Apple’s App Store permits game emulators for the first time

App designers remain “responsible for ensuring software complies with all applicable laws”.

Apple has loosened its App Store restrictions to permit more emulation software.

In an update posted at the end of last week, Apple confirmed it will now permit “retro game console emulator apps”, although the app designers are “responsible for all such software offered in [their] app”, “including ensuring that such software complies with […] all applicable laws”.

It’s thought Apple has made the change in response to growing pressure from users and legislators alike, particularly in Europe, where previously emulator enthusiasts could only access emulation apps on iPhone by jailbreaking their devices or via complex workarounds. With the recent ruling that Apple has to permit third-party app stores in the EU, this could be a way for the megacorp to prevent some users from defecting to App Store competitors.

This means that game emulators – albeit ones that don’t platform illegal or pirated content – are now no longer banned from the App Store, permitting Android emulator developers to finally port their apps to iDevices (thanks, The Verge).

Apple, Google owner Alphabet and Facebook owner Meta are all being investigated by the EU under the Digital Market Act (DMA), key legislation designed to keep competition fair.

Both Apple and Google will be investigated over their mobile app stores, which the EU previously ordered must allow greater competition on their respective platforms.

As Tom explained for us at the time, Apple’s previously-announced solution to satisfy DMA rules has drawn fire, in particular from long-time legal rival Epic Games, over fees and limits which make launching games or apps outside of the App Store costly.


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