How to Get RetroArch on iOS

RetroArch is a popular open-source emulator that allows you to play classic games on a variety of platforms, including iOS. However, since it’s not available on the App Store, installing it on an iPhone or iPad can be a bit tricky. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.


RetroArch for iOS boasts a variety of features designed to improve your retro gaming experience. Here are some of the key features:

  • Cross-Platform Emulation: RetroArch can emulate a wide range of gaming systems, providing a unified interface for all your retro gaming needs.
  • Advanced GPU Shader Support: It includes sophisticated shaders like CRT and NTSC video artifacts, providing an authentic visual experience.
  • Dynamic Rate Control: This feature synchronizes video and audio while smoothing out timing flaws, ensuring a seamless gaming experience.
  • High-Quality FFmpeg Recording: Utilizes FFmpeg’s libavcodec for pristine, lossless video capture.
  • Touch Interface: On iOS devices, RetroArch provides a touch interface for easy navigation.
  • mFi Controller Support: If you have an mFi controller, you can control the interface with it, improving the gaming experience.
  • Online Updater: This feature allows you to update core info files, assets, databases, overlays, and GLSL shaders directly from the app.
  • Sandboxed App: RetroArch is sandboxed for security, which means it does not have access to iCloud. Content can be added through the Apple Files app.

These features make RetroArch a powerful and versatile choice for retro gaming enthusiasts looking to play classic games on their iOS devices.

How to Get RetroArch on iOS


Step 1: Check Compatibility

Before you begin, ensure that your iOS device is compatible with RetroArch:

  • Your device must be running iOS 10 or later.
  • Older models like the iPhone 5s or iPad Air may experience lag.
  • Ensure you have enough storage space for the RetroArch app and game files.

Step 2: Get the RetroArch App File

Visit the official RetroArch website using your iOS device. Go to the section to get an app, select ‘Stable’ and choose ‘iOS’ to find the app file. Get the .IPA file, which is necessary for the installation.

Step 3: Use an App Signing Service

Since RetroArch isn’t approved by Apple, you’ll need an app signing service like Signulous. Subscribe to their service, create an account, and pay the fee to get started.

Step 4: Upload and Sign the RetroArch IPA File

Open Signulous on your device, upload the RetroArch .IPA file, and enter your Apple ID when prompted. Wait for the app to be signed.

Step 5: Install RetroArch

Once the app is signed, tap ‘Install’ next to the RetroArch file in Signulous. Trust the app when prompted, and RetroArch will be installed on your home screen.

Step 6: Configure RetroArch

Launch RetroArch and go to ‘Settings’. Enable ‘Save Configuration on Exit’ and set up the directories for your games.

Step 7: Obtain Game ROMs

Search for trusted sources to get game ROMs. Transfer these files to your device using the Files app.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Games

In RetroArch, select ‘Load Content’, navigate to your ROMs, and start playing your favorite retro games!

Remember, Getting ROMs for games you do not own is illegal. Always use ROMs for games you’ve legally purchased.


Q: Is RetroArch available on the App Store?
A: No, RetroArch is not available on the App Store. You must sideload the app onto your iOS device¹.

Q: What are the requirements for installing RetroArch on iOS?
A: Your device must be running iOS 10 or later, and you should have a steady WiFi connection for the process. Older models like the iPhone 5s or iPad Air may experience lag when running RetroArch.

Q: Can I update cores after installation?
A: No, you cannot add or update cores after installation as they are signed executables. They can only be updated by updating and resigning the entire application. The IPA files contain all of the available iOS/tvOS cores.

Q: How do I add content to RetroArch on iOS?
A: The easiest way to add content is through the Apple Files app. Run RetroArch first to create several folders, then use the Files app to transfer ROMs to the RetroArch folder.

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