Referring to this answer (on stackoverflow) to develop application in Xamarin.iOS using Visual Studio on my Windows 10 PC i will need Mac with requirements listed below (it can be found in this link):

  • A Mac running OS X Yosemite (10.10) or higher (although we recommend the latest stable version).
  • A Mac which can run Xamarin iOS SDK
  • A Mac which can run Apple’s Xcode(7+) IDE and iOS SDK

If it has to be machine which will be used as a Xamarin Mac Agent (picture below) only I want it to be cheapest possible solution.

Xamarin Mac Agent description

So at the end I will ask two questions:

  1. What is the cheapest new Mac which will fulfill my requirements and how much I will have to pay for it ?
  2. What Mac should I look for If I will decide to buy used Mac and how much it will cost (theoretically, because of course price depends on condition and it can vary) ?

Used examples:

  • Will it be enough: MacBook A1342 which can be found for around $130 in my country?
  • That A1342 almost certainly won't work, I'm 90% positive it won't run Yosemite.
    – user1
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 14:47
  • @Undo What about information from this site where you can find this MacBook (as MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13") listed as compatible with Yosemite ? Or maybe it won't be compatible because it can't use all features of Yosemite (Handoff,Instant Hotspot,AirDrop Mac to iOS,AirPlay Mirroring,Power Nap) ?
    – ivaan
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 5:49
  • Would minis be an option? They're quite often half the price of a contemporary mac laptop Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 14:27
  • @JourneymanGeek It can be any device which will give me ability to compile the Xamarin code on it from my Visual Studio on my Windows PC.
    – ivaan
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 14:45
  • 2
    The cheapest way would be running the OS X under the VMware as virtual machine, but this isn't legal for production use, and need an patched/unlocked VMware-workstation for it..
    – clt60
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


Assuming you have the rest of the hardware/don't mind sharing some with your PC a mac mini would probably be the cheapest option. Why? They're roughly about half the price of the Mac laptop models to start with. Exact prices would vary with model and country.

Downsides? You'd need to supply your own keyboard/mouse and monitor. Its not as portable as an macbook of any flavour.

Its pretty reasonably priced compared to a comparable NUC class machine.

They're also often available refurbished, which may be cheaper. I'd go for a core i5 model over a core 2 model if possible.

As of 2020 and Mac silicon, this makes even more sense, since you can run ios software natively, new Macs will be Arm, not PC based, and there's nothing particularly comparable.

  • Thank you for the answer. There is possibility to find used/refurbished MacMini (2014) with i5 in my country for around $400-$600 so it would be acceptable solution. I have a question if it can work without mouse/keyboard/monitor after setting it up or it has to be connected to it all the time ?
    – ivaan
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 7:06

I am bit late though thought of sharing the idea of renting MacInCloud

The above company offers Mac rentals starting at $1 per hour and $20.00 per month which is more than sufficient for individual mobile app developers like me. It is not worth spending money on buying a mac machine. Please follow the link for further details, it offers comprehensive plans for advanced users as well.

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