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Game Boy Advance emulator available for iOS 7, without jailbreak

Sam Loveridge


GBA4iOS 2.0 on iPad mini and iPhone 5C
GBA4iOS 2.0 on iPad mini and iPhone 5C

You can now play Game Boy Advance games on your iOS 7 device thanks to a new emulator.

GBA4iOS is a Game Boy emulator that was launched for iOS device a little while ago, which took advantage of an App Store loophole that Apple has since closed.

However, the new GBA4iOS 2.0 has now been released and let’s you play GBA titles without having to jailbreak your phone, and it’s surprisingly easy.

First head to the GBA4iOS website and find the download link for the latest 2.0 edition of the app, specially designed for iOS 7 devices like the iPad Air and iPhone 5S.

Before you hit download though, you’ll need to change the date on your device to before February 19 2014 manually within the settings app.

Then you can download GBA4iOS 2.0 directly to your device as its very own app on any iOS 7 device, including your iPads.

Within the GBA4iOS app is an in-built browser directing you to all the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Colour titles available. We found that you’ll need to change the date to some time in 2012 in order to download the games, but after that you can go back to normal.

when launching the app for the first time, there is a disclaimer that suggests the app may have problems if the date and time are changed back to the present:

“If at any time the app fails to open, please set the date back on your device to before February 19, 2014, then try opening the app again. Once the app is opened, you can set the date back to the correct time and the app will continue to open normally. However, you’ll need to repeat this process every time you restart your device.

We tried it repeatedly closing and relaunching the app and had no issues, even when resetting our phone to the current date and time.

However, when turning our phone on and off again, the ap failed to open at all until we changed the date back a few days.

The games all work fantastically though and give your phone a little retro chic. There’s also support for cheats and custom skins, which is great.

All the game also support iOS 7 controllers like the Logitech PowerShell and SteelSeries Stratus.

Read more: Mobile won’t save Mario - 5 reasons why Nintendo won't go mobile

Tim Sutton

February 20, 2014, 2:25 pm

Er. Guys.

Isn't this software piracy?

Nintendo do monetize their back catalogue frequently through re-releases and compilations!

I'm not sure how happy Nintendo would be with a news site giving a step by step guide on how to play all their retro IP for free, I'd certainly want to stick a disclaimer in the text somewhere.

Nintendo are EXTREMELY clear on their website that they consider emulation to be theft.


From the Nintendo site: http://www.nintendo.com/cor...

What is a Nintendo Video Game Emulator?

A Nintendo emulator is a software program that is designed to allow game play on a platform that it was not created for. A Nintendo emulator allows for Nintendo console based or arcade games to be played on unauthorized hardware. The video games are obtained by downloading illegally copied software, i.e. Nintendo ROMs, from Internet distributors. Nintendo ROMs then work with the Nintendo emulator to enable game play on unauthorized hardware such as a personal computer, a modified console, etc.

Can I Download a Nintendo ROM from the Internet if I Already Own the Authentic Game?

There is a good deal of misinformation on the Internet regarding the backup/archival copy exception. It is not a "second copy" rule and is often mistakenly cited for the proposition that if you have one lawful copy of a copyrighted work, you are entitled to have a second copy of the copyrighted work even if that second copy is an infringing copy. The backup/archival copy exception is a very narrow limitation relating to a copy being made by the rightful owner of an authentic game to ensure he or she has one in the event of damage or destruction of the authentic. Therefore, whether you have an authentic game or not, or whether you have possession of a Nintendo ROM for a limited amount of time, i.e. 24 hours, it is illegal to download and play a Nintendo ROM from the Internet.

How Does Nintendo Feel About the Emergence of Video Game Emulators?

The introduction of emulators created to play illegally copied Nintendo software represents the greatest threat to date to the intellectual property rights of video game developers. As is the case with any business or industry, when its products become available for free, the revenue stream supporting that industry is threatened. Such emulators have the potential to significantly damage a worldwide entertainment software industry which generates over $15 billion annually, and tens of thousands of jobs.

