Feb 13, 2019 | 2 min read

Advantages and Disadvantages of MacInCloud for Xamarin iOS Development

By: Craig Kaneshiro

Advantages and Disadvantages of MacInCloud for Xamarin iOS Development

Xamarin development is great for creating cross-platform native mobile applications without duplicating code for each of them. But, for those not using the Apple ecosystem, there’s an issue that can be a barrier to building Xamarin iOS applications.

While a Xamarin application built for both Android and iOS share a lot of the same code, it is still essential to test the application on each platform. Android is open source, so there are a variety of free and easy testing resources, but that’s not the case for iOS. An OSX environment is required to build the application, and neither the OSX nor iOS operating systems are available for free. Purchasing hardware is an option, but it requires maintenance, software updates, and hardware upgrades over time.

A more viable option for testing iOS applications without an OSX environment is to use a cloud service, like MacInCloud. Here’s a quick overview of MacInCloud's advantages, disadvantages, and how to get started using it.

Advantages to MacInCloud

  • Hardware is maintained and updated by MacInCloud
  • MacInCloud performs software updates
  • No need to make a substantial investment to get started with iOS application development
  • Easy setup
  • Pricing/configuration plans based on a variety of needs
  • Provides multiple methods of accessing the server

Disadvantages of MacInCloud

  • Will not necessarily result in cost savings, depending on current costs, and the selected MacInCloud plan
  • OSX Administrator access requires paying for a more expensive plan
  • Cheaper plans are on servers that share hardware
  • No physical access to the Mac

Getting started is easy and doesn’t require a significant commitment. MacInCloud provides a variety of pricing plans that allow users to choose one that best fits their needs.

  1. Visit https://www.macincloud.com/
  2. Review the plans and select one that meets your needs
  3. Finish the registration process and get your credentials
  4. Review MacInCloud’s helpful support page to connect the Mac for Xamarin development.

Other helpful details:

  • MacInCloud automatically applies software updates, which is generally great but can create some confusion while getting adjusted.
  • Xamarin requires that the local development environment and the Mac environment are running compatible versions of Xamarin, so if any build/connection errors are encountered, that is always a good component to check.
  • For Xamarin development, make sure to get a plan that includes Remote Build Port (SSH) access. - It’s an optional add-on for the lower tier plans.

MacInCloud is a viable solution for Xamarin teams using Windows hardware that wants iOS development options without requiring maintaining their own Apple hardware. If you have questions about building cross-platform native mobile applications, contact us anytime.