iPhone Emulation – Testing your sites without an iPhone

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 in Other |

With apple’s iphone becoming an increasingly popular tool for browsing the internet, web designers and developers should really be testing their sites with the iPhone to ensure compatability. Most people won’t want to buy an iPhone exclusively for this purpose, so you’re only option is to emulate it on a PC!

Macintosh Users

Unfortunately for (us) windows users, it is very difficult to simulate the mac environment. For all Mac related testing, the best solution is to test it on a Mac. If you have one handy, go to developer.apple.com/iphone , register and download the SDK which includes a simulator which will undoubtedly give you the most accurate preview.

Windows Users

I’m afraid to say there’s no perfect solution (at least not one we’ve found). At the end of the day the iPhone OS is essentially an Apple OS, just like Windows Mobile is Windows. If you’re seriously developing for Mac users and the compatability with their browsers is important to you then you need a mac, end of story.

Due to this, your best bet is using Safari for Windows. It’s the closest thing to a mac browser on windows and is something you should test anyway so you don’t alienate desktop/laptop Mac users.

One recommendation is to download safari and use the free iPhone Browser Simulator from Blackbaud Labs. It uses Safari’s rendering engine to browse on an iphone-sized screen.

Another solution is an online emulator. There are many “emulators” out there which you can view on your browser, but at best they shrink the viewable screen size to an iphone screen. If you view these on safari, you will get some idea as to how your site will look, although don’t bank on this solution as a definite one. Some popular ones are http://iphonetester.com/ and http://www.testiphone.com/