smbTry your hardest to put your "surprised" face on and buckle in for this news- Remember the story yesterday regarding a loophole that had existed for quite some time but was getting a bit too popular that allowed iPhone and iPad owners to install emulators without jailbreaking? Well, cherish that memory as that's all it is as of this afternoon.

Basically, the way it all worked hinged entirely on Mac Build Server which was a web service that was working pretty hard to be a much easier to use version of something like TestFlight. The problem is, that ease of use allowed for the exact situation that also made it possible to install emulators with a single tap of the touchscreen.

As mentioned on the Mac Build Server blog:

Yesterday someone from Apple called to Serge, our founder and noticed, that enterprise certificate registered on our company was been used violating Apple’s agreements. ...Read More

The guys at Mac Build Server are scrambling to rework their service to continue doing what they originally set out to do: Help developers launch great apps faster. As for people into emulation, well, it looks like it's back to jailbreaking.

  • chriscambell

    So does this mean that emu4ios no longer works?

  • handycapman

    Glad I picked up the gba emu while I had the chance.

    • ImJPaul

      Ya. Just tried to launch my gba emulator. Totally doesn't work. So yaaaa. That sucks.

      • iVaro

        Nope I'm still in Dewford City in Emerald and playing fine. Just you

      • Briony of Artifice

        Try launching it with Airplane mode turned on πŸ˜‰

  • Zeldaniac

    Gee whiz. Wonder how they found out.

  • JindoFox

    Another way to handle this "problem" would be to allow emulators in the store, like Google does. LEGALIZE IT, Apple!

    • dancj

      Apple do allow emulators in the App Store. They just don't allow ones that allow you to play games illegally.

      • greatnoob

        Actually, thats not solely the reason.
        Emulators rely on a static JIT library for speed. As we all know, Apple doesn't allow this in their developer guidelines. So in theory, you COULD have an emulator on there (if it were perfectly legal) but it would be slow on older devices.

      • dancj

        It's not just "in theory".

        There are legitimate emulators in the App Store, like Spectaculator.

  • gwarmaxx

    same here, i had SiOS and then doesn't work anymore! πŸ™

  • DeaconnFrost

    Mine works

  • Wizard_Mike

    On one hand, I want to say Apple is lame for shutting down the program just because of the emulators. On the other hand, I want to say the people who put the emulators up are lame for ruining the program for everyone else. Because let's face it, we all knew what the outcome was going to be.

    It's stupid rules versus stupid rule breakers. The outcome left no winners, but quite a few losers, I imagine.

  • araczynski

    Gba4ios still works. Gotta get my Zelda fix while I keep waiting for ocean horn.

    • qpcloudy

      Same here. Almost had a heart attack. I waited so long to be able to play Pokemon on my iPhone! Lol

  • TheNotSoBigCheese

    I never agreed with the emulators being created in the first place. I'm not a big fan of piracy or stealing in general.

    • gonif

      Emulators are not synonymous with piracy. Don't hate the game, hate the player. πŸ˜‰

      • MrAlbum

        Sure, emulators are not pirate-specific software. Their purpose and reason for being is separate from the creed of pirates. But how easy is it for pirates to abuse emulators? Way too easy. In fact, emulator software not only makes no distinction between pirating activities and legitimate activities, but the vast majority of emulator software does not even have the functionality to tell pirate from civilian. There is no security when it comes to emulation.

        Think of emulators as a ship carrying goods. If piloted by honest, hard-working civilians, it helps ensure the progress of trade, civilization, exploration and more. However, if it is piloted by lawless pirates, then it undermines trade and halts sustainable civilization, exploration, etc.... The only way to keep civilization moving forward, which everyone not only wants, but NEEDS, is to defend the ship and keep the pirates out of it as much as possible.

        Emulators have no such defense. They don't even put up a fight. Hell, they don't even care who uses them as long as they aren't falling apart. They're just the ship. And in this case, the ship doesn't even have a knife on-board.

