Amazon is bringing macOS to its AWS cloud

Amazon is bringing macOS to its AWS cloud for the first time ever. New Mac mini instances will be available on Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), allowing developers to create apps for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more all on AWS.

Amazon’s introduction of macOS instances is significant for developers. They now have a big cloud provider that will let them run Xcode and Swift development tools in the cloud, moving away from having to maintain and patch dedicated Mac machines. Amazon hasn’t announced pricing just yet, but the company is expected to reveal more information at its re:Invent event today.

Amazon is using Apple’s Intel-powered Mac mini computers for its cloud version of macOS. Each Mac mini comes with Intel’s 8th Gen Core i7 processor and 32GB of RAM, and developers will be able to pick between macOS Mojave and macOS Catalina — with Big Sur support coming soon. Amazon is also planning to provide M1-powered devices in 2021.

Mac instances will be available today in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Singapore) AWS regions.

AWS vice president David Brown with a truckload of Mac minis.
Amazon

While developers have been able to turn to companies like Macstadium to host macOS instances previously, Apple’s licensing agreement for macOS has always been a bit of a grey area. Apple made this a lot clearer recently with an update to the license agreement for Big Sur. Apple software and hardware can now be leased to individuals or organizations for permitted developer services, as long as it’s “for a minimum period of twenty-four (24) consecutive hours.”

Amazon is adhering to this 24-hour restriction, which does mean instances can’t be used as part of an Auto Scaling Group. Amazon will allow developers to pay for usage of its macOS machines with its pay-as-you-go pricing, though.

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