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How to Connect iPhone to VirtualBox - 2 Effective Methods

Olga Weis Olga Weis May 19, 2021
how to connect iphone to virtualbox

Connecting iPhone to VirtualBox may be tricky, but is still doable if you know how to. In the first place, you’ll need to organize VirtualBox USB passthrough from your host computer to the virtual machine.

And here comes some cheering news: in this very article you’ll find not one, but two methods explaining how to use the smartphone from within the virtual machine. Which one will fit you most is up to you, so read on and take a pick.

Top software app for iPhone redirection to VirtualBox

The best way out of tricky situations is to bring in a professional. In our case, the best option is USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc.
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USB Network Gate

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USB Network Gate is a professional-grade application purposely designed to redirect traffic from USB ports.

The app is completely compatible with all the popular hypervisors, e.g. VMWare, Hyper-V, and VirtualBox, so you can use it to ensure safe access from a VirtualBox to an iPhone not only from a host PC but from a remote machine (so long as it’s connected to your local network or the Internet).

Follow this guide to redirect your iPhone to VirtualBox using USB Network Gate:

  1. Connect an iPhone to your computer via a USB cable. From here on, we’ll refer to this computer as the host.
  2. Install and launch USB Network Gate on the host PC.
  3. Click “Share” next to the name of the device you need to redirect.
  4. Now, install and launch the app on the VirtualBox virtual machine.
  5. On the “Remote Devices” tab, click “Connect” next to your iPhone.

Here you can find a detailed video guide on how to connect iOS devices to VirtualBox:

Once the final step is complete, you’ll see your iPhone in the Device Manager of the VM’s guest OS. In the same way, you can set up a VirtualBox to iPad connection. Or, for that matter, redirect any device with iOS to VirtualBox.

Main benefits of using USB Network Gate for iPhone redirection to VirtualBox:

  • Unmatched stability: never fails to establish a safe and secure connection;

  • High send rate: no delays or lagging while using remote devices;

  • Ease of operation: a few clicks and voilà - your iPhone is accessible from a guest OS;

  • Multiplatform support: USB Network Gate has versions for Windows, macOS, and Linux that work fine in any combination;

  • Genericity: can redirect devices to VMs run by any hypervisor;

  • Extra protection: a true as steel communications encryption to protect your connections from any data-grabbing intruder.

The native method to redirect the iPhone to VirtualBox

Here is another way to connect an iOS device to VirtualBox — a so-called native method. It may seem rather trickish, especially compared to the usability of the above-mentioned dedicated app. But bear with us for a little bit longer, and we’ll figure this out.

Steps you’ll need to go through before connecting iPhone to VirtualBox with the native method:

  • If you do not have Virtualbox installed, it is the right time to download the VirtualBox installer from the official VirtualBox webpage.
  • Add the Extensions Pack to your VirtualBox.

This is how to do it:

  1. Click here to download the extensions pack file from the VirtualBox webpage.

  2. Launch the VirtualBox.

  3. Click “File” to open the menu, then select "Preferences".

  4. Click on the “Extensions”, and add the downloaded file.

  5. (for Ubuntu users only) Run the “sudo usermod -aG vboxusers <username>” command to add your user account to the "vboxusers" group, then reboot.

  • Go to the USB section in the VirtualBox Manager and tick the “Enable USB Controller” box. Then select the “USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller” option (or the “USB 3.0 (xHCI) Controller”, if you’re going to connect your iPhone to USB 3.0 port), and click “OK”.

OK, now we’re all set for your iPhone redirection to the VM.

Here’s the guide to redirect your iPhone to VirtualBox using native methods:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the host machine’s USB port.

  2. Launch your virtual machine and go to the “Devices” menu.

  3. Find your iPhone on the menu and click on it. By doing so, you’ll disable the iPhone on the host OS while enabling it on the VM’s guest operating system.

Alternatively, after hooking your iPhone up, you can right-click the icon that looks like a tiny USB connector (it’s in the bottom panel of VirtualBox Manager) to expand the list of available devices. Ticked devices are connected to the VM, and unticked — to the host system. So, tick your iPhone to redirect it to the VM.

After that, your iPhone becomes accessible from the VirtualBox. However, it must be noted that you can only install iTunes on a Windows VM or a macOS VM.

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