We wrote last year about a developer who successfully emulated iPhone OS on a Mac using QEMU. At the time, the original firmware of the 1st generation iPod touch was used to demonstrate that emulating iPhone and iPod touch software is possible. Now Martijn de Vos, also known as devos50, has shown the progress he has made with this emulator, which now runs iPhone OS 2.1.
iPhone OS 2 emulated with QEMU
As shown by the developer on X (formerly known as Twitter), he has now managed to emulate a 2nd generation iPod touch, which runs iPhone OS 2.1, with QEMU. According to de Vos, the emulator has been running “smoothly,” and most features, such as the multi-touch and LCD drivers, are working. He also claimed that most of the built-in apps are opening as expected.
Last year, the developer explained that he chose to emulate an old iPod touch firmware because doing so with an iPhone firmware would be much more complicated since the iPhone version would require emulating extra hardware components.
Emulating iPhone OS 1 was just a proof of concept, as there’s not much you can do with it. Although iPhone OS 2 is also quite outdated, this was the first version with the App Store, which means it is capable of running third-party apps. This will allow some people to preserve old games that have never been updated for modern devices.
The developer says there’s still a lot of work to be done. For instance, the iPhone OS emulator doesn’t support audio or Wi-Fi, but de Vos says he has made “some progress” with the required drivers. As the project evolves to the point where it can run newer versions of the iPhone OS (and iOS), this will allow users to emulate more apps.
Running iPhone apps on other platforms
Other developers are working on emulating iPhone software, too. Earlier this year, Hikari no Yume released a tool called “touchHLE.” But unlike de Vos’ project, touchHLE only runs individual iPhone OS apps, not the entire operating system.
The first version was able to run a few games, such as Super Monkey Ball and Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart 3D, with audio and even accelerometer simulation. The project has also evolved considerably and now works with even more apps and games, including Doom, Fastlane Street Racing, and Mystery Mania.
As for the QEMU emulator, you can find out more details about it on GitHub.
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