Can I Write iOS Applications on Windows?

So you’ve been a Windows user for a long time, but you want to get in on the iOS development game. Great! Welcome to the party.

The bad news is that hanging onto your Windows machine won’t be as rosy as buying a Mac.

Still, let’s take a second to look at all your options:

  1. Write your iOS code in a text editor on Windows and push it to BuddyBuild every time you want to compile (Works, but is a royal pain in the ass. You can also do this with React Native, which is slightly less painful.)
  2. Install Mac OS in a Virtual Machine and use that (Difficulty. Tempermental. Very poorly documented.)
  3. Build a Hackintosh (Difficult, but cost effective and very powerful results. Just don’t upgrade OS X before the Hackintosh priesthood has deemed it safe.)
  4. Buy a Mac, use Xcode on the Mac (Expensive, but solves the problem very nicely.)
  5. Buy a Mac, but write your code on Windows using Xamarin, reducing the Mac only to a build slave (Dream solution if you are a Windows / C# buff with money to burn.)

Personally, I only recommend the bottom 3 options. If you’re going to be a serious iOS developer, you’re going to want a solid, reliable setup. The straightest path to reliability is to plonk down the cash for a Mac. Those wanting more power will opt for a Hackintosh, and those craving C# or Visual Studio, will opt for the Xamarin option.

If you’re just testing the waters, then you may want to go for option 1 or 2, maybe even using React Native and ExponentJS to make it easier on yourself.

Whichever you pick, good luck with your iOS dev adventure!

I’d love to hear how it goes.

Written on July 13, 2016

David Kay has dedicated his life to the advancement of the technological singularity. He is a serial entrepreneur, working to impact the future of software development and medicine. If you found this article helpful, join his weekly newsletter.