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Can Raspberry Pi be configured to run iOS apps? Maybe through an emulator that already exists or are in the works?

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  • Apple is extremely strict with its software. This is why you (usually) only see Mac OS X on Apple made computers.
    – syb0rg
    Sep 25 '13 at 2:06
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The short answer: no, there is no possible way to run or emulate iOS apps on a Raspberry Pi.

The long answer: there is no way to run/emulate iOS apps for the following reasons:

  • iOS devices starting with the 3GS and the 3rd-gen iPod touch have used processors with the ARMv7 architecture. Discounting everything else which makes this impossible, any app that doesn't run on the iPhone 3G (which uses an ARMv6 processor similar to the one in the Pi) wouldn't run on a Pi.
  • Like syb0rg said, Apple maintains a high degree of control over its software. iOS is closed source and tightly integrated with the hardware it runs on; porting the frameworks that iOS apps use to a different platform, such as the Pi, would be extremely difficult if not downright impossible. This makes it impossible for an iOS app to run "natively" on a Pi.
  • Furthermore, due to Apple's tight control over iOS, writing a third-party emulator is very difficult. iEmu looked promising, but there's been no development on it in a year. Additionally, it only supports emulating a first-generation iPhone, thus encountering the issues brought up in my first point.
  • Finally, even if a full-featured emulator for iOS did exist, it would be slow to the point of unusability. Even on state-of-the-art hardware, responsive emulation is CPU-intensive; the processor in the Pi is far from state-of-the-art.

If you really really really wanted to get an iOS app "running" on a Pi, I suppose you could VNC into a machine running OS X and the iPhone simulator. This seems pretty pointless, though, as you'd be dependent on another computer to do all the dirty work, you'd be lacking inputs such as multitouch and the accelerometer, and the latency caused by VNC might be too high anyway.

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