As easy as Windows or Android application development may be, iOS development has its own limitations that require a Mac PC or the XCode IDE ( Integrated Development Environment ) that is designed and developed by Apple specifically for Mac OS X. As solid a marketing strategy that might be; iOS development becomes frustrating for Windows users as there exists no version of Xcode for it.
Xcode is not just a toolset, but it is a constructive piece of software as well. Apart from being a platform for iOS development, it is an interface builder, testing application, and asset management toolkit as well. Having said that, Windows users shouldn’t let their hopes down if they don’t have the resources to purchase a Mac OS for making their dream application on iOS. There exists an Xcode alternative for Windows, though the experience wouldn’t be same as on a proper Mac OS it would get the work done so we are not completely powerless here. To achieve what is rendered impossible by many, you are going to need a copy of Mac OS X, Windows PC, an Apple account and a stable internet connection.
Methods for Running Xcode on Windows :
A number of possibilities are to be considered before we begin.
Virtual Machine Installation:
Let’s get a few things straightened out before we dive any deeper into the installation method. First of all, it is considered illegal installing an OS X on a non-branded Apple PC according to the Apple license agreement, so make sure you take a good look at its policies before you get going.
The process requires a considerably strong Windows machine if you are considering running a Virtual Machine with a Mac OS X installation. To install a Mac OS on Windows you will need to simulate a virtual environment to be able to run Xcode. The need for a powerful machine is said because running a Mac OS Xcode in a Windows machine is a quite challenging task in itself. Virtualization is surprisingly easy to achieve with software like VMware or a free open source solution VirtualBox.
Apart from power, there is certain hardware criterion your machine should also possess that are somewhat similar to standard iMac, MacBook, or Mac Pro, to successfully install MacOS:
- A Dual Core Intel processor
- Hardware Virtualization
- 2GB of RAM (4GB+ recommended) or more
After setting up these basics, you will need to follow these steps to start developing iOS apps:
- Installation of VirtualBox (here we are assuming virtual box alternate as it is an open source code) on your Windows PC
- Buy OS X from Apple Store.
- Create a Virtual machine from VirtualBox
- Now install OS X on your machine
- Download and install XCode on your previously installed OS X setup. To achieve this, open Mac App Store, search for Xcode and install it.
And Voila! You are all set up to get started with building your new iOS application.
Another option is VMWare Workstation. It isn’t free and the cost of its license is nearly half the cost of a new Mac Mini that can be used for iOS app development. It is recommended that you either use VirtualBox or buy a second hand Mac Mini.
Another option is to build a Hackintosh. A Hackintosh is a computer that is customized to run MacOS. This method requires a lot of effort but works for people who want a separate computer to run MacOS. Here are some options:
This website also has a number of amazing Hackintosh rules and guides.
This website has a lot of useful information for people looking to build a Hackintosh. The How-To section has a lot of links to awesome tutorials that will help you build your Hackintosh and install the latest version of MacOS.
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This is a great Reddit community that brings together other people interested in building a Hackintosh. You can get help from experienced users here and also provide them your two cents.
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Rent a Mac with Macincloud
If you can’t buy a new Mac, you can rent one for Xcode for Windows. This way you will be able to access the Mac and Xcode remotely through your computer. It will be similar to having Mac desktop in a window on your Windows computer. The great thing about this option for Xcode for Windows is that the cost will be really low and it is a fast option. Here are some companies that provide this service:
This is a really popular service and you will not have to install Xcode as it will come preinstalled. It is a low commitment option and you can select the option of pay-as-you-go. Some complaints regarding its slow speed have been received but since it is very affordable you can try it and find out if it is worth it.
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If you want Xcode for Windows, then this is another option. It lets you rent a Mac with Xcode for the purpose of development.
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This service is fast and friendly. Unfortunately, the pricing isn’t as flexible as MacInCloud and you will have to signup for a month at least.
