Running iOS on Virtual Machine

Many iPhone users have always wanted this feature which will enable them to run some desktop applications directly from their iPhones. It would be great if Apple users could use macOS, Windows, or Linux applications directly from their iOS devices, wouldn’t it? Yeah we know we have many apps to do it remotely like the Microsoft Remote Desktop or TeamViewer. But they are followed by a precondition as well. The method only works with an active host computer with a stable network connection or internet connection.

Like in the case of Samsung, it has a DeX application to suffice this need. On the other hand, iOS didn’t have any virtual machine apps on the App Store. The Apple A-series like the Apple A13 chip found on iPhone 11 Pro lacked hardware virtualization. So despite their interface getting so advanced, they still can’t match the specs of a computer.

But is it true that iOS can’t possess any virtual machine at all? If you research well, there is no active virtual machine for iOS at all. You will never find it in the app store and hence many people don’t know about it. But there is one. It is called ‘UTM’. UTM stands for Universal Turing Machine. Anybody can install it on their Apple devices with the latest iOS version installed. But it requires some serious effort.

Running iOS on Virtual Machine

For your convenience, today we will be talking about how to run a virtual machine on iOS. Instead of drooling here and there, you can just follow our guide. We will cover the details step by step. However, you need your iPhone to be updated to the latest version. Moreover, this guide will not make you attempt jailbreaking, so just rest assured.

As far as we know, iOS 16.1.1 is the latest public beta iOS available for iOS and iPadOS. Whenever you come across this blog, be sure about the latest iOS version beforehand. The steps we will be discussing now for installing the virtual machine do not depend much on the iOS version. It will be more or less the same. So, let’s get started right away.

Ways to Run Virtual Machine on iOS- Installing UTM on iOS

There are many ways by which we can run a Virtual Machine on iOS. Preferably, we will consider UTM for our topic from now on. Let’s learn about the techniques one by one:-

Step 1:- Installing iTunes on Computer

There is one iTunes in the Microsoft Store. Installing it won’t suit you as you will not be using it for PC. Therefore, if you are installing it from the PC, go to the Apple website and then install iTunes from there. You can get your provider token directly in iTunes Connect. Buy and download UTM to run iOS on a virtual machine seamlessly.

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Step 2:- Generate an App-Specific Password

You will require generating an app-specific password if you want to run iOS on virtual machines. Moreover, this is an exceptional case if you are possessing an Apple ID that enables 2FA. It means Two Factor Authentication. Navigate to the Apple ID page and use your Apple ID to log in. If you are registered for a FREE Apple Developer Account, use the same Apple ID.

After logging in, follow these steps:-

  1. Look for ‘App-Specific Password’ under the ‘Security section’.
  2. Select the option ‘General password’.
  3. Run over the following steps and note the app-specific password that has been generated. If a prompt appears in the description, just enter ‘AltStore’.

Step 3:- Connect your iPhone to your computer

As the method says, connect your iPhone to your PC. We will recommend the use of USB cables instead of going wireless. Run the ‘AltServer’ if it doesn’t run. 

The AltServer won’t appear in some window form when the PC will be started. It can be found as a rectangular shaped icon on the Taskbar. 

Step 4:- Register for Apple FREE Developer Account

If you have never signed up for a developer account anytime before, you have to make an ID of yours by registering as a developer. However, it’s completely FREE of cost. Go to the bottom of the page and select the ‘Start Your Enrollment’ option. Run over the steps that follow. After fulfilling all the necessary criteria, you will be able to run your iOS on a virtual machine. If you are a Public Beta Tester, you don’t have to do such things.

Step 5:- Download and install AltStore on a PC

Just like we consider Amazon App Store as an alternative to the Google Play Store, we also have an alternative to Apple App Store. It is termed as the ‘AltStore’. Download and install it on your PC. You will get access to the AltServer. You have to sign in with your Apple ID and password. The AltServer will process any IPA file so that it works with your iOS. 

Step 6:- Install AltStore on iPhone

Once the AltServer detects your iPhone, select the option ‘Install AltStore’ from your PC and choose your iPhone. This will let AltStore be installed on your device. You will get the message- “Installation succeeded- AltStore successfully installed on <your iPhone name here>”, once done. You will see the new AltStore app icon on the Home screen. Apply it to run iOS on a virtual machine.

Step 7:- Get the latest UTM to build for iOS

To get hold of the latest version of UTM-

  • You can directly download it from your iPhone using ‘Safari’ if you are possessing an iOS 13 or up.
  • You might have to first download and install UTM on a PC and then transfer it to some File Explorer app if you possess an iOS 12 or below. USB Disk Pro is one such app. `

Get the IPA file by expanding the ‘Assets’ on the GitHub page. IPA is the iOS Application Package just like a game file such as an EXE file for Windows or an APK file for Android. Just download it by clicking on UTM.ipa. Take care to download the latest version of the UTM virtual machine. 

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Step 8:- Install UTM on iOS

To run your iOS on a virtual machine, you have to locate the UTM IPA file.

