Your iPhone Is Now a Retro Gaming Beast, Thanks to Emulation

iPhone 15 Pro Max in front of a PSP, N64, C64, and Atari 2600
Credit: Apple / PlayStation / Nintendo / Atari / Commodore

iPhone 15 Pro Max in front of a PSP, N64, C64, and Atari 2600
Credit: Apple / PlayStation / Nintendo / Atari / Commodore


  • iPhone has become a retro gaming beast, with new emulators arriving today
  • PPSSPP brings PSP emulation to Apple's smartphones, while RetroArch adds... pretty much everything from 1984-2005
  • However, with a lack of native JIT compilation support, any modern emulation will lack in performance

It's been over a month now since Apple relaxed its App Store policies, allowing emulators to enjoy success on iPhone and iPad. While a few have appeared quickly, and some have disappeared just as fast, two new emulators are bringing a large variety of console emulators to the iPhone, turning it into a retro gaming beast.

As the list of the best iPhone emulators grows with new additions every other week, there's no doubt that retro gaming is booming on the platform. The Delta emulator for iPhone received rave reviews upon release, bringing an all-in-one Nintendo emulator that supports the NES to the beloved DS.

Now, the list of emulators has further expanded with two new apps - PPSSPP and RetroArch. The former brings PSP emulation to the App Store, while the latter brings... everything. In fact, RetroArch includes practically every mainstream console from the Amstrad CPC to the PSP, all in one lovely app.

While you may quickly consider RetroArch over Delta and PPSSPP, we'd recommend holding back unless you're knowledgeable with RetroArch or willing to learn how to use it. The emulator is easily one of the most confusing, with many iOS gamers struggling to adapt to the strange layout.

For most people, using the Delta and PPSSPP apps will suffice, unless you're looking to play some truly retro titles. And, while we love seeing emulation on iPhone, the best Android emulators list is still superior right now. It's made even worse by the fact that Apple doesn't allow JIT compilation natively, causing some emulators to run poorly without it.

However, there's no doubt that this is an exciting time to be an iPhone user. If you've been holding off on buying some of the best phone controllers until more emulators arrive, there's no better time than now. Hopefully, as Apple sees the demand for emulators, it will further relax its rules, but we're not holding out too much hope just yet.

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