How to install emulators on your iPhone or iPad, no jailbreak required

By , Feb 20, 2016

wechat emulator banner

Emulators are a way to play your favorite childhood games on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad without carrying the game disks or cartridges and game consoles around with you. Instead, they sideload the games on your device as a piece of software, and they’re given controls that are adapted for the touch screen.

In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you a method that still works to this day for getting emulators on your iOS device, and the best part is, you don’t even have to be jailbroken to do any of it.

One caveat to emulators

One thing you need to know right off the bat about emulators is that you should never download a game that you don’t personally own. This is because the games you can get via emulators have something called a ROM, which is a piece of software that is intellectual property and belongs to the game manufacturer.

If you own the game, you’re probably fairly in your bounds to transfer that ROM over to your iPhone and play it, but for all intents and purposes, we won’t be showing you the exact process to download ROMs on your iOS device because some people may mistreat this responsibility.

One the other hand, we’ll gladly show you how to get the Emulator software installed on your iPhone, because there’s nothing wrong with emulator software!

How to install DS, Gameboy, PlayStation, and other games in iOS

To get the emulator software on your iOS device, there are a fair amount of steps you’ll need to follow; they’re not difficult, but there are a lot of things you’ll need to do. Nevertheless, we’ll outline them for you below.

1) Download and install the free WeChat app from the App Store.

download wechat from app store

2) Launch the app and sign up using your mobile phone number, then confirm the phone number with the code you’re given.

3) Once all set up, tap on the search field at the top of the app, and search for “Xiaojigame” without the quotes.

wechat emulator search

4) Tap on the user indicated in the screenshots above. The user’s name should be in Chinese. Follow this user.

5) From the page that opens up, tap on the “iOS” button at the bottom.

wechat open emulator link in safari

6) In the conversation that appears next, tap on the blue link shown in the screenshots above. It’ll be in Chinese.

7) Once you see a dark screen, tap on the ellipsis “…” button to open a Share Sheet, and from there you’ll tap on the “Open in Safari” button.

8) Your Safari app will launch and load a webpage. From this webpage, you’ll tap on the “Step 1: Download for iOS” button.

wechat emulator download and install from safari

9) When prompted, tap on the “Install” button to begin installing the emulator.

10) The emulator app will now download and install itself onto your Home screen.

wechat emulator install on home screen

11) The emulator app is called “Happy Chick” on the Home screen.

12) You will now need to trust the software, because it’s a type of Enterprise software. To do this, launch the Settings app and navigate to General > Device Management > Shenzhen Misi Interactive Entertainment.

wechat emulator device management settings

13) Now tap on the blue “Trust Shenzhen Misi Interactive Entertainment” button, then tap on the red “Trust” button when prompted. A red “Delete App” button should appear if you did this correctly, but don’t tap on that button.

wechat emulator trust

14) Now go back to the Home screen and launch the “Happy Chick” app. You can deny the app Camera and Location Services access for your own privacy. The app will ask you for an activation code.

wechat emulator activation code

15) Return to your Safari app where you have the webpage you were just using, and copy the activation code you were given.

16) Now return to the Happy Chicks app and paste that verification code into the text field and tap on the Activate button just to the right of the text field.

17) You should now be able to start searching the app. You can search for titles you own, or you can browse by category.

wechat emulator app search

Use responsibly.

A few words of caution

Installing enterprise certificates is one way that an iOS device can be infected with malware or taken over by hackers. It’s because you’re trusting a side-loaded app that is installed on your device without the approval of Apple or the App Store, and there’s no telling what kinds of programmatic code may be lurking in the app.

Although we think this emulator is safe for use, we can’t make any guarantees, so you will have to do this at your own risk if you have the desire to play emulated games on your iOS devices.

Things to know about the emulator

Since the app requires use of WeChat, which in itself requires use of a phone number, you will have to set up a WeChat account for each device, which means you’ll need more than one mobile phone number. For this reason, I suggest you choose carefully on what device you’re planning to use your emulator app on.

The activation code that we used in our screenshots could only be used once, and the case will be the same for you when you follow these steps, so don’t bother trying to share your code or try using it on multiple devices, because it won’t work.

Emulator games will run smoothly on just about all of Apple’s latest 64-bit devices with a steady 50-60 frames per second. Obviously, this depends on the game and the device, but Apple’s iPhone 6s or iPad Pro will run games with butter-smooth fluidity with no questions asked. With that being said, the only thing you really have to worry about is whether or not controls have been ported nicely to the touch screen or not.

Best of all, because it doesn’t require a jailbreak to use, you can install it on any of your iOS 9 devices, whether it’s a jailbreakable firmware or not. This includes iOS 9.3 beta. If you change your mind on using it, you can delete the emulator app at any time to remove it and its games from your device.

The emulator will support games that have been made for the following game console platforms:

  • PSP
  • PlayStation 1
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo DS
  • Gameboy Advance
  • Gameboy Color
  • Many others

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an emulator app that’s easy to install and doesn’t require a jailbreak to use, then the Xaiojigame WeChat method is a great way to look. As always, we don’t condone piracy, so we suggest you don’t use any games with the emulator software that don’t belong to you.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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  • Hi

    WOW, very cool

  • Starting with step 1 now on my iPhone 5s.

