Delta Emulator Is Now Available for Free on Apple’s App Store

Ross Jukes
Last updated: May 9, 2024
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The Delta emulator is now available in the Apple App Store. It is a free, flexible game emulator that works with a number of classic consoles. Users around the world can now download Delta directly from the Apple App Store although it’s not yet available in the European Union. In the EU, users can get to it through the third-party app store AltStore PAL, which just opened.

Delta is unique because it is the first game emulator on the iPhone that is widely used and approved by Apple. It can emulate many classic game systems, such as the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Nintendo 64, and even the Sega Genesis. This means that people can play an array of classic games right on their iPhones, even ones that aren’t available on Nintendo systems. 

Delta Emulator launches on iOS App Store following policy change

Apple recently changed its rules to let retro game emulators be in the iOS App Store, and it’s already working well. Delta, one of the first emulators actually approved by Apple, came out this week. It can run games from classic Nintendo consoles like the NES and N64 and handhelds like the Game Boy and Nintendo DS. This change comes after years of other options, during which these apps were only available unofficially.

Delta originates from developer Riley Testut’s previous GBA4iOS project, a well-known sideloaded app which faced its share of clones and unauthorized versions, one of which was recently removed from the App Store. iOS users could only get Delta through AltStore until now. AltStore was a platform that got around normal app installs by sideloading apps in developer mode. With the new rules, people in Europe can access AltStore for a small annual fee of 1.50 euros. People in North America, on the other hand, can get Delta from the iOS App Store for free and enjoy an experience without any ads or user tracking.

Touchscreen challenges and new features

someone is holding an iphone playing Delta emulator

One big problem with using the emulator on smartphones is that the settings are hard to use on a touchscreen. For slower games like RPGs or strategy games, tapping on a smooth screen might work. But for fast-paced games that require quick reactions, it can feel like you’re missing something. The absence of physical buttons, d-pads, and analog sticks means the experience isn’t quite as responsive.

Riley Testut, Delta’s creator, told The Verge that the app has flexible on-screen controls that change depending on the emulated system. Delta isn’t just limited to touchscreen input; it also supports Bluetooth controllers like those from Xbox One Series S or PS5, improving gameplay by allowing users to customize controls and add features such as quick saves or fast-forwarding through lengthy cutscenes.

Delta also works with special Nintendo devices, such as the gyroscope for games like WarioWare: Twisted! and microphone controls for games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The emulator improves the user experience even more by downloading game box art instantly and letting users change it by adding their own images or using a built-in database. The app also lets players make or import their own controller skins and supports multiplayer features for classic systems like the NES, SNES, and N64 (up to four players). For a better gaming experience, AirPlay streaming is also available.

Setting up the Delta Emulator

Delta, like many other emulator apps, doesn’t come with games already packed in. Users must upload their own ROMs that they legally have. These can be done through iTunes file sync or cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. People who want to emulate Nintendo DS games also need the right BIOS files. ROMs for commercial games automatically show a thumbnail of their box art in Delta’s interface. This makes the game list look better and easier to find.

The Future of Emulation on iOS

It’s both exciting and worrying to think about how classic Nintendo games will work on iOS devices. Apple recently caused a stir when it removed a Nintendo emulator from the App Store after discovering it was based on pre-existing emulator code. This incident shows how complicated Apple’s approach to emulators is. The company seems to favor supporting older, “retro” game consoles, though it’s not clear what exactly is “retro.”

Adding support for the Nintendo DS to the Delta emulator adds a new dimension to the conversation that was already going on. The Nintendo DS, which was taken off the market in 2013, is an example of relatively new technology. It was released just over ten years ago. This inclusion raises questions about the boundaries of emulation on iOS and the evolving policies that could impact the availability and legality of emulating more modern gaming systems on Apple devices.

In short 

Now that Delta Emulator is in the Apple App Store, people can legally and freely play games from classic consoles like the NES, N64, and Sega Genesis on their iPhones. Apple has changed its policy in a big way by letting officially approved game emulators run on its platform. While Delta provides a nostalgic gaming experience, it also supports modern features like Bluetooth controllers and custom controller skins. However, users must source their own game ROMs legally. Launching outside of the EU is easy through the App Store. Users in the EU, on the other hand, can get Delta through the AltStore PAL.

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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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