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Running Docker container on iOS (and maybe Android)

I am in love with Docker. To make it cooler, would it be possible to run containers on the iPhones and Android devices, given that iOS is a pared down Linux. Can you imagine all the processing power this will unlock?

I’m not a iOS developer, so anyone please jump in and correct me if I’m wrong. But I believe in this case it’s unfortunate that iOS isn’t built on a paired down Linux. It’s built on a FreeBSD flavor of Unix, and Docker specifically requires a Linux kernel to run.

That said, I am very curious if it’s possible to somehow run a bare bones virtual linux machine on iOS for this purpose, somehow, the same way that it’s done on Mac OS X. My gut says that this probably falls under the umbrella of restrictions I’ve heard of for iOS, about not being allowed to include certain kinds of third party libraries within apps.

Sorry for my ignorance, but I’m also curious and would like to see this conversation move forward.


iOS kernel is Darwin. Docker runs on darwin/amd64 (macOS). The question should be : does it run on darwin/arm64 (ie: all iPhone/iPad released after the iPhone 5s generation) ?

Welcome to post WWDC June 2020. Docker will eventually have to support darwin/arm64… maybe they could release an iPhone app that does the same?

Yes a lot of people managed to run docker on android with the proper terminal app. Try the terminal app called Termux. You can run it as root but it wont be necessary.