  • David J Delgado

    Just an FYI, in the post itself you spelled it Xaiojigame which leads to nothing. I had to look on the screenshot and realize it’s actually Xiaojigame and got a successful match.

    • Thanks.

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    • Anthony Bouchard

      Sorry about that. Fixed!

  • Works on iPhone 5s. Now putting it too my ipad mini 2. Thanks!

  • jojo yo

    Works fine on my ipad air 2 – quite smooth! Need to get a BT gamepad though – touch controls are not the best, especially for action games.

    • ShawnTXDFW

      I have pondered this for years on the iPhone and iPad. I can’t seem to figure out which BT gamepads are best. Does anyone have any ideas?

      • Vince Reedy

        The steelseries nimbus is the best IMO, especially if you are a console gamer. Native support in iOS and OS X. Not sure how it will work with this app though.

      • jojo yo

        Thanks I will look into those. Fwiw the app has a joystick button that brings you to a place to buy joysticks (sponsor) so I assume the app does support joysticks in some fashion.

  • Alexander

    I think you mean “all intents and purposes”

    • Vince Reedy

      This

  • Eric

    Is there a way to save game progress to a service like Dropbox?

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Not that I see.

  • If you have a Mac it’s easier just to build the emulator in Xcode and deploy it to your device.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Most people will not know how this is done as it requires knowledge of how to use development tools.

  • Noohar

    Is than an iDB App in the screenshots?

  • jamesdbailey

    You really should be more explicit on the security implications of doing this. You are basically giving this Chinese company full access to your iPhone or iPad. Theoretically the app is sandboxed but that assumes that there are no expoitable security holes–something anyone who follows jailbreaks knows is unlikely. Even if it is currently safe, who is to say that it stays that way.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      The entire “a few words of caution” section in the post is dedicated to this purpose.

      • jamesdbailey

        Too few words in my opinion. You should especially note that even it if it safe today, tomorrow could change that. It’s one thing if you put this on a iPad or iPod touch dedicated to gaming but putting it on your main phone is very foolish in my opinion.

      • ShawnTXDFW

        I agree. If someone chooses to go about this method then that is entirely up to them. Sure there are risks when doing such things but there is no reading between the lines. You can do the same for vshare and Moviebox and ‘Trust’ them so the app works. I have all on my phone and am happily satisfied. This will do till the next JB is released.

    • Paul

      Just gonna say this…looks safe and i’m really tempted to try it. But the only thing that’s holding me back is a remembering an incident in GTA V and one of the mods released. Mod was called angry planes and was filled with malware. Infected a lot of ppl.

  • Patrick Saucier

    can we use the apple tv to stream it directly on your tv and play with the nimbus controller ?

    • Paul

      Don’t see why not

  • Benedict

    Hey I thought iOS is save against sideloading apps and therefore malware!? This is crazy. I would never download and install anything from the browser from unknown sources on my android phone. That’s exactly what you need to do to get infected by malware.

    • osm70

      iOS apps can be signed as Enterprise. It is used in big companies to distribute their app privately. It can also be used to do this. Enterprise signed app can be installed on any device.

  • 豊先新弌

    This isn’t meant to be anything critical, just a critique. The “Japanese” texts you see on this is actually Chinese. Just because you are not able to read something in your language, it’s not safe to assume it is a certain language. Other than that, the tutorial is great.

  • hkgsulphate

    Chinese no thanks

  • Benedict

    Why can’t you type in the URL directly in Safari?

  • Phil Lipp

    Is there a way to change the language? On my phone, it is in Chinese… 🙁

  • Davi Romeo

    this emulators have support to icade? because de iOS don’t support any icade anymore. only iOS 9.1 below

  • Dexter SherloConan

    (I’m a Chinese.) When I saw the “Wechat” screenshot, the first thought stroke me is that the Company (Tencent) paid for promotion. The emulator is in bad UI and save & load mode doesn’t work well. Moreover, drain is terrible (see the picture as below).

  • Is there a way to sideload this instead?

  • iPhoneWINS

    those games are not playable with touch screen

  • kamran ahmad

    help me ! i format my device
    and now reinstall problem . this is open and again close.

  • Paul Edmund

    Which device would be better to play SNES games? iPad Mini 2 or iPhone 6S Plus? I asking for screen size and button placement reasons. Thanks.

  • Hoi-Ching Chan

    How come when I press download for iOS nothing pops up?

  • Paul

    Don’t work for shit!! 🙁

  • Dakota Lawrence

    This does not have the iOS option shown on your screen everything is telling that I have to download with jailbreak. Can you please help me with this?

  • blaKe+

    Stopped reading after Step 1. Homie don’t play that.

  • Mohammed Abbas

    is it different now?

  • Gaz Jones

    Or just start at step 8 and input it from the screen shot

  • Denus

    So they are collecting phone numbers and perhaps other info during the installation I guess?
    I wouldn’t trust this a bit to be honest.

  • Denus

    Btw: I have an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPad Pro 12″ Wifi only.
    Can I install this on the iPad using the phone, or does this method need a device with cellular?