You can now play Game Boy games on your iPhone after Apple's App Store changes

Emulators running on mobile
(Image credit: iMore)

Apple made changes to its App Store guidelines around game emulators and gaming streaming services last week, and emulators have begun to arrive on the platform.

As spotted by 9to5Mac, the Game Boy emulator iGBA is now available via the App Store and will let users install and play ROMs on their iPhone or iPad.

"Additionally, retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games" is what the amended guidelines said last week, and the developer of iGBA (and other apps) is leaning into that early.

9to5Mac notes that the app itself is a copy of GBA4iOS, a long-running open-source project that's been around for years. Nonetheless, it'll run your Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance ROMs.

GameBoy Advance FireRed cartridge

Expect Pokemon ROMs to be particularly popular (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

How does Sideloading ROMs work?

While developers can offer ROM downloads within their emulator apps, that can open a can of worms when it comes to piracy and the legality of ownership. As we reported last week, Apple said developers are “responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.”

As 9to5Mac reports, though, users can seemingly download ROMs from the web and then open them in iGBA to start playing with a bevvy of improvements like controller remapping, haptics, save states and AirPlay support.

Will this be enough to get you digging for your Pokemon cartridges? I'm not entirely sure I ever fully played most of them, so it's tempting.

More from iMore

Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom. Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more. He’s also the Editor in Chief at, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.