In theory, could Krita be ported to iPadOS?

Hello there! Long time since I posted something on the forum, took a bit of a break! Hope everyone is doing well!

A couple of months ago I decided to take the plunge and have something to draw wherever I pleased, and I was very interested in trying out Procreate. Since that’s an iPad exclusive app, I decided to test things out, after other pieces of Apple hardware pleasantly surprising me (and this is coming from a previous Apple “hater”).

This got me wondering. Could Krita be ported to iPadOS, in theory? I understand that there are recurring fees, but if there’s one thing I find interesting is that Apple users are almost content with the reality of paying for using software, so the app could be monetised in my opinion, similarly to how it’s currently being done with Steam.

On a more technical side, what would need to be done? Outside of using given hardware, wouldn’t “just” porting the rendering back-end to Metal be enough? Or are there more limitations to Qt in mobile applications that I’m not aware of?

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Short answer, @halla might be the best placed to provide a more complete answer

For what I understood: yes, technically possible
But not possible due to GPL v3 license of krita that seems not to be compatible with Apple Store rules (for what i understood, but can’t tell more maybe I misunderstood the thing)


Interesting, never even considered license could be an issue. I don’t know how GPLv3 could be problematic, since it’s only “problematic” when non GPL software tries to use / copy GPL code from other sources. Could be wrong, though!

I’m pretty sure to already saw more topics relative to that… currently found this:



You can read an ‘official’ explanation about the incompatibility of GPL and the Apple Store, in this Free Software Foundation blog post.
By the date of the post above you can see is a decade long issue.

Also there is this Apple Forum discussion where the problem is talked and explained in a more layman’s terms.


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I actually stumbled across that topic, but I had the sense it was related to GPLv2, and not v3. I also thought that “surely things change in a decade” :smiley:

I’ve often thought it would be nice to have on iPad, but then - it’s another stretch of resources, and programs tailor-made for iPad such as Procreate are likely to perform and function better.

Layman’s terms :wink:


For sure, in terms of raw performance, no doubt Procreate will probably always win. However, in terms of having a “workstation” workflow, Krita is in my opinion quite a lot more feature complete, so it could be interesting. On top of that, it could also be another avenue for monetisation, on a platform that is extremely geared towards creative professionals and hobbyists.

I speak for myself, but paying 10 euros or something equivalent for a program such as Krita would be a steal.


As for publishing it for free, there are other applications who already do so, so I’m not sure if it’s off the table.

As I’ve said a lot of times before, porting to iPadOS is easy. We’ve already got Krita working on the M1 CPU. Getting it in the app store is not easy, because there we run into the problem that GPLv3 is even more incompatible with Apple’s stupid rules than GPLv2.

And then, our experience getting Krita in the MacOS app store has taught us quite a lesson. If you package an application that works perfectly well on MacOS out of the dmg for the MacOS app store – it won’t be able to save files, because of sandboxing. Working around that is as hard as working around similar problems on Android.

And if we put Krita in the MacOs or iPadOS store, it won’t be free. We’ll ask a big premium compared to Steam, Windows Store or Epic because of the expensive hardware, the developer subscriptions and sheer, unadulterated PAIN of releasing on those stores.


Completely understandable! Didn’t know that the license could present so many problems! Also, how much of a premium would it be in terms of pricing, just out of pure curiosity?

Our plan for the macOS store is to put Krita in the 20 to 25 euros bracket.

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Honestly, for a flat one-time purchase fee with free updates, and with the feature set Krita has, I think it’s a completely valid price. Taking into consideration that with something like Photoshop you get basically two months of use for that fee, it would still be a pretty great deal!

However, on the iPad side, I don’t think that price is justifiable (yet). More redesign in terms of UI/UX would have to happen in order for me to think that it would be worth that price tag. Still, I think it would be cool to help! I just can’t get to build Krita on an Apple device, it’s been quite the piece of work sadly. Always get stuck on one part of the process or the other.

I probably will look into adding more into the official documentation on how to compile Krita for Mac, since for now there are a few steps missing.

Yes, we’re thinking about a mobile/tablet/touch UI, and people are doing experiments on that. But that’s for Android and Windows 2:1 devices.

But, interestingly, Clip Studio on iPadOS is exactly the same as the desktop version, including popup dialogs that can be dragged by a titlebar!

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I’m definitely not disputing that - I’m much happier and more comfortable painting in Krita on my PC; So it would be useful to replicate the workflow and environment on iPad for mobile use.

These recent Apple chips seem pretty impressive, so it should become more viable as the market share for M1 devices increases.

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I’d be down for paying extra money for Krita on iPad even with the same interface and everything. I already paid for the Steam version and can’t even use it anymore (my Wacom tablet broke, decided to get an iPad).

People like me are willing to pay. So please consider porting it/selling it in the App Store!


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@slightlyangrydodo A few refs to ‘license causing problems’, but my understanding is that Krita’s license has always been GPL/libre/open software. That covers a wide range of places, from Linux and across various other platforms.

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Yes, Apple has written the ipadOS store rules in a way that excludes GPL software. Now, if we could get the agreement of all 600+ people who have copyright in Krita to sign a waiver, we might be able to try to put Krita in the ipados store, but very likely Apple would still refuse Krita because it needs access to the file system.

That’s what’s blocking us from getting into the macos app store right now, btw.

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Someone told me that ipad can use other app store, maybe krita is available in other app store for ipad users?

I don’t know of other stores: if they exist, they will have a vanishing small marketshare. And we’d still first need to build Krita for ipados.