How to install AltStore and play retro games on iOS

If you’re firmly on the iOS side, chances are you’re looking at Android with its huge selection of emulation options with love. At least that was the case until Riley Testut presented AltStore. AltStore allows iOS and iPadOS users to add unauthorized third-party applications. For now, the list of apps includes only a few apps, like the hugely popular jailbreak app, the Delta emulator. The app – which lets you play Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and more – is the best way to relive your childhood game obsessions on iPhone and iPad. Here are all the steps to get started playing Super Mario on your iPad today.

How to install on Mac

1. The very first step is to download AltServer for Mac.

Play the emulators on the installation of Ios Altserver

2. Once the download is complete, you can launch “AltServer” and it will appear as an icon in the menu bar.

Play emulators on the Ios Altserver iconPlay emulators on the Ios Altserver icon

3. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer and make sure everyone is unlocked. If the phone or iPad asks if it can “trust” the computer, tap “Trust” to continue.

4. Click the AltStore icon in the Mac menu bar and select “Install the mail plug-in”. This part is unusual, but the workaround for AltStore requires that a specific plugin be installed as part of Mail.app.

Play the emulators on the Ios messaging installation pluginPlay the emulators on the Ios messaging installation plugin

5. Enter your Apple ID email and password. Although privacy issues persist, it has been made clear that AltStore never sees your Apple ID login information.

6. You will be prompted to install the Mail plug-in. To do this, open Mail and select “File -> Preferences”.

Play emulators on Ios Mail Manage pluginsPlay emulators on Ios Mail Manage plugins

7. Select “Manage plug-ins” and activate “AltPlugin.mailbundle”. Click Apply, then restart Mail.

Play emulators on Ios Mail PlugPlay emulators on Ios Mail Plug

8. You have reached the last step. Click AltStore in the Mac menu bar, select “Install AltStore,” then choose the iOS device currently connected to your computer.

Play the emulators on Ios Altstore InstallPlay the emulators on Ios Altstore Install

How to install on Windows

Before installing for Windows, it is important to make sure that iTunes and iCloud are installed. The most important step here is to make sure that you install the software directly from Apple and not from the Microsoft Store. You can get iTunes and iCloud here. Once these downloads are complete, follow the next steps.

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1. Download AltServer for Windows.

2. Extract the “AltInstaller.zip” file downloaded anywhere on your desktop.

3. Double-click on the “setup.exe” file and continue with the installation instructions.

4. Connect your iPhone or iPad. As is the case with the Mac, you may need to click “Trust” to continue.

5. Open iTunes (the one of the direct download links above) and activate “iTunes Wi-FI Sync” for your iPhone / iPad.

6. Click the AltServer icon in the Windows notification area, select “Install AltStore” and choose your iOS device.

7. When prompted, enter your Apple ID email address and password.

8. Give it a few seconds, then AltStore should appear as an app on your device.

Important note

The way AltStore is designed to bypass Apple’s railings, requires you to “update” your iOS or iPadOS device every seven days. AltStore offers some tips on how best to handle this process, but it requires the Mail app to be open as well as AltStore on Mac. Under Windows, only the AltStore should be opened. When one of these platforms is ready, access the AltStore on the iOS device and “refresh” the downloaded applications.

Play emulators on Ios email update appsPlay emulators on Ios email update apps

How to install Delta

Once AltStore is installed, the next step is to add Delta, the actual Emulator app, to your iPhone or iPad.

1. Open AltStore on your iOS device. At the bottom of the app, you’ll see four options: News, Browse, My apps, and Settings. Tap on “My apps”.

Play emulators on Ios Mail Browse AltstorePlay emulators on Ios Mail Browse Altstore

2. As soon as you press “Browse”, Delta is the first application you see.

Play emulators on Ios Mail Delta AltstorePlay emulators on Ios Mail Delta Altstore

3. Click “Free” to install it and Delta will install like any other application on your iOS device.

Play emulators on Ios Mail Delta Altstore ArrowPlay emulators on Ios Mail Delta Altstore Arrow

Play games

Playing ROMs you don’t own is illegal, so let’s assume you have your own ROMs.

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1. Download the ROM to your computer or iOS device. Our recommendation is to create a new folder in Files to save all downloaded ROMs.

2. Once the file is downloaded, open Delta and look for the “+” sign. When you tap it, it gives you two options: iTunes and Files. Select the “Files” option.

Play emulators on Ios Mail Rom LocationPlay emulators on Ios Mail Rom Location

3. Locate the ROM in the Files application and press it. Delta will automatically know depending on the file type on which platform it should be loaded. Super Nintendo files will load for Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 for Nintendo 64, etc.

Play emulators on Ios messaging romsPlay emulators on Ios messaging roms

4. Once the application is in its appropriate folder, click on it to start playing. The amount of ROM you can add is really based on the amount of memory available on your device. Given the small size of the retro game files, you can install hundreds, if not thousands, without taking up a lot of space.

Play emulators on Ios Mail AladdinPlay emulators on Ios Mail Aladdin

Delta has the option of installing additional emulators apart from the ones they offer by default. For example, fans of PSP (Playstation Portable) can install PPSSPP. It is the same DolphiniOS, which includes support for Dreamcast. Each of these applications is installed by downloading their installation files in the Files application and pressing the “+” button at the top of the AltStore screen under the “My applications” option.

The retro game is currently experiencing a big comeback, partly thanks to materials like NES, Sega and SNES Classic. With software like AltStore and Delta, reliving these classics is easier than ever on your iPad. If you don’t want to play on your phone, you can instead create a retro Raspberry Pi game console.

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