        Either law-abiding citizens wrest control of all emulators from the pirates (probably impossible at this point) or destroy all emulators so as not to tarnish their memory and potential (also impossible). Do we really need to call in the military to save the ship? Because something that drastic might (keyword: MIGHT) be the only effective (keyword: EFFECTIVE) solution that has any lasting impact. Extreme measures may be the only way to remove the stain of piracy from emulation.

        Does this suck? O MY GOD YES IT SUCKS. But if we want emulation free from piracy so that it can be accepted by the wider community as a viable option to continue to enjoy old games without having to go through the hassle of ports, multiple "collector's editions" that get more and more ridiculous the older the game gets, buying the same damn game over and over again purely for the sake of "convenience", or converting to piracy, then something's gonna have to happen.

        The only times revolution works in history is when there is clear, obvious injustice (keyword: INJUSTICE) happening without punishment of the oppressor. In the case of emulation, the only crime of a life without emulation is inconvenience and nostalgia. There is no such thing as a universal, human right to take something we enjoy and put it on a platform it wasn't designed or created for. That's the right of a customer who bought and paid for the product in the first place. Not everyone fits that requirement. Pirates are not customers who bought and paid for the product; thus, there is no reason to lump them together with said paying customers.

        Unfortunately... emulators don't care who uses them, and they make no effort whatsoever to protect the right of the customer. Thus, the apathy of emulators leads to their tarnished reputation and negative perception as a tool of piracy, instead of the nostalgic service that it could be.


        That's how I see the issue. I pointed out the keywords above, because I believe that they would make for good discussion points. While I usually follow the conversation after I post something, my feelings on this subject are too strong. I have to back away lest I devolve into a babbling troll.

        Make of my viewpoint whatever you will.

      • Greyskull

        A lot of words. Get off it. Emulators are legal. Period. I'm sick of this false morality bs. Because goodness knows the damage I'm doing to the development community by playing my legal copy of Daggerfall (it's free now!) on the (working) DosBox I installed through this method. FFS. That russian guy doesn't get paid when I buy Tetris anymore anyway; EA does. And if it didn't suck, I would choose it over an original version. Spare me the drama.

      • LanceAvion

        Daggerfall? Do you have a link for that method?

      • MrAlbum

        My point WAS that Emulators are legal, and pirating isn't. My point was ALSO that emulators as they currently are have no way to distinguish a legal emulation like your legal copy of Daggerfall, and some pirate's copy on another computer, at least to my knowledge. Thus, the emulators that are currently out there present a risk to legitimate customers such as yourself due in PART to the pirates and in PART to the apathetic attitude emulators have toward that risk. I apologize if that wasn't clear in my original post, and if it still isn't, then I'll just have to find some better way to explain it.

      • Zeldaniac

        How on earth do pirates present a risk to legitimate customers?? I really don't give a crap if someone steals a copy of Super Mario Bros 3, that doesn't affect me in the slightest.

      • MrAlbum

        Devs see a lot of activity from pirates on their game, and they crack down w/ DRM and other measures to make sure they stay in business, which makes for a nasty experience for the customer. Hell, Battle Dungeon's multiplayer incarnation was destroyed by piracy, which deprived paying customers of a game they bought and paid for, for at least a few months. Either that, or the devs just might go freemium. Obnoxiously freemium.

        Sure, no one's getting killed over this (or at least, I hope not. >_> ). But there will be negative effects that will affect the customer if piracy isn't addressed.

      • Zeldaniac

        Fair point. In fact, the horrid new EA SimCity was probably created online-only to fight against piracy, and we all know how that turned out.

        Still, I think that emulators, like jailbreaking, are used for legitimate purposes more often than you might first assume. They aren't the problem behind piracy, nor is abolishing them the solution.

      • MrAlbum

        So how come emulators don't stat track their users to prove that fact? That could be built into the emulator software. How, I have no idea, but it could be worked out, or at least thought could be put into it so that brains sharper than mine can actually implement a solution.

