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How to simulate different iOS versions and devices?

There are three ways to simulate different iOS versions and devices:

  • Simulators or Virtual Device
  • Test on real devices (recommended)
  • Simulate iOS version from macOS using Xcode

1. Simulators or Virtual Device

A Virtual Testing Device is not an actual phone but a software program that gives similar functionality as the real phone. It mimics the functionalities of a smartphone that helps the testers to run their application and know how it would run on a real device.

There are two types of virtual devices-

  • Emulators: A software program that mimics the features of another software, hardware, or OS of the target device. It lets you test your app by emulating a real device. Emulators are used in automation, unit testing, and debugging.
  • Simulators: A simulator is also a software program that allows your device to run specific programs built for different operating systems. Simulators are written in high-level languages and are primarily used to simulate different iOS versions and devices. iOS Simulators for app testing are often used to ensure that the application works correctly across different environments as intended.

The fastest way to simulate iOS versions, without downloading any simulators or software in your system, would be to sign up for cloud-based test execution platform i.e. LambdaTest to simulate different iOS versions and devices online and start testing for free.


LambdaTest has numerous iOS simulators to help your test your app on iPhones and even iPads.

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2. Test on Real Devices (Most Recommended Way)

Its important to note that simulation only mimics the real hardware of the device and it can be glitchy sometimes leading to faulty test results.

If you don’t want to compromise the quality assurance then the best way would be by Real device testing.

Real device testing is testing performed on actual physical devices. By testing on real iOS devices, you would be able to authenticate testing in real world conditions and scenarios.

You could test how the app would respond on a real device’s battery consumption, you could even gauge how the app would behave on different network conditions by network throttling and you could also perform gesture testing to check actions like pinch-to-zoom etc.

However, if a user ends up buying real iOS devices one after the other. It would cost them a fortune and even if you end up purchasing all of iOS devices, it would take a considerable toll in maintaining them from time to time.

Which is why, the smart way to test on real devices is to lean over a cloud-based test execution platform such as LambdaTest for mobile app testing.


LambdaTest has 3000+ real devices, browsers and OS. You can start testing on real devices for $25/month and get access to a whole range of real iOS, Android, Windows and macOS devices.

You can test on different iOS device type iPhone or iPad with different iOS versions and devices iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini etc.

3. Simulate iOS version from macOS using Xcode

Easily simulate diverse iOS versions and devices with Xcode's built-in iOS Simulator app.

Follow these steps for seamless simulation:

  • Launch Xcode on your Mac.
  • Access Xcode > Preferences > Components.
  • Add extra simulators if needed.
  • Close the Preferences window.
  • From the Window menu and choose Devices and Simulators.
  • Select your desired simulator.
  • Click the Run button to launch the simulator.

You can also use cloud-based mobile app testing platforms such as LambdaTest to simulate different iOS versions and devices online. Now you can reduce operational costs instantly paired with security and performance behind your own firewall through private real device cloud. Through private real device cloud you can select from a wide range of iOS and Android devices & set up them according to your specifications, ensuring they're ready for your testing needs.


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