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 Post subject: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:15 am 
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Mac Mechanic
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Is there any iOS emulator out there?
When I search for it, I always stumble on simulators, but I never saw a real emulator anywhere.
Isn't that weird that a 9-year old system like iOS is still not being emulated?


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:37 pm 
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Not really weird; iOS is a fully proprietary OS that is encrypted and runs on proprietary chips that have no documentation outside of Apple.

The effort to emulate an iOS-capable device is therefore significant. That said, if you got, say, a first generation iPod Touch and loaded a jailbroken iOS 3 on it, you could probably reverse engineer things to the point where an emulator could be written.

Qemu is well situated to handle this sort of emulation (it does ARM emulation and is Android-capable), but any public project is going to run afoul of Apple's Legal team unless things are done just right -- and even then, they'll probably still be the victim of a few baseless lawsuits brought by a company with bottomless pockets.

I hope that helps explain the lack of iOS hardware-capable emulators.


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:19 am 
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Well, I agree with pretty much everything you said. But I still think the first versions of iOS would probably go largely ignored by Apple unless they are too similar to the newer versions.

I have an "old" iPhone 5 with me running iOS 6. Most apps at Apple Store are useless when using this device, because the minimum requirements have been changing a lot in the past couple of years, there is no way around most of the apps with jailbreak either: they simply won't run. The old versions of applications are almost nowhere to be found and most apps that rely on internet connection to fetch specialised data can be completely useless because the server-side was updated long ago.

This is iOS 6, which was released 4 years ago, in 2012. It is not that old. That said, I think iPhone OS 1 could probably be already considered abandonware. Nobody uses it. Emulating it won't harm Apple's business.

I know that is irrelevant for a company like Apple and if they can seek their legal rights and they see that as a profitable course of action they probably will do it, but I think perhaps lack of interest is stronger than fear of reprisal. Pity there's no effort there yet, it would be nice.

Is there touch-based emulation support in QEMU? I never tried, now I am curious about it.


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:28 am 
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sentient06 wrote:
This is iOS 6, which was released 4 years ago, in 2012. It is not that old. That said, I think iPhone OS 1 could probably be already considered abandonware. Nobody uses it. Emulating it won't harm Apple's business.

You do not emulate an OS, you emulate hardware.


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:45 pm 
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Ronald P. Regensburg wrote:
You do not emulate an OS, you emulate hardware.

True. Allow me to amend it: to emulate an iPhone 1st generation means we could try and run iPhone OS 1 - 3. I reckon all of which are very outdated as far as they usefulness goes.

Well, perhaps lack of usefulness if a good reason to justify lack of interest. Even emulating an iPhone or iPod for playing games could be tricky in a computer. =/


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:52 pm 
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The thing is, you couldn't run a vanilla copy of iOS on the emulator, as I pointed out; iOS calls home to Apple to use Apple's signing key, which no longer exists. So you'd need to run jailbroken iOS on the emulated hardware. And then there's the difficulty of dumping the initial "ROM" -- doable, but not easy, nor exactly legal thanks to the DMCA. The phone exemption doesn't cover the actual hardware's embedded routines, AFAIK. Just the firmware.


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:53 am 
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sentient06 wrote:
Is there any iOS emulator out there?
When I search for it, I always stumble on simulators, but I never saw a real emulator anywhere.
Isn't that weird that a 9-year old system like iOS is still not being emulated?

Actually, there's an emulator with iOS SDK :wink: :wink: , and, can I emulate the first gen iPod?


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:59 am 
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There was the unreleased cider/cycada emulator for android but the man behind it was hired by apple. :evil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uaple0Ec1Dg


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:40 pm 
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See my comments up the thread. iOS isn't going to run on an emulator unless it is jailbroken. Secure enclave ensures that the hardware itself won't be something we can emulate any time soon.

That said, something like iPINE might be possible (iPINE is not an emulator) where a virtual machine running a tweaked version of Darwin/ARM puts enough dummy API calls in place to be able to run iOS software without the OS.


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:09 pm 
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Interesting page... it really reeks of automated SEO, but does link to some products that are "sort of" iOS emulators; they're mostly simulators, allowing you to run your iOS source code in an x86 environment, or run Android APKs in a UI that looks like iOS. A few of them do basic ARM emulation underneath, and one of them essentially lets you sideload your software on someone else's jailbroken iOS device and the result is streamed.

But as I mentioned before, any hardware dependencies will fail. None of that linked software actually emulates an iOS device.


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:34 pm 
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adespoton wrote:
Interesting page... it really reeks of automated SEO
And the poster is probably a spambot.
https://www.google.ca/search?q=%22There ... product%22


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 Post subject: Re: iOS emulator?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:45 pm 
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Funny that the spambots are getting almost useful these days. If they worked just a bit harder, they'd actually be performing a useful service instead of just spamming useless links!


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