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The PPSSPP emulator is now finally available on the Apple App Store

You can play a few homebrew games, but you'd need to source your own PSP games to enjoy this emulator in the best way.
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Published onMay 15, 2024

ASUS ROG Phone 3 with Xbox Controller PPSSPP Sony PSP
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • PPSSPP, the popular PSP emulator, is now available to download from the Apple App Store.
  • Apple recently updated its App Store guidelines to allow emulators, which paved the way for this emulator to finally arrive for iPhones and iPads in an easy-to-install manner.
  • Only a few homebrew games come with the emulator, so you must source your own PSP games.

For those who want to play retro PlayStation games, the PPSSPP emulator is one of the top Android emulator choices. Ever since Apple relaxed its App Store guidelines to allow emulators, we’ve been holding our breath on finally being able to play retro PlayStation games on our iPhones and iPads. That day is finally upon us, as PPSSPP has finally been released on the Apple App Store.

PPSSPP creator Henrik Rydgård has announced on the official PPSSPP website that the emulator has been approved for the App Store. The first release of PPSSPP for iOS has some limitations compared to earlier unofficial builds:

  • Vulkan support through MoltenVK is not yet enabled
  • Magic Keyboard (iPad Keyboard) is not supported
  • The JIT recompiler is not supported
  • RetroAchievements is temporarily disabled

The developer mentions that MoltenVK will be re-enabled in the future. Magic Keyboard will be supported through another method (since the older method relied on an undocumented API that wouldn’t fly for the App Store). Even RetroAchievements will be back with a better login UI.

Unfortunately, the JIT recompiler will not be coming back as it clashes with Apple’s rules. Consequently, CPU emulation performance is reduced, but the silver lining is that iOS devices are generally fast enough to run nearly all PSP games at full speed. The PSP CPU is not that resource-intensive to emulate, and the IR-based caching interpreter currently in use also has further room for improvement.

You can download PPSSPP on any iPhone running iOS 12.0 or later straight from the App Store now. The app is also compatible with the iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Vision Pro.

The emulator comes with a homebrew store that features a few free indie games, but you’ll have to source your favorite PSP games through other means. The developer has instructions on dumping physical games into ISO and CSO files, while PSP games downloaded from PSN onto a PSP can also be copied off that device. Long story short, you will need to load ISO files into the PPSSPP app to play the game.

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