Earlier this week we learned that GBA4iOS, an emulator for iOS that runs Game Boy Advance and legacy Game Boy games, was getting a massive revision and being rebuilt for iOS 7. Well, now that the countdown timer on the GBA4iOS website has finally ticked down to the last second, the new version of the emulator is now available. And, as we had suspected, it does not require a jailbreak in order to install it, nor does it require the weird workaround of turning your device's clock back in time like the previous version did.

gba4ios2_devices

Some of the biggest new features in GBA4iOS 2.0 is Dropbox support so you can store and access all your ROMs in the cloud, tilt functionality, a built-in cheat system which covers all the major cheating peripherals released for the various editions of Game Boy hardware over the years, and support for MFi iOS 7 controllers. And that's just a partial list of new features, there's even more great stuff detailed at the GBA4iOS website. So if you're feeling like getting some old school Nintendo action on your iOS device and have a batch of ROMs in your collection, head on over and download the new version of GBA4iOS, and join in on the discussion in our forums.

Update - Impressions and How-to: Ok, so I've been playing around with the new GBA4iOS and I've come back to share my thoughts. First of all, it's very slick how it all works. Simply visit the GBA4iOS website from your iPhone or iPad, click the button to install, and it'll install the emulator onto your home screen just like a web app. Before it installs you'll be prompted with a warning about installing the app from an unverified source, so if you're squeamish about such things, you might want to hold off.

After installing and launching GBA4iOS, the first thing I did was hit the settings button in the upper left corner and setup my Dropbox account. Again, this works very well and behaves just like a normal app would that was using the Dropbox API. With Dropbox configured, your game saves will sync up to the cloud, though I can't figure out if there's a way to directly add ROMs to Dropbox and then access them via GBA4iOS. It may be solely for syncing your data. However, you can load ROMs using the traditional iTunes File Sharing method, but one of the biggest benefits of the version 2.0 release of GBA4iOS is its ability to load ROMs straight into the app with its built-in web browser.

The browser functionality is accessed by hitting the "+" sign in GBA4iOS. The default page it will take you to is CoolRom.com, which has an extensive list of ROMs available for download. Simply find the one you want and follow the directions to prompt the download process. It'll add the ROM into the list in GBA4iOS. And that's all there is to it. I can't seem to find a way to change the web browser to any other site besides CoolRom, and I'm not even sure if that's possible. Still, the ease at which you're able to add games to GBA4iOS right in the app is really impressive.

I'll keep messing around with GBA4iOS to check out how everything works, and if you'll be doing the same, be sure to share your experiences or ask any questions you may have in the comments section below or in the GBA4iOS forum thread.

Update 2: Well, that didn't last long. As per a Tweet from the developer, Apple has revoked the developer certificate that made this whole thing possible. However, you should still be able to install GBA4iOS by setting your device's date to February 18, 2014 or before, then just switching the time back when you're finished.

  • EvilAbdy

    I assume it's safe. I just got weirded out when it asked if I wanted to open the app as it seems to be signed from China. ( IT security paranoia getting the better of me here ) It installed fine though

    • http://www.k3vin.net t3rminus

      I monitored the entire install process, and several minutes of gameplay with a proxy. This application doesn't seem to be doing anything nefarious (uploading private data to remote servers, etc.), although it's not to say it can't or won't in the future.

      I'm still hesitant, but everything looks clean for now. Even if/when the source code is published, it still might have been tampered with during signing/binary distribution.

      Bah. Whatever. I'm going to go play mario on my iPhone.

      • EvilAbdy

        yeah I just threw caution to the wind. Damn you italian plumber!

      • BRAINIAC4200

        Lmao

  • mrobbo

    Dropbox doesn't seem to be working

    • Womble

      Riley is aware of the issue - he said on twitter he'd fix it ASAP.

  • Vexka

    Wow! It's finally here!! (Watched the last 6 seconds on the countdown, before realising I hadn't charged my old iPod 4 in which I'm putting it on to (don't want to 'hack' my newer phone / pad anyway...)

    • Vexka

      Wait on... Just read the FAQ and GBA4iOS 2.0 only works with iOS 7 devices... :'(
      (So that's why it "could not be installed at this time") *SIGH* was getting excited :(

      • bluspacecow

        :(

        While I have a compatible device (iPod 5) I is sad for you.

        :(

      • YMCMBRules

        Aww for real so I have to get the older version?? -__-

      • Gameplaya

        Well it's ok not as good as 2.0 but it's still good.

