Apple cracks down on service that abused Enterprise Distribution program to let users install GBA emulator

Game_Boy_AdvanceA few days back, we told you about a method that would let you install GBA4iOS, a GBA emulator, on your iPhone without jailbreaking. The method used Apple’s enterprise distribution program, and relied on an enterprise certificate issued to a company called MacBuildServer.

Unsurprisingly, Apple has now revoked that certificate for violating the terms of Apple’s enterprise iOS development program, which is actually meant for in-house app distribution.

From MacBuildServer’s blog:

Yesterday someone from Apple called to Serge, our founder and noticed that the enterprise certificate registered on our company was being used to violate Apple’s agreements.

We were waiting for the moment for too long, and it came. It’s a pity, that since now our service can be used by participants of Apple Developers Program only.

MacBuildServer is a “continuous integration” service for iOS developers that allows them to automate building of iOS apps (.ipa files) from the source code contained in a repository. These apps need to be signed so that they can be installed from a channel other than the App Store. The company earlier let anyone build an ipa file from a git repository using MacBuildServer’s own enterprise certificates, but now this won’t work. Developers would now need to provide their own enterprise certificate to sign apps.

It isn’t clear if those who have already installed GBA4iOS would be able to continue using the app given that the signing certificate has been revoked. According to a StackOverflow post, iOS caches the authenticity of a certificate for a period between 3-7 days, so it’s likely that even if GBA4iOS works right now, it might stop working in the future. Attempts of performing a fresh install of the app failed with an error that said “GBA4iOS” can’t be installed at this time.

Be sure to tell us in the comments below if GBA4iOS continues to work on your iPhone.

Update 1: Borsalino notes that an existing install of GBA4iOS stopped working on the iPod touch.

Update 2: One possible workaround to get an existing install working again is to cut off internet connectivity on your phone by activating Airplane mode, as suggested by Mike in the comments below.

  • Borsalino Kizaru

    gba4ios stopped working on my ipod touch, 4g, version 6.1.3. Attempted multiple start ups just to see black screen and home page. deleted it and now can’t reinstall. Not surprised apples panties became bunched and they killed the app.

    • Pdub

      JUST GOT BETA 6 today and it works from icloud back up doing a full restore on my phone and the roms were saved, had to reinstall from the website though but my roms all still there.:)

  • Vwjap

    Still works on my ipadin England ATM

  • Zhen

    GBA4ios is still working on iPhone 5 iOS 7, Beta 3

    • Jimothy

      It progressively stopes for me. It worked until about 5 minutes ago for me.

    • thiagoricieri

      I have the same version and it has stopped right now

  • Tom

    Apple’s panties being bunched..? By someone flagrantly breaking the license agreements they signed up to? Of course they killed the app, as would any other company…

    • NekoTipcat

      Google have tons of emulators on their app store

  • Random

    Its still working for me

  • Z Obreshkov

    Don’t work on 6.1.4 i5

  • Scout

    Can GBA4ios get their license back/reinstated?

    • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

      They can get a new signing certificate from somewhere, but Apple will likely revoke that too.

  • Luzardo Neto

    Doesn’t work anymore on ios 7 beta 3

  • Screw Apple

    This is lame . Apple doesn’t let us have anything nice , I want to buy a different tablet that allows emulators :/ .

  • Anya

    Stopped since yesterday night….. I tried but it didn’t work..

  • Roddisq

    That´s why I traded my iphone for an galaxy few years ago and never looked back…Apple is always kind to its customers…

    • PasserBy

      What makes you lurk about in an iPhone forums 2 years changing?

      • Roddisq

        Just for fun.

    • RandomGamer342

      You mean just like Google banned most popular emulators from the play store a while ago? After the play store began selling decently enough to not need the super popular emulators?

      • Roddisq

        Go to play store and type “emulators” in the search field.

        • RandomGamer342

          Why don’t you try “PSX4Droid”?

          • Roddisq

            One app removed and you are complaining about? I just get it from another source and install it without any trouble. Wait…What about other 40+ emulators you can get from play store? Can you do that on a iphone? I guess not. Apple doesn´t even let you create a damn shortcut on springboard!!

    • shatner

      I hope your happy with your malwares ;)

      • Roddisq

        I´ve been installing and testing all sorts of software from the Play store to unknown and suspicious sources for ages and I never got one. Besides I can clone my entire OS on my memory card before trying anything stupid and if I feel I got a compromised firmware I can re-flash it, downgrade it, upgrade it, even try a different ROM right from my memory card. On the other hand on an iphone I can´t even use a brand new or restore the phone without the internet and the “permission” from apple…Im not even talking about customizing the phone the way I like…Now tell me, really, which one has more malwares?

        • bcsc

          When i owned my 3GS, i got the SSH malware that changed my root password. While on Android I got 0 malware and I sideload the crap out of everything. You fanboys have got to stop believing everything you read. And as Roddisq pointed out…just flash a Nandroid. You guys can back up and restore your OS without being leashed to iTunes, right?

