Apple changes App Store rules to allow retro game emulators globally | TechCrunch (
from to on 07 Apr 2024 07:15


threaded - newest on 07 Apr 2024 07:28 next collapse

April 1st was a few days ago

(That’s great news though) on 07 Apr 2024 10:54 next collapse

then again, theres no reason to buy apple in the first place. so why does this even matter on 07 Apr 2024 11:35 next collapse

Because Apple set trends that the whole industry follows, and if nothing happens then every phone maker will bring this shit too. on 07 Apr 2024 12:27 collapse

well. companies will do every thing that is legal in order to make the most money possible. doesnt have to do anything with feelings or trends on 07 Apr 2024 11:53 next collapse

I know that this is Fedi and “Apple bad”, but iPads are great devices and if you get older versions second-hand they are usually worth the price. And since Apple is being forced into making these devices more open, they get better and better. on 07 Apr 2024 12:31 collapse

i dont think ipads are the best. Samsungs tablets since the tab s7 do great. Have it for four years now heavily in use in school and university. Sideloading all the shit i want. on 07 Apr 2024 12:38 collapse

I’m aware of Android capabilities, I’ve used Android phones since Gingerbread and have several tablets. I’m not saying iPad is “the best” for all use cases, but app availability is still much better on iPadOS. Android has been steadily catching up though. on 07 Apr 2024 12:26 next collapse

Android invades your privacy SO much less, Google is just the BEST 🙄 on 07 Apr 2024 12:33 collapse

google and samsung suck just as much. Custom rom's for the win. Besides on Android at least you dont have to use a google account and can use aurora store or apks. And you can easily set a filter to not allow any apps or system apps to use internet. on 07 Apr 2024 13:06 collapse

Really depends what you value. Google is by far a worse company when it comes to privacy and data sovereignty. Apple is by far worse when it comes to using your device in the way you want to and driving anti consumer trends. Neither is a good company, neither has any competition. on 07 Apr 2024 13:59 collapse

apple tracks as much data as google does. It just isnt as open in saying that. But its commonly not known.

Anyhow. Both suck hard. Atleast on Android though, you can go without google. on 07 Apr 2024 20:25 collapse

What they do with that data matters greatly, and Google is far worse with that data. on 07 Apr 2024 20:28 collapse

as in how? using it for ads? Ok. And apple shares it with the chinese government in china. Unlike Google. on 07 Apr 2024 20:31 collapse

Lmao. Okay buddy. on 07 Apr 2024 11:25 next collapse

Thanks again EU! And maybe even US department of justice this time, suppression of certain app types was listed as one aspect of their anti trust lawsuit. on 07 Apr 2024 11:26 next collapse

Wow, wonder if Delta will be on the AppStore soon. Damn good emulator. on 07 Apr 2024 12:23 next collapse

Dolphin on iPad fuck yessssssssssssss on 07 Apr 2024 18:23 collapse

Dolphin requires JIT compilation and that is still verboten under these new guidelines.

Further, the rule change says that these apps are allowed to "Download" ROMs, it doesn't say that they can just play anything they want, it in fact says that they have to provide an index of everything their software might run and where it is downloaded from. The rules are not going to allow emulators as we know and love them. It says specifically that the software offered under the guidelines must be offered via In App Purchases, so in all,

A) Emulators can exist

B) They can download ROMs

C) You have to comply with all applicable laws while you offer an emulator that allows people to download ROMs ಠ_ಠ

D) "Software offered in apps under this rule must: use in-app purchase in order to offer digital goods or services to end users."

Which in whole means that they've allowed (for example) Sega to offer an Emulator app that will run ROMs of games that Sega owns, but they have to sell the ROMs to you individually via IAPs.

Feel free to read their guidelines at, because there isn't any way in my reading to interpret those rules as allowing something like Higan to exist on the app store, the new rules are such a narrow carve out that it's hard to imagine that anyone is able to provide an emulator for iOS any time soon. They've opened a door that basically nobody could walk through and the people who could walk through it wouldn't need to because they could just distribute the ROMs with the emulator to begin with, it's business as usual for Apple. on 07 Apr 2024 19:14 collapse

That’s not how I interpret that. I think they’re just saying that if your app does offer digital goods, you have to use IAP. Not that any app in this category has to include IAP to be accepted.