        Apathy, I tells ya.

      • Will Buckingham

        "So how come emulators don't stat track their users to prove that fact? That could be built into the emulator software."

        This is not how emulators work. Emulators work by reverse engineering the functionality of the original hardware to run the code and have it display the same results as it would have originally. In order to do what you're suggesting, every emulator would have to also design an encrypted unique key system, as well as software that interfaces with specific hardware to physically dump a ROM from a cartridge inside the emulator and then alter that ROM to include the unique key that was made for your computer. It would then be utterly useless on any other device, even if it was another one of your PCs or mobile devices, or a different emulator. It would be a truly massive undertaking that no one would ever do just to pander to publishers who have been sitting on IP for decades in some cases. The reality is that if it were not for the absurd extensions to copyright, a massive number of classic games would already be in the public domain rendering this argument pointless.

        My feeling is that if I bought the cartridge back in the day, I feel no guilt whatsoever going and downloading a copy of that ROM. I could dig through the attic to find my old Nintendo, hope the games didn't get put somewhere else, find adapters so it actually works on my HDTV, and then pray the NES will even read the game since it had cheap parts (the whole blowing the game contacts off issue)... or I could just download an emulator and ROM and have it playing with my 360 controller on my PC in about a minute. They already got my money, sometimes multiple times over from buying re-releases on Gameboy and the like. I don't feel like they deserve to get additional payments every few years technology advances and makes it more difficult to drag out the old devices. I'm all for anniversary re-releases, remasters, a remake of the IP. I'll pick those up again. But when I pull out the old NES copy, they've long since got their due.

      • MrAlbum

        Well, yeah, because that was legit. You bought the cart, thus you are allowed to emulate.

        A pirate would not have bought the cart. They would not be legit. And right now, there is no way to stop the pirate from doing this. In any capacity.

        The stat-tracking thing was a suggestion. The solution to this problem is most likely going to be a lot more complex. Maybe the stat-tracking would be a good way to start?

      • swatbot

        The sad thing is that if we did things your way a ton of amazing classic games will vanish into thin air, completely forgotten for all time, because your laws have everything by the balls. This includes a shittonne of video games that have never seen the shores of North America such as the golden age of Japanese RPGs, games that were only translated because of emulators, and many other games that were not. Never mind all the abandonware that would be forgotten. When copyright laws erase media, they are broken. No thank you. Your analogy of a new contemporary online game 'Battle Dungeon' is apples to oranges. Completely, utterly different circumstances, goals, things, in every way.

      • MrAlbum

        Um... I fail to see the reasoning behind your comment.

        The points I made were as follows:

        1. Emulators are legal.

        2. Legit customers use emulators to port their old games to a new platform, as is their right.

        3. Pirates can abuse emulators without consequence, which they have no legal right to do so.

        4. Emulators have no security features to combat this abuse, and those who create emulators do not even consider this as a problem.

        5. Emulators become publicly perceived as a tool for piracy instead of a tool that legit customers use to save their old games from obscurity and the march of time.

        6. Legit customers who use emulation in a legal manner suffer from the negative perception of emulation.

        7. If the pirate-emulation correlation in public perception is not dealt with somehow, it is possible for law enforcement agencies to change their stance on emulation as part of the fight against piracy.

        8. The backlash could be very nasty, and it could remove emulation as a legal option for the legitimate customer at the extreme worst, or otherwise damage the ease and mechanics of legal emulation.

        9. I have no solution to this line of reasoning.

        10. If a solution isn't found, then there will be consequences.

        Yes, Battle Dungeon is not connected to the topic of emulation. I referenced it as an example of what happens when pirating goes too far, which is what happened to BD's original incarnation. The dev had to pull the game and completely rework it. Old copies of the game were rendered useless.

