This website has been started to share all the details about iOS Emulator or iOS emulators. We will ensure that you are getting quality information and practical approach to ios emulators.

Emulators have been a great help to the developers and testers and have been proved to be economical as well. And so, day by day, many new emulators have been published. Some of those are free while others are paid or on a freemium model. You can select any of those as per your need.

ios emulator

We will work on all these types of ios emulators one by one later on this blog. First, let’s get started with the basics of ios emulator and see what is ios emulator?

What is ios emulator?

Before starting with an exact definition of ios emulator, let’s have some background of it.

If you have ever thought of what is emulator? Wikipedia calls it a computer software or hardware where one system behaves like the other system.

Emulators enable the host systems to run the programs of the guest system on the host system enabling the users to perform all the tasks on the host system itself.

ios emulator

For example, if you can run the apps running on system 2 on the system 1 itself then the function enabling such feature is called as an emulator.

Now let’s see what is an ios emulator?

So, ios emulator is a computer software which you can install it on your windows system to run the apps and programs designed for the ios. These ios emulators allow you to run ios apps on windows or ios emulator for android systems without actually having an ios device.

This works perfectly for the app testing or playing a game or using some apps which have only been available for ios devices.

Emulators can be specific to one particular operating system or of multiple operating systems. This completely depends on the requirements you have.

Now as you know what is ios emulator, let’s discuss why we need ios emulator.

Use of iOS emulator

You might be thinking what are the uses of ios emulator? Here are some of the best uses of ios emulator you should know.

  • Economic: You don’t need to have multiple systems to work. For example, let’s say you are having windows system at your workstation and working on some IOS related application. So, ideally, to test the IOS application, you need iOS devices. But if you are using ios emulator for windows, you can test ios application on your existing windows system itself. This saves the cost of additional testing devices.
  • Easy to use: You won’t have to work on multiple systems and can easily work with your existing devices.
  • You can run it on multiple devices having same operating systems
  • Testing of ios apps during the development process
  • You can find major issues with the ios application you are working during the initial phase and thus save any further hassle.
  • Test the app with developer tool which is only available for emulators
  • You can also learn more about ios development working on your existing environment

There are many such other features and advantages of IOS emulator which you can avail. Now let’s see some of the advantages of IOS emulator.

IOS Emulator Advantage

Here are some of the major ios emulator advantages you should know in order to work effectively!

  • IOS Emulators are usually free to use and comes as an SDK
  • It is easy to configure and no coding skills required
  • Faster programming and simple to use
  • You can test and debug your other operating system applications being on your system
  • No high-end configuration required to use emulators

Please note that we are here talking about emulators and not the simulator. People usually get confused here but there is a huge difference between the two.

Difference between Emulator and Simulator

Let’s see some of the major differences between Emulator and Simulator. Here is a beautiful graphics I found which shows the difference between emulator and simulator. Have a look!

emulator vs simulator

Source: SlideShare

As you can see, the major differences are when Simulator is just a partial implementation where Emulator is a complete implementation of any software.

Emulators are written in a machine-level language and is easy to use compared to the simulator which is in a high-level language.

As of now, I think you have enough information about IOS Emulators, let’s see how the emulator works.

How Emulator Works?

Emulator basically works by handling the behavior of the processors and its component. There are mainly three ways of handling the process emulation-

• Interpretation
• Dynamic recompilation
• Static recompilation

No matter which methods you are following, your goal is to execute a piece of code so that it can interact with the hardware.

When working with the Interpretation, you start with the IP and read the instruction of the machine carefully. The code you are using will parse the instruction and uses this information to alter processor state as specified by your processor.

In dynamic recompilation, the process is somewhat similar to the Interpretation but here instead of just executing the code you build a list of operation.

In Static recompilation, all the steps are similar to dynamic recompilation but you follow branches. You will end up building a chunk of code which represents all the codes in the project.
George has written a great post on this and he has also prepared one emulator, you can check the details here.

Here is a video by Timkik shared on setting up an emulator. You can go through it for further details.

Why we need emulator?

We have also discussed the need of emulator earlier in this IOS emulator but let’s have a recap here. Emulators help the developers and testers to debug and test the programs of some other OS on their existing operating system.

