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RetroArch Is Now On The iOS App Store

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Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo Life

Last month, Apple slightly relaxed its stance on game emulation. Naturally, the ensuing weeks saw emulators added and taken down from the iOS App Store as developers attempted to feel out Apple’s copyright policies and now, there’s a new multisystem addition to the pile (thanks, The Verge).

RetroArch, a frontend app for game emulation, was added to the iOS App Store on 15th May and provides access to over 75 system emulators including 22 variants for Nintendo consoles at the time of writing.

Developed by Daniel De Matteis, the app is currently available for free on iPhone, iPad and tvOS with a macOS version planned for the future. It came to the Google Play Store back in 2021 and it can also be found on Steam.

RetroArch is not an emulator in its own right, instead the app provides a frontend onto which individual emulator ‘cores’ (separate emulation software) can be uploaded. This makes room for a huge number of systems to be added — and, at launch, there is a truly huge number. Alongside the NES, SNES, GB, GBA, DS and even the Virtual Boy, RetroArch also includes cores for Sega consoles, NEC PC Engine, PlayStation, PSP, and many more.

Does this mean you can now fire up GameCube and Wii games on your iPhone via Dolphin, then? That’s not the case at the moment. As noted by games journalist extraordinaire Jeff Gerstmann in a recent Patreon post, there are restrictions around RetroArch for more powerful emulators (specifically around using just-in-time, or JIT, compilation), meaning that the likes of Dolphin for Wii/GameCube emulation and Dreamcast cores are not included.

The app requires iOS 14.2 or later to run its latest version. More information can be found in the FAQ section of the RetroArch site.

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