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Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator for iOS, tvOS
Branch: master
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Latest commit 3a627fa Jun 7, 2019


Original Author: David Valdeita (Seleuco)

This is a port of MAME 0.139u1 for iOS and tvOS.

MAME stands for Multi Arcade Machine Emulator, and lets you play arcade games from the past 30+ years on a device that fits in your pocket! My teenage self from decades ago would be replaying that "mind blown GIF" over and over again, but that GIF did not exist back then.

More than 2000 games are supported, and the currently supported rom set version is MAME 0.139 (August 2010).

It has been updated to compile and runs on Xcode 10/iOS 9+ by Les Bird (, and he has graciously added support for MFI Controllers.

This repo adds support for:

  • 64-bit binary to run on modern and future iOS devices
  • Supports modern device screen sizes, including iPhone X/XR/XS/XS Max and iPad Pro (new in 2018!)
  • tvOS (new in 2019!)
  • An in-app web server to transfer files from your computer (new in 2019!)
  • Multiple MFI controllers (up to 4 with dual analog support - @DarrenBranford)
  • Supports using the touch screen as a lightgun (new in 2018!)
  • Turbo mode toggle for buttons (new in 2018!)
  • Touch analog for games like Arkanoid (new in 2018!)
  • Builds in Xcode 10, runs on latest iOS 12 version

Installation / Sideloading


Requirements: Mac 10.13.6 with Xcode 10 or above

Building MAME4iOS requires a prebuilt MAME binary (It was not included in this repo due to its large size):

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the Xcode commandline tools installed:
    xcode-select --install
  2. In Terminal: cd [path to MAME4iOS root]
    (alternatively, you can drag & drop a folder on Terminal after cd if don't know how to get the directory path)
  3. Get MAME binary (build yourself or download):
    • Build (choose one of the following depending on your device):
      • iOS 64-bit: ./
        For iPhone 5S, iPad Air, iPad mini, and up…
      • tvOS: ./
        AppleTV (4/4k and above)
      • iOS 32-bit: make iOSARMV7=1
        For older iOS devices. No longer actively supported.
    • Download links:
  4. Choose the appropriate build target in Xcode:
    • MAME4iOS 64-bit Release (iPhone/iPad)
    • MAME tvOS Release (AppleTV)
    • MAME4iOS 32-bit (iPhone/iPad)

Even if you are not in the paid Apple Developer Program, you can sideload the app using a Mac with Xcode.

  1. Open the Xcode project in xcode/MAME4iOS/MAME4iOS.xcodeproj
    Make sure you have the libmamearm64.a (or libmamearm64-tvos.a) file in the root of your project.
  2. Build:
    1. If you are a developer: Build and ▶︎ Run on your device. Done.
    2. If you are not a developer…
      1. FilePreferences add your Apple ID, select your Personal Team, and create an iOS Development Profile.
      2. Select the project name on the left pane and make sure your personal team is selected
      3. Hit the ▶︎ Run button to install on your device. Done.


MAME for tvOS support was just added in early 2019, and it currently can run games, but UI support and controller support is still in-progress. Most notably:

  • MFI controller is currently required
  • No Siri-remote-as-game-controller support yet

Using MAME

When you start MAME, you are presented with the default MAME UI, which is pretty utilitarian and is far from following the Apple Human User Interface Guidelines. But you're not here to nominate Design Awards, you're here to relive some memories!

MAME UI Controls

  • Onscreen D-Pad or MFI Controller D-Pad: Move through the menu
  • A Button: Start Game
  • X Button: Open Game Sub-menu: Add to Favorites or Remove Game
  • Y Button: Open the Settings menu (Apple TV only)


  • Coin + Start together: Open MAME in-game menu for input remapping
  • Option: Open the Settings menu
  • Exit: Exit the game

Adding ROMs to MAME


For iOS users, you can download ROMs using Safari and save them to the roms directory by choosing the "Save to Files" (go to "On My iPhone" -> MAME4iOS) option after downloading a ROM. You can also use a third party program like iExplorer or iFunBox to transfer ROMs to the MAME4iOS app directory.

You can also use the "Upload Files" option in the menu (from the options button or pressing Y + Menu in-game) to start the webserver, and enter the address shown on the web browser on your computer.


You can upload ROMs to MAME on your AppleTV using a computer. After MAME starts, you'll be shown a welcome screen with the address of the AppleTV that you can enter in your web browser. Add MAME ROMs to the roms directory using the provided web uploader.

MFI Controller Support

Pair your MFI controller with your iOS device, and it should 'just work'. Up to 4 MFI controllers are supported.

Hotkey combinations (while in-game)

The following hotkey combinations are supported:

  • Start game (MENU)
  • Insert coin (Hold L and press MENU)
  • Open MAME menu for input remapping, cheats, etc. (Hold R and press MENU)
  • Open app menu for settings, save states (Hold Y and press MENU)
  • Exit game (Hold X and press MENU)

Dual analog support

The right stick on the extended controller profile is fully supported, with support for 4 players (thank you @DarrenBranford!)

Trigger buttons

The trigger buttons are mapped to analog controls and should be useful in assigning for pedal controls, for example.

Touch Screen Lightgun Support (new in 2018)

You can now use the touch screen for lightgun games like Operation Wolf and Lethal Enforcers. Holding down your finger simulates holding down the trigger, which is mapped to the "X" button. Tap with 2 fingers for the secondary fire, or the "B" button.

In full screen landscape mode, you can hide the onscreen controls using the "D-Pad" button at the top of the screen. When using a game controller, the top button of the screen opens the menu to load/save state or access settings.

Touch Lightgun setup is in Settings -> Input -> Touch Lightgun, where you can disable it altogether, or use tapping the bottom of the screen to simulate shooting offscreen (for game that make you reload like Lethal Enforcers).

Shortcuts while in Touch Screen Lightgun mode

  • Touch with 2 fingers: secondary fire ("B" button)
  • Touch with 3 fingers: press start button
  • Touch with 4 fingers: insert coin

Turbo Mode Toggle for Buttons (new in 2018)

Under Settings -> Game Input, there's a section called "Turbo Mode Toggle", that lets you turn on turbo firing for individual buttons. Holding down the button causes the button to fire in turbo mode.

Touch Analog Mode (new in 2019)

Also in Settings -> Game Input, you'll find a section called "Touch Analog" and "Touch Directional Input". "Touch Analog" lets you use your touchscreen as an analog device for games using input controls such as trackballs and knobs. These include games like Arkanoid or Crystal Castles. You can adjust the sensitivity of the analog controls, and also choose to hide the d-pad/analog stick in this mode.

"Touch Directional Input" is rather experimental and is for vertical shooters so you can move around using your finger. It still needs some work so just a word of caution :)

Planned Future Improvements

  • tvOS: Siri Remote Support
  • iOS : Ability to upload ROMS via internal webserver
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