Enabling Network Link Conditioner on iPhone and iPad

Network Link Conditioner is an Apple tool that lets you simulate adverse network conditions on your Mac or iOS device. For those of us who are lucky enough to have gigabit internet connections, it should be considered a required part of a designer’s toolkit; without it, you can’t possibly imagine what it’s like for people to use the websites or apps you create out in the real world.

Unfortunately, Apple makes it kind of difficult to find. My colleague John Maeda wrote a guide that walks you through using it on your Mac. I couldn’t find a simple, up-to-date set of instructions for using it on iPhone, so here’s how you do it as of iOS 11.

  1. Install and run Xcode on your Mac.
  2. In Xcode, select the Window menu, then Devices and Simulators.
    Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 4.40.29 PM
  3. Unlock your iOS device, then connect it to your Mac with a lightning cable. In the Devices window, a message will appear stating that your device is being prepared for development.
    Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 3.27.13 PM
  4. When it’s done, you can disconnect your device from your Mac. (You’ll only need to do steps 1-3 once.)
  5. On your device, open the Settings app. You’ll find a new option just above the list of app settings called Developer. Tap it.
    IMG_0726
  6. Then, tap Network Link Conditioner under the Networking section.
    IMG_0727
  7. Finally, choose a profile or create your own, then tap the Enable toggle switch to turn it on. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you’re done. 🙂
    IMG_0728

What about Android?

Unfortunately, there’s no equivalent of Network Link Conditioner for Android. (If you learn of one, please comment below!) But if you have both an iPhone and an Android device, you can enable Network Link Conditioner on the iPhone, create a Personal Hotspot, and then connect your Android device to the hotspot. Note that this option will use cellular data. There are also options to simulate poor connections when creating an Android emulator, or to connect an Android to something like Charles Proxy which can throttle connected devices, but I’d really love to find a solution for Android that’s as easy as Network Link Conditioner.


As always: if you’re an empathetic product or marketing designer who loves considering the needs of the real people who use your work, Automattic is hiring.

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