Apple blocks UTM’s PC emulator from iOS App Store and third-party app stores

Apple’s walled garden just got a little higher. This week, the developer of UTM, a popular open-source PC emulator for iOS, reported their app being rejected from the App Store.

This comes as a surprise to many, following Apple’s recent relaxation of policies to allow retro game console emulators.

App Store

UTM Blocked: A PC emulator doesn’t fit the mold

The UTM app allows users to emulate various PC architectures, essentially turning their iOS devices into virtual PCs. This opens the door to running a wide range of PC software, from productivity tools to older games.

However, Apple’s App Review team apparently has a different view. Their reasoning for rejection seems to be that UTM doesn’t fall under the recently approved category of emulators, which currently focuses on retro consoles like Nintendo and Sega.


Third-party roadblock adds to the confusion

The situation gets murkier with reports that Apple is also blocking UTM from being distributed through third-party app stores, specifically targeting the EU market. This raises concerns about Apple’s control extending beyond its own App Store and potentially stifling user choice.

Implications of the policy

Developer Frustration

Developers who create emulators face significant hurdles in reaching iOS users. This restriction limits their audience and can be a source of frustration, especially for those who are passionate about preserving and providing access to older software.

Alternative Distribution Methods

With emulators blocked from the App Store, users and developers often turn to alternative methods for distribution and installation, such as sideloading or using third-party app stores. However, these methods are less secure and can expose users to risks that Apple’s App Store policies aim to mitigate.


The desire to run emulators is one of the reasons some users choose to jailbreak their iOS devices. Jailbreaking removes Apple’s restrictions, allowing the installation of unapproved apps, including emulators. However, this practice voids warranties, can cause stability issues, and significantly increases security risks.


Apple’s decision to block PC emulators from the iOS App Store and third-party app stores is a reflection of its commitment to security, intellectual property rights, and a consistent user experience.

While this policy may frustrate some users and developers, it underscores Apple’s broader goals of maintaining a secure and controlled ecosystem.

(Via 9to5Mac)

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