Xcode on Windows OS – Install & Use it to Build iOS Apps on PC

Apple’s Xcode is a fantastic IDE (integrated development environment) to help you in making entire application development project –making your app from scratch via coding, to other processes like testing, and finally publish it on the App Store.

Xcode is a reliable app development application for Mac OS, which makes a favourable environment for people to develop apps for iOS, Mac OS, Apple Tv OS and Apple Watch OS. Xcode was released in 2003 by Apple as a free, open-source program, and now they are working on a new version with minor improvements. On the Apple official Developer website, you can download the prior versions also.

Xcode On Windows To Build IOS Apps

Are you planning to develop iOS apps via Xcode but you don’t have a system that supports Mac OS? Unfortunately, Xcode is only available for Mac OS. Apple hasn’t released any versions of Xcode on Windows.

But don’t worry, we got you covered, even though you can’t install it Windows 10 or 8.1/7, but we’ll show you some method via which you can use with your Windows PC (or affordable ways) so that you can make apps for Mac OS or iOS.

The steps which are provided by us is mostly for education and testing purpose. If you want to do hard-core programming without any issues in your app, you need to run Xcode on Apple hardware or Apple device which will be the most reliable and will resolve all the errors and problem.

Below are some of the solutions, so that you can get comfortable with the Mac and iOS environment.

Solutions at a glance to have Xcode on Windows:

  • Rent a MacBook or any Apple Hardware
  • Build a “Hackintosh”
  • Get MacMini
  • Use MacOS virtually by using VMware or Virtualbox
  • Buy a used Macbook
  • Third-Party Solutions

Rent a Mac:

Cloud computing technology has transformed the industry; you can now use the supercomputers at only the fraction of the price of it. And the best part you can use them on an hourly basis. The best thing about cloud technology is that you can choose your desired platform of OS and you’ll get the best speed and memory as per your choice.

People nowadays rent those computers via the cloud to run their favourite games, those games need much more power as compared to Xcode still they run seamlessly on the system.  

Rent Mac Online

When you rent a Mac virtually, first, you will sign in on your choice of Mac OS system with a remote desktop connection or RDP which are pre-installed in your window’s PC. It’s just that simple; then you can access to Mac OS from any Windows PC. Some popular services such as Virtualmacosx or Mac-stadium or Mac-in-Cloud will provide you with access to the desired Mac by paying some fee that can be paid on a monthly basis.

There are few major players when it comes to renting Mac online or on the cloud. Check out these websites.

a) MacStadium

b) MacinCloud

Build a “Hackintosh”:

One obvious choice is to install macOS itself on your Windows PC. Hackintosh is a windows PC on which Mac OS is installed. You can make a Hackintosh by two methods:

  • Make MacOS the primary OS of your system, switch PC on, and macOS will load.
  • You can also make a dual-boot, then it will be a system that contains Windows and macOS both so when you turn your PC on, It will prompt you to select the operating system that you want to use.

Setting up a Hackintosh is a technical task, but as many people use it, so you can find many websites and forums online that will assist you in building a Windows PC with macOS. The Online community of Hackintosh is technical, so you’ll have to look carefully before doing any changes to your system.

Get Mac Mini:

There’s a cheap alternative of buying a MacBook for using MacOS that is purchasing a mac mini. Mac mini is a small portable CPU which contains numerous of USB and HDMI ports, some versions of Mac mini are more powerful than a Macbook. It can be beneficial when you want to install Xcode on your system.

You can set up Mac mini directly to a screen via HDMI or you can use remote connection and connect it on your Windows PC via remote desktop client to use Xcode on your PC. If you get up via remote desktop client, then you can use the mac mini wherever you want to run Xcode be it your office or home.

Use MacOS virtually by using VMware or Virtualbox:

We mentioned several guides to install macOS on a Windows computer by using VMware or VirtualBox. We can use one of these virtual machines to use Xcode on Windows.

As these VMs do not perform like using on Apple hardware, we can’t use this setup for real game/app development using Xcode. It is always better to get the Apple hardware if you are a serious and professional app developer.