  • Morley83

    Dropbox doesn't work. 'Omly a limited amour of users can access this yoke. While this app is in development mode' or some nonsense

    • DillweedLtd

      Lol... only amour and yoke

    • bluspacecow

      Try uploading your Roms to the iPod directly.

      That is if you have some GBA roms you've extracted the rom file from of course :P

  • http://afterpad.com/ Kevin MacLeod

    This is really, really awesome. I wonder how they're doing this - and I wonder if Apple will shut it down...

    • nini

      It's a web app so not like they would have the ability to or bother wasting time to block it.

      • nini

        Wait, it's using the same loophole as before, never mind what I said.

  • Woodlandstar

    Fantastic! Works a dream! :D

  • checkmate

    So where do I go to download games? This is all new to me. Any posts or instruction would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • EvilAbdy

      There is a link in the app to coolroms. Hit the + next to the GBA and GBC list. You can get roms there.

  • ODMay

    I installed it on my iPT5. You have to search for the game you want and download it. (I don't know if the post already said that but i was a little too excited to read it) :P

    • EvilAbdy

      Yup I noticed this too. Works great once you download a few. Just seems to be a battery killer so far

  • AlexsIpad

    I hate it when it says things like "you confirm you legally own a physical copy of this game", it makes it sound so illegal

    • subshell001

      well it technically is illegal if you don't own the physical copy - is there something confusing about that?

      • nini

        It is illegal, no technicality about it.

      • AlexsIpad

        I would imagine it would be illegal whether you have a physical copy or not, you own two whilst only paying once

      • subshell001

        nope, it's legal if you own the physical copy. same reason why it's legal to rip CDs you own. google "EFF: Fair Use FAQ"

      • mclifford82

        This is one of those legal areas where I don't think anyone really knows how it actually works. Everyone has a slightly different take on it.

        I'm fine downloading GBA games without owning the physical copy because Nintendo cannot possibly get any money from ANY sale of Pokemon: Emerald, etc.

      • lavenders2

        Nintendo has abandoned their own software. This makes the games abandonware and therefore I think it should be legal. Some of those games are impossible to find now

    • RandomName

      It isn't legal because you're not paying for it.

      • Rawk GWJ

        Actually, it's illegal because Nintendo owns the properties and Nintendo has not authorized any of us to play their games using an emulator.

  • markaman

    How do you install it? I went to the site and clicked the download 2.0 and I got the app on my phone and when I click on the app it just says installing and when ever I click it does the same thing.

    • JuLieN_Nantes

      Same problem here, on an iPad Mini 2... :(

    • JuLieN_Nantes

      Would you happen to have a developer account ? I do, and maybe that's why it doesn't work : maybe it conflicts with the emulator's developers' account ?

      • mclifford82

        I have a dev account and it's working fine on my 5S on iOS7

  • repapermunky

    Doesn't seem to be installing on my iPhone 5S at all. It's on a loop. Hmm.

    • markaman

      Mine does the same on my iPhone 4S

      • repapermunky

        Probably patched already. Just my luck.

      • repapermunky

        Guarantee you turn the clock back two hours it works :P Just kidding, I have no idea.

    • vai_levar_no_cu

      Cant install either. Shame

    • touchyfeely

      Same I have a loop for the past 30 minutes

    • touchyfeely

      It will act like it's installing, then finish, then I click it again and it acts like it's installing again. iPhone 5 ios7

    • Thaurin

      Same here, can't install it. It downloads, says "Installing" and then the app icon goes dark again. I can tap it again, same thing happens. iPhone 5 with iOS7.

      • Thaurin

        Okay, so a time rollback is still required. Set the date manually to yesterday, and then it will install. See comment from other user below for more detailed instructions.

      • repapermunky

        Everyone check what I wrote below. Then you'll be set.

  • nicktitle

    Hey folks, iOS Dev here. They're using an Enterprise Distribution Profile to get the file out to everyone. It's a program apple lets you participate in if you distribute apps within your company, provided you follow rules as if you were releasing into a private App Store.

    It's really common for big companies who have internal apps, and technically they are using this the wrong way. It may get taken down at some point due to them using the profile incorrectly, so hop in while you can.

    On a side note for chiptune enthusiasts, it is running lsdj extremely well on my phone as we speak.

    • repapermunky

      Yeah I wish I could. It simply won't install for me. Any tips?

    • godofodd

      It will get taken down, I'm sure, same as the last time this worked.

