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Can you run iPhone apps on Samsung?

Apple users have access to some great apps that are exclusive to iPhones – many of you have been asking if you can run iPhone apps on Samsung and other Android devices. Read on to find out more…

Can you run iPhone apps on Samsung?

When people think about the difference between Apple and Samsung, they often think about the more obvious differences in design and user interface. But these surface differences go deeper than that. The reality is that the hardware and software that operate under the hoods of these different species of smartphone are very different.

Despite the customer loyalty that these two brands engender, there’s a healthy stream of Apple users moving over to the Samsung camp.

Inevitably, whatever the attractions of moving to an Android system and benefiting from Samsung’s innovative design features, phone users are creatures of habit. It is only natural that new Samsung users are going to pine for their old iOS apps.

The short answer is that, unfortunately for now, there’s no easy way to run iPhone apps on Samsung. Apple are very proprietary about their products, and none of them are open source, so tinkering is out.

Some key iOS apps not available on Samsung include:

  • iMovie and GarageBand video and music creation apps
  • Apple iWork: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote
  • Camera+ for improved image capture and manipulation

The good news is that a number of apps replicate the functionality of these apps for Android just as well. Check out apps like VidTrim and EasyBand Lite to easily create videos and music on your Samsung. The Microsoft suite of apps bring top notch productivity apps to Android, and camera apps like ProShot offer a range of image stability, lens filter, and image processing functionalities.

Check out these blog posts for some more great suggestions for Samsung alternatives to Garageband and Samsung alternatives to Camera+

Experimental solutions

Researchers at Columbia University are developing a tool called Cycada which emulates iOS on Android. It involves complicated processes such as “kernel-managed, peer-thread personas” and “multiple binary interfaces”. Sure, we followed that. Sadly, it’s not on public release yet, but that may change in future or if other public solutions are developed.

Part of the difficulty of running iPhone apps on Android comes down to the technical differences between Apple and Android.

Although both Operating Systems (OSes) perform similar functions, they are made by different companies: Apple makes iOS, and Google makes Android. Both brands use different software teams, and take different approaches to programming. The end result is two very different systems performing very similar processes.

As well as this, Apple and Samsung phones feature different hardware. When app designers programme apps they do it with a specific hardware architecture in mind. If the app is to be compatible across different OSes, that requires different versions of the apps to be created. And Apple just aren’t going to do that.

Home screen, sweet home screen

For Samsung users still pining for iOS, it is possible to recreate the look and feel of an iPhone on your Android device. Using a launcher like Hola, iLauncher, or Nova Launcher can create the “app drawer” look of an iPhone; with Nova in particular being highly customisable. You won’t be able to completely transform your UX back to Apple, but it should make the transition to Samsung a smoother process. Who knows, given time you may come to decide that Samsung offers a better user experience anyway.


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