First Official Emulator “iGBA” Now On Apple App Store To Download

iGBA game boy iphone emulator

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Update: As of 15th April 2024 iGBA has been removed from the app store. Users who previously downloaded the app still have access, but nobody knows as of yet why it has been removed. It’s likely because it has used someone else’s work as a clone, which is mentioned in this news post.

It was only a few weeks ago when Apple announced that they would allow emulators to be downloaded directly from their app store, and as of today the first “official” emulator is now available for iOS users to experience.

It’s called “iGBA” an emulator application that specifically plays your Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance ROMs. It works pretty well too and it’s completely free.

Many developers behind these applications are hesitant to pay wall their apps because of Nintendo’s recent history suing the creators behind Yuzu, a Nintendo Switch Emulator that was paywalled.

Though that doesn’t stop developers from adding in advertisements to counter-act this. I installed the iGBA emulator on my iPhone and it’s as easy as it looks, jumping you straight into the finder menu that will simply add your ROMs automatically once you press the ROM file in your files folder.

igba menu roms

Although it took me a while to find how this works, once done it’s as easy finding and clicking on your ROM files via your files app. As mentioned this does work with GB/GBC/GBA exclusively, so don’t go adding in any other console ROM files, they won’t work.

The UI is clean, and features a Game Boy like face on the front that’s pretty obvious to use, featuring shoulder buttons on the GBA games, which are a little small. With each press you’ll get a little kick back from the phones speaker.

To access the menu you’ll need to press the small “menu” button on the bottom left, this will bring up a variety of options including fast forward, save state, load state, cheat codes and a sustain button.

The fast forward option is great although I would have liked to see a choice of how fast you want it to go, because the fast forward is set to a very fast speed which isn’t enjoyable at this moment in time, but a small update should fix this swiftly.

The Game Boy and Game Boy Color screen ratio fits much better on a typical iPhone’s screen, and each console can be switched to a horizontal mode, although on GB and GBC there is some overlap and it only works well when playing your favourite Game Boy Advance games, as it switches to a full-screen mode instead of an awkward boxed mode.

However according to the emulation community, this application has ripped most of the work from an old emulator that is now discontinued called Delta GBA4iOS that isn’t on the App Store, so although it may look like it’s been built from the ground up, it’s not the case.

The emulation industry is still the wild west, many taking work from others, copying code and straight up stealing and this is an example of that, even if there was some work done to get it onto the app store and polish some areas.

This is far beyond Apple to police, so I think it’s likely we’ll see more emulators come to fruition that aren’t “official” in a sense, whic is upsetting because i know a lot of people put a lot of work into making these emulators a reality to preserve video game history.

This the start of an influx of emulators coming to iOS, which I think is a good thing and will open up acess to thousands of retro games that have been left in the dust. That said, I do believe us as a community should point retro gaming fans in the direction of emulators that have been built ethically.

I will try my best to point you in that direction with future emulators that we cover here on Retro Dodo, as of now iGBA is one of the better emulators for iPhone, it works well and is a lot of fun, but it’s the frankenstein of GBA emulators on the app store right now, and no doubt better ones will come to the app store over the coming months.

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