        I don't want emulation to suffer that kind of catastrophic failure... and that could easily happen. I don't even do emulation, but I see the potential for archiving old classics and making them available to others on new platforms. If emulation is destroyed because of piracy, then that potential is wasted.

        After all, apples and oranges are both fruit.

      • swatbot

        Fair enough, but there's nothing really new there. You can't ban -emulators- per se because quite frankly,they are used all the time in legit ways that the average person doesn't notice. They are quite frankly, everywhere from Nintendo's Virtual Console to commercial VM used to run legacy applications. Hence emulators will not affect the process of making games available on other platforms. Sega has made full use of emulation for its Genesis classics, but the emulator is invisible to the user.

        Game emulators though have totally been shut down by threats before. Even so the major sites that pass around 10-20 year old games and abandonware are already illegal. It's too late to change--the cat's been out of the bag since we ran NES emulators back in the 90's.. there's hundreds of versions of old emulators across the web, the majority of which are homebrew DIY projects that also run games from 10-20 years ago. It's way too late for security locks. Maybe newer emulators (definitely with Nintendo's), but not older.

        Aside from that,fans have been asking for many of the classics to be ported for nearly 20 years now, and if old companies that may not even exist any more do somehow get their rights together to port games like Bahamut Lagoon or many other games developed by smaller forgotten companies that are abandoned, they can emulate them or port them. Reverse engineered emulation does not interfere with this at all. Until that happens It's about digital preservation at this point.

      • swatbot

        Did my first reply vanish? Looks like it did so to start, fair enough. Thing is though, there are plenty of emulators out there that are commercial and do incorporate the features you speak of. Sega genesis classics==emulated. Nintendo virtual console. Some VM that is used to run legacy apps. Emulators in themselves are in no danger of being made illegal.

        Second, it's a bit late for digital locks. I was running NES and SNES emulators in the 90's. The barn door is open, the cat's out of the bag, to use the old sayings. It's a bit late to close them now with a zillion emulators for classic systems out there.

        Third, fans have been wanting classic games to be ported some for up to 20 years now, many by companies that no longer exist or where the rights are frozen in limbo, or were released in very limited editions for dying consoles. There's no reason to expect these games will ever be translated and released, and if they are, the status of emulators won't interfere. If anything, it's about digital preservation at this point so we know that these games even exist in the first place. As for the copyright violation or piracy of new games where a company actually is losing a real sale, that is already a civil violation. It's difficult to say what kind of 'backlash' could happen legally unless companies lobby to push more restrictive laws, which they are already going to do anyway.

      • homosaur

        Right now a child is starving to death because someone "pirated" a 30 year old game

      • MrAlbum

        Your sarcasm brings up a good point.

      • Greyskull

        A law abiding citizen in your world never droves with one burned out reverse light, I'm guessing. He or she walks to the nearest intersection and crosses only at a traffic light to pick up a replacement. Right?

      • MrAlbum

        I'm in the same world as you. It's just that I see it differently. That's normal. I would immediately question myself if that wasn't true.

        Of course no one's perfect from my perspective. Why would it be? That would be stupid.

        Also, your insult has no effect. I won't shut up, which is what it seems you want me to do. Why should I be silent? Because you hate me? When is that ever a good reason? How far will you take this bad-mouthing?

      • Onikage725

        It's easy for someone with a baseball bat to break car windows. What's your point?

      • MrAlbum

        It's not the fault of the bat; it's the fault of the jerk who swings it. Hence why we have policemen to stop said jerks from bashing more windows. Except in the case of emulators, there are no cops. Thus, no car window is safe from jerks who vandalize, in much the same way emulation isn't safe from pirates/piracy because there is no way to stop the pirates from abusing emulators as much as they want.

        Which was what I was trying to say. I apologize if that wasn't clear.

      • homosaur

        If there are no cops, perhaps it's because no one is being injured.

      • MrAlbum

        Customers will be adversely affected. See one of my comments above. Sure, no one's getting punched (or at least I hope that's true >_> ), but no one's quite unscathed either.

