New Update: Apple Allows Game Emulators on the App Store

Ross Jukes
Last updated: May 10, 2024
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Apple has updated its App Store guidelines, now allowing retro game emulators to be available for download. Users can now play classic games on their iPhones and other Apple devices by using emulators that have been approved. 

The decision, likely influenced by regulatory pressures from the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, marks a significant shift in Apple’s policy. Developers can now send in their retro game emulators for review. Once accepted users all over the world will be able to use these apps. This change makes it possible for all Apple device customers to relive a classic gaming experience.

Game emulators on the App Store

Apple has changed its rules a lot by letting older game emulators be sold in its App Store. Because of this change, app developers can now send these games for review and, if accepted, make them available for download on the newest iOS devices. It looks like the European Union’s Digital Markets Act had an effect on Apple’s choice. However, the update is global and lets all users enjoy old-school games.

Developers will need time to make old game emulators that work with iOS, get these apps approved by Apple, and then put them on the App Store. As developers work to bring these old-school games back to life on modern mobile devices, they must also make sure that their apps constantly evolve to meet App Store standards.

Here are a few more things Apple stressed about distributing apps:

  • Since a lot of kids download apps, developers need to use parental controls to make sure their apps are safe for kids.
  • The App Store is meant to be used by a lot of people. If developers only want a few people to download their app, they should use a different installation method, like Xcode or Ad Hoc release.
  • Apple supports diverse viewpoints on the App Store, provided the apps respect differing opinions and maintain a high-quality user experience.
  • Apps that try to get around the review process or do anything else dishonest will be taken down and may even be kicked out of the Developer Programme.
  • Developers are responsible for making sure that all parts of their apps, like ads and third-party services, follow the rules set by the App Store.
  • In some cases, advanced features may be offered to users with certain rights and for limited uses.

The reasoning behind Apple’s sudden openness to game emulators is unclear, but it could be preemptively addressing the broader ramifications of the DMA, which requires Apple to allow third-party app markets on iOS. Apple may be trying to keep people in its environment by adding game emulators to the official App Store. If this move was caused by DMA, it would be one of the first times Apple has made changes like this available to people around the world, which would be good for everyone.

Apple’s App Store updates cover more than just emulators

Apple recently changed the rules for the App Store so that they now cover more than just game emulators. They now also cover super apps like WeChat. The company now says that mini-games and apps on these platforms must use HTML5, making it clear that they can’t be native apps. This update seems to be in response to a US antitrust case that says Apple has been trying to stop super apps and  streaming services.

Apple has also changed its rules so that cloud game platforms like Xbox Cloud game and GeForce Now can work on the App Store. There have been limits on these kinds of services working within Apple’s ecosystem in the past, but this move is a big change from those rules.

In a separate update, Apple changed its rules so that music streaming apps can now send users to external websites to make payments instead of using Apple’s own in-app purchase system. However, this change is only happening in the European Union right now. This is because the EU fined Apple a lot for being too strict, forcing streaming services to use its payment system, which charges a 30% fee for each transaction.

While Apple has not officially confirmed, these updates seem strategically designed to mitigate potential fines and legal challenges. Apple is changing its rules to make the platform more open and flexible for third-party apps and services, especially in places with strict regulations about the digital market.


Apple’s decision to allow game emulators in the App Store is a big step towards digital nostalgia and gives more people access to classic games. Apple not only meets regulatory requirements by letting these old-school games work, but it also improves its environment and gives millions of users around the world a nostalgic trip down memory lane. This update shows that Apple is still changing to meet the needs of the global digital market and is committed to giving its platform a wide range of interesting content.

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Ross Jukes
Ross Jukes
Ross Jukes is an accomplished American copywriter with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. Based in the United States, Ross is a language expert, fluent in English and specializes in creating compelling and engaging content. With years of experience in the industry, he has honed his skills in various forms of writing, including advertising, marketing, and web content. Ross's creativity and keen eye for detail have made him a valuable asset in the field of copywriting, where he continues to excel and innovate.

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