Best Emulators for iPhone: iOS Gaming in 2024

  • In the U.S., emulators are mostly legal, whereas ROMs and other proprietary elements can fall under copyright infringement.
  • Consoles that require more power will likely not work well on older iPhone models.
  • Many of the emulators listed here have plans for the iPad as well.

With Apple easing restrictions on emulators in the App Store, no doubt iPhone owners are looking for the best ways to play their favorite classic and retro games. While Apple’s new policy means that it may take some time to see the App Store truly flourish, users should know about what’s currently available in terms of emulation on iOS. There are a lot of good options, so let’s explore.

Do iPhone Emulators Exist?

If you’re unfamiliar with the world of emulation, you should read my deep-dive on the subject. For this article, I’ll only cover emulators that are (mostly) easy to access. For emulators that require jailbreaking or sideloading on iPhone, I make references to a couple of good ones, but you’re on your own if you need further information. With that, here are some of the coolest emulators available for iOS right now.


Okay, so maybe starting the list with something that isn’t even in the App Store may cause some to feel a migraine coming on, but hear me out. This browser-based collection of emulators from offers a lot of really neat stuff. Being that you use a web browser for Afterplay, you’re able to move your gaming experience between devices thanks to cloud storage.

On top of that, the site also offers a wide array of different gaming devices, including some less familiar consoles, like the Atari Lynx or the WonderSwan. However, accessing this wider collection of consoles does require a $5.99/month subscription.

Should you not want to pay a subscription fee, the free version of Afterplay still has plenty to offer. It even allows for autosave and manual save slots, meaning you can save your game and continue where you left off on a different device.

Afterplay also has some classic emulator features, such as cheats, input customization, screenshots, and more. While Apple fans wait for the App Store to fill up with more emulation apps, this one may be worth it for those who don’t like to wait.

Available Consoles:


  • GameBoy
  • GameBoy Color
  • GameBoy Advanced
  • Super Nintendo (SNES)


  • Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
  • Nintendo 64
  • Sega Genesis
  • Neo Geo Pocket
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Nintendo DS
  • Atari Lynx
  • PlayStation
  • Atari 7800
  • WonderSwan Color
  • WonderSwan
  • Pokémon Mini


  • Can move saves between devices
  • Auto-save, fast-forward options, and other emulator features
  • Expansive list of emulators


  • Browser-based
  • Premium monthly-subscription

2. Delta App

The Delta app is currently the king of the Apple App Store, and for a good reason: this thing has the juice. I’ve already written rather extensively on this app, even providing a rather hearty how-to about getting it going, and it’s likely because I’m obsessed with it. While the scope of consoles is rather limited to Nintendo for the time being (including Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS), there’s a lot to enjoy from a Delta experience.

iPhone running Goldeneye using Delta emulator

Delta allows you to customize controllers for each console and offers Bluetooth support for official controllers. It also includes typical emulator features like cheats and fast-forwarding. While some gamers may want options outside of the world of Nintendo, this is a great addition to the App Store and will no doubt keep fans eager for what’s next.

Available Consoles on Delta:

  • Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
  • Super Nintendo Entertain System (SNES)
  • Nintendo 64
  • Game Boy and Game Boy Color
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Nintendo DS


  • It’s free
  • Tons of emulators with the ability to reskin them
  • Cheat codes, fast-forwarding
  • More consoles arriving soon


  • Controls may take some getting used to
  • Really only for Nintendo games and consoles
  • Nintendo DS requires BIOS files

3. Play! and Play!.js

Gamers looking for a PlayStation 2 emulator have some options, limited as they currently may be. For instance, a lot of folks enjoy the Play! app, but I must warn you that it requires sideloading, which is why Play!.js can also be useful for those who don’t want to dive into the grit.

Play PS2 web browser emulator

Play!.js is another accessible browser-based emulator, although it doesn’t provide nearly as many features as Afterplay. In fact, it’s more of a proof of concept if anything, as it doesn’t allow for save states. However, you don’t need to sideload anything onto your iPhone (but you can), and the browser version of Play! doesn’t require BIOS files, meaning it can be a great way to get in a few quick games of Tekken while you wait for a proper PS2 emulator to hit the App Store.

Available Consoles:

  • PlayStation 2


  • It’s a PlayStation 2 emulator—on your iPhone!
  • No BIOS files required


  • Browser-based
  • No save states
  • More of a proof-of-concept if anything

4. The App Store

So this one is really stretching things a bit, but remember that the App Store is a great option for some of your favorite classic and retro games. For example, the Dreamcast manic-driving classic Crazy Taxi is available as a stand-alone app, and I don’t even know why you would need another video game, honestly. Of course, the Grand Theft Auto III Trilogoy originally for the PlayStation 2 is also available.

While you may need to do a bit of research, remember that the App Store has more than two million apps, so the game you want to play may already be available. Even if that isn’t the case, you may find something that will hold you over until more emulators arrive.

5. More Games Arriving Soon

While Apple fans are likely chomping at the bit to get their hands on some classic emulation, remember that even more goodness is coming soon. Personally, I can’t wait for a Dreamcast emulator to start playing some Chu Chu Rocket again, but as of now, Apple-approved emulation on iPhone is still rather new. If you’re familiar at all with sideloading, RetroArch is rather amazing—just be aware that it will officially come to the App Store soon.

Of course, other emulators are slated for release as well. PPSPP, a PlayStation Portable emulator, is in the pipeline, as is uoYabuse, a Sega Saturn emulator. Those who are more interested in arcade-style gaming will also be happy to know that MAME4iOS is hoping to see a release sometime in the near future as well.

It’s an exciting time to be an Apple fan and a classic gamer. With the company taking a more relaxed approach to emulation and emulators on the App Store, no doubt more awesome content will continue to pour through. You may also want to know about Windows emulation on Mac.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.