          • kersiv

            yes we can
            with semi restore

  • snowtiger1233

    It deleted itself on my iPod 5th gen when I tried to get nds4ios (ds) and I lose all my progress:(

  • Xyz

    Well it’s time to jailbreak

    • Harry

      Exactly

  • Harry

    Ipod 5 stopped working around 4

  • PsychoEd200

    it still working for me iPhone 5 iOS 7 beta 3

  • Sepand

    If we have a developer account, how can we still play the game? I understand it,s possible

  • nicole

    downloaded it and installed it successfully last saturday. it’s wednesday now, and it doesn’t work on my iphone 4s with ios 6.1.3. tried downloading it again and it was a no-go. it’s too bad

  • randy

    Still working for me! (iPhone 4, 6.1.3)

  • Thatsformetoknowandutofindout

    Right when apple sees something that is out of their control they shut it down. Control freaks. Another thing is that so many people put time and effort into this thing and apple decided to throw it down the drain just like that. I think its time to think more android and less apple.

    • Mismatch

      Well in their defence, not that they are right, first it could be just a harmless emulator but someone could try and would most likely would have tried to get into the device like this to steal information.

  • Domo

    Still working for me iPad 2 iOS 6.1.3

  • Applegofuckyourself

    Mines just stopped working right now…

  • Mike

    GUYS THERE IS A TRICK TO CONTINUE USING GBA4IOS!! JUST SWITCH ON AIRPLANE MODE AND THEN TRY OPENING THE APP AND IT SHOULD WORK!!!!!

    • PsychoEd200

      Wow, good find my friend. It indeed works

    • Bruno

      you´re the best.
      It really works

    • Hanz Cortez

      You are awesome! confirmed to work on iPad Mini, iOS 7 Beta 3 under Airplane Mode! I’m happy again!

    • Stwerp

      If that doesn’t work, turn keep airplane mode on and then change the date on your phone (turn off automatic date/time setting, and change back a few days).

    • Caitlyn

      You’re a genius!!

    • Brandon

      How can I re-download it? It says cannot download at this time. Any suggestions?

      • Seth

        Move back the time and date to around 2010.

  • Philip Figueroa

    Well just tried mine and it loads up to the rom selection screen so i assume it works ios 6.1.3 but anyways im jailbroken lol

  • Marco

    Still works on ios 7 beta 3

  • gpan

    not working anymore on my iphoine 4s

  • Hanz Cortez

    Sadly, stopped working on my iPad mini, iOS 7 Beta 3… I was so happy… *heart broken*

  • Fear

    Dang it apple, I’m so getting the s4 now, I have lost all respect for you

  • Eric Law
  • Nokto

    Iphone4s IOS beta 3 stopped working today.
    Backed up GBA4IOS.ipa
    Deleted profile and GBA4iOS from iPhone.
    Signed the GBA4iOS with my certificate, reinstalled. Works fine.
    The PPSSPP iOS Port (psp emulator) works just the same.
    Go get yourself a cheap subsidised dev account if you don’t want to give apple their &99 a year.
    Of course they still run sandboxed because of it being a dev version and not official signed by Big Apple.
    Which does not make a difference for these apps.

  • Brittany

    Airplane mode doesn’t allow it to work on iPod 4th gen. The emulator isn’t working at all for me.

  • Anomynous

    Changing the date on my ipod 4g 6.1.3 stopped the app from crashing it works now

  • Jimothy

    Guys, Jimothy came through again! I don’t know if anyone else has figured it out, but you can switch your date to any day before July 16th and the emulators will install! No Airplane Mode required! I’ll post more details about any other work around. iHacks, credit me again please? :)
    Also, it seems to work after I just turn the automatic time back on. This was done on iPhone 5 iOS 7 Beta 3.
    iMessage still works on this, it just doesn’t save your messages. ;)
    Confirmed working on:
    iPhone 5 6.1.4-7.0B3
    iPhone 4S 6.1.4
    iPhone 4 4.2.1-6.1
    iPhone 3GS (old bootrom) 6.0

  • Licious

    Mine wasn’t working anymore but Date and Time are your best friends ;) (just switch the time one month back and it works nice and smooth)

  • Mat

    I’ve turned my date back a few months and it’s still coming up with “GBA4iOS could not be downloaded at this time”

    This is my 1st time trying to download it. I have an iPhone 4s that’s running iOS5. Do I need to finally download iOS6? Or is it because I’ve never downloaded the emulator before that its not working?

    • PK

      Same here. Changing time back doesn’t stop the error, and the only fix I’ve heard of was unzipping and rezipping the file for the app and placing it onto your iPhone although I don’t know how this is done, there is no proof and it seems sketchy. If anyone could help, that’d be awesome! Changing date and time back doesn’t work.

  • Matt

    Still works on my iPhone 5 beta 4

    • Matt

      iOS 7 beta 4 that is

  • Asian

    Well you are pretty stupid…posting a loophole where apple is probably reading right now..

  • S3hrlich

    I am having a problem with the App Store when gba4ios is installed. I can’t update any apps and sometimes App Store doesn’t load. Any suggestions?

  • Nate

    I need help, it still won’t work

  • Ian

    Change off of automatic time and change it to something random in the past and it works

  • AC

    Mine works, switch your time to 2012 instead of 2013 and bam all good. Beat pokemon emerald yesterday

  • Bryce

    Surprisingly, it still works on my iPhone 4, even with Airplane Mode off. Though If the battery dies, or if you shit it down, then you gotta set the date back again.

  • AlphaDavid66

    Does anyone know how to get gba4ios 2.0

  • James

    What happens if i want to get ios7 and keep it will it crash my phone or will it still be there?

  • Andre

    I can’t download Roms for gba4ios

  • Daine

    Guys ur all a great help thank you the turning back time helped im happy now thank u all

  • George Costanza

    So basically if you didn’t download it while it worked, then you can’t get it?