Guide: Playing RetroArch on iOS

How do I play RetroArch on iOS?

Are you tired of playing modern games on your iPhone and want to relive the nostalgia of classic arcade and console games? Look no further than RetroArch, a powerful and versatile emulator that allows you to play a wide range of retro games on your iOS device. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of installing and setting up RetroArch on your iOS device, so you can start playing your favorite retro games in no time.

First, you will need to download RetroArch from the official website. Visit the RetroArch website on your iOS device’s browser and click on the download link. Once the download is complete, open the RetroArch app and tap on the “Install” button. You may need to grant permission for the app to be installed on your device.

After the installation is complete, open the RetroArch app and you will be greeted with a simple and intuitive interface. To add games to RetroArch, you will need to download ROMs (game files) from reliable sources. There are many websites that offer ROMs for various retro games. Once you have downloaded your ROMs, you can add them to RetroArch by tapping on the “Add Content” button in the app.

Once you have added your ROMs, you can browse and play them from within RetroArch. The app supports a wide range of gaming systems, including NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, and many more. Simply select the game you want to play and RetroArch will launch the emulator for that system. You can customize the controls and settings within RetroArch to enhance your gaming experience.

Playing retro games on your iOS device has never been easier with RetroArch. Follow this step-by-step guide to install and set up RetroArch on your iOS device, and start enjoying the classics from your childhood. Whether you’re a fan of Mario, Sonic, or Street Fighter, RetroArch has you covered with its extensive library of retro games. So dust off your old gaming memories and get ready to embark on an exciting journey down memory lane.

What is RetroArch?

RetroArch is an open-source, multi-platform emulator that allows you to play retro video games on various devices, including iOS. It is designed to be a unified interface for emulators, game engines, and media players, providing a seamless experience for playing games from different consoles and platforms.

With RetroArch, you can play games from a wide range of systems, including NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, PlayStation, and more. The emulator core library of RetroArch, called “cores,” supports a large number of gaming platforms, allowing you to easily switch between different systems and games without the need for multiple emulators.

One of the main advantages of RetroArch is its user-friendly interface. It features a menu-driven system with easy-to-use navigation, allowing you to browse and launch games with just a few clicks. The emulator also offers various customization options, such as control mapping, screen filters, and shaders, which allow you to enhance the graphics and gameplay to your liking.

RetroArch is also highly customizable and extensible. It supports a variety of plugins and add-ons, allowing you to enhance its functionality and add new features. You can download additional cores, shaders, and overlays from the RetroArch online repository, expanding the number of supported systems and improving the overall emulation accuracy and performance.

Overall, RetroArch provides a comprehensive and convenient solution for playing retro games on iOS. Whether you’re a nostalgic gamer looking to relive the classics or a retro enthusiast exploring the rich history of gaming, RetroArch offers a vast library of games and features to satisfy your gaming needs.

Why play RetroArch on iOS?

RetroArch is a powerful and versatile multi-platform emulator that allows you to play retro games from various consoles and platforms on your iOS device. Here are a few reasons why playing RetroArch on iOS can be a great choice for gaming enthusiasts:

  • Wide range of supported games and consoles: RetroArch supports an extensive library of games from consoles like NES, SNES, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, and many more. This means you can experience nostalgia and play your favorite games from the past.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: RetroArch is available on multiple platforms, including iOS. This means you can seamlessly switch between your iOS device and other devices like Windows, macOS, Android, and more, without losing your progress.
  • User-friendly interface: RetroArch features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate through your game library, configure settings, and customize your gaming experience. You can also access various features and options to enhance your gameplay, such as save states, cheat codes, and video shaders.
  • Customizable controls: RetroArch allows you to customize the on-screen controls according to your preferences. You can adjust the size, position, and layout of the controls to ensure a comfortable and intuitive gaming experience.
  • Online multiplayer: RetroArch supports online multiplayer, allowing you to connect and play games with friends or other RetroArch users from around the world. This adds a whole new level of fun and competition to your gaming sessions.

Overall, playing RetroArch on iOS provides a convenient and enjoyable way to relive the classic gaming era and discover new games from various consoles, all on your iOS device. So, if you’re a retro gaming enthusiast, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the nostalgia and fun of retro gaming on your iOS device with RetroArch.

Step 1: Download RetroArch

To begin playing RetroArch on your iOS device, you will first need to download the app. RetroArch is not available on the official App Store, so you will need to use an alternative method to install it.

  1. Open the Safari browser on your iOS device.
  2. Go to the official RetroArch website.
  3. Tap on the “Downloads” section of the website.
  4. Scroll down and look for the iOS icon or the “Download” button for iOS.
  5. Tap on the iOS icon or the “Download” button to start the download process.

Once the download is complete, you may need to allow the app to be installed on your device. To do this, go to your device’s “Settings” app, then navigate to “General” > “Profiles & Device Management.” Find the profile associated with RetroArch and tap on it, then tap “Trust” to allow the app to be installed.

Congratulations! You have successfully downloaded RetroArch on your iOS device. Now you can move on to the next step and start configuring the app to play your favorite retro games.

Step 2: Install RetroArch

Step 2: Install RetroArch

Once you have your iPhone or iPad jailbroken and Cydia installed, you’re ready to install RetroArch. Follow the steps below to get RetroArch up and running on your iOS device:

  1. Open Cydia on your jailbroken iOS device.
  2. Tap on the “Sources” tab at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap on “Edit” in the top-right corner of the screen, then tap on “Add” in the top-left corner.
  4. Type in the following URL: and tap on “Add Source.”
  5. Cydia will now verify the URL and add the source to your sources list. Once done, tap on “Return to Cydia.”
  6. Tap on the “Search” tab at the bottom of the screen.
  7. Type in “RetroArch” in the search bar and tap on the result when it appears.
  8. Tap on “Install” in the top-right corner of the screen, then tap on “Confirm” to start the installation process.
  9. Cydia will now download and install RetroArch on your iOS device.
  10. Once the installation is complete, you can find the RetroArch icon on your home screen.

