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The best emulators for iPhone and iPad

We’ve put together a list of the best emulators for iPhone and iPad, so you won’t stop playing. In today’s digital age, nostalgia for classic video games has never been more palpable. For those who want to relive the glory days of retro consoles on their modern devices, emulators are the perfect solution. While iOS is not as open as Android in terms of emulation, there are still ways to enjoy your favourite games of yesteryear on your iPhone or iPad. In this article, we’ll explore the best emulators available for iOS users, allowing you to immerse yourself in the past without the need for the original console.

1. Delta Emulator

Developed by Riley Testut, Delta Emulator is a spiritual successor to the famous GBA4iOS emulator. This multi-function emulator supports a variety of systems, including Nintendo 64, SNES, NES, and Game Boy. With an intuitive user interface and customisation options, Delta offers a smooth and optimised gaming experience. Plus, it supports game synchronisation via Dropbox, ensuring your progress is never lost.

2. Provenance

Provenance is a multi-platform emulator that supports consoles such as Sega Genesis, Nintendo NES, SNES, and more. This emulator is notable for its ability to organise games by console and for its support for different types of controllers, including MFi controllers. With Provenance, you can load your own ROMs directly from the device’s browser, making it easy to access your library of classic games.


For PlayStation enthusiasts, PPSSPP is the leading PSP emulator for iOS. This emulator allows you to play PSP games in high definition, with significant improvements in graphics compared to the original console. PPSSPP is known for its broad compatibility and for offering customisable configurations to optimise performance according to the device.

4. RetroArch

RetroArch is more than an emulator; it is a frontend for emulators, game engines, and media players. Thanks to its “core” system, RetroArch can emulate a wide range of consoles, including PlayStation 1, NES, SNES, and many others. Although its initial setup may be more complex than other emulators, its versatility makes it an excellent choice for emulation enthusiasts.

5. Happy Chick

Happy Chick is known for its vast library of games, which includes titles from consoles such as Nintendo DS, PS1, PSP, and Game Boy Advance. This emulator stands out for its ability to download games directly from its integrated catalogue, eliminating the need to search for ROMs on the internet. However, it is important to be wary of copyright policies and to make sure you own the games you download.

Tips for iOS emulation

  • Installation: Installing emulators on iOS may require unconventional methods, such as using enterprise certificates or installing via AltStore. Research the safest and most appropriate method for your device.
  • Legality: Make sure you comply with copyright laws. It is legal to download and use ROMs of games you already physically own.
  • Performance: Some games may be more demanding in terms of hardware. Experiment with emulator settings to find the perfect balance between performance and graphics quality.
  • iOS updates: Operating system updates may affect the functionality of emulators. Before updating your device, check for compatibility reviews from other users.
Emulators for iPhone and iPad offer a window into the past, allowing you to enjoy classic games in the comfort of your current device. Whether you’re looking to relive your childhood, or explore gems from the video game era that you missed, emulators are an essential tool for any retro gaming enthusiast.
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