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iOS in VMware: 3 methods to connect iPhone to VMware

Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Nov 27, 2020

Developers working on applications for the iOS platform can run into issues trying to connect an iPhone to a VMware session. It would be nice to just use a USB cable and attach the device so you can debug your software.

FlexiHub is a USB redirection software tool that makes connecting an iPhone to a VMware workstation easy.

This tutorial will show you how to connect an iPhone to VMware by following some simple directions.

Redirect your iPhone to VMware virtual environment


Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
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Advanced port redirection technology is the method employed by FlexiHub to allow your VMware session to connect with an iPhone.

The tool is compatible with numerous virtualization solutions including VMware, Hyper-V, and VirtualBox.

All it takes is FlexiHub and a few mouse clicks to connect an iPad, iPhone, or any other type of USB device to a virtual environment.

Easily connect your iPhone to VMware on Mac, Windows, or Linux hosts

Connect iOS devices to VMware
30-day demo period

Follow these steps to connect your iPhone to a VMware guest operating system

Register a free FlexiHub account. To start connecting to the remote devices, consider subscribing for a demo period.
 flexihub account
Download and install FlexiHub both on the computer with the physical connection to the iPhone and the virtual guest that will access the device.
 sign up flexihub demo period
Launch the app on both machines and log into your FlexiHub account using the same login credentials.
On the guest machine, locate the device that you want to connect to from the app’s available list and click “Connect”.

That’s all there is to it! The connected device will be recognized by the VMware guest operating system just like it was physically connected to the USB peripheral.

Benefits of using FlexiHub to connect VMware to an iPhone

  • FlexiHub is a cross-platform solution allowing you to share USB devices in virtual environments on Windows, Linux, or macOS hosts.
  • FlexiHub uses redirection technology to enable USB devices to be shared across a network. Data transmitted through a computer’s USB ports can be redirected to any IP-based network like the Internet or a company LAN. It’s an efficient solution for connecting USB devices to virtual environments.
  • FlexiHub detects new USB devices attached to the server automatically and immediately makes them available to clients.
  • FlexiHub uses 2048-bit SSL encryption to securely transmit data. This additional protection safeguards your data from misuse by unauthorized individuals.

Connecting USB devices to a VMware session

Commonly, iPhones and iPads are used to save or transfer data from other computers or devices. This can be done through native means as well as with FlexiHub. Here’s how to connect a USB device to a VMware session without a third-party solution.

Follow these steps to connect a VMware session to an iOS device.

  1. Connect the iPhone to the host machine with a USB cable.
  2. Verify that the iPhone is recognized by the host computer.
  3. Start the VMware Workstation and power on the virtual machine. Use your login credentials to sign in.
  4. Select VM -> Removable Devices -> Apple iPhone -> Connect (Disconnect from Host) from the main menu.
  5. You may be interested in related articles

Adding an iPhone to a virtual machine in the vSphere Client

The VMware vSphere Client is a tool that makes it possible to connect to the vCenter Server. It provides a graphical user interface (GUI) into the vSphere installation with access to an object navigator, the main vSphere workspace, as well as alarm and task panels. With the vSphere Client, it becomes possible to monitor and manage all these functions without physical access to the vSphere server. While the vSphere Client has been discontinued in vSphere v6.0, it remains to be a useful application for IT administrators using vSphere.
VMware vSphere Client also lets you connect an iPhone to a guest operating system running on the host’s virtual machine. In order to connect your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure to connect your iPhone to the computer that is connected to the ESXi host that is running the OS you’d like to connect to.
  2. Check that the USB controller is installed.
VMware iPhone access
30-day demo period
  1. Then select the virtual machine in the vSphere Client inventory and click the USB icon.
  2. From the “Connect to USB Devices” drop down list – choose your iPhone.
  3. A status “Connecting” will be displayed.
  4. Once connected, the iPhone will be visible in the “USB Connections” drop down menu. As long as the virtual machine is running, the device will be accessible in the VM. While the vSphere Client is running and connected to the ESXi host, the iPhone will remain connected to the guest OS.

Frequently Asked Questions

VMware Horizon Client lets you work with the virtual desktops and hosted software from an iOS device. It is available at the App Store or the VMware Downloads page.
The closest thing to iOS on VMware is the Xcode iOS simulator which runs the x86 flavor of iOS with a hypervisor.
To resolve this issue you need to add the device to the list of allowed development devices in your Apple Developer's account. This step is mandatory if you wish to use a device in Xcode. More detailed instructions are at Apple’s official helpdesk page.
You need to make some changes to the Virtual Machine (VMware) settings to resolve this problem:

  • Make sure the USB compatibility setting is 2.0 instead of 3.0.
  • Enable the "Show all USB input devices” setting.


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