These are notes directly from my notebook in preparation for my YouTube video:
- Things you will need:
- An Apple ID username and password
- A computer Mac or Windows
- A decent internet connection
- An iOS device
- An iOS compatible bluetooth controller (one of these on-screen will do)
- Okay here we go!
- Install AltStore
- How to install
- Links in description but I am going to walk you through it now, step by step, because I struggled with this the first time I tried it. So just follow these steps carefully and you should be fine.
- WINDOWS: https://faq.altstore.io/getting-started/how-to-install-altstore-windows
- Mac: https://faq.altstore.io/getting-started/how-to-install-altstore-macos
- Today I am going to run through the Windows setup, if you’re mac, just check the link below and then skip to the next section of the video
- FIRST – important to use the direct links provided for iCloud and iTunes – for some reason the versions from the Microsoft store don’t work for this
- Download Alstore here – show on screen
- Extract the installer and run the .exe file
- Click on the windows icon and search “altserver” and click on “run as administrator”
- Now plug your ipad or iphone into the computer. Make sure it’s unlocked and say “trust” when the prompt appears on the screen of your iphone or ipad.
- Open iTunes, click on the little device icon at the top, and then select “Sync with iphone/ipad over wifi”
- Now click on the bottom right of your windows task bar and click on the altstore icon and hover your mouse over “install altstore” and select your device which should appear here.
- Enter your Apple ID username and password – wait a while and you should get a notification saying it is installed – if you don’t get a notification don’t worry, check your device – if the altstore icon isn’t there – go through the steps again carefully making sure you’re used the direct links for iCloud and iTunes and that you did everything else correctly, then try installing again.
- On your iOS device, go to .
- For iOS 16 and above: go to Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Developer Mode – and then enable developer mode
- And that’s it, once it’s up and running it should keep working as long as you keep the AltStore running on your laptop and your iOS device is set to sync via wifi with itunes
- How to install
- Emulators via AltStore:
- Only 3 apps at a time – including AltStore – this limits you quite a bit and it’s one of the reason’s I’m suggesting RetroArch as your main retro gaming solution here
- New apps – Flycast and DolphiniOS are now available through the app store
- Provenance is available as a sideload
- Atari, Bandai, NEC, Nintendo, Sega, SNK and Sony console systems. – all of which can be done via retroarch
- Delta – NES, SNES, NDS, N64, GBA, GB, GBC – Delta is a no fuss solution and works very well if you don’t have a controller because the on screen controls are great – however I had a few issues using it with me bluetooth controller
- DolphoniOS – Gamecube and Wii – which are two systems Retroarch does not support currently on iOS
- PPSSPP – you can also side load PPSSPP but it doesn’t work very well on my iPad and is currently unavailable for RetroArch on the iPad for now
- Flycast – Dreamcast – Fix crashing – press and hold inside AltStore and select enable JIT – you unfortunately need to do this every time you use the app, but once it’s loaded just stay in Flycast and you’re good to go.
- Covers everything from Arcade – – Dreamcast – Saturn – PSP – PS2
- Installation – sideload into AltStore
- Download iOS version from website RetroArch
- Scroll down to iOS/TV and download the relevant iOS version you need
- Open with 7zip (download it here https://www.7-zip.org/)
- Navigate to the retroarch ipa and delete some cores to get it to under 300mb – for some reason AltStore has a 300mb limit and this took me a very long time to figure out!
- Don’t worry, you can re-install these cores later if you want to.
- Now send this to your device – you can either use iTunes, iCloud or any other cloud service – I like to drag it into iTunes and move it to where I want to from there.
- Then just remember where you saved it on your device.
- Open AltStore – tap on My Apps at the bottom, and then tap on the + sign at the top left – navigate to where you have saved the ammended RetroArch file – and select “keep file extension” if it asks you.
- The app takes quite a long time to install (about 10 minutes) so just take a break and come back.
- Now we need to set RetroArch up – and this, for a newcomer can be daunting, I have downloaded this app so many times onto my computer over the years and simply deleted it again because it’s so strange and unfamiliar, but today we’re going to tackle it for you now.
- First let’s get the filing out of the way. Your ROMS need to be saved within the RetroArch folder, so, again, I like to just drag it from my computer into iTunes. Then cut and paste them into Documents > RetroArch
- Just a note that the game folders need to be located here, and not within the RetroArch folder that contains all the system files. For some reason this doesn’t work.
