Have an amazing solution built in RAD Studio? Let us know. Looking for discounts? Visit our Special Offers page!
C++CodeDelphiIDERAD Studio

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac

To effectively answer how to build iOS apps without a Mac, we first need to know why some form of a Mac is always going to be necessary for a very small part of this process even though we discuss here how you can use a Windows computer to design and program macOS and iOS apps without needing to constantly swap to a Mac. Also, we will read how RAD studio is an excellent app builder software for Mac and iOS apps. RAD Studio is a Windows application, and you can use it to design and code your apps 100% on Windows. The only time you need a Mac is to perform the final compilation.

Why do I still need a Mac for creating macOS and iOS apps?

Apple have created a situation where only Xcode can be used for building and code-signing iOS apps. Xcode is only available for macOS. Thus, we need a Mac to build iOS apps. Unfortunately, having an up-to-date Mac available for everyone or the whole team is not easy, cost-effective, or maintainable. So, we need a more straightforward solution. Luckily, now there are methods available to either run Xcode without a Mac or use a Mac without owning it. To compare things with Windows, we will briefly study the app-building process on Windows.

Why Is Windows the most popular development environment?

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac -a close up of a keyboard and a Windows key

Windows is the most popular environment for writing Windows software, and there are many reasons for this popularity. For example, Windows has a greater ecosystem, cheaper hardware, a bigger market, countless tools, ease of use, excellent documentation, and a stronger community, to name a few. Moreover, Windows is also a popular choice for developing cross-platform apps. Many tools like Delphi and C++ Builder are available for fast cross-platform development needs.

Why develop for mobile devices?

While Windows usage is widespread in desktop environments, the story is different in the mobile world. The position of Windows is unsubstantial in the mobile arena, but the web traffic dominance of mobile users [1] (currently 56%) is also increasing compared to desktop. This trend increases developers’ need to build more for the mobile world or cross-platform apps ever.

Fortunately, it is easy to develop for mobile with tools like Delphi and RAD Studio. Delphi and C++ are among the most popular cross-platform programming languages. For example, suppose you are searching for the best low-code app builder. In that case, you can see how to build iOS apps without a mac for developing a fully functional enterprise-grade restaurant ordering app from a template in Delphi.

Two giants, Android and iOS, dominate the mobile market. It is straightforward to develop native mobile apps for iOS and Android. Take a look at how to build iOS apps without a mac to create such Apps quickly and easily. Because Android is more popular, it is easy to understand the importance of an android app builder software. But new developers should also consider iOS development with the best native iOS app builder for the following reasons.

Why develop for iOS?

Why should one care for iOS development if Android has a 71% market share? [6] Well, there are many solid reasons:

  1. No app can reach maximum users until it is available for both iPhone and Android.
  2. While the Android market segment size is more significant, iPhone users are more affluent.
  3. In the United States, the market share of iOS(57%) is more extensive than Android(42%).
  4. It might be the clients’ demand to use app builder software Mac.
  5. Your app might need the specific functionality of the iPhone.

Thus, being fluent in iOS and Android development is a must-have skill in today’s market.

Why is a Mac needed for iOS development?

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac - a close up of an iPhone's app screen

Currently, the two main mobile device platforms are Android and iOS. Developing Android apps is reasonably straightforward with cross-platform development frameworks like Delphi and RAD Studio. For example, if you are a C++ developer, you can develop full-blown iOS apps on a Windows PC with C++ Builder or RAD Studio. Similarly, if you are a Delphi developer, you can connect an Android phone with Windows PC, load a sample, and Delphi will compile, install and run the app on Android in no time. There is no requirement for a special Android ‘PC’ or compilation device – all of that work can be carried out entirely on the PC. However, the situation is not as straight-forward for Apple’s iOS and macOS. So naturally, the question arises how are things different for iOS?

How is iOS development different from Android?

The answer is due to the Xcode. Xcode IDE is Apple’s primary development tool for producing software for many Apple devices like macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, etc. But unfortunately, Xcode is only available for macOS. Thus to build apps for Apple’s devices, we need access to a macOS. And a macOS only runs on a Mac. Therefore we need access to a Mac for developing software for Apple devices, including iOS.

Why should I learn how to build iOS apps without a Mac?

