Jailbreaking opens the door to all kinds of neat goodies. For example, you can play Game Boy Advance games, right there on your iPhone. This includes Pokemon, one of the most famous franchises in gaming. The old GBA entries like Ruby and Sapphire are classics (which Nintendo actually just remade for the 3DS).
With the magic of jailbreaking, you can play Pokemon on an iPhone as well. The turn based gameplay fits better with the touch screen controls, one of the reasons why it’s a recommended series to play on an emulator. Here’s how to do it.
Before we get started, you’ll need:
- A jailbroken iPhone. If you don’t have this, check out our easy-to-follow guide to jailbreaking iOS 8.1.2.
- A willingness to… color outside the lines a bit. Emulation is a bit of a legal gray area, but it’s by no means strictly legal. Understand Nintendo hates what you’re doing and considers it illegal. That said, emulation is still pretty cool.
The Best Emulator – GBA4iOS
To play Game Boy Advance games, you want GBA4iOS. There are other emulators available on Cydia, but this is the best one I tried. It’s fast, lightweight and effective.
There’s a mess of confusing information available now on whether you can install GBA4iOS on a non-jailbroken iPhone, or whether the date trick works. Let me stop all speculation now. As of this writing, you cannot install GBA4iOS on a non-jailbroken iPhone. Period.
GBA4iOS was using a hijacked enterprise security certificate to bypass the App Store and install the app directly from its website. Apple gives these certificates to businesses to let them distribute their enterprise apps in-house without going through the arduous app store approval process.
Unfortunately, Apple closed the hole GBA4iOS was using with 8.1.2. There is no way to install GBA4iOS without a jailbreak now.
You can install it, however, with some tinkering. First, open up Cydia, go to sources, edit, and add:
From there you want AppSync Unified. It’s a neat little tweak that allows installing unofficial apps on iOS. It’s good for helping developers not enrolled in Apple’s official dev program and people interested in installing apps Apple wouldn’t like (such as GBA4iOS).
Once that’s installed, visit the developer’s website and download the app direct from their servers. Tap install when you get the popup, and let the installer work its magic.
Once GBA4iOS is installed, it’s a simple matter to download Pokemon (or any other Game Boy Advance game you’d like) onto the emulator. Tap the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner to open the in-app browser.
Use Google to download a ROM file, which will be saved within the app for easy use. We won’t link ROMs, but Googling “Pokemon ROM” and picking results from Emuparadise tends to be reliable.
From there, it’s as easy as downloading. Note that while GBA4iOS makes you swear to have a physical copy of a ROM, this doesn’t really matter legally. It’s all illegal anyway.
After that, enjoy! GBA4iOS supports multiplayer and linking games, so find a friend to trade Pokemon with to catch ’em all.