What Does Nintendo Think of the Argument that Emulators are Actually Good for Nintendo Because it Promotes the Nintendo Brand to PC Users and Leads to More Sales?

Distribution of an emulator developed to play illegally copied Nintendo software hurts Nintendo's goodwill, the millions of dollars invested in research & development and marketing by Nintendo and its licensees. Substantial damages are caused to Nintendo and its licensees. It is irrelevant whether or not someone profits from the distribution of an emulator. The emulator promotes the play of illegal ROMs , NOT authentic games. Thus, not only does it not lead to more sales, it has the opposite effect and purpose.

How Come Nintendo Does Not Take Steps Towards Legitimizing Nintendo Emulators?

Emulators developed to play illegally copied Nintendo software promote piracy. That's like asking why doesn't Nintendo legitimize piracy. It doesn't make any business sense. It's that simple and not open to debate.

People Making Nintendo Emulators and Nintendo ROMs are Helping Publishers by Making Old Games Available that are No Longer Being Sold by the Copyright Owner. This Does Not Hurt Anyone and Allows Gamers to Play Old Favorites. What's the Problem?

The problem is that it's illegal. Copyrights and trademarks of games are corporate assets. If these vintage titles are available far and wide, it undermines the value of this intellectual property and adversely affects the right owner. In addition, the assumption that the games involved are vintage or nostalgia games is incorrect. Nintendo is famous for bringing back to life its popular characters for its newer systems, for example, Mario and Donkey Kong have enjoyed their adventures on all Nintendo platforms, going from coin-op machines to our latest hardware platforms. As a copyright owner, and creator of such famous characters, only Nintendo has the right to benefit from such valuable assets.

Isn't it Okay to Download Nintendo ROMs for Games that are No Longer Distributed in the Stores or Commercially Exploited? Aren't They Considered "Public Domain"?

No, the current availability of a game in stores is irrelevant as to its copyright status. Copyrights do not enter the public domain just because they are no longer commercially exploited or widely available. Therefore, the copyrights of games are valid even if the games are not found on store shelves, and using, copying and/or distributing those games is a copyright infringement.

Haven't the Copyrights for Old Games Expired?

U.S. copyright laws state that copyrights owned by corporations are valid for 75 years from the date of first publication. Because video games have been around for less than three decades, the copyrights of all video games will not expire for many decades to come.

Are Game Copying Devices Illegal?

Yes. Game copiers enable users to illegally copy video game software onto floppy disks, writeable compact disks or the hard drive of a personal computer. They enable the user to make, play and distribute illegal copies of video game software which violates Nintendo's copyrights and trademarks. These devices also allow for the uploading and downloading of ROMs to and from the Internet. Based upon the functions of these devices, they are illegal.

Can Websites and/or Internet Content Providers be Held Liable for Violation of Intellectual Property Rights if they are Only Providing Links to Illegal Software and/or Other Illegal Devices?

Yes. Personal Websites and/or Internet Content Providers sites That link to Nintendo ROMs, Nintendo emulators and/or illegal copying devices can be held liable for copyright and trademark violations, regardless of whether the illegal software and/or devices are on their site or whether they are linking to the sites where the illegal items are found.


You've even linked to the app, under the law you are now liable to be prosecuted.

I would take this story down, or at the least remove the step by step and add a line about emulation being illegal.

Justin Baughman

July 16, 2014, 3:34 am

Ah yes, because quotes from a game company's website are absolute law on the subject matter across all international borders. Never before have I seen a comment so worthless.

Tim Sutton

July 16, 2014, 10:40 am

You're a very strange, odd person.

This is a 5 month old comment, God only knows why you thought it worthwhile replying.

Especially with such an inane and stupid response.


July 18, 2014, 2:13 pm

And you were stupid enough to reply to him ;)

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