How to install any iPhone or iPad app on a Mac M1

Macs with M1 can use apps developed for iOS and iPadOS because they share the same architecture between operating systems.

Some iOS developers have updated their apps to be compatible with macOS, but there are ways to download apps that haven’t been optimized, or even apps that the developers haven’t made available for use on macOS.

Install iOS and iPadOS apps from the Mac App Store

In the Mac App Store, you can download many of the apps you have already purchased for your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Open the ‌Mac App Store‌.
  2. click on your profile at the bottom of the app.
  3. In the account, choose “‌iPhone‌ and iPad‌ Apps”.
  4. Next to each app you will find the download button.
  5. The iOS app will be installed like any other Mac app in the Applications folder, and you can open it both from Launchpad and by double-clicking on its icon.

You can also do a normal search in the Mac App Store using the name of the app for iPhone or iPad and click on the tab “Apps for iPhone / iPad” in the results window you will see the apps that were originally created to be used on devices iOS.

Some of the apps you find will have a label that says “Not verified for macOS” which means that their interface has not been adapted for use on a Mac.

Other apps that do not have this notice will have been reviewed by the developer and should work fine on a Mac M1, although the design may not be perfect because they are still an inheritance from iOS and were not designed for macOS screens.

Install apps not available on the Mac App Store

App developers may have chosen not to make their iPhone and iPad apps available on the Mac App Store, and many popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, and others have. There is a way around this ban, but it requires installing a third-party app.

As is known, M1 Macs can use any .ipa file, which is the format used by iOS apps. You need a .ipa file for the app to work on a Mac with M1, and to get those files you can use a program like iMazing. In faq-mac we have talked about iMazing on several occasions, since it is an application that is used to make backup copies of ‌iPhone‌, but it also has functionalities to download and save .ipa files.

  1. Download and open iMazing.
  2. Connect your ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ to your Mac.
  3. Select your device and choose the Manage Apps option.
  4. Select Library and you will see a list of installed apps.
  5. Right click on an app and choose the download option to add it to your Library.
  6. Double click on the same app again and select “Export .ipa”.
  7. Choose the destination folder where you want to export (such as the Applications folder).
  8. From your chosen folder, click on the app icon to install it.

Apps that are installed using this method are not optimized for Macs with M1 Macs and macOS and are also designed for a touch interface, so you may encounter difficulties when using them.

If you plan to use this method to download apps like Hulu, Netflix, etc. You have to know that you cannot put the apps in Full Screen mode, but you have the option of downloading the contents to view them without an Internet connection, just like when they are used on an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌.

In the future, it is likely that more and more iOS applications will be redesigned for use with Macs, but at the moment the options are very limited.

Use the Apple Configurator 2 app

You can also use the free Apple app Apple Configurator 2, but it is necessary to use the Terminal to correct permissions. The instructions are as follows:

Follow the instructions in Configurator: (taken from here)

  1. Download an app from the App Store on your phone or tablet
  2. Opens Apple Configurator 2 in you Mac and enter your Apple account
  3. Connect your phone to the Mac using a USB cable
  4. Within Apple Configurator 2 select your phone
  5. Tap on the button “Add” at the top, and then on the button “Apps
  6. Choose the app and tap on “Add”
  7. Finally, you may get a message like “the app already exists” but don’t worry, you can rescue the .ipa by following this route:

~ / Library / Group Containers / K36BKF7T3D.group.com.apple.configurator / Library / Caches / Assets / TemporaryItems / MobileApps /

This allows you to have the IPA on your Mac and when you double click it will install the app in the Applications folder.

If it doesn’t install, you’ll have to use Terminal to correct the permissions, by typing this command:

sudo xattr -rd com.apple.quarantine [ruta de la app que quieres instalar]

Once you do, you can open the app.