DolphiniOS Hits a Snag: Emulator Blocked by Apple’s Tech Restrictions

While retro game emulators are finally welcome on the App Store, a popular option, DolphiniOS, is getting blocked at the gate.

The reason? Apple’s restrictions on a key performance booster.

On Friday, the developer behind DolphiniOS (a Nintendo Wii and GameCube emulator) explained the situation.

Apple doesn’t allow the use of Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation, a technology crucial for smooth emulation.

What’s JIT and Why Does it Matter?

Imagine needing someone to translate a language in real-time for smooth conversation. JIT acts as that translator for DolphiniOS.

It converts GameCube and Wii’s PowerPC code into a format iPhones understand, ensuring a lag-free gaming experience.

Apple Says No to JIT

Unfortunately, Apple restricts third-party apps from using JIT compilers. The developer highlights, “The only exceptions are Safari and some European web browsers.”

Their attempt to convince Apple through a “Digital Markets Act interoperability request” for JIT support was denied.

A Slower Alternative Isn’t Ideal

The developer explores an alternative: using an interpreter instead of JIT. However, they warn, “it’s many times slower.”

Videos showcase the stark difference – a choppy Mario Kart Wii on iPhone 15 without JIT.

Waiting for Answers

We’ve contacted Apple for clarification on their JIT rules but haven’t received a response yet.

Emulators on the Rise (for Now?)

With Apple’s relaxed policy, Delta, another emulator, recently soared to the App Store’s top. More emulators are likely on the horizon, but their fate hinges on Apple’s future moves.

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