  • The IPA file should be already downloaded in the Files app if you possess an iOS 13 or up.
  • Use the app which helped you to transfer the IPA file to your iPhone.

When the UTM IPA file is found, press the ‘arrow up’ button to show the list of apps available. You can use either of these to open the file. Scroll to the bottom if you can’t see the AltStore app and select ‘More’. Tap on ‘AltStore’ or ‘Copy to AltStore’. The UTM IPA file will start downloading. Once it is done, you can see the UTM icon on your device’s Home screen.

Step 9:- Run UTM on iOS

Once the UTM gets downloaded, it’s very simple to carry on with the rest. Tap on the icon to open it. A white page will appear and will be displayed for a few seconds. You will get to see two buttons on top of the screen. There will be an ‘X’ button which will enable you to close the app. The ‘+’ icon will help you add a new Virtual Machine image if you want to. 

Step 10:- Run the Virtual Machine image

Even after carrying out all these steps, you might not have a Virtual Machine image for yourself. In that case, you have to build one up. We will talk about how to create a Virtual machine image soon.

If you already have a Virtual machine image, follow these steps.

  • Press the ‘Play’ button on the Virtual Machine image to start the Virtual Machine.
  • If you want to configure it like changing the CPU architecture, RAM, or disk size, just press (i) to configure it.

The Virtual Machine app will already be running by this time. Now, regardless of any operating system like Windows, Mac OS, Android, or Linux, you need a Virtual Machine image for yourself.

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Creating your own Virtual Machine image from UTM

You would like to create a Virtual Machine image of your own if you find it boring to select VM images. Be it Windows, macOS, Linux, or Android, follow the steps below to form a VM image:-

  1. Download the OS bootable ISO.
  2. Tap on the UTM icon in order to run it.
  3. Press the ‘+’ button on the top right to create a new VM.
  4. Once the Create VM Window appears, leave ‘Virtual Machine 1’ as default under ‘Name’. You can give any name of your choice.
  5. Choose the ‘x86_64’ architecture if it is a 32-bit or 64-bit X86-based OS. But if it is ARM-based, choose either ARM for 32-bit architecture and ARM64 for 64-bit architecture. If you are not sure which to choose, just Google “Windows 10 CPU architecture”. 
  6. On default settings, leave the ‘System’ and ‘memory’ options.
  7. Then select the option ‘Setup Drives/Images’.

Adding the bootable ISO

  1. To add a new VM drive, tap on the ‘+’ button under Drives/Images.
  2. Under this New Drive/Image, open the image selector by pressing on ‘Path’.
  3.  Once the ‘Select image’ tab comes up, tap on ‘+’.
  4. Then tap on the ‘Import’ option to start importing your bootable ISO. Once done, the bootable ISO will be added to the list.
  5.  Tap on the bootable ISO and then select ‘Image Type’. Now, you just need to change it to ‘CD/DVD Image’. When done, select ‘Back’.
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Adding the hard disk image

  1. Go back to the Drives/Images.
  2. Press on the ‘+’ to add a new VM image drive.
  3. Open the image selector by tapping on ‘Path’ under New Drive/ Image.
  4. Leave the default name if you want under the ‘Name’ in the Disk Image tab. Enter your bootable ISo at least three times under the ‘Size’. The safe limit is always considered as 10240 MB. No need to worry as the driver never takes up space directly according to UTM documentation. Whenever it needs additional storage space, it grows in size. Hence a greater memory space to be kept is advisable to prevent the device from running out of space. 
  5. Now tap on the ‘Save’ button. You will see a new disk image entry getting added to the list. 
  6.  Tap on the new VM image entry to explore it. Press on ‘Back’ to exit the image.
  7. You will see the “<Create VM” option as well. Tap on “Save” to keep it.

In this way, you have just created a new VM image for yourself. Tap on the VM image to run iOS on a Virtual Machine whenever you want. You can also edit the VM in order to remove the CD/DVD image/ISO independently, once you install the OS.

Turning the UTM Off

It is recommended to close the UTM app by just tapping on the ‘X’ button on the top left of the screen. However, you can also stop the UTM Virtual Machine app by activating the iOS task switcher.

Conclusion

So this was all about the method that will help you run iOS on a Virtual Machine. iPhone users have craved having a virtual machine on their devices for a long time now. This can’t be found on the App Store as told before. You all need to just look at the right place for it. We hope this piece of article helps. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I run iOS on a virtual machine?

Yes, it’s completely possible. Assuming your VM has been totally set up, install Xcode from the Mac App Store, it’s free but is time-consuming. Open Xcode once it’s done installing.

Can I run iOS on Linux?

Yes, You can run iOS on Linux by Xcode (IDE). However, Xcode runs on a MacBook only. Thus, you require some additional methods to develop iOS applications on Linux. In most of the cases, Virtualization software is required to develop iOS apps on Linux

Can you install iOS in VMware?

You can run the iOS simulator in VMware once you install the OS X in a VMware virtual machine. Then to use it you have to install Xcode in it.

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