iOS on MacOS: How to Run iPhone and iPad Apps on Your Mac

If your Mac has an Apple M1 or M2 chip, you can run iPhone and iPad apps that are compatible with your Mac. Here’s how to get your mobile apps to run on your laptop or desktop.

Apple has a large number of apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. However, iOS and iPadOS users can only get apps from the App Store, while Mac users get all their software from the Mac App Store.

That changed when Apple Silicon came out. If your computer has an Apple M1 or M2 chip, you can use your favourite iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac just as you would on your iPhone or iPad. Just look in the Mac App Store for apps that say “Designed for iPhone” or “Designed for iPad.”

When you can use iPad and iPhone apps on a computer, you can do things like edit photos, listen to podcasts, play games, and more. With apps like Overcast and PhotoRoom, you can now use your phone on a bigger screen. Putting some of your favourite programmes on your Mac desktop or laptop doesn’t take much work. Here’s how to get the apps you want and set up the controls.

How to Run iPhone and iPad Apps on Your Mac

What You Need to Run Mobile Apps on a Mac

How to Run iPhone and iPad Apps on Your Mac

To run iPhone or iPad apps on your Mac, you will need a machine with an Apple Silicon chip inside. At this point, most computers Apple sells include some variation of the M1 or M2 chip, including:

  • MacBook Air from late 2020 and later
  • Mac mini from late 2020 and later
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch from late 2020 and later
  • MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch from 2021 and later
  • iMac from 2021 and later
  • Mac Studio from 2022 and later


How to Install Mobile Apps on a Mac

To get apps for your iPhone or iPad on your Mac, open the App Store and click on your account name in the bottom left corner. This will show you all of the apps you’ve downloaded or bought through your account on different devices.

Click on the text that says “iPhone & iPad Apps” to see all the apps from those devices that you can install on your Mac. Paid apps will be free to download again, but some may still require a subscription to work properly.

Keep in mind that you might not be able to download all of your iPhone and iPad apps. Developers can choose not to make their apps work on Macs if they want to. Instagram, for example, can’t be used on a laptop or desktop computer (you can view your account from the web, though). You might be able to download other apps, but the developer might not have fully tested them, so they might not work right.

When you use Family Sharing for apps, you can also see apps that other people on your account have downloaded. After clicking the account name in the bottom-left corner of the App Store, click the same name on the right side to see other apps.

Add Touch-Alternative Controls

Macs don’t have touch screens (yet), so some of the controls may be a little different from what you’d find on a mobile device. Click the app’s name in the top left corner of the screen to use different touch controls. Choose “Settings” and turn “Touch Alternatives” on. On the menu screen, a diagram will show all of the options, such as the ability to tilt, swipe, and scroll. You can also choose the Game Control tab to use a gamepad with these controls.



Can You Use Mac Apps on an iPad?

No, is the short answer. You can’t run Mac apps right away on an iPad. Use remote access software like Screens(Opens in a new window) to see and change what’s on your Mac screen from an iPad. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least it feels like you’re running Mac software on an iPad.