Emulators, torrents, here we come: install your own apps using Xcode 7 for free


macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
I haven't seen this reported before, and this is huge:

Now everyone can get their app on their Apple device.
Xcode 7 and Swift now make it easier for everyone to build apps and run them directly on their Apple devices. Simply sign in with your Apple ID, and turn your idea into an app that you can touch on your iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch. Download Xcode 7 beta and try it yourself today. Program membership is not required.
This finally brings iOS development requirements closer to Android which has never required payment to deploy your own code on your own device.

It could also become a more secure alternative to Android's "allow installation of apps from unknown sources", because you'll be able to install third-party open source apps that Apple will never allow into the App Store.

There are more details in the app distribution guide:
If you don’t join the Apple Developer Program, you can still build and run your app on your devices using free provisioning. However, the capabilities available to your app, described in Adding Capabilities, are restricted when you don’t belong to the Apple Developer Program.
The restricted capabilities appear to be mostly in-app purchases, Game Center, iCloud and Apple Pay — basically features that require iTunes Connect account.

It looks like Apple's intention is to invite potential developers who could be interested in making apps, but aren't ready to pay $100 upfront which might seem like a commitment. It offers them the opportunity to get the feel of the development process and try out their ideas on their devices, then some of them might get those ideas ready for public consumption and join the full developer program.

However, there's nothing Apple can do to prevent the developers of game console emulators and torrent clients from distributing their apps in source code form and making them available to everybody without relying on jailbreaks or revoked certificates.
Here's a sample of what's already available:

The popularity of these apps will inevitably drive many people to download Xcode and will introduce them to iOS development. It might even provide an incentive for Windows users to buy a Mac.

And that is great: win for users, win for Apple.
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 3, 2013
Hamburg, Germany
I don't think this is what they had in mind.
And I don't think it's what you should do. But it's sweet, cause... well, free app programming!
I really think some people might need this.


macrumors 6502
Aug 5, 2013
I would like to see Mini vMac as an option. I'll have to check github.com to find more open source apps for my iPhone.


macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2011
Would Kodi (formerly XBMC) be able to work using this method? That would be AMAZING!
Absolutely. Any app that runs standalone and doesn't require root access (i.e. not a tweak) can do this: BatteryLife is an example, Kodi, VLC, emulators, torrent clients, and more.
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