      • Will Buckingham

        The problem with your argument is that the response from publishers (DRM) almost never actually works. They put on a dog and pony show as though their efforts are having an effect for the stockholders, but then you still see for 99% of games a 0-day cracked version where the pirate has none of the issues that the legitimate customer now has. The only games that have actively prevented pirates from having access for a significant period of time are games that require data from an online server to function at all, and we've seen the catastrophic failures that can occur there in SimCity and Diablo 3.

        So really, they know the other DRM isn't working. That's not why they're even doing it. The real reason is that the DRM exerts control over how much you actually own your games. If they tie it to an online account, then they can ban that account and remove your access to the game at any time, or prevent you from installing it on more than X computers so you have to buy it again once you've hit the limit. They can make you check in online to their store every so often so that you'll have to see their advertisements for new games, regardless of how short that period might be. It's all about control now, and the pirates are still being used as a smokescreen to obfuscate the real motivations. And if they delay the pirated version for a day or two, all the better. It might increase their sales a bit. Long term though, DRM has almost no effect on piracy of the game.

      • MrAlbum

        Who said that DRM was the only option to publishers? Just because it is their default doesn't mean they will always be shoe-horned into that approach.

        I don't know the solution. I probably never will. That's for other folks to discover, because I cannot discover it myself. I was just pointing out that it is an issue, and that there is no solution out there to resolve this.

  • RoboWarrior

    This is why we can't have good things.

  • Shadowking2214

    Crap my recorder no longer works,it won't launch

  • Opinion

    Still playing tekken advance :~)

  • Opinion

    And i'm not jailbroken.

  • divincenzo

    1) put device in airplane mode
    2) open emulator
    3) turn off airplane mode
    4) open emulator in multi task menu
    5) enjoy!

    • Zendorphin

      So we shouldn't open the app with Airplane Mode not turned on?

    • Briony of Artifice

      Yep, that works!

    • djstout

      Great, thanks for the tip

    • alex13111

      Still doesn't work :I

    • The Sheep

      tried and it didn't launch. anyone with solutions? it was working 12 hours ago πŸ™

  • Alteris101

    Gawd damn it. Spent last night trying to down load it, guess that's why it didn't work. Oh well, back to the 3DS.

  • shadow912

    Wow apple thanks for being such a kill joy

  • Zerol3onheart

    Working like a champ, with wifi on. I deleted the profile it installed before Apple put the kibosh on the loophole. Maybe that was it?

    • chriscambell

      Where, in the file structure, did you find the profile that you deleted?

      • Zerol3onheart

        Under Settings>General and scroll to the bottom. I also started the app at work where there's no wifi. I forgot about that.

  • alex13111

    I am sad now.

  • pxlpshr

    Not all EMU users are pirates. I purchased a sh*t ton of SNES, NDS, GBA, N64 back in the day. Nintendo also refuses to ever release these games - so there's no other option than to play the emulators.

    Also, the statute of limitations should really come to an end with most of these titles. I mean, how much revenue is Nintendo expected to make with Mario World 64? Their market share is in the Wii, Wii U and DS.

    iOS users would gladly pay for Nintendo to port their collections over, but they firmly stand their ground with an emphatic "NO!".

    I suspect Apple needs to crack down on EMUs because 1) if left unchecked, iOS games could be emulated, thereby opening up a free gaming market without jailbreaking. Apple wants full control of its 30% stake, and no one can blame them for being protectionist. 2) Apple probably received complaints from Nintendo - and were pressured to do something.

    Us users don't count in this vote. What turns me off is how Apple treats us. It really is a walled garden. More and more, I'm tempted to go Galaxy S4. I'm running out of excuses to stay with the iPhone. I love my Apple products but I don't need a helicopter mom spanking me anytime I venture out of the sandbox.

