All iOS app professional developers and beginners need Xcode for developing apps on their iOS, macOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Xcode is the integrated app development environment, which comes with a set of tools that aid the app development process. Xcode is only available for Mac and there is no Windows version readily available. Apple may come up with a Windows version in near future, but at present, there is no such advantage. Then does it mean Windows PC users will not be able to develop app? Definitely not. If you can afford a Mac, it’s good enough. But if you are a beginner, or if you want to try out your hands in iOS app development, then you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars in buying a Mac. There are several ways, by which you can access the Mac interface straight from your Windows PC. Here are some ways, which you can try out:
Remote Access A Mac By Renting
As I mentioned before, buying a Mac is an expensive solution, if you are a beginner. A better and pocket friendly solution is renting Mac and Xcode by subscribing to a suitable plan. Most plans provide you a trial version for 1 day or 1 month. You can try and test it to understand if app development is something that you want to continue with.
Here are some cloud environments:
MacStadium aids enterprise class cloud solution for macOS and iOS app development. MacStadium is a one stop destination for all your Apple app development requirements, such as a Mac cloud or a single Mac mini, depending on your requirements. MacStadium has a scalable infrastructure that enables users with testing tools to scale globally, while operating the Mac from a remote location.
XcodeClub is a fast and user-friendly environment for iOS app development. You can have remote access to your own Mac virtual machine, running latest licensed Mac with Xamarin and Xcode. It also supports Visual Studio for Mac. For XcodeClub, you have to subscribe for a minimum of 1 month to try out the environment.
MacinCloud is the most popular among all of these. It facilitates a properly managed and dedicated cloud servers for Mac. It also provides you DevOp pipelines and hosted private cloud solution, mac tasks, enterprise builds, on-demand Mac servers, etc.
Build A Hackintosh
Building a Hackintosh requires a hell lot of efforts from the user side. This method is not an easy one. But it’s definitely an important method. What is Hackintosh? While most of the beginner developers are aware of it, students who are first time trying their hands on iOS app development, must not be well aware of Hackintosh. Hackintosh= Hack+ Macintosh. It is a computer that runs OS X or macOS on a hardware device, not authorized by Apple. In 2005, Apple made a transition to Intel processors from PowerPC. Since then, Apple has been deploying x86-64 computer architecture, just like many other laptops, PCs. As the underlying architecture is similar, the codes which run Macintosh operating system can also be run on the computers having x86-64 architecture as the backbone.
Hackintosh.com is the main resource of everything related to Hackintosh. You will get a plenty of How-To tutorials, guidelines, Hackintosh videos, community, support, etc.
Other than hackintosh.com, you can check the subreddits of hackintosh. It contains a huge and versatile source of relevant information. Communities of reddits deal with real life problems and open new opportunities of interesing conversation and information exchange with fellow redditians. 9to5 Mac is another amazing source of information on Hackintosh. You can check 9to5 Mac Hackintosh Guides.
Create A Virtual Mac
Creating a virtual machine on your existing computer is the most economical solution. But, for setting up a virtual Mac, you need to have a strong base knowledge, and a sound technical know-how. All the above services will do the same thing, but they will charge you a subscription for setting up the virtual machine. Else, you need to do it yourself. So, if you are confident and have set up virtual machines in the past, then you do not need to pay additional fee for renting a remote access to a Mac. However, If you have decided to set up a virtual Mac all by yourself, then here are two popular software applications, VirtualBox and VMWare Workstation. After creating a virtual machine, continue with your app development with Xcode.
This is the most important virtualization application and it is an open source software. It’s the best idea to begin with a free application. So, beginners, give it a try!
VMware Workstation costs quite an amount if you are beginner. So, it’s always a good idea to work with the trial version first. If you are convinced, then you can invest in a second hand Mac Mini, as a second hand Mac Mini costs somewhat equal to VMWare Workstation.
Third Party Applications
There are several third party applications, that can provide resource and platform for iOS app development. E.g. react native, Xamarin, PhoneGap, Appcelator, etc.