Nintendo strikes GBA4iOS with DMCA takedown notice


In what is rather disappointing news for fans of iOS emulators, Nintendo of America has issued popular Gameboy Advance emulator GBA4iOS with a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice.

As a result, the official GitHub website for the emulator has been taken offline until further notice, and in-app downloads of ROMs have been temporarily suspended. GBA4iOS creator Riley Testut confirmed the news on Twitter last night… 

GBA4iOS is one of the most popular Gameboy Advance emulators for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, used by millions of users to play classic Nintendo games such as Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda on iOS devices. Perhaps the best feature of the emulator is that it did not require a jailbreak, instead installed through Safari based on a system time and date loophole.

GBA4iOS 2.0 was released back in February with iOS 7 support and Dropbox integration for both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices. Testut has been working diligently on the emulator ever since, releasing several updates to improve gameplay performance and add features like multiplayer mode. GBA4iOS 2.1 was in the pipeline just a few days before the DMCA notice was issued.


Despite the setback, the 18-year-old senior at Richardson High School in Dallas, Texas is refusing to give up on the emulator. “I do think it has a future,” Testut told iDownloadBlog. “I’ll have to modify the app to comply with Nintendo’s DMCA notice, such as removing the game downloading.”

The good news is that, in light of the takedown notice, existing users of GBA4iOS can continue playing games that they have already installed. The only limitation is that users will no longer be able to download additional ROMs from the built-in web browser, but those with a Dropbox account can still store game saves and load ROMs using the cloud storage service.

Those looking to get their Pokémon fix on iPhone and iPad can still use the Nintendo DS emulator NDS4iOS, which doesn’t seem to affected by the DMCA notice, or even play Nintendo games through Mobile Safari. Both NDS4iOS and WebNES work on jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices. Otherwise, we can hope that Nintendo eventually changes its anti-App Store stance.

Update: NDS4iOS developer Karen Tsai has advised against redistributing GBA4iOS until Testut and herself work on this matter: