Apple Allows iPhone Emulators, but They’re All Dying on Launch

App Store logo behind an NES console and a GameBoy handheld
Credit: Apple / Nintendo

App Store logo behind an NES console and a GameBoy handheld
Credit: Apple / Nintendo


  • Despite changing the App Store policies, iPhone emulators haven’t had a great start of life
  • Apple has removed one emulator due to copyright infringement, while another has been pulled by the developer
  • It’s a rough start for Apple’s acceptance of emulators on the storefront, but things will likely change soon

We've been waiting years for Apple to officially allow emulators on iPhone, and due to a recent case against Apple with the EU, the company is finally letting developers put their emulators on the App Store. However, despite relaxing the rules, two emulators have been launched and already taken down as soon as they launch.

The list of the best iPhone emulators is pretty disappointing. While the best Android emulators list is filled with incredible retro game consoles right on your smartphone, the App Store is lacking, and two new emulators have already been removed. The recent policy change should've allowed emulators to thrive on Apple's storefront. So, what gives?

Well, the first case is fairly simple. A GameBoy emulator called iGBA was quickly pulled by Apple, due to concerns of copyright infringement (via MacRumors). iGBA was a copy of the GBA4iOS emulator developed by Riley Testut, who complained about the copy via Threads.

However, the second case isn't so cut and dry. Bimmy, an NES emulator, was available to download recently via the App Store, but has since been removed. But, it wasn't Apple or Nintendo who decided to remove the emulator, but rather, the developer themselves took it down.

In a MacRumors forum post, Tom Salvo, developer of Bimmy, stated they removed the emulator out of fear. Rather than wait and see whether Nintendo or Apple would hit the developer with a copyright strike, Salvo pulled it from the storefront.

It's clear that, despite the legality of emulators in many regions, the idea of being hit by Nintendo's lawyers has been a fear that many developers are concerned about. Especially, following the recent lawsuit against Yuzu, which lead to the Switch emulator being pulled viciously from distribution.

Hopefully, as time passes, more developers can take the plunge into the risks of emulators on the App Store, but for now, we'll have to wait.

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