Apple Doesn’t Want PC Emulators Running on iPhones, Yet

Game mode on iOS and iPad

Recently, iPhones have opened up doors for emulators in response to antitrust scrutiny, but there are a few exceptions when submitting such apps. It should only be a “retro game console” emulator, which means that even with powerful processors such as A17 Pro, you can’t play PC games even if you wanted to.

Apple is very particular about which emulators can run on the App Store; so the company rejected two emulator apps: iDOS 3 and UTM SE. iDOS 3 is a new version of a DOS emulator, while UTM SE could allow users to run Windows on iOS. It’s pretty much a dream come true, isn’t it?

But iDOS 3 was rejected, according to The Verge, because it does not specifically emulate a retro game console, which violates Apple’s guideline 4.7. Interestingly, when the developer asked Apple how to make iDOS 3 compliant, the couldn’t provide clear answer. They were also unable to define what qualifies as a “retro game console.”

UTM SE faced a rejection similar to iDOS 3, with Apple explaining that PCs are not considered consoles. This decision came despite the developer’s argument about the existence of retro games for Windows and DOS that UTM SE could run. Adding to the confusion, Apple also blocked UTM SE from being notarized for third-party app stores in the EU, citing guideline 2.5.2, which prohibits apps from executing code that alters their functionality or affects other apps.

So, if you were hoping to play some PC classics using the capabilities of, for example, the latest iPhone 15 Pro or the M4 iPad Pro, you may have to wait a bit longer. We’ll have to see what decision Apple makes about it. In the meantime, you can explore some of the best retro game emulators available, covering everything from Nintendo 3DS to PS1 games.

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