Apple is protecting its bottom line here. In other words if Nintendo was to release a classic arcade, they don’t just get to circumvent IAP rules in non-DMA countries because of this change. But I don’t see any wording that says apps cannot forgo offering any IAPs and just allow you to add content via Files like all other apps do.

If they intended your definition, they wouldn’t leave it vague. There would be a specific provision that says “Apps cannot access files or software from the system, or offer an in-app browser or other online resource to add files to the app.”

Moreover, this change is specifically targeted at Riley Testut and AltStore, which was founded so he could distribute his emulator, Delta. Your interpretation would fully prevent that app from being offered, so I really don’t think that is what Apple was intending.

Lack of JIT is crippling though, hopefully that will change soon.

They’ve opened a door that basically nobody could walk through and the people who could walk through it wouldn’t need to because they could just distribute the ROMs with the emulator to begin with, it’s business as usual for Apple.

Actually this also isn’t true, emulators were banned period. This was partially to avoid legal issues and also because if they didn’t, the App Store would be flooded with emulators in wrappers distributing single titles.

So technically, this does allow the use case of a classic developer offering all their old titles in a a single arcade app, which was not the case before. on 07 Apr 2024 23:24 collapse

Agree to disagree. on 08 Apr 2024 00:02 next collapse

I think that’s fair, I basically agree with the first comment on that Ars article:

App Review guidelines are always so vague and open to interpretation. We need a brave developer to submit a retro console emulator that can load arbitrary files to App Review and see what happens. on 14 Apr 2024 15:37 collapse

Two emulators have launched and they both can open arbitrary ROM files as expected. on 15 Apr 2024 17:58 collapse

One has already been pulled, though seemingly for unrelated copyright issues?

That said, I'm surprised that things have gotten to this point, I suppose time will tell once the property holders get involved how committed Apple is to this whole change, there's still a lot of room to interpret the clause about conforming to all laws for the content that is being run in the app.

Given that I didn't think ANY emulators would make it into the Appstore, I'm going to retract my position. However, I think that we're still in the "Fuck around" stage of things and there may yet be some "Find out" to come. on 15 Apr 2024 18:06 next collapse

Yeah MacRumors reached out and apparently Apple clarified that it was pulled for the GBA4iOS copyright issue and not anything to do with ROMs.

Agreed, it’ll be a long journey. But this is a step in the right direction, and I’m sure it will be an ebb and flow rather than just a flood of existing iOS emulation projects coming to the App Store.

For example; we won’t see Delta because of Riley’s competing store, and we probably won’t see Provenance because of all of the JIT stuff they built that will have to be removed for an App Store approved build.

I will be pretty upset if they just end up reversing their position. Google Play has had tons of emulators for years with no issues, with the exception of yuzu which is hardly surprising considering that’s a current gen console. I think the pressure at this point is more imagined. on 17 Apr 2024 17:29 collapse

Oh I guess I was wrong too. Delta is already launched on the App Store.…/id1048524688 on 17 Apr 2024 19:03 collapse

Happened today, and for those with governments that actually regulate (the EU) his AltStore is also up. on 07 Apr 2024 12:39 next collapse

This is so cool. I want to play Atari on my Apple TV on 07 Apr 2024 12:55 next collapse

Congrats iOS users, happy for you :D That opens a lot more devices up to being able to do stuff. on 07 Apr 2024 13:10 next collapse

“Following the law is not optional, but Apple continues to defy that decision. Effective April 6th, the Commission can start noncompliance proceedings and impose daily fines. It’s time for decisive action to once and for all give consumers real choice,” Spotify Spokesperson Jeanne Moran told TechCrunch in a statement.

Came for the retro love, left remembering that Spotify exists and i hate it. on 07 Apr 2024 15:50 next collapse

once again people that buy an apple product will pay nearly double to have less features and will have to pay for an emulator that offers you to buy games that were free in the first place. seems convenient. on 07 Apr 2024 19:24 next collapse

Well, this is indeed good news. on 14 Apr 2024 14:09 collapse

The first emulator is here iGBA