PC. It runs an operating system within your operating system, like a computer inside your computer. VMs allow you to run software intended for other platforms. In this case, you can run macOS and Xcode on a Windows machine.

What are some options for virtual machines to build iOS apps?

The two most popular choices are:

  1. VMware Fusion/Workstation - Commercial VM software with a macOS option. Can be pricey but works well.

  2. Hackintosh - Uses macOS for free but is not officially supported by Apple and can be tricky to set up. May have stability issues.

Either of these options will require you to obtain a copy of macOS to install in the VM. We’ll leave how you get that copy up to your imagination.

While building iOS apps on Windows may not be the most streamlined process, don’t let that stop you from pursuing your goal of becoming an iOS developer. With some patience and the help of virtual machine workarounds, you'll be coding in Xcode and publishing to the App Store before you know it. Stay determined and keep your eyes on the prize!


So there you have it, a handy how-to guide for building iOS apps on Windows. While the tools and SDKs may not be native to your Windows machine, with a little patience and the magic of virtual machines, you too can become an iOS developer from the comfort of your PC. Now go forth and build that next viral app, you maverick tech savant. The world is your oyster and Objective-C is your pearl. Just remember through all the ups and downs of app development to occasionally glance out the window at that strange bright orb in the sky - they call it the sun. You remember the sun, don't you? No matter, you have an app to build! Godspeed, you crazy dreamer. Godspeed.


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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