play ios iphone ipad games on mac with playcover

How to play iOS games on Mac with PlayCover

What is PlayCover for Mac?

You may have heard that Apple Silicon Macs have the ability to run apps designed for iOS. However, this feature is very restricted. If you tried it yourself, you know that very few apps and games can actually be installed this way. Furthermore, this restriction is artificial. There is no technical limitation, Apple just disables this functionality for all apps by default. For the feature to work, the developer must actively enable it, and most don’t bother.
This is where PlayCover comes in. Unlike the official feature, it works for all iOS apps and games, not just those on the whitelist. It also lets you map touchscreen controls to mouse and keyboard in a fashion similar to Android emulators. But PlayCover is not an emulator; it works by disguising your computer as an iPad. This means that it generally runs faster, although the difference is negligible on modern computers.
Of course, this sounds really useful, so you might want to install PlayCover yourself. It’s not hard to use, but if you have trouble figuring something out, you can read our PlayCover tutorial for Mac.

How do I install PlayCover on macOS?

install playcover on mac

Note: PlayCover only works on Apple Silicon Macs. If you have an Intel-based Mac, you will have to use a different program. We list several PlayCover alternatives at the end of the article; the best one is BlueStacks.

PlayCover is very easy to install. Simply open PlayCover website and click on the “Download” button. The app supports all macOS versions starting from macOS 12 Monterey. If you’re running Sonoma 14.1 or newer, you should download the “nightly” version. Otherwise, download the “latest” version.
After downloading, simply drag PlayCover into your Applications folder like you would with any other app.

How do I add games to PlayCover?

use playcover to play ios games

To add games, you need to click on the “+” button, which is located to the left of the search bar. The app will prompt you to select an .ipa file. These files contain iOS apps and games, although you never interact with them directly when using an actual iPhone or an iPad. There are several ways to obtain these .ipa files, but the easiest one is to download them from

Where can I find PlayCover keymaps?

Since most iOS games don’t support mouse and keyboard out of the box, PlayCover adds this support for them. This is done in a simple manner; you can map keys to specific areas of the screen. Pressing the key would then be interpreted as a tap in this area. You can also add virtual joysticks which are controlled via WASD keys, and control the camera via the mouse.
You can map all of the keys by yourself, but most popular games already have keymaps available online. You can find them on this GitHub page, as well as on PlayCover Discord server. To import these keymaps, you need to right-click on the game in PlayCover library and select “Import Keymapping” option.

What do I do if PlayCover doesn’t work on my machine?

If you have a problem while using PlayCover, refer to this documentation page. It lists several common issues and ways to fix them. For issues related to logging into games, refer to this page instead.
If the issue you are experiencing is not documented, or PlayCover fails to launch entirely, consider asking for help on PlayCover Discord server.

Are there PlayCover alternatives?

Yes, there are several other programs that perform a similar function.


playcover alternatives: bluestacks

BlueStacks is an Android emulator with full support for keyboard and mouse controls. Although emulating is a computationally intensive process, BlueStacks is very well optimized, and will work reasonably fast on any modern Mac. As such, you will be able to play Android games with good FPS. Since most mobile games are available on both iOS and Android, it’s a great solution if you have an Intel-based Mac.

Download Bluestacks

Tenorshare Phone Mirror

play iphone ipad ios games on mac using tenorshare phone mirror

Tenorshare Phone Mirror is an application that allows you to control your smartphone using a Mac. It supports advanced keymapping controls, just like PlayCover and BlueStacks, so you’ll be able to use it to play games. Of course, this means that the games will have to be installed on the phone itself. So if your phone is weak or doesn’t have much storage space, this app is unfortunately not for you. Still, it’s a good solution in some circumstances; specifically, if you have an old Mac but a modern smartphone.

Download Phone Mirror


Sideloadly is a program that can install iOS games and apps on Apple Silicon Macs. However, it doesn’t support keymapping, so it’s not very useful for gaming. It doesn’t work on Intel Macs either, so there’s generally no reason to use it. After all, if you have an Apple Silicon Mac, you can simply use PlayCover itself.

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