How to Install .ipa File in iOS Simulator?

In general, you cannot run an .ipa file in the simulator because the .ipa file is compiled for a phone’s ARM architecture, not the simulator’s x86 architecture.

But, you can extract an app run in a local simulator, and then send it to someone else. Drag and drop the extracted app into the simulator which you want to run it in.

Following are the detail steps for how to do this:

Step 1 – Build and Run a Demo App

Create a Hello World demo app (IpaInstallDemo) with XCode and Run in a local simulator.

Step 2 – Open Activity Monitor and Find the App in the Simulator

Open Activity Monitor and find the process name which is our testing app IpaInstallDemo.

Double click the process and choose “Open Files and Ports” tab, then you can get the folder path where is the app in.

Copy the path and open the folder, you will find the app within the folder.

Step 3 – Copy and Drop into the Simulator

You can send the app to someone else, and they then can Copy and Drop the app into the simulator which they want to run the app.


In general, you cannot run an .ipa file in the simulator. but we have a workaround way to distribute the app to run in other simulators.

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