Now that you have RetroArch installed on your iOS device, you’re ready to start setting up and playing your favorite retro games. In the next step, we’ll guide you through the process of adding game ROMs to RetroArch.

Step 3: Get ROM Files

To play retro games on RetroArch, you will need ROM files. ROM files are copies of games that can be played on emulators. Here’s how you can get ROM files:

  1. Search for ROM files: There are several websites where you can find ROM files for various retro games. Some popular websites include Emuparadise, CoolROM, and The Eye. Use a search engine to find these websites and browse their libraries for the games you want to play.
  2. Download the ROM files: Once you have found the desired ROM files, download them to your computer or phone. Make sure to choose a version that is compatible with the emulator you will be using (in this case, RetroArch).
  3. Transfer the ROM files to your iOS device: After downloading the ROM files, you will need to transfer them to your iOS device. You can do this by connecting your device to your computer and using a file transfer method such as iTunes or a third-party file manager app.
  4. Organize your ROM files: To make it easier to find and play your games, it is a good idea to organize your ROM files in a specific folder on your iOS device. You can create a “ROMs” folder and then create subfolders for each console or game category.

Note: It is important to remember that downloading ROM files for games you do not own is considered piracy and is illegal. Make sure to only download ROM files for games that you own or have permission to use.

Once you have obtained the necessary ROM files, you can move on to the next step: setting up RetroArch on your iOS device.

Step 4: Add ROMs to RetroArch

Now that RetroArch is installed and set up on your iOS device, it’s time to add ROMs to play your favorite games. Follow the steps below to add ROMs to RetroArch:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer and select your iOS device.
  3. Go to the “File Sharing” section in the left sidebar.
  4. Select “RetroArch” from the list of apps in the “Apps” section.
  5. Click the “Add File” button and browse for the ROM files you want to add.
  6. Select the ROM files and click the “Open” button to add them to RetroArch.
  7. Once the ROM files are added, disconnect your iOS device from the computer.
  8. Open RetroArch on your iOS device and navigate to the “Load Content” option.
  9. Browse for the ROM files you added and select the game you want to play.
  10. Enjoy playing your favorite retro games on your iOS device using RetroArch!

It’s important to note that ROMs are the game files you need to play on RetroArch. These ROM files must be legally obtained and you should only add ROMs for games that you own or have legal permission to use.

With the ROMs added, you’re now ready to start playing retro games on your iOS device using RetroArch!

Step 5: Customize RetroArch Settings

After successfully setting up RetroArch on your iOS device, you have the option to customize the settings according to your preferences. Here are some key settings you might want to consider tweaking:

  1. Video Settings: RetroArch offers various video settings that allow you to enhance your gaming experience. You can adjust the aspect ratio, enable or disable shaders, and apply filters to improve graphics quality.
  2. Audio Settings: The audio settings in RetroArch allow you to tweak the sound output according to your liking. You can configure options like volume, audio latency, and audio resampler quality.
  3. Input Settings: Customizing the input settings is essential to ensure optimal gameplay. RetroArch allows you to configure button mappings, adjust sensitivity, and even set up custom controls for specific games.
  4. Core Settings: RetroArch uses cores to emulate different gaming systems. You can customize core-specific settings to ensure smooth performance for each system. These settings might include frame rate control, overclocking options, and CPU emulation accuracy.
  5. Game Specific Settings: RetroArch allows you to set specific configurations for individual games. You can adjust parameters like resolution, controls, and video filters depending on the requirements of each game.

Remember, customizing RetroArch settings is entirely optional. You can stick to the default settings and still enjoy retro gaming on your iOS device. However, if you’re looking for a more personalized experience, exploring the settings options can greatly enhance your gameplay.

Step 6: Start Playing Retro Games

Now that RetroArch is installed on your iOS device and the necessary cores are downloaded, you’re ready to start playing retro games.

  1. Open RetroArch on your device.
  2. Select the “Load Core” option from the main menu.
  3. Choose the core you want to use for the game you want to play. Remember, different cores support different types of games.
  4. Go back to the main menu and select “Load Content”.
  5. Navigate to the directory where your ROMs are located.
  6. Select the ROM file for the game you want to play.
  7. Wait for the game to load. This may take a few seconds.
  8. Once the game has loaded, you can use the on-screen controls or connect a Bluetooth controller to play.

Enjoy playing retro games on your iOS device with RetroArch!


What is RetroArch?

RetroArch is a multi-platform emulator that can run games from various retro gaming consoles on iOS devices.

How can I install RetroArch on my iOS device?

To install RetroArch on your iOS device, you need to jailbreak your device and then download RetroArch from a trusted source, such as the official RetroArch website or a reputable third-party repository.

What are the benefits of using RetroArch?

RetroArch offers several benefits, including the ability to play games from multiple retro consoles in one app, customizable controls and settings, and support for various video and audio filters to enhance the gaming experience.

Can I use RetroArch to play games from specific retro consoles?

Yes, RetroArch supports games from various retro consoles, including but not limited to Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Sega Genesis, Game Boy, and PlayStation. You can download and install the necessary cores (emulators) for each console within RetroArch.

Are there any legal concerns when using RetroArch on iOS?

The legality of using RetroArch and playing retro games on iOS can be a complex issue. While owning physical copies of games you play on RetroArch may provide a legal defense in some cases, it is generally recommended to only play games that you own and to use emulation for archival and preservation purposes.

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