The Gameboy has always been an incredibly popular console, and GBA games are available to buy just about anywhere. Not everyone has a console, though, and there are those that prefer to use their mobile devices to play games on. When jailbreaking was at its peak, game emulators were some of the most downloaded apps, especially those that supported Nintendo gaming. Well, you can still play GBA games on your iPhone or iPad with an emulator called GBA4iOS.
The problem is, you cant download it from the official app store anymore – you could, but Apple closed the loophole, putting a stop to it. You can download it from a brand new third-party app store called AltStore, though.
What is AltStore?
AltStore is the brainchild of Riley Testut and is an open-source app store. Right now, it only carries a few apps that Testut himself created, but that does include two emulators – GBA4iOS and Delta Emulator. Both allow you to play GBA, GBC, GB, SNES, and more Nintendo games on your iPhone or iPad, and we are expecting more to be added in the future. This kind of software used to be available only via jailbreaking because Apple bans all emulation software from its store and doesn’t support the use of it on iOS devices.
So, how does it work? First, let us tell you how to install AltStore and download GBA4iOS so you can start playing your GBA games straight away.
How to Download AltStore:
This is a much safer and easier alternative to jailbreaking but not so easy as downloading a standard app store app. Before you start, you will need to get a few things together:
- Your iPhone or iPad
- Windows PC or Mac
- USB-Lightning cable
The first thing you need to do is check your iTunes installation. If you are using Windows and you downloaded iTunes via the Microsoft app store, you need to delete it and reinstall it using the official Apple website. And, regardless of which desktop platform you are using, your version of iTunes must be up to date. Here’s how to check:
- Open iTunes on your computer
- Click the Help button
- Click on Check for Updates
- If an update is found, follow the on-screen instructions to install it
Once you have done that, you are ready to start:
- Connect your device to your computer using the correct cable.
- Open your desktop browser and go to the AltStore download page.
- Install the correct version of AltServer for your operating system.
- Open AltServer and run it.
- On a Mac, click on the AltServer icon on the toolbar) and choose Install AltStore from the drop-down menu; next, choose your device.
- On Windows 10, Go to the icon tray and click on the icon for AltServer; click Install AltStore and choose your device.
- AltServer will now send AltStore straight to your iPhone or iPad.
- When it is installed on your device, maintain the connection between your device and computer and keep AltServer open on your computer.
- Launch AltStore, choose your app and click on it to download it – it will be sent straight to your phone.
Unlike downloading apps from the official app store, to download anything from AltStore, you need your device connected to your computer and AltServer running.
How Does AltStore Work?
AltStore works because of a few loopholes in the iOS firmware. iOS users with a paid developers account are able to install software on their devices, using a desktop application, for testing purposes, and this is the loophole that Riley Testut has used. However, because of the way it is installed, it will expire every 7 days. To stop this happening, once every few days (at least once in every 7-day period), connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer, open AltServer, and leave it running – that way, it can update AltStore, and this will stop the app from expiring.
That is how you can play GBA games on your iPhone or iPad. Right now, AltStore is in beta, and there is every chance that Apple will come up with a way of interfering. For now, though, you have every chance with it, so download it, download the GBA4iOS emulator and enjoy your games. And don’t forget, connect it to your computer at least once a week to update it.