Modern mobile games are great, but most of them don’t get close to classic games like Pokémon, Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda. Fortunately, it’s possible to play all of these classic video games and more on your iPhone with the best emulators below.
The emulator is a software imitation of a video game console. You can install emulators on your iPhone – without breaking it – to play the most popular video games of all time. Here are all the best emulators for use on your iPhone or iPad.
About emulators and ROMs
Apple does not allow the use of video game emulators in the App Store, but it is still possible to install them on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without disassembling your device. That means emulators are sometimes a little unstable, but that’s a small price to pay for access to the best classic video games on the iPhone.
Most of the emulators on this list are available for free download from websites such as iEmulators or AppMarket. But you can get better reliability if you pay Build Store order. Otherwise, you may need to compile iPhone applications using your computer.
See our detailed guide for more information installing emulators on your iPhone
How to install iPhone emulators using four easy methods
Once you’ve installed the video game emulator on your iPhone, you’ll still need to get some ROMs to use with it. ROM is a software version of a video game cassette or disc. You need a ROM for every game you play, the same game ROM works on every emulator that supports the console. For example, the same N64-ROM works with all the N64 emulators below.
Emulators are legal, but downloading ROM files for games you don’t own is considered piracy. Some companies don’t mind backing up games they already own, but that’s not always allowed. Although ROMs are freely available online, we do not tolerate downloading them.
1. Delta (Game Boy, N64, SNES)
Delta is the best iPhone emulator for Nintendo enthusiasts. It is the successor to the very popular GBA4iOS emulator. you can download an incredibly stable version of Delta from the Alt Store.
Delta supports a huge range of Nintendo consoles:
- Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance
- NES and SNES
- Nintendo DS (a Patreon-order)
With the Delta app, you can save your game in any mode, take advantage of Instant Savers if you have an external driver, and sync all your data to Google Drive or Dropbox for security. You can even add cheat codes to your games to add glamor, or lock your favorite songs to make sure they aren’t written.
If you want to Play Pokemon on Your iPhone |
How to play Pokémon games on iPhone or iPad
, this is the best emulator.
Delta lets you connect wireless PS4, Xbox One and MFi game controllers, as well as Bluetooth or wired keyboards. You can customize the button mapping to your liking, even save presets per system or controller.
Without an external controller, you can still customize the emulator skins displayed on iPhone’s screen and choose to keep the Delta buttons pressed so you don’t have to hold down certain buttons while playing.
All this detail just scratches the Delta surface. The developer is still working to improve it, and there are still many updates.
Charge: Delta (Free)
2. Provenance (Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Atari)
You need to install origin translating it from your computer, but it’s worth doing. Provenance is one of the oldest and most popular multi-platform emulators for the iPhone. This is especially good if you want to play original PlayStation games on your iPhone.
Provenance mimics 30 systems, including important consoles:
- and more
You can save your games at any time, or save snippets of what you’ve played and sync all your data to iCloud. You can even choose to automatically download a certain savings each time you open Provenance to start playing as quickly as possible.
Connect a wireless MF, iCade or Steam controller for convenience by playing on the small screen.
Unfortunately, Provenance developers have recently removed it from the most popular emulator sites. However, you can install it with an Apple developer account by following Provenance Wiki.
3. iNDS (Nintendo DS)
We previously mentioned Delta as the best Nintendo emulator for the iPhone. But in order for the Nintendo DS emulation to open in Delta, you have to pay for a Patreon subscription. INDS comes there; With this emulator, you can play Nintendo DS games on your iPhone for free.
Always derived from the popular NDS4iOS emulator, iNDS is available for non-jail-cracked devices through iEmulators and BuildStore. Like all iOS emulators, Apple sometimes revokes the license for this app, which means you may have to wait for the developers to renew before you can install it on your iPhone.
But once it works, iNDS lets you play Nintendo DS games at almost full speed on the iPhone 5 and newer, up to 60FPS on newer iPhones.
Take advantage of storage modes and autosave options to sync game data via Dropbox, so you never have to worry about losing progress even if the emulator is canceled. iNDS also includes 100,000 game cheats to add a new layer of fun to your favorite DS games.
Because the Nintendo DS has two monitors, one above the other, you can use iNDS in portrait or landscape mode with both monitors displayed in the center of the iPhone screen. You can also customize the size and style of the controller and even remove the touch screen from another screen to prevent accidental taps.
Charge: inds (Free)
4. PPSSPP (Sony PSP)
PPSSPP is dedicated to emulating PlayStation Portable (PSP) games on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. While older iPhones should be able to run any PSP game on your device, they may not help games at full speed.
Like all other emulators on this list, you can create storage spaces for your games, so you don’t have to worry about reaching a save point before exiting the emulator. You can also add cheats to your games for extra fun.
Perhaps one of the best features of PPSSPP is that it allows you to transfer existing recordings from a real PSP. So you can pick up at GTA: Vice City exactly where you left off.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have a built-in way to sync the game to the cloud. However, it may be best considering that most PSP-ROMs are very large files.
The PSP controllers appear transparently on the game screen during game play, which means that the PPSSPP represents the possible display on the device.
Charge: PPSSPP (Free)
5. RetroArch (Atari, DOS, Genesis, PC engine)
RetroArch combines emulators from a long list of different consoles by providing a single slick interface for playing all the best classic games on almost any device. You can install RetroArch on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, making it one of the most versatile emulators available.
In addition to Game Boy, SNES and PlayStation emulators, RetroArch also supports older platforms such as:
- Neo Geo pocket
- Sega Genesis (Mega station)
- and more
RetroArch uses the same game controller in all included emulators. This makes it easy to use the touch screen layout no matter what game you are playing. This can be one of many thanks to RetroArch’s extensive support.
You can create custom storage spaces and set your favorites to auto-load when you launch the app. You can also lock the most previous recordings to avoid overwriting them.
RetroArch’s Netplay feature allows you to connect with other players for multiplayer sessions. This works on multiple platforms, so you can even play with Android or PC users.
Other iPhone game options
Emulators offer a lot of work to set up, but offer a lot of great classic games when they’re running. And with these choices, you can play a lot of games on any platform you want.
10 classic Sega games that you can play on your smartphone
without bothering with emulators.