      • curtneedsaride

        I installed the previous version just a couple months ago. So, it had been up for quite a while. If it had been taken down, it went back up because I downloaded then no problem!

      • godofodd

        There was another before that one, even. It was taken down when Apple revoked the EDP.

      • mclifford82

        Fortunately they'll always find a way.

      • curtneedsaride

        So how did it go back up? And why wasn't it taken down again right after?

  • Holcman

    I hope this manages to stay up! Really having fun with it!

  • Adams Immersive

    Somehow I never heard that there was a non-Jailbreak, non-enterprise, non-developer-account way to install native iOS apps without the App Store. What is this method of app installation called, if I wanted to search for more about it? TIA.

    • mclifford82

      They're using the enterprise dist system, albeit inappropriately.

      • Adams Immersive

        I see—thanks. That explains it!

  • repapermunky

    FOLKS - Sadly, I have confirmed, a time rollback is once again needed to install this. Maybe not at first, but when I tried to install mine 40 minutes later it did not work. Trying the same time rollback as the previous version will get you up and running. Here's how:

    - Delete any previous attempts to install

    - Set date to any day before today.

    - Install GBA app from website

    - Open GBA app and make sure it works

    - You may then set the date back to auto

    Win.

    • Thaurin

      Confirmed. Works.

    • zinkdogg

      I did that and it put me on a countdown.

    • spsummer

      Thanks

    • bbve

      Works, thanks a lot.

  • Tobias Holmes

    If you're looking for an excuse to buy an iOS game controller, this is it.

    • Xinn3r

      The app supports iOS controller?

      • spsummer

        Yes

  • Obidab

    Does anyone know if the games play as slow as before? That was the only thing keeping me from really gaming out on this. Slowmo games.

    • repapermunky

      It seems to run pretty well with the one game I've played so far. Might even buy a controller for this one...

  • eric12961

    I can't download it, it installs, 90%, then stops and re downloads itself. Help please?

    • spsummer

      Set your Date back to yesterday, download and open the app. Then you can set it back to auto.

    • Thaurin

      See a few comments above from repapermunky about changing dates. That will fix it.

  • Guest

    "Only a limited set of users can receive access tokens while this app is in dev mode." Seems arbitrary, but okay.

  • Onikage725

    Is it just me, or is it too pixelated on iPad? Especially compared to gba.emu.

    • Endscrypt

      It's just you! Think it looks amazing on the ipad mini!!

    • Jason Flor Flook

      Not just you. Functionality is great, but the pixelation is not.

      • Onikage725

        For some reason, if I use RetinaPad to force it into iPhone mode, it's fine. But in native iPad mode it is a pixelated mess. The phone UI is nicer-looking too haha

      • Rawk GWJ

        Wow. How do you force it into iPhone mode? I want to play it that way.

      • Onikage725

        It's still full screen, since ios 7 plays iPhone games in 2x mode regardless. RetinaPad (assuming you're jailbroken) used to clean up blurry iPhone text on non-retina devices. Since 7 does that now, what RetinaPad can be used for is playing apps in different layout settings. In this case, since the app is universal, I'm having RetinaPad make the app register as an iPhone app. Its a little annoying in that it has that slightly blocky feel, large menus, etc that you get with 2x phone apps. But it also, of or whatever reason, gives a cleaner game image. It basically looks like gba.emu or gpsphone. For some reason, in native iPad mode, it looks like one of the poorer android emus (for me, I dunno if others have different results.). It just needs better shaders, I think. You can get lost messing with settings in a broglia emu. This has basically frameskip, sound, and skins for settings :/

  • bluspacecow

    I've discovered you don't have to upload your Roms to Dropbox.

    You can just upload it directly to the iPod via the Apps tab in iTunes

    iTunes -> Devices -> [Your iOS Device] -> Apps tab up top of pane

    *scroll down*

    Click on GBA4iOS in the Apps listing (you may have to scroll the Apps listing down)

    Then drag any GBA Roms from the finder into the GBA4iOS Documents list.

    • bluspacecow

      "However, you can load ROMs using the traditional iTunes File Sharing method, but one of the biggest benefits of the version 2.0 release ofGBA4iOS is its ability to load ROMs straight into the app with its built-in web browser"

      NVM! You had that in the article already sorry!

  • shine330

    Anyone having problems adding cheats? It shuts down every time I try. Thanks

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    Bricked my iPhone 5S, can't start it again (shows a blue screen, then reboots again). Entering recovery mode now. GBA games are easily played elsewhere, I'm not going to mess with this any more (except for the lengthy restore process from iCloud, argh).

