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How to run iOS apps on Mac

Find out how to run iOS apps on your Mac, and which Macs are best for the job.

Published onMarch 1, 2023

For years, if Apple users wanted to run their favorite iOS apps on their computer, they had to do so via third-party applications, emulators, or other non-official cumbersome methods. But now, if you own an Apple Silicon Mac (the newer ones with an M1 processor) and have at least Big Sur, you can seamlessly and easily run iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac computer. Let’s take a look at how to do it.


To run iOS apps on your Mac computer, go to the Mac app store and search for the iOS app. If the app can be run on the Mac (not all can), it will appear under the iPhone & iPad Apps tab. Click to download it, then use it as you would on your iOS device. Bear in mind that the app may not work optimally on the Mac so be prepared for some shortcomings.


What are the benefits of using iOS apps on a Mac?

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 sitting on desk with AA site on screen
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Applications on the iPhone and iPad have come a long way. Now, you can have the full functionality of word processors, video editors, and other applications in the palm of your hand.

If you work on your iPad frequently, you may want to transfer data or workflows from your tablet to your computer. With the Big Sur update, you can do just that. You may also have favorite iPhone apps which you would also like to use on your Mac. Not all apps have been adapted for the Mac so being able to download the iOS version would solve all problems.

Can your Mac run iOS apps?

Apple App Store stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

As mentioned, you can only run iOS apps on your Mac if your computer has an Apple Silicon chip. To check if your device is capable, follow these steps below:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen.
  • Click on About this Mac. If, under the Chip section, it says Apple M1, then you’re capable of running iOS apps on your computer.
about macbook air

How to run iOS apps on a Mac

ios apps on mac

Downloading iOS apps on your Mac computer is extremely simple. If you know how the App Store works on your Mac, you’ll have no problem at all.

  • Open the App Store on your Mac.
  • Click the search field in the App Store, and type in the app you want to download. Remember not all iOS apps are available on the Mac Apple Store.
  • In the search results, select the iPhone & iPad Apps tab.
  • Click the Get button next to the app search result.

What is an emulator and should I use one?

Bluestacks best android emulators list

With the new M1 MacBooks and its silicon chips, emulators have become rather obsolete and you don’t see them mentioned as often like 10 years ago. In short, an emulator is a program that ’emulates’ another kind of device or service. For example, in the early days of the Mac, you would have to download an emulator in order to run Windows OS on your Mac. Nowadays, there are more comprehensive services (one even built into the Mac itself) that allow you to do this more seamlessly.

Back in the day, it was extremely common to download emulators from shady third-party websites in order to run iOS apps, Gameboy games, and Windows programs on a Mac. Not only would you have to find the emulator application online, but you’d have to find the individual apps or programs you want to run as well. This made things pretty complicated and many people infected their devices with viruses and general malware.

Some recommendations

If you have an older Mac and desperately need to use an iOS app on your computer, you still need to use an emulator. There are plenty of resources on the internet to help guide you through the process to ensure you don’t download a virus and ruin your computer. If the idea of downloading a program off an unverified third-party source makes you feel uncomfortable, check out which Macs you would need to run iOS apps without an emulator.

Looking for recommendations? Here are a few worth checking out:

What’s the best Mac for iOS apps?

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 right siide profile showing SDXC card slot Thunderbolt 4 USB C port and HDMI 2.1 port
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

All Macs manufactured in 2020 and beyond will have an Apple silicon chip (also known as Apple M1). If you want to run iOS apps without using an emulator, we would recommend purchasing one of the models below.

Read more: How to mirror your iPhone screen to a Mac


No, this is not possible without the M1 chip which is not found in Intel Macs. The only possible method for an Intel Mac is to use an emulator.

Not all iOS apps can be run on a Mac. If you can’t find the one you’re looking for, then it likely isn’t compatible.

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