Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The 5 best iPhone retro game emulators on the App Store

Updated May 30th, 2024 11:30AM EDT
Emulator apps for iPhone on the App Store
Image: José Adorno for BGR

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

A little over a month after Apple opened up its iOS App Store to retro game emulators, some of the top players in the market are finally making their way to iPhone and iPad. Delta was the first emulator we recommended, but the number of worthwhile options has now grown substantially, including the recent launch of the multi-system emulator frontend RetroArch.

In fact, there are enough retro emulator apps on the App Store to assemble a list of our favorites. Here are 5 iPhone retro game emulators you should download if you want to turn back the clock and play some of your favorite classic games on an iPhone.

UPDATE | 5/30: Replaced Gamma Emulator with SameBoy.


Delta game emulator is now available on the App Store.
Delta game emulator is now available on the App Store. Image source: Delta Emulator

Without question, Delta is still the most polished and attractive retro game emulator on the App Store. Developer Riley Testut got a huge head start by publishing the app on the AltStore years ago and has been polishing it and adding new features ever since. The only real knock against Delta at this point is the relatively limited number of classic game consoles that it supports, but the ones it does support play almost flawlessly.

Among the highlights of Delta are custom controller skins. As stellar as the skins included in the app are, you can import even more from many talented third-party creators. And if you’re feeling especially creative, you can create and share your own.


RetroArch is now available for iPhone, iPad, and tvOS.
RetroArch is now available for iPhone, iPad, and tvOS. Image source: RetroArch

RetroArch is not actually an emulator but rather a frontend for dozens of emulators capable of playing games from dozens of consoles. It’s not as sleek or intuitive as Delta, but it has support for some of the most ancient and obscure platforms imaginable, including the Lynx, the Vectrex, Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, and even the TI-83 calculator.

RetroArch is always the first software I download on any device I plan to use for emulation. It’s a major step for iPhone emulation that it’s now available for free on the App Store. Best of all, you can get it on Apple TV to play your games on the big screen.


PSP emulator PPSSPP is now available on the App Store.
PSP emulator PPSSPP is now available on the App Store. Image source: PPSSPP

PPSSPP is the true gold standard for PSP emulation. As the developer notes on the App Store, “PPSSPP is the original and only PSP emulator for mobile devices,” so if you’re looking to play any of your favorite UMD-based games on an iPhone, look no further.

Beyond playing most of the PSP library at full speed, PPSSPP can upscale all the games to a higher resolution so they look even better on your iPhone display. PPSSPP is free to download, but if you want to support its development, you can buy PPSSPP Gold for $4.99.


ScummVM is available on the App Store.
ScummVM is available on the App Store. Image source: ScummVM

ScummVM is available as a core in RetroArch, but you could also get the standalone emulator from the App Store. If you want quick access to the best point-and-click adventure games of the ’80s and ’90s, from King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry to Grim Fandango and Spy Fox, this is the app you’ll want to put on your Home Screen.


SameBoy is a Game Boy and GBC emulator for iPhone.
SameBoy is a Game Boy and GBC emulator for iPhone. Image source: App Store

There are now plenty of ways to play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on your iPhone, but none more accurate than SameBoy. This emulator has save states, rumble support (even for games without a Rumble Pak), many scaling filters, Game Boy Camera emulation, fast forward, rewind, slow motion, and support for all of your favorite controllers.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.