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The best PS2 emulators for Mac

There's probably just one app you should use.
March 23, 2023
PS2 slim edited
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Sony’s PlayStation 2 may be a defunct console, but many of its games still hold up — if you can find a way to play them. The Mac is one of the better platforms available, thanks to graphical enhancements and easy download access.

The best PS2 emulators for Mac

Let’s be blunt here: there are only two emulators we can realistically recommend. Macs just aren’t as popular as Windows PCs when it comes to gaming, not the least because PCs have access to more powerful graphics tech. On top of that, Apple is almost finished transitioning from Intel CPUs to Apple Silicon, and apps designed for the former won’t run as fast on the latter.

We’ll leave it to you to do research on installing both emulators and games. It’s shaky legal ground, at best.


SSX Tricky on PS2

Well-known in the PC emulation scene, PCSX2 is also on the Mac, and offers features like save states, virtual memory cards, and custom resolutions including upscaling. Some 2,667 PS2 games are said to work with it. Just be sure to check the project’s compatibility list before loading anything — only titles marked “perfect” or “playable” are worth trying.

One downside is that as of this writing, the only native Mac release is a “nightly” build, not a stable one. You may run into bugs, so you’ll have to be patient.


Metal Gear Solid 2

Development of AetherSX2 has stopped indefinitely, but you can still download it, and the Mac version was built from the ground up for Apple Silicon. In fact it won’t work at all on an Intel-based Mac, so bear that in mind.

Once the app is up and running, all you need to do is add BIOS files to the default library folder or a custom one, then use the app’s settings menu to scan. Some features of the app include save states, a frame limiter, and the ability to toggle software rendering.