As we detailed earlier today, it’s easy to download iPhone and iPad apps from the Mac App Store to run them on the new M1-powered MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. However, Apple gives developers the ability to opt-out of having their application available on the Mac, and many have taken that option.
A user on Reddit has now discovered that it’s actually possible to install app files, or .IPA files, from your iPhone on an M1 Mac.
To do this, you need to have a copy of the IPA file, and as The Verge points out, it needs to be associated with your Apple ID. This means you can just download IPA files from other sources, or even share them with other users. So how do you extract an IPA file from your iPhone?
- Plug-in device to Mac with iMazing running
- Select “Apps” for the iPhone plugged in to your Mac
- Select “Manage Apps” in the tabs at the bottom
- Select “Library” in the manage apps screen
- Download the apps you want
- Right click on the downloaded app in the list -> Export ipa
Once you export the IPA, you simply double click the file, then it installs and moves itself to your Applications folder just like a normal Mac app. You can open it from Finder, from Launchpad, or add it directly to your macOS dock for easy access.
This works for the vast majority of iPhone and iPad applications, including notable holdouts such as Netflix, Hulu, Dark Sky, and Instagram. Certain applications, however, such as WhatsApp and the Apple Store app, have additional requirements that prevent them from opening on the Mac at all.
There are a few things to keep in mind with this strategy. First, these developers chose to not make their apps available on the Mac for a reason. In many instances, things are wonky and don’t work quite right. Netflix, for instance doesn’t offer a full-screen mode, or even the ability to resize the window.
Instagram works properly, though it’s pretty small. I was actually most impressed with the Plex app, which runs without a hitch. TikTok also works quite well. But again, remember that developers chose to opt-out for a reason, so you shouldn’t take your complaints to them.
Finally, this is something that Apple can (and likely will) block in the future. It’s an unsupported method of installing iPhone and iPad apps on Apple Silicon Macs, and we shouldn’t expect it to be around forever. Think of it as more of a temporary way to explore the possibilities of these apps on your Mac.
If you’re interested in trying it out, you can download iMazing for free.
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