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Coming towards the pros and cons of this technique, the biggest advantage we get is relief from the painstaking process of setting up OS X on a platform it wasn’t intended to run on. The drawback of this method is that you are using Macincloud so you are relying on your internet connection the entire time which might slow down the process, a problem you do not face while running an Xcode on your own PC.
Not to forget, this service isn’t open source or free, however, it is quite inexpensive.
Third Party Solutions
Another alternative for Xcode for Windows is using third party options. These solutions do not involve Xcode but they will let you make an iOS app. Here are the options:
It can be used to make a mobile app using C# that can bed deployed natively to Windows, Android, and iOS.
Download Xcode For Windows
Now we are going to tell you how to download Xcode for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7. Before starting the installation process, you need to know the system requirements. Firstly, you need a Mac OS X virtual machine on VirtualBox or VMware. After that, you need to download the Xcode package from the official website of Apple. In order to be able to do this, you must have an Apple ID. You also need at least a dual-core Intel processor. You are also going to need at least 2GB of RAM. However, it is recommended that you have more than 4GB of RAM. You will also need hardware visualization. Professional app developers may have to buy Apple hardware with OS X as well as app developer ID. When testing the app on an Apple device, you will have to use Xcode on the Apple hardware. Since you will be using Virtual Box to download Xcode for Windows, you need to ensure that you have a Mac OS X virtual machine that works.
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Download Xcode For Windows 10
Here is how you can download Xcode for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7:
- Download and install VirtualBox or VMware on your computer.
- Download and install OSX Mavericks ISO in the form of a virtual machine.
- Create a virtual machine on the Oracle virtual box. For this, you would have to open Virtual Box and click New.
- A new window will pop up and ask you for the name of the new operating system. Name it OSX, select the type of the operating system as Mac OS X, and for Version enter Mac OS X (32 bit). After that, click on Next.
- You will then have to choose the size of RAM for the virtual machine. You will need 1024 MB (1 GB). Choose the memory size and click Next.
- Choose and create the type of virtual hard drive file.
- Keep the type of Hardware file as VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image). Click Next.
- Choose Dynamically allocated for the physical hard drive as Dynamically allocated. After that, you will have to designate the file location and size from the physical hard drive on your computer. Click on Create after that.
- At this stage, your virtual machine would be created on your virtual box. After that, mount the iso file which you downloaded before. For this, Go to Settings-Storage-Load iso File-Click Ok-Start.
- After that, follow the steps given on the screen of OSX boot as first Wizard and then OSX will be installed in Oracle Virtual.
- Launch the Safari browser in the Virtualbox and go to the official Apple App store. Use your Apple ID to sign into the App store. For this, you will have to enter the Apple ID and password.
- After logging in, type Xcode in the search box so that you get the complete package. It will display different related apps. Find Xcode, click on Free and Download. Click OK after that to download the kit.
- Once the installation process is complete, launch it from the applications. In order to obtain access privilege to install Xcode components, you will have to enter your root credential. You will then be able to modify your system settings. Provide your name and password and then click OK.
- This is the last step of download Xcode for Windows. At this stage, you would have successfully installed the latest Xcode version on Windows 10 through the desktop virtualization software Virtual Box.
The next step
This is how you can install Xcode for Windows 10. It will let you create new and better apps using this interface. However, since you will be running the software on Windows, the speed and performance of Xcode will not be that high. This can be useful for educational purposes, but professional app developers do not have much to gain from this. However, this is how you can get Xcode for Windows and easily download and install it on your PC and make better apps.
By this point, you should have your Xcode running and your machine completely set up which is easy peasy, the real challenge is what comes up next. Transforming your idea into a product takes a lot of work. The best approach to achieve this is to start small and build an MVP ( Minimum Viable Product ) and get it out as soon as possible.
For newbie developers getting their hands into iOS app development, should first get warmed up by taking some online courses or building dummy or sample application first.