    • greatnoob

      Sandbox; although you didn't mean the technical or engineering aspect of it, that final sentence makes a lot more sense to a programmer.

    • homosaur

      To be fair to Apple, it's been a walled garden since Steve came back, so it's not like you weren't warned.

  • Guest

    The question now is how do I back up the emulator I downloaded? iTunes won't add it to the rest of my stored apps.

  • coheedrocks27

    While I agree that pirating new games is wrong, older games and incredibly obscure ones ( panzer dragoon saga) are hard to come by or are incredibly expensive. So for most people the only really way to play those games is to pirate them.

  • liamorigami


  • LanceAvion

    Soo I test if this was true or no I tried to download a DOS emulator. Unfortunately it overwrote my GBA emulator and failed to install. Now I have neither -_-

  • Ciaran O'Brien

    To clear something up, the profile will re-check for a certificate every 3-7 days, meaning that after that check ALL EXISTING BUILDS WILL STOP WORKING. Within a week nobody will be able to use the emulators even if they were installed ages ago. Make the most of the last few days with an emulator while the community looks for a way around this block.

    • Zerol3onheart

      It's true! Why do you have to be right!?!? πŸ˜‰
      Oh we'll, it was fun for a few days...

    • Zeldaniac

      Can you not simply remove the profile, or will that remove the emulator as well?

  • pxlpshr

    Made the mistake of Googling "NDS/GBA for Android"...they have all their emulators in the Google Play store. I wonder what Apple's versus Google's stance is on emulated games.

  • chriscambell

    Yeah, my existing gba4ios stopped working this morning. Shame.

  • Guest

    The question now is how do I back up the emulator I downloaded? iTunes won't add it to the rest of my stored apps.

  • clocknova

    Mine I still working, for the moment. The question is, is there any way to back it up with iTunes like my other apps?

    • clocknova

      And why are comments that I make on my computer "held for moderation" while comments I make using the app on my iPhone posted immediately?

  • curtisrshideler

    Without emulators, most of these old, awesome games would stay dead. And THAT'S a shame. Many of these games deserve to be resurrected and appreciated. So, if those companies are no longer together or they don't want to port to iOS, what other choice is there?! Do you know how hard it is to find a working NES to play my old games on?!?

    Anyway, glad I didn't unjailbreak. I've got some of my old favs on my phone now. Which is a great thing. Because I don't think my GBA will hold a charge anymore!

    • clocknova

      The problem, though, is that Nintendo does still sell some of these games, just for newer systems.

  • FraggleJP

    I wasn't going to jailbreak, but now I will when it's available!

  • m34ch

    Weird. gba4ios on my iPhone wont run anymore, but Gearboy on my iPad works fine (for now...)

  • ShadowCube

    Hey guys there is a loop hole in apples security which allows you to still can install and use these installs. No need to be jailbroken just access to your settings -> general -> date and time. Just change your date to atleast 16th. Then try to install the emulator. I can confirm that it works 100%. So try it and enjoy your emulators again! If it doesn't work try a lesser date or unless Apple has then been able to patch this quick little fix.


    • wolfie9090

      I love you it works!!!!! My pokemon are back!!!!!!!!

    • Gforce

      It worked. Thanks for the advice.

    • ShadowCube

      No problems guys happy to help. πŸ˜€

    • TarePlays

      Instead of fucking up your date I just changed the year to 2012.

    • TarePlays

      Plus you're not the guy who found this out unless your name is Pyro. So yah. FK u.

      • ShadowCube

        I never said that I found it I just wanted people to know that there was a way to regain there emulators and play them again so enjoy and have a nice day πŸ™‚

  • lordyokomoto

    Guys please no more posts about how to get it to work lol ;))))) wink wink

  • Seniku Moonjewel

    So by locking this off, Apple have actually encouraged me to now jailbreak my ipad so I can continue playing the same game..

    Way to go Apple. *golfclap*

  • FatherT!m3_22

    Will this emu eventually stop working?