If you’re looking for a fun and nostalgic way to spend some time, look no further than your iPhone or iPad. These devices can run emulators for all of the best classic video games, including Pokémon, Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64, and The Legend of Zelda.
An emulator is a software program that imitation hardware, like a video game console. You can download emulators on your iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking it to play some of the most popular video games ever made. There are many great iPhone and iPad emulators available to use.
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Introduce Emulators and ROMs
Although Apple doesn’t permit video game emulators on the App Store, you can still install them on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without jailbreaking your device. The only downside is that they might be a little unstable at times, but it’s worth it to be able to play the best classic video games on your iPhone.
The emulators on this list are free to download from websites like iEmulators or the AppMarket. However, for more reliable versions of these apps, you can pay for a BuildStore subscription. If you don’t want to do that, another option is compiling the apps directly onto your iPhone using a computer.
The most reliable method to install emulators on your iPhone is using the AltStore. Although it’s free, it does take more time to set up. If you want more information, read our comprehensive guide about installing emulators on iPhones.
In order to play video games on your iPhone using an emulator, you will first need to obtain some ROMs. A ROM is the software version of a video game that would normally be on a cartridge or disk. You will need one unique ROM for each game you want to play; however, multiple emulators can use the same type of console. For example, N64Emulation works off the same N64 system regardless of which platform it’s played on.
1. PPSSPP (Sony PSP)
PPSSPP is dedicated to emulating PlayStation Portable (PSP) games on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. While it should be able to run any PSP game on your device, older iPhones might not run the games at full speed.
Like all the other emulators on this list, you can create save states for your games, so you don’t need 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 gives you the ability to transfer existing saves from your real PSP. So you can pick up in games like GTA: Vice City exactly where you left off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have a built-in way to sync your games to the cloud. However, that might be best, considering most PlayStation Portable ROMs are extremely large files so syncing would take a long time.
The PSP controls appear transparently over the game screen while you’re playing games, which means PPSSPP presents the largest screen possible on your device. Download free PSP ROMs now at TechToROMs.
2. iNDS (Nintendo DS)
If you’re looking to play only Nintendo DS games, iNDS might be a better emulator for your iPhone than Delta. Not only does it let you play these types of games on your phone free of charge, but it’s also been around much longer.
You can get the iNDS emulator from either iEmulators or the BuildStore. Keep in mind that, like all other iOS emulators, Apple may revoke this app’s license from time to time; if so, you’ll just have to wait for the developers to renew it before trying again.
By taking advantage of save states and auto-save options, you can sync your game data over Dropbox so that you never have to lose any progress, even if the emulator does get revoked. iNDS also includes 100,000 game cheats for adding a new layer of fun to some of your favorite DS games.
The most defining feature of the Nintendo DS is its dual screens one stacked on top of the other. This allows iNDS users to take advantage of both portrait and landscape modes by displaying both screens in the center iPhone display. You can also customize controller size and style, or even disable touchscreen function on your second screen to avoid misclicks!
3. DolphiniOS (GameCube, Wii)
DolphiniOS lets you play GameCube and Wii games on your iPhone or iPad. With this emulator, you can enjoy classics like Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Pikmin, and more.
The easiest way to install DolphiniOS is with the AltStore; it’s also where you can get Delta. By using the AltStore, you will have access to a full suite of Nintendo consoles. Although it is possible to install DolphiniOS manually by building the app with apps like Cydia, that process usually requires more effort than simply using the AltStore.
DolphiniOS not only supports cheats and textures but also other awesome features to elevate your gaming experience.
4. Delta (Game Boy, N64, SNES)
Delta is the best iPhone emulator for Nintendo enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a successor to GBA4iOS, look no further; Delta offers incredible stability and can be downloaded using AltStore.
Delta not only supports a wide variety Nintendo consoles, but also all of the Game Boy models: Game Boy, Game Boy Color, andGame Boy Advance. They also have support for NES and SNES, N64, and finally Nintendo DS.
Delta gives you the option to frequentlyQuick Saves if an external controller is utilized, as well lock your favorite saves too prevent them from being overwritten. You can also add cheat codes for some fun or save all progress onto either Google Drive or Dropbox.
Delta gives you the ability to connect your wireless PS4, Xbox One, and MFi game controllers, as well as Bluetooth or wired keyboards. You can personalize the button mapping to whatever suits you best, even saving presets depending on which system or controller you’re using at any given time.
You can still tailor the emulator skins to your liking, as well as select buttons for Delta to automatically hold down, even without an external controller. This way, you don’t need to keep manually pressing certain buttons while playing.
Delta is always improving and expanding; the developer hasn’t even scratched the surface of its potential yet.
5. Eclipse (Game Boy, SNES, Sega)
If you’re looking for a new emulator to try out, Eclipse is definitely one to consider. It’s quick and easy to install, and it doesn’t run the risk of getting revoked as some other emulators do. Just visit the Eclipse website on your iPhone or iPad and follow the prompts. Be careful of any ads that pop up – just close them out and continue with the installation process until you see an app icon on your device’s home screen. Once you see the icon, tap it to launch the emulator!
With Eclipse, you can download ROMs from the Files app or your Google Drive and play them on any of the following consoles: NES, SNES, Game Boy and Game Boy Color, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear.
If you don’t have any ROMs of your own, the Game Hub can help. Eclipse, allows you to install libraries and instantly get access to a bunch of games. If you’re looking for something different, though, there are also libraries with modded versions of classic games.
Eclipse, like all the other emulators we’ve mentioned, allows you to save your game progress and fast-forward through boring sections. You can also customize the skins for a new experience playing your favorite consoles.
Whether you’re a retro gamer or just getting into classic gaming, these 5 iOS Emulators are sure to please. With a variety of games available and some great features, there’s definitely something for everyone. So go ahead and give them a try!