Over the last few years, specifically the last few months, gaming has become incredibly popular on the iPhone and iPad, not just because we are spending so much time at home now, but because the improvements made to the popular iOS devices have made it easier to play. Lots of people own game consoles, like the Nintendo Wii, Xbox, PlayStation, and more. The trouble with those is that you can only really play them in your own home unless you have a handheld device. What if you could play your favorite game console games on your iOS device?
Well, you can, with a choice of game emulators. Once, you would have needed a jailbreak to install these, but now you don’t. Now, there are plenty that you can download onto your device with just a few easy steps. Forget about downloading them from the iOS app store; Apple refuses to support these and, although you may be able to download one or two from the store, they don’t work properly – that’s why they’ve been allowed into the store. Nintendo has even released ports of some of their more popular games, but they don’t work the same as the originals.
By downloading a game emulator, you are transforming your device into a game console, allowing you to play your favorite console games on the go. There are lots of these emulators available right now, and we’re going to talk about ten of the best. Before we look at those, let’s look at why you should use a game emulator.
Back when jailbreaking was more popular, when Cydia was in constant supply for virtually all devices, we could download full game emulators. These effectively turned out devices into handheld gaming consoles, giving us back all our old favorites, such a Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Tetris, Metal Gear Solid, and many more, but jailbreaks are few and far between right now. However, thanks to some cool developers, we now have a series of fully working game emulators that we can use without having to jailbreak first. All of these are free to use and 100% safe too.
Why You Should Use Game Emulators
When you install an emulator on your device, you get the following advantages:
Your iPad or iPhone becomes a game console, and you can play all your favorite games without having to worry about a full-size console
You can play retro gaming and, with some emulators, the more modern games
You don’t need to modify anything; the emulators work as soon as installed
All these emulators are free and safe
If you have more than one device and you install the same emulator on each one, you can save your games on one and pick them up on another
They provide you with a true gaming console experience
There are no limits from the emulator on what you install; only your device spec will limit that
Some have games already built-in, others are just repositories for your own games; all of them ensure you can easily install external game ROMS
Some are for a specific console make only, such as Nintendo, others offer support for multiple consoles with one-click-play
Lots more emulators, just choose one, download it and enjoy
Top Ten iOS Emulators for 2020
There’s a whole list of emulators for iOS devices, and choosing one to use will be tough. We tested them all out and found the best-performing emulators of all time. You do not need to jailbreak to use any of these, and they are all safe:
Most of these emulators offer support for Nintendo gaming, not surprising given Nintendo game consoles are among the most popular. So, that’s where we started, with a series for emulators designed to bring you Nintendo gaming at your fingertips:
GBA4iOS is one of the most popular game emulators of all time and was also one of the first to be launched. Surprisingly, this one didn’t require a jailbreak; the developer, Riley Testut, found a loophole that allowed his emulator to get into the official app store. Apple did eventually find and patch the loophole, but Testut wasn’t about to ditch his popular creation. Instead, with a few tweaks, he made it so we could install it directly to our devices without the app store. GBA4iOS offers support for Nintendo game consoles, in particular, the Gameboy consoles. It works on iOS 9 or lower and has some built-in games. Installing your own externally downloaded ROMs is very simple, though. The emulator offers fast downloads, cloud server hosting, online multiplayer gaming, customizable game controls, and much more.
2. Delta Emulator
Delta emulator also comes from Riley Testut, and it picks up where GAB4iOS leaves off. It supports iOS 10 or higher and has been updated to support iOS 13. It has emulation capabilities for more Nintendo consoles, including GB, GBA, GBC, NES, SNES, and N64. It offers much the same features as GBA4iOS, with the addition of split-screen support for the iPad, cloud syncing, and a built-in browser. You can download this from the AppValley AppStore.
GearBoy emulator provides one of the most realistic emulator experiences for Nintendo gaming. It has support for most of the Nintendo consoles, specializing in the Gameboys, and it is incredibly accurate in terms of emulation capabilities, with Mix Frame support, providing the familiar Nintendo game ghosting. It supports compressed ROMs, and LCD controller emulation, and works on iOS 11 and above.
GC4iOS is unique in that it is the only emulator app with support for Nintendo GameCube and Wii gaming. It does not include any games; it just provides a repository for you to find and download your own ROMs from the internet and store them. They are easy to install on your device, and it has support for all devices on all iOS firmware.
NDS4iOS supports Nintendo DS gaming, and, again, it doesn’t have many built-in games. However, it is very simple to download your own ROMS, load them into the emulator, and use them on your device. It has plenty of features, such as online multiplayer gaming support, Dropbox Syncing, cloud syncing, fast download, plenty of in-app customization, and more. It is very simple to use and provides an incredibly accurate emulation experience.
The name gives this one away as being a Nintendo emulator, this time with some built-in games. Again, loading your own installed ROMs into the emulator is simple, and you can add as many as you want, building as big a game collection as you want. It has support for iOS 13, Dropbox syncing, a built-in browser, in-app customizations, easy game recovery, and many more cool features. You can download this from the AltStore AppStore.
Our last Nintendo emulator is a little bit different, and some will recall it was once called SIOS. The developer, Lucas Menge, originally developed it as a Super Nintendo Platform and now supports only SNES gaming. It is a strong emulator with support for full-screen gaming, SMC and ZIP ROM files, external controller support, and more. It offers great performance, and it has been updated to support iOS 13.
Some consoles offer support for multiple consoles, all with one-click play, making it simple to play all your favorite games, regardless of console, from one place. These are the best of the best of these emulators.
HappyChick provides us with emulation for over 18 different consoles, including PS1, PPSSPP, lots of Nintendo consoles, and many more. It has a huge library of built-in games so you can start playing the minute you have installed it. Adding external ROMs is dead simple, and, unlike some consoles, you are not limited to playing retro games. Provided you have at least 2GB RAM on your device, HappyChick offers some of the latest games on the market. It has support for all devices on iOS 13 and below, along with online multiplayer gaming, cloud server hosting, one-click play, speedy downloads, LAN support for offline gaming, and much more, including a series of customizations.
The second multi-platform emulator is Provenance with support for multiple Nintendo consoles plus more. Those include GB, GBA, GBC, PS1, PPSSPP, and many more. It has a few games built-in, but you can load your won that you downloaded from the internet. It has plenty of features, such as the ability to record and share your gameplay using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, lots of in-app customizations, online multiplayer gaming, support for iOS 10 and above, and much more.
There are plenty of other emulators offering support for different consoles, and we picked the one we think offers the best experience.
PlayStation Portable Simulator Suitable for Playing Portably, or PPSSPP for short, offers you the chance to play PSP games on your iPad or iPhone. It doesn’t matter whether you have a jailbreak on your device or not; the emulator works on all devices. It has plenty of features, including on-screen controls you can customize, support for external controllers, the ability to transfer your saved console games to the emulator, restore games on your device, and much more. You do need to install your own ROMs, but this is easy enough to do.
There you have ten of the very best game emulators on offer today. We’ve added a range of apps, including those that offer multiple platform support, and there should be something here for everyone. Try them, and bring retro gaming back into your life with ease.