How to play Super Nintendo games on your iOS 8 device

By , Oct 6, 2014

Donkey Kong Country iEmulator SiOS

Although there is no iOS 8 jailbreak, there is still a way to add a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) emulator. Because Nintendo is missing the opportunity to make millions of dollars by releasing their games to the Apple App Store, people have turned to emulators for years. Since the iPhone was jailbreakable, it seems there was some way to play the old classics.

Thanks to a tip from @flawlessfox, whom you may recognize as one of the JailbreakCon organizers, we tested the SNES emulator “SiOS” and can confirm it works quite well, especially on the iPhone 6 Plus. Step inside for quick step-by-step instructions and you will be enjoying your favorite SNES games in about 5 minutes time. Yes, you read it correctly, there is no jailbreak required. 

How to install the SiOS SNES emulator on your iOS 8 device

Installing the SiOS emulator is quite simple and you will only need a device running iOS 6 to iOS 8. Neither a computer nor iTunes is required to install the app or ROMs. Simply follow the step by step guide to have your favorite games running in minutes.

Step 1: Navigate to iEmulators, click “Apps” in the top tabs.

Step 2: Tap “SiOS: A SNES emulator.”

Step 3: You will be prompted with information about the emulator. Scroll down and tap “Install.”

iEmulator SiOS Install

Step 4: You will receive a confirmation question asking “ would like to install “SiOS,” choose “install.”

SiOS Emulator install prompt

Step 5: Tap the home button to return to the Home screen.

Step 6: An error message will appear stating “Unable to Download App: “SiOS” could not be downloaded at this time.” Tap “Retry.” During this process, the error message above may keep popping up. Always click “Retry.”

iEmulator SiOS Install Error Message

Step 7: Navigate to Settings > General > Date & Time. During this process, the error message above may keep popping up. Always click “Retry.” Turn off “Set Automatically” and turn the date back at least two months. I chose May 26, 2014, just to be careful.

iEmulator Date and Time setting SiOS

Step 8: SiOS will now continue installation automatically. Once installed, you may set you date and time back to normal.

SiOS iEmulator installing

Step 9: After SiOS is completely installed, find SNES ROMs from You can find ROM hosting sites with a simple Google search and we have left this part of the how-to out of the conversation for legal reasons.

Step 10: Once the ROM is downloaded in mobile safari, simply “Open In” the SiOS emulator and enjoy!

SNES Emulator for iOS 8 splash

Step 11: Not so much of a step but rather a warning. You should avoid rebooting your device after installing the emulator. If you do reboot, you will have to go through step 7 again, launch the app (thanks PuddingCupKat for the tip)

The SiOS emulator has been working excellently on the iPhone 6 Plus with iOS 8.0. With games loaded including Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario All Stars, and Street Fighter 2 Turbo, the action is smooth and the extra screen real-estate means your fingers will not cover up the screen. SiOS allows you to save states, restore states, use a full screen mode and even links with some external Bluetooth controllers.

Thanks again to @flawlessfox for pointing us in the right direction!

Update: iDB reader PuddingCupKat notes that this trick of Time and Date trick has been disabled in iOS 8.1 beta.

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  • John

    Here’s when the iPhone 6 Plus comes in handy.

    • Merman123

      And many other times :).

    • Mozaik

      Thats whats she said 😉 ( it never gets old )

      • Bob

        It’s pretty old now imo. Not that many people even say it anymore.

      • Kurt

        It’s no longer EPIC!?!?!?!?!

  • Cool, would do it except you can’t reboot the device and keep it. So I’ll pass, hopefully someone slips an emulator in the app store again soon. 🙂

    • HooDatty

      Why, do you reboot your device daily or something? There is usually no need to reboot it at all, unless jailbroken and installing tweaks…

      • Yes, I reboot everyone morning after I charge my device. Battery life is a lot better.

      • HooDatty

        That’s a figment of your imagination. Just close all your apps regularity and it’ll accomplish the same. Or, if your visibly seeing that your battery meter hangs on 100% longer it’s due to your device being out of calibration. A full discharge to 1% and recharge will correct that.

      • I let my phone drop and shut down completely, then plugin for a full over night charge. This is an every day occurrence.

      • HooDatty

        Well I’ll tell ya it’s not a “normal” occurrence. You may have an errant app or corrupted system maybe due to a restored backup.. Or, you have a faulty device. Either way that’s not normal, and if you can’t or don’t care to resolve it yourself I’d be taking it to apple and getting a replacement. No need to put up with that garbage.

      • Antzboogie

        I got it thanks anyway lol Do you know any rom sites?

      • Rowan09

        Coolrom is the best

      • Shane Bryson

        Actually it is recommended that you do exactly what he is referring to. I do it as well have noticeable improvement in my battery performance.

      • Delfos Sambucetti Arturaola

        does doing this on a 6 plus really help?

      • Gucciipad

        No he’s dreaming.

      • Delfos Sambucetti Arturaola

        Thanks I thought so

      • I’ve always done this with all my devices. I’ve never had a battery issue. I have a 6+ and my battery lasts all day. I’m doing a ton of my phone!

