Best GBA iOS Emulators [No Jailbreak] 2023 – Gaming Emulators

Recalling the intricate puzzles of the Palace of Darkness in “A Link to the Past” still brings a sense of accomplishment. Navigating through its labyrinthine corridors, outsmarting enemies, and finally conquering the dungeon was a rite of passage for us.

And who could forget the adrenaline rush of facing the Elite Four in “Pokémon Emerald“? Each battle was a test of strategy, pushing us to meticulously plan our moves and choose our Pokémon wisely.

The desire to relive these iconic moments is strong. Imagine revisiting the Palace of Darkness or taking on the Elite Four again, all from the comfort of your iOS device. No need to jailbreak or dig out old consoles.

Let’s explore the GBA emulators that can bring us back to those thrilling challenges and victories.

1. GBA4iOS emulator

GBA4iOS emulator

Crafted by the talented iOS developer Riley Testut, this emulator is like a time machine that takes us straight back to the glory days of GBA and GBC gaming. Remember the exhilarating adventures in the Mario series and the thrill of catching ’em all in Pokémon? GBA4iOS brings all of that nostalgia right to your iPhone.

What sets GBA4iOS apart is its robust engine, loaded with features we’ve all been craving: AirPlay, Dropbox sync, cheat codes, and even iPad optimization. Though its development ceased a while back, the emulator lives on, thanks to its open-source nature and a community of freelance developers who keep enhancing it.

The updated version offers a slew of impressive features, such as the choice between landscape or portrait layouts, save states, frame skipping, and a fast-forward option for speeding through gameplay.

Pros Cons
Feature-rich (AirPlay, Dropbox sync, etc.) Development has ceased
Open-source and community-supported Unofficial app may trigger security alerts
Landscape and portrait layouts
Save states and fast-forward options

Installing GBA4iOS is a breeze. Unlike many emulators that necessitate a jailbreak, GBA4iOS is hassle-free.

Steps to Install:

  1. Go to on your device.
  2. Tap ‘Install’ on the app page and wait for the installation to complete.

Note: You might encounter the ‘Untrusted Developer Error’ due to the unofficial nature of AppValley.

Fixing the Untrusted Developer Error:

  1. Take note of the developer’s name from the error message.
  2. Open iOS settings and navigate to the ‘General’ section.
  3. Tap on ‘Profiles’ and locate the developer’s name.
  4. Tap on it and select ‘Trust’.
  5. Voilà! You’re all set to install unofficial apps.

2. Delta emulator

Delta emulator

Delta emulator, another masterpiece by Riley Testut, has been a game-changer for retro gaming enthusiasts like us. Known for his work on GBA4iOS, Testut extended his magic touch to Delta, allowing us to relive not just the GBA classics but also games from Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64, SNES, and Gameboy, all on our iPhones.

Gone are the days when using Delta required a jailbroken device. The latest version has lifted that restriction, making it accessible to everyone. The emulator boasts features such as Google Drive and Dropbox sync, allowing you to save and load data seamlessly and even use cheat codes across devices. Whether you prefer on-screen controls or connecting to an external controller, Delta has got you covered.

Pros Cons
Multi-system support (Nintendo DS, N64, etc.) Some features are in Patreon beta only
Syncs with GDrive and Dropbox
Supports on-screen and external controllers
Regular updates and active development

Steps to Install:

  1. Search for a Delta emulator installer online and hit the download button.
  2. Tap ‘Install’ when prompted with the message “ would like to install Delta Emulator”.
  3. Once installed, the Delta app icon will appear on your home screen.

Note: You might encounter the ‘Untrusted Developer Error’.

Fixing the Untrusted Developer Error:

  1. Go to ‘General’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Device Management’.
  2. Find the Delta app and click on the certificate name.
  3. Choose ‘Trust apps from the developer to run on your device’, allow access to your data, and tap ‘Trust’.

Happy Chick Emulator

Happy Chick Emulator

Happy Chick Emulator is a treasure trove for gamers like us, offering a diverse range of games from classics like Super Mario Bros and Pokémon to modern hits like Arena of Valor, Final Fantasy, and yes, even PUBG. What makes it stand out is its compatibility with both Android and iOS devices, ensuring that no one misses out on the fun.

The emulator is a perfect match with GameSir controllers like G5, X1, and Z1, and the games are frequently updated to deliver an optimal gaming experience. Happy Chick comes packed with features such as cloud data savings, cheat codes, fast forward, on-screen controller, and the ability to save and load data effortlessly. The cherry on top? No jailbreaking is required, making the installation process a breeze.

