Windows Side Loading to an IOS Device

Hello there,
looking at this link: https://docs.expo.io/distribution/building-standalone-apps/ it seems like it is possible to side load an IOS App to an IOS Device.

I am on Windows - but I guess I could create a VM with MacOS. The question I have is, before I make all this steps is if you need to have a paid Developer Account or something similar…

The way I understand this ist that:

  1. I create a VM where I install MacOS
  2. I expo build my app for IOS
  3. I can download the app bundle or however IOS does this
  4. I connect my IOS Device and in XCode I press Add App
  5. Now I can drag my App file into my Phone
  6. Just like in Android I can start my IOS Expo App directly on the Device
  7. Everything works fine - the App doenst ever need to be put into the App Store and even OTA Updates work

Has someone actually managed to Side Load an Expo IOS App in their life?

Please correct me on my Steps if they are wrong.

I’m not 100% sure, but I feel like Expo’s iOS build would fail at some point without a paid account, like during the creation of the distribution or push notification certs, just before the building of the app. Certainly, you can first try expo build:ios against a non-paid account to see what happens. It’ll fail fast if there’s a problem like those I described.

I don’t know how well MacOS VM’s work in general (I recall “hackintoshes” can be weird about OS updates). Assuming you need a paid developer account anyway, you could use a Mac-in-Cloud pay-as-you-go account (https://support.macincloud.com/support/solutions/articles/8000007775-how-do-i-connect-my-physical-iphone-or-usb-device-to-the-server-) just for uploading the IPA from Expo to TestFlight. Then you’ll be able to download it to your device, and OTA updates and such will all work.

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