There are many reasons to develop an iOS app without owning a Mac. For example:

  • The cost of owning a Mac might be prohibitive for many developers.
  • Keeping up with the latest upgrades is very difficult.
  • Buying a used Mac will have hardware and software compatibility problems.
  • For teams working on iOS projects having individual Macs might not be possible.
  • With application builder software like RAD Studio, you only need a Mac in the final build process.
  • You don’t want to manage another gadget and focus on solving problems.

What are our options for how to build iOS apps without a Mac?

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac - an iMac sitting on a bamboo stand with an Apple smart keyboard in a bamboo keyboard case

Accessing a Mac without owning it can be done in several ways. However, these options are only a non-exhaustive list of what is possible or what other developers are doing to solve their problems. Considering your technical, legal, and financial limits, you must select what is best for your particular case.

Share a Mac with someone remotely

If you have access to a Mac remotely, you can use it to build and test iOS Apps. For example, you might have a Mac in your office, or your friend or relative might have a Mac at hand. This option is also helpful for teams occasionally developing for iOS and macOS. Although not ideal, you can still use app builder software for pc to build iOS apps without owning a Mac with this method.

Run Windows On A Mac

It is possible to install Windows on macOS through virtualization software like Parallels, etc. The drawback is you need a powerful computer with enough RAM and hard disk to run Windows properly. However, you can easily use it once set up and running for all your development. Also, you can have different versions and snapshots for a diverse environment.

Rent a cloud-based Mac

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac. An image of the tops of buildings of a cityscape. The building tops are shrouded in clouds.

Renting an instance of macOS in the cloud can be a better option for many developers. It does not require the upfront cost of buying a dedicated Mac machine. Instead, you can rent it for a few hours or get a monthly package and use it remotely. For example, you run your apps builder software like Delphi on a PC, and when you need to build for iOS, you can use a Cloud Mac. MacInCloud [2], XcodeClub [3], and MacStadium [4] are popular destinations for renting a cloud-based Mac machine.

Can I install macOS on non-Apple hardware?

The idea of installing Apple’s macOS on non-Apple hardware is sometimes known as “a Hackintosh”, i.e., running macOS on unsupported hardware. Apple expressly forbids using macOS and the related Apple software on non-Apple hardware and has often taken legal action against suppliers and distributors to enforce their viewpoint. Embarcadero expressly does not condone or support using non-Apple hardware of this type.

Xcode in The Cloud

Apple provides us with our last option. While this option is the newest one, Xcode Cloud [5] can fulfill many needs. For example, you can build automated workflows with the Xcode cloud for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) setups. Also, features like Parallel Testing and App Store Connect might be handy for many developers.

How to build iOS apps without a Mac with RAD Studio?

How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac.  An image of a person sitting an orange 'gamer' chair looking at a computer screen and smiling. The person has brown curly hair, is wearing a gaming headset and has a large tattoo on their left forearm.

Delphi is a famous cross-platform app builder. The good news is that to build Apps for iOS, you don’t need Mac and iOS most of the time in Delphi. This benefit is also true for Android and other supported platforms. Delphi supports multiple platform app development through the FireMonkey framework. The great thing about RAD Studio FireMonkey is that you can develop, debug, and test your App on Windows. Once it is ready to run on Windows, RAD Studio would mostly prepare it for other platforms. You only have to tweak and fine-tune platform-specific features, and your app will be ready. It will make the development cycle fast and allow the fastest iteration.

Are you ready to build an iOS app without a Mac?

With all-new iOS capabilities and a promising future, It is an exciting time to start iOS development. All you need is an app builder software. RAD Studio and Delphi are the best native app builders that is both easy to use and highly productive. To kick start your journey for building iOS Apps for the Mac, download the best app builder software for Mac now.

[1] https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/mobile-desktop-internet-usage-statistics

[2] https://www.macincloud.com/

[3] https://www.xcodeclub.com/

[4] https://www.macstadium.com/

[5] https://developer.apple.com/xcode-cloud/

[6] https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/worldwide


What's Coming in Delphi, C++Builder, and RAD Studio 11.2 Alexandria

Reduce development time and get to market faster with RAD Studio, Delphi, or C++Builder.
Design. Code. Compile. Deploy.
Start Free Trial   Upgrade Today

   Free Delphi Community Edition   Free C++Builder Community Edition

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

IN THE ARTICLES