    • lapin

      Lol. How could you even brick your phone with this

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Do what I did, shut down your iphone when the app install appears to be stuck. You're welcome!

  • Endscrypt

    Installed on both my 5s and ipad having no problems! It's pretty amazing really :)

  • Soar2344

    I'm just going to wait this out to be sure it's safe to download you can never be too careful.

    • vai_levar_no_cu

      Haha.. Was thinking the same. Shouldnt be a problem though. The guys that did this have released emus before, and all was ok with them (so far). Also, dont ever remember hearing about any emus with viruses or other stuff, on any platform

  • LORE

    Yup me too

  • handhoney

    This is just brilliant. I am jail broken but this emulator is the most elegant of all the emulators I've used on the iOS. Major kudos. I will be supporting by buying jailbroken apps from these devs. THANKS!! <3

  • mclifford82

    Loving it so far. Might get a MFi pad when they go on a good sale.

  • reekeecast

    OMG, I want to cry.

  • Zach

    Can't seem to download this at all. Have my phone (4S, iOS 7.0.4) plugged in and tried setting the date back too. Using Chrome, clicking the download button simply does nothing. Using Firefox and Safari, it leads me to a page saying something along the lines of the address in invalid.

    • XboxOne

      You don't have to set the time back.

    • Kong

      not sure if this helps, but you need to download from your phone. not from your desktop computer browser. cheers!

      • Zach

        Got it working, thanks for the replies.

  • http://www.silentrocco.com/ Silent Rocco

    First time having an emulator on my non-jailbroken iPhone 4S. Right now I'm playing Final Fantasy 6 (for the very first time) and it's running perfectly! This emulator is amazing!!!

  • Th3R3n3gad3

    Is coolroms legal?

    • Rawk GWJ

      It's what you would call a gray area. It's not really legal, and it's not really illegal either.

  • Rafy211

    Is getting the games legal? Seems a bit shifty for me >_>

    • vai_levar_no_cu

      Nope. Having the emulator installed is ok though. But there are plenty of homebrew games out there, though

      But of course, thats not the main use... ...

  • thiagovscoelho

    mine just doesn't download. icon appears, starts loading, crashes. sometimes it stops at 100%, but never installs. don't know what's up

    • blakedaking

      You have to change date of your device to Feb 17 or before

      • Guest

        yes I learned that since the comment and got it running; currently downloading some gba fullsets so I can have all the games

        I really hope a very weird bug I got in ridiculous fishing wasn't related to that though

      • thiagovscoelho

        yes I learned that since the comment and got it running; currently downloading some gba fullsets so I can have all the games

        I really hope a very weird bug I got in ridiculous fishing wasn't related to that though

      • thiagovscoelho

        already emailed support about that one

  • link6616

    Wow, I'm surprised by the direct link to a rom site in an article like this.

  • bbve

    Got it working, but now it crashes every time I try to open it.

    • Gameplaya

      Reset your date to 2012

  • Kronusdark

    Does anyone know if the source for this has been released? I would prefer to sign it myself if possible.

  • laniparis

    Question: Is there a legal site where you can buy ROMs to install on this app? Yep, I'm a chicken lol.

    • bdizzle

      not that i know of... sorry! nintendo has made it very clear that they dont support the distribution of ROMs and emulators. the only reason that they are allowed to exist is because of a legal grey area. both sides are right in a way, but nintendo would never let their games be sold onto a non-nintendo device

  • bdizzle

    anyone have any idea how the cheats work? im having trouble with them just because im a noob and i dont know how to work it. can someone help or please make a tutorial? it would be very much appreciated!!!!!!!!

  • Netsquash

    Well... that was Mario on my phone.... I'm done. Back to my iPhone games.

  • bhavukjain1

    Tried to play Mario but it seems to be a bit cluttered. May be a frame rate problem.

  • Netsquash

    What are the odds we all just added our phones to a bot net?

  • bhavukjain1

    Nothing is legal with this emulator. But still it's so awesome.

  • Rawk GWJ

    That was so painless and easy. Everything worked just as promised, which is rare. My previous experiences with ios EMUs were exercises in frustration.

    Ok... Just played GTA Advanced for the first time ever. I can check that off my list. I messed around with Zelda a bit. That was cool. I feel like the games look better on my phone because the screen is smaller and you don't get that mosaic effect. It would be nice to have an option on the ipad to shrink the game screen.

