How To Get Dolphin Emulator on iOS: Full Guide in 2024

dolphin emulator for ios

It was an unexpected yet welcome surprise when Apple finally allowed emulators on the App Store. You can easily install classic gaming console emulators that you couldn’t play on your iOS device before. Whether you’re looking to play Pokemon: Fire Red on a GameBoy emulator or Patapon on a PSP emulator, there are several options available.

Long-time emulator users have likely heard of Dolphin before. It’s available on a range of platforms, although it only recently came to the Apple ecosystem. The installation process is still a bit confusing, admittedly. I’ll explain how to get the Dolphin emulator up and running on your iOS device so that you can start playing games ASAP.

What is Dolphin Emulator?

Emulators allow a device to imitate another operating system, software system, or hardware for a device to run a specific application or game. Dolphin Emulator has been around since the early 2000s but eventually became an emulator for Wii and GameCube. It was able to run most games from GameCube and Wii by 2009.

As technology progressed, Dolphin also adapted. From limited compatibility, it later became available for Windows, Android, macOS, and more. And now, it’s available on iOS, albeit not directly from the App Store.

With Apple’s recent change in policies about emulators, we can expect the Dolphin emulator to be accessible via the App Store toward the end of the year. For now, a walkaround will make do.

How to Install Dolphin Emulator on iOS

Similar to other emulators for iOS, Dolphin Emulator can only be installed as a third-party app. It means that it won’t be readily available in the standard App Store for iPhone and iPad users. You will need to install a sideloading app. You need to use AltStore for the Dolphin Emulator.

Step 1: Download AltStore

Similar to Dolphin Emulator, AltStore cannot be downloaded from the App Store. You have to install an AltServer on your Windows PC or Mac before you can install it on your iPhone or iPad.

For Mac installation:

  1. This is the official download link for AltServer for macOS 11 or later. For earlier versions 10.14 or 10.15, this is the official download link.
  2. Open the ZIP file, which will turn into an AltServer app within the Downloads folder. Next, drag the AltServer app to your Applications folder.
  3. Look for the AltServer in your menu bar and launch it. 
  4. Connect your iOS device to your computer—it must be unlocked. If there’s any issue, trust your device with your computer.
  5. Then, turn on Wi-Fi sync on your iOS device.
  1. Open the AltServer icon, select Install AltStore, and choose your iOS device. You must log in with your Apple ID and password to proceed. Quick disclaimer: this won’t let AltServer, or any other third-party apps, have your Apple credentials. It is only sent to Apple, not to anyone else.

After a few moments, a prompt will show saying that AltStore has been installed on your device. In some cases, you may have to restart your device to make the AltStore appear.

For Windows installation:

  1. If you haven’t yet, you must install iTunes and iCloud directly from Apple and not through the Microsoft Store. 
  2. Download the AltServer for Windows through the official link, then you will see this file:
  3. Extract the zip file and run Setup.exe.
  4. Once downloaded, search AltServer in your taskbar and run it as administrator.
  5. Connect your iOS device to your computer. Your device must be unlocked and trust your device with your computer.
  6. Open your iTunes and enable Wi-Fi sync on your iOS device. 
  7. Click on the AltServer icon in your taskbar and choose Install AltStore. You must select the device upon selecting this option, so make sure that your iOS device is connected to your computer.
  8. Put your Apple ID and password in it to allow AltServer to support your device.
  9. Wait for a couple of seconds, and it will notify you that AltStore has been installed on your device.

After installation:

  1. Proceed to your Settings and choose General, then Profile & Device Management.
  2. Choose Trust [your Apple ID], then tap Trust again.
  3. For iOS 16 and later versions, you must enable Developer Mode through Privacy & Security in the Settings section of your device.

Step 2: Download Dolphin Emulator

  1. On the Browse tab of AltStore, choose Sources, then click Add on the OatmealDome’s AltStore Source section.
  2. A prompt will appear. Choose Add and tap Done. If you scroll down, you will see Dolphin iOS. Then, tap Free to begin the installation.

Step 3: Trust the Developer

For you to use the Dolphin iOS smoothly, you must confirm that you trust this application.

  1. Go to your Settings > General > VPN > Device Management > Developer App.
  2. Select the certificates related to Dolphin and confirm that you trust them.

Step 4: Run Dolphin Emulator

Once the app is installed, you can see the Dolphin iOS icon on your device. You can run it just like any other app on your phone.

But you won’t be able to play immediately after installation. You need to manually add games to your Dolphin iOS by importing ROMs. These are digital copies of games. There are plenty of ways to import games – either directly from an iOS device or through the Dolphin app on your PC or Mac.

You can also use iTunes’ file-sharing options to add ROMs to your Dolphin iOS, and explore more game options for both Windows and Mac. 

Now, you can enjoy console games through your Apple devices. You also have the option to use wireless controllers compatible with your iOS device if you want to.

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