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Top-5 emulators for iOS

Console emulators for iOS can be defined as software that allows iOS devices to emulate the hardware and software of video game consoles, enabling users to play classic console games on their iOS devices. Emulators typically come with a user interface that allows select and play games.

With emulation, you can play classic games from consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis on your iOS device. Console emulation has come a long way in recent years, and with the right emulator, you can experience classic games as they were meant to be played.

Benefits of Using Emulators

You’re probably familiar with the frustration of not being able to play your favorite classic games on modern devices. Luckily, with the rise of retro game emulators for iOS, reliving the gaming nostalgia of the past has never been easier.

Classic console games have a timeless appeal; they feature simple rules and uncomplicated graphics that can transport you back to childhood.

While the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) has achieved near-iconic status in video game culture, many other retro consoles have been forgotten. You probably have a few old consoles stored in your attic or basement. If so, you can dust them off, pop in an old game cartridge and play away.

BUT! There’s no need to turn on the lights in your attic or basement.

To enjoy classic games on iPhone, all you require is a retro game emulator and access to the internet.

Top-5 Game Console Emulators for iOS (all tested)


Delta is a popular iOS emulator that supports a wide range of classic gaming consoles, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy Advance. It offers a user-friendly interface and supports features such as cheat codes and controller customization.

Delta emulator features:

  • Cheat codes and controller customization
  • Works on all iOS devices from iOS 8 to iOS 16+
  • Fully optimized for the iPad
  • Supports Airplay
  • Supports Wireless Linking
  • Variety of skins


GBA4iOS is a widely popular emulator, with over 20 million downloads, and has been dubbed one of the best emulators not available in the App Store. Its appeal lies in its effortless and speedy performance. Additionally, it boasts impressive capabilities as it can emulate GBA, GBC, and GB games. The emulator also includes highly sought-after features like Cheats, iPad optimization, AirPlay, Dropbox sync, and many more.

GBA4iOS features:

  • Easy to use interface and quick installation process.
  • Supports cheat codes and Dropbox syncing.
  • Offers customizable skins and controller skins.
  • Works on all iOS devices from iOS 8 to iOS 16+
  • Fully optimized for the iPad
  • In-App Browser
  • AirPlay Support
  • External Controllers Support: Works perfectly with MFi Controllers


Provenance is one of the oldest and the most solid multi-platform emulators created for iOS devices. The app can run games for NES, Famicom, GameBoy (Color and Advance), Sega Master System, Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear, and zillions of other great retro games.

Provenance emulator features:

  • Compatibility
  • The app features a user-friendly interface that enables effortless navigation for its users.
  • Allows users to customize their gaming experience with features like 3D Touch Shortcuts, Haptic Engine Button Feedback, and Spotlight Searching
  • Supports various game controllers, including Bluetooth controllers
  • Allows users to save their game progress at any point and resume from where they left off.
  • Supports cheat codes, which can be entered manually or downloaded from the internet.


RetroArch is a powerful retro game emulator that supports a wide range of classic gaming consoles and offers a wide range of features, including support for shaders and netplay. It has a steep learning curve but offers a high level of customization.

RetroArch for iOS features:

  • It offers a high level of customization, including the ability to remap buttons and customize the user interface.
  • Advanced GPU shader support with CRT, NTSC video artifacts, and other effects.
  • Dynamic Rate Control to synchronize video and audio while smoothing out timing imperfections.
  • The Gamepad abstraction layer called Retropad and auto-configuration allows you to start playing right after plugging a gamepad in Peer-to-peer netplay using a rollback technique similar to GGPO.

Happy Chick

Happy Chick is a retro game emulator that supports a wide range of classic gaming consoles, including the Nintendo DS, PSP, and PlayStation. It offers a user-friendly interface and supports multiplayer gaming and cloud saves features.

Happy Chick for iOS features:

  • Supports a variety of gaming controllers.
  • Ability to save and load game progress.
  • Play games online with others.
  • Regular updates with new games added. 

Our tech team thoroughly tested these emulators to ensure stable and enjoyable gaming experiences.

How to Start Retro Gaming on iOS?

Remember these times: lying with an old console with friends and family members gathered around?

…So why not bring those times back in a few taps? Classic games are the heart and soul of retro gaming, and with retro game emulators for iOS, you can play all your favorites on your iPhone or iPad.

In addition to the emulators described in this article, many other emulator options are available through the BuildStore library. With over 30 gaming console emulators, users can find the perfect emulator to play their favorite classic games on their iOS devices. No matter which gaming console you prefer — Nintendo, Sega, or Sony — there is an emulator.

We encourage you to explore our library and find the best emulator that suits your gaming needs!

  1. Download the emulator app from BuildStore
  2. Find a reputable website that offers game ROMs for the games you own.
  3. Download the ROM onto your iOS device.
  4. Open the retro game emulator on your iOS device.
  5. Navigate to the game ROM section of the emulator.
  6. Select the game ROM you want to play.
  7. Wait for the game ROM to load into the emulator.
  8. Configure the emulator settings to your liking, such as controller settings and graphics settings.
  9. Enjoy playing your favorite console game on your iOS device!

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