- While the ROMS are loading open the RetroArch app to allow it to initialise and create a folder with all the system files, which we will need in the next step.
- Secondly, RetroArch does need bios files for some of the systems. Simply drag your bios files into the systems folder, here. Documents > RetroArch > RetroArch > system
- Now let’s set RetroArch up for us to play the games.
- I like to change the theme especially if you’re going to be using a controller: Settings > User Interface > Menu > xmb > Home > Configuration file > Save Current configuration – quit the app – go back in and now it looks like a Playstation! – this theme works best with a controller and suddenly make RetroArch feel familiar and more user friendly.
- Let’s make sure our controller is mapped correctly. First connect your controller and then go to Input > Port 1 controls > Set All Controls and simply follow the prompts, then select save controller profile.
- Okay now let’s scan our ROM directories and set a default emulator
- Go to Import Content > Manual Scan
- Navigate to the retroarch folder, select the specific games folder, then select Content Directory >Documents > select the folder you want to scan > Scan this directory
- Then at Default Core > choose your core – this will select a core for all the games so you don’t have to choose it every time, if it turns out you want to assign a different core later, you are able to do so. Then select Start Scan. This will scan the directory and create a playlist for these games.
- If you want to make sure the thumbnails are downloading go to Online Updater > Playlist Thumbnails Updater – and select the playlist you want to update.
- The next thing I like to do is set my hotkeys – this helps you navigate the program effectively with whichever controller you may have
- Go to settings > Input > Hotkeys > Hotkey enable (select the key with which you will use in combination with another key to perform a command)
- Then menu toggle > start + select
- I also like to have a way to close the game – >
- Show them how to assign cores
- To remove the on-screen controller overlays go to Settings > On-Screen Display > On-Screen Overlay > enable Hide Overlay when controller is connected
- Now simply navigate to a game and play!
- If a game isn’t working too well, you can exit the game and change the core assigned to that specific core. Remember then to update your config file before closing the app.
- Run through a few games.
- I am running a 2019 iPad Pro so your performance is going to vary from device to device. But from your handheld consoles – Gameboy, through to Gameboy Advance you should be able to play the entire catalogue of games. NES ran fine, I tested Yoshi’s Island on numerous cores and it ran very well, N64 was surprisingly good but not excellent – my guess here is that I should be able to play 80% of the catalogue on my iPad which isn’t too bad. PS1 had a few issues loading games, like my world cup soccer game loaded at 8fps, but actually played very well, but a game like Colony Wars – Red Sun simply would not load, my guess is that PS1 will run 70-80 percent of the catalogue, unfortunately PS2 is not available the iOS version of RetroArch yet, so we will have to test that at a later date, oh and as a bonus I got my one DS ROM working! Here’s Mario Kart DS running just fine and looking great on my lovely iPad screen.
- Who is this for?
- Works better than I was expecting. The controller works flawlessly with the iPad, it covers a huge expanse of retro games and it will be better on newer devices.
- This is an excellent travel companion for avid retro games
- It’s the perfect option for someone who wants to buy a handheld but wants to hold off until they know exactly what they want to buy
- OR if you are uncertain and want to first try out retro gaming, this is the perfect option for you
Thanks for your setup. I did my instalation on my iPhone, I downloaded iOS Retroarch version. It works on my iPhone with AltStore, everything is fine but
I can’t use all shaders properly, in one specific option. I’m fan of old, classic DMG look but I can’t use shader: shaders_glsl / handheld / console-borders / dmg-2x.glsl
When I’m choosing it from the list I see only overlay without gameplay, it’s onlu clear yellow screen but game is running and I hear sounds of it.
And by the way, I also run Retroarch on my PC / Windows and all works fine, especially this shader so it bothers me that I can’t have it on my iPhone 🙁
Maybe Retroarch haven’t extract all assets?
I know that AltStore have limits to size of the app wich is 300mb max. so I deleted few cores from modules catalog to lower the size.
I also found that RA on my iPhone didn’t show slang glsl.
I will be grateful for your help.
Hey there, thanks so much for checking out my website. Shaders are problematic on iOS – it is what it is unfortunately 🙁