Game Boy emulator now available on the iPhone following App Store rules change

Update: The app has been removed from the App Store, as spotted by Parker Ortolani. It’s unclear if the developer or Apple removed the app.

Apple changed the App Store rules last week to seemingly permit game emulators on the iPhone for the first time.

Following that policy change, the first emulator apps are now appearing on the store. iGBA is a free Game Boy game emulator for iPhone and iPad, which can indeed load and play ROMs downloaded to the device — a category of application that Apple would have unequivocally rejected a fortnight ago.

The developer of iGBA is clearly capitalizing on the surprising rule change. The app is a lazy copy of the open-source project GBA4iOS, albeit monetized with embedded ads. (In case it wasn’t obvious, Riley Testut confirms the app was submitted without his participation or consent.)

Nevertheless, it is a fully featured emulator. You can indeed download Game Boy Advance or Game Boy Color ROMs from the web, and then ‘Open in’ iGBA to start playing them. Save states, virtual controller customisation, haptic settings, and AirPlay external display projection are all available here.

The change to the App Store rules was a little ambiguous as to whether it would allow installation via sideloaded ROM, as the language referred to licensed emulated programs within the host application.

But assuming the approval of iGBA is not a reviewer’s mistake, there are seemingly no limits to ROM loading functionality, and consequently the App Store is now open season for game emulators to exist and thrive.


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