Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts.

iGBA Feature

It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that users download from the web and open via the Files app on the iPhone. Accordingly, it seems like there are no game restrictions for emulators, unless Apple mistakenly approved iGBA on the App Store.

iGBA works with Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games. It is important to note that it can be illegal to possess certain ROMs from game developers, but homebrew Game Boy games are typically in the clear.

iGBA appears to be a copy of Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS emulator, but with ads that can track users. GBA4iOS is the predecessor to Testut's current Nintendo game emulator Delta, which can be installed on the iPhone outside of the App Store, and will soon be available through his alternative app marketplace AltStore on iPhones in the EU. It is not clear if Testut plans to make Delta available in the App Store following the rule change.

Update: As noted by Parker Ortolani, the iGBA emulator has been removed from the App Store. Apple told us it removed the app for violating the company's app review guidelines related to spam and copyright, after learning that it was a knockoff app that copied another developer's submission (likely referring to GBA4iOS).

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Top Rated Comments

Zapski Avatar
5 weeks ago
So this is an ad and tracking enabled version of someone else’s work. Hard pass.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MarioPhone96 Avatar
5 weeks ago
The fact this app is based off GBA4iOS and is full of ads and tracking makes it not worth getting. Just wait for Delta, it’s way better.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
5 weeks ago
From what I’ve read, this has embedded ads. I would prefer paid emulators that aren’t based on ads…
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoldOnApple Avatar
5 weeks ago
Tim Cook finally got my emails.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
foobarbaz Avatar
5 weeks ago
Eww. First thing it does is ask for push notification permission. Then it asks for permission to be tracked by 126 (!) entities. Then it shows an ad with a fake button trying to get me to click it. (You know the kind you find on shady download sites).

No, thank you.

I’ll wait for a premium or community app, not shovelware from a developer with 70 different apps.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarletonTorpin Avatar
5 weeks ago

So this is an ad and tracking enabled version of someone else’s work. Hard pass.
Well said, Zapski.

I downloaded the app, and then I realized the only way to load roms is via a web browser, which built into the app.

I am NOT putting any user info into a third-party app's web browser.

Here's hoping for a more-legit and official solution, in the future.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)