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The best PS2 emulators for iOS

App Store rules make emulation options pretty scarce.
August 10, 2023
PS2 controller
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The PlayStation 2 is arguably one of the greatest consoles of all time, with a library of classic games that’s hard to match. Sony finally discontinued the system in 2013, however, which means that emulators can be one of the only reliable ways to play some PS2 games in 2023. There are plenty of great PS2 emulators on Android, but iPhones don’t have it so good. With that in mind, here are the best PS2 emulators for iOS.

The best PS2 emulators for iOS

Before we get started in earnest, it’s important to recognize that iOS emulators often require a hacked (or jailbroken) device. Apple tends to block emulators in the App Store, for the obvious reason that a lot of people use them to play things they don’t own. If you’re not comfortable hacking your iPhone or iPad to sideload apps and games, you may want to consider other platforms. There are web-based versions of some emulators, but these won’t run in iOS browsers.

We’ll leave it up to you to research instructions — we don’t want to get in trouble either.


Marvel vs Capcom 2

One of the better-known PS2 emulators, Play! supports a range of file formats, such as CHD, CUE, ELF, MDS, ISO, and ISZ. You’ll have to sideload, but once you do, the app can scan folders for new game files and categorize them into Recent, Homebrew, and Unsorted lists. Visit the Settings menu before getting started to ensure the best performance.

Also, be sure to check the app’s compatibility list before loading games. As of this writing about 950 titles are marked “playable,” such as Disgaea and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. If something’s not listed as playable, it’s going to break mid-game if it loads at all.


Ape Escape 3

RetroArch has a few notable qualities, the foremost being that there’s a way to install it without jailbreaking, as long as you have Cydia Impactor and an Apple developer account. Otherwise, you’ll still need a hacked device. There are both text and video instructions for getting it running.

Indeed RetroArch is probably the slickest PS2 emulator available, both in terms of interface and features. There’s even multiplayer support through a component called Netplay. It may, of course, be hard to find other people to play with, but there is a lobby browser, and you could potentially organize sessions with friends.