Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

GBA4iOS Debuts 2.0 Update for Game Boy Emulator With iPad Support, Easy Installation

GBA4iOS today introduced a 2.0 update for its popular Game Boy emulator for iOS, introducing a full iOS 7 redesign, iPad optimization, support for original and Game Boy Color games, and a built-in web browser for downloading ROMs.

More importantly, the software is now much easier to install, requiring neither a jailbroken device nor a work around to set the device clock to 2012. Prior to the 2.0 update, installing GBA4iOS without jailbreaking required an iPhone's date to be set to 2012. Though it doesn't require an initial date change, GBA4iOS 2.0 does carry a warning that the device clock may need to be set back to 2/19/14 if the app fails to open.

gba4ios
With GBA4iOS 2.0, gamers can play Game Boy Advanced, Game Boy Color, and original Gameboy ROMs directly on their iPads and iPhones, but the software is only compatible with devices running iOS 7. GBA4iOS 2.0 is distributed using an Apple Enterprise certificate, which are designed to allow companies to distribute iOS apps internally.

Downloading games for GBA4iOS previously required navigating outside of the app to find ROMs, but the newest version includes an in-app web browser that can be used to download games from any ROM website. GBA4iOS 2.0 also includes full support for cheats, accepting five different code formats covering everything from Game Genie to Action Replay.

The GBA4iOS update includes an array of controller skins for Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color games and it supports third party controller skins. It also offers full iOS 7 controller support, Dropbox integration, and "Event Distribution" to allow GBA4iOS unlock and distribute features that are not normally included within games.

While several emulators have snuck into the App Store via shell apps, they are always short-lived as Apple pulls the apps within hours or days of release. GBA4iOS is able to overcome Apple's restrictions as it is not installed via the App Store. Instead, GBA4iOS can be installed directly on an iOS device from the website, by tapping the download link on an iPad or iPhone.

Update: Apple has revoked the enterprise certificate that GBA4iOS used to install itself on iOS devices, which means installs now require setting a device date back to February 18, 2014 before downloading the software. After installation, the date on the device can be changed back to the present time.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

8 weeks ago

Warez/Serials/Keys. Do not post software serial numbers or keys or refer people to specific websites, software, or techniques whose purpose is to break or bypass software licensing methods, distribute cracks, or obtain or use commercial software or media in violation of its license and/or for copyright violation. Do not ask for or give such help.


Why would this be posted in direct violation of forum rules?
Rating: 16 Positives
8 weeks ago
I'm curious, how exactly does this get installed from the browser? Wouldn't that be a serious security issue?
Rating: 9 Positives
8 weeks ago

I downloaded it via the link in this article and successfully installed it. But everytime I try to open the app, it crashes immediately. I have an iPhone 5S running 7.0.4 (11B554a).


Doesn't work for me either. Won't even launch, it's stuck in a "installing" cycle over and over.
Rating: 7 Positives
8 weeks ago
MacRumours, thank you SO MUCH! Downloaded this as soon as I got the notification (cheers Mavericks!) and I'm playing FireRed as I speak.

EDIT: This is seriously ****ing sweet. Seriously, this works a charm and it's so easy to set up. Literally four taps and I'm playing this stuff. Just remember to be patient with the web browser, it does take a little time to load. :)
Rating: 7 Positives
8 weeks ago
I was a Beta Tester for this project, (you can find me as Jake Tarrant under the "Beta Testers" tabs).

It's an INSANE emulator, been playing with it for months. It's perfect, and one of the best out there for GBA. If you have any questions feel free to ask me how something works.
Rating: 5 Positives
8 weeks ago
I'm curious how they get around the app store restrictions to provide a direct download.

It appears to be signed by "ChinaVDI(Beijing) Technology Co.,Ltd" - so they've borrowed/hijacked someones Enterprise distribution key?

Presumably the "set clock back to before Feb 19, 2014" warning will be needed from some future date when the key expires or Apple cancels it.
Rating: 5 Positives
8 weeks ago

Why would this be posted in direct violation of forum rules?


The rules do not apply to macrumors bot! macrumors bot makes the rules!
Rating: 5 Positives
8 weeks ago
This seems safe.

Downloads anyway.
Rating: 5 Positives
8 weeks ago

I have to agree, but since Nintendo doesn't offer their games on the App store where I can purchase them. I am left with other methods to play legacy games.


:D I think that falls under first world problems. Doesn't quite compare to the old "I need to feed my family" excuse.
Rating: 5 Positives
8 weeks ago
This app is seriously impressive for an emulator. It feels native and not like a jailbreak kludge. It makes use of iOS 7's API's nicely (tap menu during a game, then Return to Menu and the menu system is in purple translucency).

Thumb resize.

Tap the plus button on the top right and using a certain "cool" site to download ROM's (with a disclaimer dialog) is wonderful as it just works and is ad minimal.

Thumb resize.

I also appreciate the designers attention to detail with the button layout UI. It's clean and has large targets.The only real issue I have is it uses a standard plus directional pad which leads to some frustrating button misses as it's so rigid. A better alternative would have been to use a circle pad (90° per button) in portrait and a floating d-pad that allows a wide range of motion for each direction as is used in many App Store games.

Thumb resize.

So far the games I've tried have run flawlessly. It's easily the best emulator for iOS period. All other console emulators should strive to be this refined. Kudos to Riley Testut (dev), Paul Thorsen (graphic designer), and team.
Rating: 4 Positives

[ Read All Comments ]