How to run iOS apps on your M1 Mac

Apple's latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini have one big change: they all use Apple's M1 silicon processor. Thanks to this innovative chip, the convergence of iOS and macOS apps have taken a big step forward.

How to run iOS apps on your M1 Mac
M1 Mac

This means that it is easier than ever to use iOS apps on your Mac computer, although the process has also changed from solutions used in the past. Don't worry, the new steps are easy to follow and anyone can do it. Here's what you need to know.

Step 1: Head to the Mac App Store

Log into your macOS computer and head to the Mac App Store. You can usually find the App Store in the Dock (with an A-like icon), but if you don't see the icon there, it's still easy to access. Simply select the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen, then select App Store from the dropdown menu to get started.

In the App Store window, take a look in the lower-left corner of the window, and you'll see your account icon with your name on it. Select this icon (sign in if necessary) to go to your account, which displays all the apps you have downloaded.

Step 2: Switch to iOS apps

Look directly under the account title and you'll see an iPhone and iPad app category option. Select this and you will see all the apps you have already downloaded on iOS. These applications are now available to you.

Step 3: Search your iOS apps and download

Select the iCloud Download icon to start the iOS app download process to your Mac. Download several mobile apps that you want to use on your Mac computer.

If you don't see the iPhone and iPad apps category, make sure you have a Mac 2020 with the M1 chip and that you are up to date with the latest version of macOS. Otherwise, this option might not appear.

If you subscribe to a Family Sharing plan with Apple and multiple accounts have downloaded multiple apps, you may need to click on the account names to find the person who downloaded the desktop app you are considering.

This process also works for all apps rated for iPadOS.

Step 4: Look for new apps in the Store

So far, these steps work for the iOS apps you already own. But if you want to download new mobile apps specifically for macOS, you will have to look for it. Go to the search box in the upper-left corner of the App Store window and search for the app you are considering, or select the Discover or Categories lists to see what popular apps are waiting for.

When you get the results, look to the top of the list again and select iPhone and iPad apps to make sure you're browsing the right category. When you find an app you want to download, select Get to start the download process. Everything should work as if you downloaded it to iPhone, and you can find the new app in the Applications folder in the Dock to get started.

Important note on sideloading apps with IPA files

you can not. Before the M1 chip, iOS app fans could download IPA files with apps like iMazing and implement them on macOS to get the desktop version of the mobile app they want. It wasn't perfect, but it worked for a lot of people and allowed for a lot of experimentation with apps that weren't necessarily available on the Mac App Store.

Apple has now banned this sideload flaw on the latest versions of macOS, and old IPA files should stop working for users as well. Basically, Apple wants everyone to use the App Store on their own to download apps on macOS, whether or not they are iOS apps. It also helps prevent bad reviews of apps that people tried to download on a platform for which they were not designed (as mentioned above).

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