Apple decrees PC’s aren’t a console in banning emulator from App Store — here’s what we know

App Store
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple recently rejected the PC emulator UTM SE, citing that PCs are distinct from consoles when it comes to gaming. But that has led to a bit of internet discussion over what hardware actually counts when it comes to game emulation.

UTM recently posted a statement on its X account, reading “After almost two-month long review princess, Apple has rejected UTM SE from the iOS App Store as we all as from notarization for third party app stores.” 

The statement adds: “Their reasoning is that rule 4.7 which Apple recently introduced that allows for Delta, PPSSPP, and other emulators to be allowed does NOT apply to UTM SE.”

This is due to the Apple Store Review Board determining that a PC is not a console, “regardless of the fact that there are retro Windows/DOS games for the PC that UTM SE can be useful in running." Additionally, Apple’s stance is that UTM SE is not allowed on third-party marketplaces either because rule 4.7 also applies to Notarization Review guidelines.

iPhone 15 Pro Max gameplay

(Image credit: Future)

Apple only recently changed its rules to allow emulators on to the iOS App Store, something Android has allowed for a while. The first app was Delta, an emulator that allowed users to play some of their favorite retro Gameboy games.

In this instance, we don't have all the information; Apple's decision to block UTM might be down to more than just their terms and conditions. After all, UTM is software that essentially allows users to run Windows and Android on an iPhone. In the past, the team behind the app has claimed it would focus on jailbroken iPhones and has even recommended users not to update their devices. With this in mind, it's hardly surprising that Apple rejected it.

Ultimately, it's Apple’s choice what's allowed onto the App Store — despite what the EU may desire. Retro gamers often turn to emulators to enjoy older games but it's a legal gray area. Emulation should only be used on titles a player already legally owns. If you don't want to dabble in emulation, then many retro games are seeing releases on both Steam and Xbox Game Pass. Equip yourself with one of the best gaming PCs and you'll be set to enjoy these classics.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.