How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (2024)

Apple’s recent App Store policy change means that emulator apps like Riley Testut’s popular Delta platform for iPhone and iPad can finally be hosted in the App Store — sans ROM, of course.

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (1)

These apps have long been available to users, but they could only be sideloaded via AltStore, Sideloadly, or Xcode. For many people, this was simply too much of a challenge, either because sideloading requires certain knowledge or because of the burdensome 7-day signing period. But now that these apps can be had from the App Store, that’s not a problem anymore.

In today’s tutorial, we’ll be walking you through the process of loading a ROM in your newly downloaded Delta emulator app.

What you need to know about emulators

Before getting started, we should note that there are a few caveats to using emulators on your iPhone or iPad. Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room would be the legality of it.

Using emulators legally

Emulator apps are 100% legal and can be downloaded from the App Store — even passing the muster of Apple’s App Store review process. But you can’t play any games with an emulator app until you load a game cartridge’s Read Only Memory (ROM) into it, and this is where things can get hairy (but not if you do it correctly).

Much like decrypting apps that you download from the App Store, the only legal way to get game ROMs for your emulator app is to dump them from the game cartridges that you already own and to use the data you dump only for personal purposes. This effectively means you can’t share those files with anyone else.

A ROM dumper is typically a piece of hardware you buy, such as the one pictured below, that can read and extract said read only memory from a classic game system cartridge and write that data to your computer.

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (2)

These ROM dumper tools have input(s) where you can place your game cartridge(s) and usually have a USB output that connects to your computer. Many of these dumpers, which can be purchased online, also require the use of software you can download from the internet that is required to make them work with your computer.

While you can find ROM files online to download, which is unquestionably what most people do, going this route is considered engaging in piracy. That’s because you would be downloading ROM files from an unauthorized distributor without the game author’s permission, which infringes on their copyright rights.

For these reasons, iDB will not share where to download game ROMs from since we do not condone or wish to perpetuate piracy, and we instead recommend taking the kosher route and dumping your own game cartridges for use with emulator apps like the highly esteemed Delta.

It’s a fully-functional game system

Not only can you play games using the Delta emulator app, but you can save them and you can play local multiplayer just like you could with the original game consoles too. You can even AirPlay your screen to a bigger screen, such as a television or a projector.

Upon saving a game, you can load that save over and over again, as well as overwrite your progress over and over again. It’s just like playing on the real thing.

Additionally, you can connect and use game console controllers or third-party controllers that connect via Bluetooth to control those games. You aren’t forced to play using the touch-based controls that Delta provides out of the box, however they are nice touch controls complete with haptic feedback and the whole nine yards.

Why ROMs exist

Emulating game consoles in the primary reason why the game ROM community exists, however there are other perks to this hobby as well.

For example, much of the community will point to how game cartridges wear out over time. When this happens, the game can be lost forever. Dumping the ROM onto a computer for use later not only makes emulation possible, but it preserves that game perhaps even longer than the cartridge itself can.

Since many retro game consoles and their games are no longer produced by the manufacturer, it’s particularly important to hobbyist gamers to have access to these games even today, despite only being available in the second-hand market. Preserving those games well into the future ensures that even future generations will have access to those games, even after the last retro game cartridge in existence breaks.

What Delta can play

Right out of the box, Delta is compatible with game ROM files from the following game systems:

  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Nintendo 64
  • Game Boy (Color)
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Nintendo DS*

Notice the asterisk next to the Nintendo DS. That’s because you need to load some BIOS files to make it work properly. Unfortunately, we can’t share those either and you’ll have to extract them yourself to do this legally. Attempting to play a Nintendo DS game ROM without doing this will result in errors.

More console support is expected to be added to Delta in the future, but you’ll notice that most of the available game consoles are of the Nintendo variety at this time.

In this tutorial, we will focus on what to do with the game ROM file so that you can load it in the Delta emulator app.

How to load a ROM in the Delta Emulator app

To load a game ROM that you already have in the Delta Emulator app, follow the steps outlined below:

1) Download and install the free Delta emulator app from the App Store if you haven’t already.