      • mike

        I would have the same routine on my iPhone 5 before I upgraded to the 6, and that routine specifically was what diminished the battery capacity from 99% to a mere 57% in a matter of months.
        I’ve since done more research on LiIon batteries, and it seems that they generally like to stay between 40-80%. It is recommended by Apple that you complete a full uninterrupted cycle once a month, no more, to maintain capacity over time.

        Batteries are very tricky these days, be careful.

      • Antzboogie

        Its not workong for me should I update to ios the latest ios? Im on ios 8

    • Steve

      If you reboot your device, you only have to set your date back and open the app, then it works, and you can change your date back. This works for me on iPhone 6 8.0.2 and iPhone 5s 7.1.1.

      • Oh that’s good to know, ok I might give it a whirl then. Thanks


    Pretty cool. Works flawlessly.

  • Shaban Zenelaj

    If you reboot phone, then just go and change date to (1 September 2014) (Without deleting the App) then go and open the app, leave it open (multitask) and Turn ON “Set Automatically” (Date and Time).

    I have one thing to ask: How to download games? Since my list is empty…

    • kurt

      Step 9: After SiOS is completely installed, find SNES ROMs from You can find ROM hosting sites with a simple Google search and we have left this part of the how-to out of the conversation for legal reasons.

      Step 10: Once the ROM is downloaded in mobile safari, simply “Open In” the SiOS emulator and enjoy!

      • Shaban Zenelaj

        Oops, I didn’t read that, Thank You anyway 🙂

      • Alan Smith

        What if the ROM comes as a zip file as the one I just downloaded? I try selecting “SiOS” but it flashes and disappears. Or does the date need to be off still? Sorry I’m such a noob lol

        EDIT: Nevermind! I set the date back and all went fine. Silly me! 😉

    • Steven Code

      Coolrom is an amazing sourse

      • Shaban Zenelaj

        Yes, that is where I downloaded roms

  • Jeremy

    Question is, does it work on the beta of iOS 8.1?

    • lemonhead

      nope apple patched the bug which allow users to do this…

      • Too bad Apple patched it. This bug (if you can call it that) was the only way to install apps that Apple disapproves of without a jailbreak…

        At least these emulators are Open Source so we can always pay Apple for a developer account and compile them for our own devices…

  • Manuel Molina

    Great article, but I think it’s been said why Nintendo will not release their games on iOS. People would refuse to buy their games on Nintendo devices, making the other companies (Apple) more money. Short-term it makes them money, but long-term its a lost.

    • TwinSon

      Sad, but true. But Nintendo just can’t keep up with PS4 and Xbox One and that sucks because I would love to continue playing Nintendo games on anything but Nintendo devices. I attribute most of their problems to the fact that their core group of buyers ( I consider myself one since my childhood was Super Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon) have grown up and either have stopped playing games altogether or upgraded to different consoles.

      • Manuel Molina

        Nintendo needs a new change in management. Iwata has been the factor to their failures. He doesn’t move with the times. He still thinks people want to come over to people’s houses and play games, and not use online co-op to play with family and friends. He’s living in a dead era mentally. They need to, sad to say, press their hardware with more graphics, but also use their IP’s more intensely. Metriod and Star Fox are long overdue.

      • Kurt

        You can buy the controllers cheap on ebay, and hook them up with a usb adapter to your computer and play it that way. With my computer hooked up to my tv I have a great experience playing these old games 🙂

    • Rowan09

      Sega thought the same thing and now they only make software.

      • Manuel Molina

        That’s because Sega’s management was stupid. They failed on the dream cast because sony’s ps2 won people over with their games and dvd drive capabilities. Sega’s idea to put out 3 systems in 5 years also was a failure. Nintendo’s losing money, but they have a long way to go before they only just make software.

      • Rowan09

        Nintendo does have stronger IPs, but they can’t think they’ll be fine even though they are not making money. The Wii U so far is a failure and they need to think of other ways to make money. They should release old titles on smartphones because I believe it would make them millions. They could even try an exclusive deal.

      • Manuel Molina

        Again, while that would make them millions, they would lose people in the long-run on selling handhelds (3DS) and their consoles.

        The Wii U isn’t as bad as the media hypes it up to be, but is it great? It needs more games and to use the control the system was marketed with.

      • Rowan09

        If they sell old games it will not take away from the DS sales, it may actually promote people purchasing a DS. The Wii U is a huge disappointment and that doesn’t mean they are not selling systems. They are marketing the Wii U as a Xbox One and PS4 replacement and that’s where they lost customers. They priced it too high and should have just followed in the Wii’s footsteps.

  • Yep, this is fantastic! I use GBA4iOS to play a lot of the GBA ports of the classic SNES games, too. These work wonderfully on iOS8. (I’m on an iPhone 5 if it helps.)

  • Chang in Charge

    Not working for me, can’t open roms from Safari, when I click open in SIOS nothing happens. And if I open SIOS from the homescreen it crashes. On an iPhone 6 8.0.2.

    • lemonhead

      you didn’t change the time…
      sometimes reading helps, but just sometimes indeed :p

      • Chang in Charge

        I did.