Follow the steps to have Xcode for iOS SDK development from Windows computer for testing and learning purpose.

Step 1: Install the latest macOS on a virtual machine. Read more about our guide of Big Sur on VMware.

Workking Big Sur On Windows 10 For Xcode

Step 2: Sign in to app store with your Apple ID. You must have it or create a new account for this purpose.

Step 3: Search for Xcode in App store and install it.

Install Xcode On MacOS

Step 4: Installation is straight forward. You may need to provide the root access if required. Once it is installed successfully, open the app and create your first project in Xcode which is actually working on your Windows computer.

Working Xcode On VMware Windows 10

That was my Xcode 12.x version with Big Sur macOS on my Windows 10 desktop computer by using VMware workstation.

Buy a used MacBook:

If you want to develop iOS apps via Xcode without any issue then I’d suggest you buy a used MacBook, sometimes you can find great deals on a used MacBook on websites like eBay.

You should consider buying a used MacBook when a new generation gets released because at that time people sell off their old MacBook at very less price and the price of the previous generation goes down; moreover you can get almost the latest Hardware because no significant changes happen in just one year or two.

Also, consider buying at least a 2-Year old MacBook because then you’ll have one year of apple care left in an ideal situation so you can have hassle-free and cheap part replacements if you come up with any hardware issue. You can also check for physical damage and negotiate the price with the owner for a good deal.

Third-Party Solutions:

You can use various tools which are available with which you can develop cross-platform app instead of using Xcode. Those development tools help you to write a single code that can be used and tested on all devices; they will fulfil your primary purpose of developing iOS apps.

You must be thinking that this is the best solution but remember that iOS only allows apps which are made on Xcode. Hence, what this kind of tools will do is they take your app and translate your code in such a manner that it can be used in all devices, so with this approach, there can be minor errors while publishing it or developing it.

Since Apple releases new features frequently, so these third party tools don’t need to always keep up to date to fulfil your requirements, in that case, many issues can come up, so you’ll have to wait until the third party app catches up with the new update.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is it possible to run Xcode on Windows?

Apple hasn’t officially released Xcode for Windows so you cannot install Xcode on your Windows PC, but you certainly can run Xcode via VirtualBox or VMware. Another method you can use is to rent a Mac on cloud storage. We have given some more solutions; you can consider the above options to start developing iOS applications.

Can I build iOS applications on Windows?

You can use cross-app developing platforms that can help you develop an application for both iOS and Android. But you can’t use Apple’s Xcode IDE developing iOS apps on Window’s system as apple doesn’t allow compilation on other platforms like Linux or Windows.

How do I download Xcode on my computer?

You cannot download Xcode directly on your Windows computer because it isn’t compatible with windows, you’ll have to use a virtual mac machine via remote desktop client and run Xcode on that, or you can even rent a mac on the cloud and start developing iOS apps via Xcode.

Can I run Swift on Windows?

Unlike Xcode, Swift is available for Windows. Apple has released swift; it is a general-purpose, compiled programming language which is used for developing apps for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS. “Swift for Windows” is a free, open-source and GUI IDE that provides an environment to develop apps in the Swift programming language to compile and run on a Windows PC.

Is Xcode free to download?

Xcode is an IDE which is released by Apple to develop apps for iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS. It can be downloaded with the help of the Mac app store as a free app. You will have to log in with your Apple ID and password in the mac app store, then you need to search for the Xcode, click on download, and it’ll download and install on your Mac. You don’t have to be a member of Apple developer program to download this application.

Final Verdict:

There is no official way to use Xcode on Windows PC because Apple hasn’t released a version which is compatible with Windows. So according to your requirement and feasibility, you can choose any of the above solutions and start developing apps for iOS.

The best option in this scenario according to my experience is to go with a mac mini or a used mac because then you don’t have to worry about minor bugs and the investment also won’t be that much.

Rishabh is a Computer science engineer with keen interest in iOS platform and Apple products. Always ready to explore new technologies and write about them.

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