Retro game emulators now allowed on the Apple App Store

  • Prior to the update, emulator software was not allowed on the App Store. To install them, users usually needed to jailbreak and download a sideloader or an unauthorised alternate app shop.
  • Allowing the use of emulators on the App Store does not mean that pirated games are also allowed. Any app that offers downloads of games that do not belong to the developer is not allowed.

In addition to updating developer guidelines and allowing music streaming apps to link to external websites, Apple has added new language to allow game emulators to appear on the App Store, welcoming retro console emulator apps and even offering downloadable games.

More emulators available

Apple also reaffirmed to developers that they are allowed to make emulators and sell them on the Marketplace. Before this upgrade, developers were able to offer emulator software to iOS customers even if it was prohibited on the App Store. Users usually had to jailbreak their devices and download sideloaders or unofficial rival app stores in order to install them. More Android emulators may be added to iOS with this rule update, sparing consumers from having to go through all the hassle.

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Pirated games are not allowed

Apple cautions developers that they are “responsible for all such software available in their apps, including ensuring that such software complies with these guidelines and all applicable laws.” It goes without saying that just because emulators are available on the App Store, pirated games are not. Apps that allow users to download games that are not owned by the creator are prohibited; thus, enthusiasts for a particular system will have to wait for their firm to produce an official iOS emulator.

The EU’s Digital Marketplace Act, which punishes big digital companies for anti-competitive activity, appears to have impacted the most recent amendments to Apple’s developer guidelines. However, the new regulations regarding emulators are applicable to all developers globally.


Summer Ren

Summer Ren is an intern reporter at BTW Media, covering tech trends. She graduated from Cardiff University and had experience in the financial industry as well as video production skills. Send tips to

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