    • FuZion

      I'd like a sort of matrix like grid effect on iPad so it likes a little more like a dot matrix screen.

  • Rawk GWJ

    The audio on my ipad is perfect, but the audio on my phone is all choppy and skippy. Does anyone know a way to fix this?

  • FuZion

    Now if only these was a way is listing the top 25 games WITHOUT including bloody Pokemon taking up 15-20 of those slots.

  • AjaxJump

    Fantastic. Ever since buying Tetris from EA I've been wanting a real Tetris game - now I can play the GAMEBOY version. One less reason to buy an android!

  • Wave_Rider99

    How does nds4ios work on iPad 3?

  • twick

    As of 7:24am EST Feb 20 it still allows install.

  • http://www.makasoft.net/ maka

    doesn't seem to support iCade... :( will it be added?

    • Rawk GWJ

      Whoops. It turns out that I somehow accidentally downloaded the old version on my phone. I've now got version 2.0 on my phone and the audio is practically perfect. This emulator is amaze-balls!!

  • mstacheef

    I've been playing the A list games like Xcom, Infinity blade, GTA, etc on my iphone for a while, but GBAforIOS has completely changed the way I view the platform. Playing Advance Wars and Zelda now is virtually perfect. This emulator is the best I've ever played.

  • Ijipop

    Version 2.0
    Sound skip every 5 seconds or so...
    Iphone 4, not jailbreak
    ???

  • NinjaKitteh

    Golden Sun on my IPhone. So niiiiccccccccccee.

  • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

    I've been trying really hard to get in touch with him.

  • thestapler

    a link to an S3 server. genius.

  • cyberknight23

    Just installed it with the date rollback trick. Works flawlessly and fast and it's easy to play and add games.

  • Morley83

    Controls are great on this, a testament to which is that I just completed the flying level on battletoads! Man that game is just as hard as I remember.

  • mutts

    How can i get dropbox to work.
    atm i get a token.... Development error?

    • Alyssa Surowiec

      Yes, this is a known issue that will be fixed with an in-app update.

  • magicmikezero

    I see it's supported with controller but is it icade jr compatible? Nice job wih the app :)

  • magicmikezero

    Also doesn't seem to run smooth at all for me so far. A lot of stop for 2 secs and resume on the shootem ups I've attempted. Even on galaga :(

  • Devok

    Does apple support this idea of emulators? Or they against us and going to patch us away?

  • eric12961

    How do I download Nintendo ds games ?

    • Catman

      Well considering it's a Gameboy Advance app, you can't..

  • pkmaximum

    How is performance on this emulator vs. gpsp by exophase?

  • magicmikezero

    I'm not having much luck with it as far as running smooth on my 4S. Also today it just crashed and wouldn't load any games after that. I deleted it for now. Hopefully they'll work out the bugs.

    • Hoot3000

      Mine was choppy at first but in the settings u can turn down the frame rate!

  • cartmanthegreat135

    I really want to give this a try, but how safe is it really? Does anyone know? Will any of my info on my phone be stolen or anything like that?

  • AJShadowz

    Anybody know how to transfer this app to iTunes after it's already downloaded and working on my iphone 5? If it's even possible.

  • Morphzeus

    Great Stuff! The new 2.0.1 Version works great on my iPhone 4. Hope of a NDS Emu for Apple Devices, in next time.? THX

  • jusadamfal

    IS THIS LEGAL???!!! I want it sooooo bad but seems like copyright infringement! Somebody please help? :(

  • C.J.

    Dudes it is safe wouldn't u think apple would have some kind of program that detects data that would potentially harm ur phone

  • Jorge Robles

    Is there a limit on how many games you can download?

  • Xtreme

    My gba4ios will not install
    It gets about 3/4 the way done and it says "unable to download at this time" can someone help me with this problem i have tried to set the date back to febuary 19 2014 but it doesnt seem to work

  • Kakishikimoto Mikachi

    Just keeps going into a damn install loop, i changed the date...

  • Jacob Gaertner

    What iOS7 controllers are compatible with it? I just ordered a Rii gaming controller (same layout as the iCade and the Logitech PowerShell). Looks like a PSP. Supposedly the Rii works the exact same (and is compatible with the same games) as the iCade. Are these considered MFi controllers? Because I want to be able to use my controller with this. (I have fat thumbs, and touching on the screen makes it impossible to see what I'm touching, and with a touch screen I can't use my sense of feel).

  • http://www.downarea51.com/ Downarea51

    Works Perfect for me