For example, if someone is testing one IOS app and working on a windows system then they can use IOS emulator for windows and test the app.

It comes cheap for the company and individuals to test and debug the new apps on the existing systems. Else you might end up buying another compatible device.

As emulators are cloud based and so can run apps related to single OS or multiple operating systems.

Now you might be thinking what will be the experience of the real testing and the simulator testing. So, let’s talk the difference between the real testing and testing using emulator based on certain scenarios.

Real-Testing vs. Emulator Testing

Let’s work on certain scenario and see which one is best for you in which condition.

ScenariosEmulatorReal device Testing
Situation-based applicationThere are situations where the product to be tested are small and getting a dedicated device is not recommendable. In such cases, emulators are preferable. You can also save time spent on finding the real-devices and get your work done bit quickly.If you’re going through the real device for testing, then you may have option for better flexibility and you can test all the real-time scenarios. Although getting a real device for testing can be costly but you may further use it for other projects.
Real feel and closenessDue to large number of mobile devices, it become hard for the developer to select which device they so go with. In such cases, emulators can be the best help!
Also, one can’t buy all the devices and so an emulator can fulfill their requirements here.
If you’re going with real devices, although you have to pay for it, you will end up utilizing more. You can also check for the look and feel along with the color combination and much more.
AvailabilityIn most of cases, emulators are available for free and are under open source license. You can download it and use as per your need and start using it.As we know, you need to buy it from the market to use it. But as it is a real device and so you can use it hassle free. Also, if you are working on some project where your device need to run for longer period then such cases real devices are preferred.
Testing a web application through URLYou can test any web application on emulator using the URL. Just enter the url and it will show you the actual web page/effect you’re looking for.Testing on real devices is definitely better. You can also check about the color combination and responsiveness.
Capturing ScreenshotCapturing screenshot with emulator and real devices is one and the same. Emulators take screenshot with the help of Microsoft office and so are very easy.Again it is one and the same. You can have quick screenshots.
validation of batteryEmulators can’t check the battery scenariosWith real device, you can have that feature available due to obvious reasons.
Testing of PerformanceValidation of performance related checks are usually slower compared to the actual devices.Performance is faster compared to emulators/
Memory related issuesMemory spaces of emulators are far more than the actual devices and so you may not end up having the correct data.Memory is usually less than the emulators and will be almost similar to what the real users will be using.

As you saw from the above emulator vs. real device for testing, both are having their own advantages and disadvantages. So, you can go with the one which fulfills your requirements.

So far, we have talked about the benefits and advantages of emulators, to be specific iOS emulator. But as said, everything has their own advantages and disadvantages and so emulators too have.

Limitations of Emulators

Here are some of the limitations of the emulators and you should understand these limitations as well before using it.

  • Emulators are not suggested when your testers need to perform testing for longer period
  • As memory is comparatively larger than the actual device and so memory related testing becomes bit tough and may contain error.
  • The emulator is suitable mostly for certain types of functional test case executions.
  • Can’t work with all kind of applications
  • Not all emulator supports the gamut of mobile applications and so you should be ready for that.

How to install an IOS Emulator?

We talked a lot about Emulator here and now it’s time to see how to install an IOS emulator.

Installing an emulator is a damn easy work and you can install it similar to what you do for any other software. Here are the few simple steps you can follow to install an IOS emulator easily!

  • Download the SDK for the emulator you are looking for from their website. For example, if you’re looking for Android emulator for Windows then downloads the SDK from the Android site.
  • Now double-click on it and install like you install any other tool may be in a location like this- C:\Program Files\Android
  • Now double click on the SDK Manager.exe file
  • This will launch Android SDK and AVD Manager and you will be asked to choose the installation option. Select the option “Choose Packages to Install” and click on install to go further.
  • Once this is completed, you will be shown a next screen where you can select the Virtual device option and create a new one for you.

how to install emulator

By this was you have installed and created a new virtual device to use on your windows system.

This was all about the ios emulator. You can browse through the different menu and the blog section to explore more on this like iOS Emulator for Android.