      • lemonhead

        man just do it again, because this only happens, when u a) did it wrong or b) Apple or better iOS managment system revoke the enterprise certificate, in which case you have to set the time back again…

      • Chang in Charge

        figured it out had to open the app first before setting the time back to automatic.

      • lemonhead

        yup this is how it was described on the help page hahaha

      • lemieuxfan67

        In Step 8 of this post it says…

        “Step 8: SiOS will now continue installation automatically. Once installed, you may set you date and time back to normal.”

        I did not read this as having to open the app first. Thank you for the clarification!

      • Charles Thompson

        how do you open the app first without it letting you install it? I keep clicking retry but it doesn’t install

  • Stefano ‘Graziani’ Polo

    I downloaded ‘Remote Files’ last year from the App Store when this site told me that it had a hidden SNES emulator. I paid for it (i think it was a dollar or two) just before Apple pulled it from the app store. I remember people commenting that it would be stupid to have that since jailbreaking will have free SNES emulators. Well this is the reason why I grabbed it. I’ve had this emulator on my phone ever since and will always have it no matter what version of iOS I upgrade to.

  • Delfos Sambucetti Arturaola

    i have it installed but it keeps crashing

    • Rowan09

      Make sure you open the app at least once before changing the time back to automatic, I redownload the file and I was good.

  • vadovado

    does it works for iOS 7.1.2?

    • Shaban Zenelaj

      Yes 🙂

  • Dajanksta

    Anyone know how to get the GBAIOS 2.0 to download? Can’t seem to figure out why It won’t download.

    • TwinSon

      If you figure it out, do yourself a favor and grab Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age. I’m more of a shooting-fighting game type of gamer but this is hands down one of the best RPG games I’ve ever played.

  • ShawnTXDFW

    Is there a reason why it keeps crashing when I open it? I’m on 8.0.2

    • WonkieInc

      Keep it in multitasking, set the date back, open the app.

      Then you can turn on automatic date and time again.

      • ShawnTXDFW

        Got it. Thanks. Just reinstalled and has no issues. 😉

    • Rowan09

      Make sure you open the app at least once before putting back your time to automatic. The same thing happened to me at first.

      • ShawnTXDFW

        Yeah. Thanks. For some reason when I reinstalled it it worked fine. Not sure exactly what I did wrong. I do appreciate any help/feedback. Thank you.

      • Rowan09

        No problem

    • Guest

      Because you have at least one time to open App before changing back time 🙂

  • mike

    Depressing to see the bug is being patched in 8.1, but also shows a glimmer of hope that Apple is actually squashing bugs. I can see both sides.

  • Hyr3m

    Christian, I can’t see why Nintendo should share 30% of their profits with Apple while their “platform-monopoly” allows them to keep selling hardware and software and make even more profit. Also, opening up to iOS would expose their games to even more piracy.

    • Rowan09

      People can already get their games as shown above and being exclusive doesn’t always work best. Apple use to make iTunes only for Macs until they saw the opportunity to make money on Windows as well. Nintendo in my opinion should release games like Pokemon and Mario (old versions) to the AppStore and Playstore which will revive the franchise and even promote people purchasing their new system.

      • Hyr3m

        The only “real” use for iTunes was to load up music on low-fi proprietary non-USM mp3 players, players that were sold to users of all kinds of computers… Hence the need for a multiplatform iTunes.

        As far as I know, Nintendo games playable on this platform are not public domain yet. Unless you actually own a copy of the game, you’re committing piracy… hence why I said “opening up to iOS would expose their games to EVEN MORE piracy.”.

        The problem for Nintendo is that they don’t want to give 30% of their game sales (on the Play Store and App Store) to huge corporations that are growing as competitors in mobile gaming. Also, I understand what you’re saying about “old versions” but they don’t want to be SEGA just yet..

  • WDF

    When I open the download in the app I get nothing but Games setting and a blank list…

    • WildWolf

      Read the comments…or the instructions

      • WDF

        I did it was actually the website I was using to download the games… All working now on 8.0.2 iphone6

  • WildWolf

    Anybody else have the app all of a sudden stop working after midnight passed? I didn’t reboot. Reverting the date made it work again, but still…
    -Iphone 6

  • momerathe

    Download and install a random file off Dropbox? I’m not keen. I’m not saying it’s malware but..

  • Messiah

    I’ve rebooted my phone many times and everything still there without having to re-install any of them.. (iPhone 6 Plus on 8.0.2)

  • Yahya Alshakhs

    can it be used with wireless joystick ?

  • Etson Bazile

    What’s the best rom hosting site, please? Thanks

  • Etson Bazile

    My downloaded Rom is not opening in NIOS

  • Hyr3m

    *How to PIRACY!*

  • Devin

    The date and time trick isn’t working for my iphone 4s. I keep getting the “unable to download app” message. I have the latest ios update. Should I just wait until my new 6 Plus arrives?

  • Channing Hindel

    Looks like I missed the boat. IOS8.1 doesn’t allow this. It even says it on the website. Any suggestions?

  • wazzup

    do u have to pay for them

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