Cider: Native Execution of iOS Apps on Android

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2014), pp. 367–382, Salt Lake City, UT, USA, March 1-5, 2014, pp. 367-382


We present Cider, an operating system compatibility architecture that can run applications built for different mobile ecosystems, iOS or Android, together on the same smartphone or tablet. Cider enhances the domestic operating system, Android, of a device with kernel-managed, per-thread personas to mimic the application binary interface of a foreign operating system, iOS, enabling it to run unmodified foreign binaries. This is accomplished using a novel combination of binary compatibility techniques including two new mechanisms: compile-time code adaptation, and diplomatic functions. Compile-time code adaptation enables existing unmodified foreign source code to be reused in the domestic kernel, reducing implementation effort required to support multiple binary interfaces for executing domestic and foreign applications. Diplomatic functions leverage per-thread personas, and allow foreign applications to use domestic libraries to access proprietary software and hardware interfaces. We have built a Cider prototype, and demonstrate that it imposes modest performance overhead and runs un-modified iOS and Android applications together on a Google Nexus tablet running the latest version of Android.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science