Pros Cons
Wide range of games (retro to modern) Stability and performance issues reported
Compatible with GameSir controllers
Features like cloud save, cheat codes, etc.
Available for both Android and iOS

Steps to Install:

  1. Open Safari and visit the Happy Chick Emulator website.
  2. Tap the “Download” button to download the app.
  3. Once downloaded, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Profiles & Device Management’.
  4. Find and tap the developer’s profile.
  5. Tap “Trust” to authorize the app.
  6. Launch Happy Chick from your home screen.
  7. Upon opening, you can download game ROMs directly or import them from third-party websites.
  8. Start relishing your favorite games on your iOS device.

Provenance Emulator

Provenance Emulator iOS

Provenance Emulator is a versatile multi-system emulator that brings a rich gaming experience to iOS devices. It supports a variety of systems, including Sony console, Nintendo, Atari, NEC, Bandai, SNK, and Sega, making it a one-stop solution for retro gaming enthusiasts.

Provenance stands out with its native features such as accurate and full-speed emulation, save and load states, stereo sound, and battery-saving module. It also offers local multiplayer via external controllers, adjustable controller overlay opacity, ROM customizations, game library searching, and automatic ROM matching. Whether you prefer portrait or landscape orientation, Provenance has got you covered.

Pros Cons
Supports multiple systems (Sony, Nintendo, etc.) Installation may require trusting unofficial sources
Feature-rich (save states, stereo sound, etc.)
Local multiplayer and adjustable controller overlay
Game library searching and ROM customizations


Steps to Install:

  1. Search for Provenance emulator in your browser.
  2. Tap the ‘Download’ button on the website and confirm the installation prompt.
  3. The Provenance app icon will appear on your home screen.
  4. Navigate to ‘Settings’ → ‘General’ → ‘Device Management’.
  5. Find the Provenance app certificate and trust it.
  6. Launch the emulator and start enjoying your games.

RetroArch Emulator

RetroArch Emulator iOS

RetroArch is a powerhouse emulator that’s free, open-source, and cross-platform, providing a unified interface for media players, video games, game engines, and emulators. Available for Windows, Android, and iOS, it’s a reference implementation of libretro, ensuring it’s reliable, speedy, lightweight, and free from dependencies.

This emulator is a multi-platform marvel that instantly recognizes and configures your universal joypad upon connection. RetroArch also allows you to record your gaming sessions, a feature that’s a hit among gamers. Its extensive features include taking screenshots, saving and loading states, remapping controls, entering and loading cheats, input remapping, scanning files/directories to add to game collections, and offering over 80+ programs (‘cores’). Plus, it’s ad-free, has no restrictions, and is 100% open source.

Pros Cons
Free, open-source, and cross-platform Installation process can be complex
Extensive features (screenshots, save states)
Supports over 80+ programs (‘cores’)
No ads, no restrictions

Steps to Install:

  1. Visit the RetroArch website and scroll down to the “iOS (Non-Jailbroken)” section. Tap ‘Download’ to get the RetroArch IPA file.
  2. Download Cydia Impactor on your computer.
  3. Connect your iOS device to your computer via USB.
  4. Open Cydia Impactor and drag the RetroArch IPA file into its window.
  5. Enter your Apple ID and password when prompted.
  6. Wait for Cydia Impactor to sign and install the IPA file on your device.
  7. Navigate to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Profiles & Device Management’, find the RetroArch developer’s profile, and tap ‘Trust’.
  8. Launch RetroArch and download game cores within the app or import them from third-party websites.
  9. Start playing your favorite retro games on your iOS device.


Best GBA iOS Emulators - FAQs

Are these GBA iOS emulators legal to use?

Using emulators in itself is legal. However, distributing or downloading copyrighted ROMs without owning the original game or without the permission of the copyright holder can infringe on copyright laws.

How do these emulators affect my device’s battery life?

Running emulators can be resource-intensive and may consume more battery life compared to other apps. Some emulators offer battery-saving features to help mitigate this.

Can I transfer my saved game progress from one emulator to another?

It depends on the emulators in question. Some emulators may allow you to import or export save files, while others may use proprietary formats, making transfers challenging.

Are there any risks involved in using third-party emulators on my iOS device?

While many emulators are safe to use, downloading files from unofficial sources can pose risks such as exposure to malware. It’s recommended to use trusted sources and read reviews before downloading.

Final Words

The allure of reliving the captivating adventures in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or the triumphant battles against the Elite Four in Pokémon Emerald is undeniable. The nostalgia and excitement from our cherished GBA days can be experienced once again, thanks to the array of iOS emulators available today.

These emulators, each with their unique features and capabilities, allow us to seamlessly step back into those golden days of gaming without the need for old consoles or jailbreaking our devices. So, whether you’re yearning for a nostalgic trip down memory lane or eager to explore those classic games for the first time, these GBA emulators are ready to transport you to those thrilling worlds once more.

Happy gaming!