2) Drag your game ROM file into the AirDrop window and drop it over the device you want to transfer it to:

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (3)

3) On that device, launch the Files app:

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (4)

4) Navigate to the Downloads folder and tap the game ROM that you previously AirDropped:

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (5)

Note: The game will automatically load into the Delta app.

5) Tap the game in Delta to launch it:

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (6)

Enjoy playing the game!

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (7)

You are now playing a fully emulated game on your Delta game emulator for iPhone and iPad. Wasn’t that nice and easy?

Wrapping up

We’re just absolutely ecstatic that Apple is finally allowing the Delta emulator app into the App Store and allowing fans to play retro game console games on their iPhone and iPad platforms.

While this has always been possible with sideloading, it feels entirely more legitimate now that the app can be had from the App Store and used by a wider variety of people without burdensome prerequisites.

Are you going to be playing retro games on your iPhone or iPad with the Delta emulator app? Tell us why or why not in the comments section down below.

How to load game ROMs in the Delta emulator app for iPhone (2024)


How do I download games to Delta? ›

On the main screen, find the plus-shaped icon on the top right. Next, choose the 'Files' option and you will be able to add game files that you downloaded locally on your phone. When you open Delta next time, you will come straight to this screen where all your games are available in one place.

How to add ROMs to an emulator? ›

The process for doing this may vary depending on the emulator you are using, but generally, you will need to open the emulator, and then go to the "File" menu and select "Open" or "Open ROM." Then navigate to the location where you saved the ROM file and select it.

What ROMs can Delta run? ›

Delta Emulator supports a wide range of consoles including NES, SNES, GBA, N64, DS, and even Sega Genesis (with beta support).

How to download ROMs on iPhone? ›

Here's how:
  1. Open a web browser on your iPhone and navigate to
  2. Filter the available games based on your desired console.
  3. Select your preferred game and download the ROM file.

Where do I get ROMs for my emulator? ›

What rom site is recommended? and are good and safe websites for downloading all types of ROMs, be it NES, SNES, PSX and more. Are emulators illegal? Emulators themselves are legal.

How to download delta emulator on iPhone? ›

The Delta Game Emulator can be installed from the App Store. You can download the Delta Emulator from the App Store on your iPhone or iPad. You should be able to find it on the list of top games, through search, or using the direct link provided previously.

How do I import Files into my emulator? ›

To add a file to the emulated device, drag the file onto the emulator screen. The file is placed in the /sdcard/Download/ directory. You can view the file from Android Studio using the Device Explorer or find it from the device using the Downloads or Files app, depending on the device version.

How to install emulators on iPhone? ›

Apple does not permit the download of emulators from its app store but you can get this software by visiting the official website of the emulator you wish to download and then downloading the APK file and installing it on your iPhone.

How do I add custom ROMs? ›

Using a Custom Android ROM
  1. Begin by enabling USB debugging on your Android.
  2. Install a custom recovery like TWRP on your Android using Fastboot ABD, then copy the ROM and Gapps into the root directory.
  3. Boot your phone into recovery mode, use TWRP to back up your device, and install the ROM and Gapps.
Apr 17, 2024

Does Delta Emulator allow cheats? ›

Delta allows you to use cheat codes made for Action Replay, GameShark and other cheat devices. Simply launch the game you want to add cheats for then tap on the Cheat Codes button in the pause menu.

What can Delta Emulator emulate? ›

Delta is an multi-system emulator for iOS and tvOS that currently supports NES (Nestopia), SNES (Snes9x), N64 (Mupen64Plus), GBC (Gambatte), GBA (VisualBoyAdvance-M), and DS (melonDS) emulation. Sega Genesis (Genesis Plus GX) support is in beta.

How do I add ROMs to my emulation station? ›

How to use Emulationstation
  1. Simply drop your rom files into the proper console folder in the 'roms' folder.
  2. Ensure you have the proper Retroarch core for your chosen games by downloading them from the PSC core page and placing them in USB/project_eris/opt/retroarch/config/retroarch/cores/

How to add ROMs to mame32? ›

You just need to download the self extracting installation file. Save it to a folder and run it. This will then create the emulator files and folders on your hard drive. We can then install this single game into MAME by just dropping the ROM file into the roms folder inside your MAME installation location.


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