Simulators and Emulators

Mobile Device OS Testing

There are a number of different simulators/emulators available that can be used to test mobile devices.

These will not provide a true representations of how physical devices will handle an application or web site.

For iOS they are called simulators, for Windows and Android they are called emulators.

These software solutions will allow initial testing to quickly detect the first round of bugs and defects. After this round of “virtual” testing, it is highly recommended that you perform actual physical tests on your target devices. Relying purely on “virtual” testing will likely lead to problems.

At the end of the day, nothing beats testing on a physical device.


Apple iOS Simulator

This simulator can be used to simulate both the iPhone and the iPad.

It is available as part of the iOS SDK. Developers can download via the iOS Dev Center. Otherwise, anyone with an account should be able to download using the Xcode download within the Mac App Store.

For reference, this is currently a download of around 1.4GB in size.

iPhone Simulator

iPhone Simulator

NOTE: This officially only runs only on Mac OS X so you need an Apple computer to use this.

The screen shot below shows the links available within the iOS Dev Center.



Electric Plum

Provides a simulator that represents the iPhone and iPad web browsing experience within a Windows or Mac environment:

Electric Plum

Electric Plum

Electric Mobile Simulator Professional is available for USD $29.99 for Windows and USD $29.99 for a Mac version.

Electric Mobile Simulator Lite that is free for Windows and Mac with limited functionality.


Android SDK

Available for Windows, OS X (Intel) and Linux (i386).

Download the Android SDK so that you can emulate a number of different platforms and device types based on the ROM that you download:

Android Xoom Emulator

Android Xoom Emulator


In my experience, more of an App tester than a browser test but the web site says:

“BlueStacks is not technically an Android emulator at all, but it does achieve a similar effect”



Windows Phone Emulator

Available as part of the Windows Phone SDK which includes the following

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
  • Windows Phone Emulator
  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Assemblies
  • Silverlight 4 SDK and DRT
  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Extensions for XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK for Windows Phone 7
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK for Windows Phone OS 7.1
  • WCF Data Services Client for Window Phone
  • Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone
Windows Phone Emulator

Windows Phone Emulator

Runs on:

  • Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit
  • Vista 7 32-bit and 64-bit

NOTE: Is not supported by MS in a virtual environment. You need a physical instance to run this properly. Based on my experience, you will get an error in a VM environment.

MSDN: Windows Phone Emulator Windows Phone SDK 7.1


Microsoft Web Matrix

Whilst this application is not a true simulator, it has a feature that allows access to a number of simulators/emulators.

Within the application you can add both the Electric Plum iPhone and iPad simulator as well as the Windows Phone emulator to view your site:

Windows Web Matrix

Windows Web Matrix


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