What is Citra 3DS emulator and how do you use it on Android?

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Android devices are capable of a variety of useful things, including emulating games, and now you have more options than ever with the Citra 3DS Emulator on the Google Play Store.

Compared with previous unofficial versions, this official version was launched for Android in May 2022.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information about the Citra 3DS emulator for Android, starting with a brief history. By clicking below, you can also download it immediately.

What is Citra emulator?

The first Nintendo 3DS emulator for Windows was Citra. The game was first released by developer Team Citra in 2014, and they gradually added support for more games over time.

Developers are still working on it, and it now supports most commercial games, save states, and even online play. At the moment, only PC users will be able to download the latter.

There are a number of 3DS emulators out there these days, but Citra is probably the best. Even though it can’t play all 3DS games, it supports the big franchises such as Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, and more.

In addition to developing the emulator itself, the Citra team also provides technical support. There is still a great deal of illegality associated with pirating 3DS games. It is still illegal to download ROMs even if you own the cartridge.

3DS ROMs can only be obtained legally by dumping them yourself from a cartridge. Here is a short guide from Citra on how to do that.

Didn’t Citra already launch on Android a few years ago?

There was no official license for Citra’s Android app that was released in 2018. A developer independent of Citra’s official team developed this initial app, SachinVin. Citra users had requested an app with a few performance issues, but it was a great start.

The Citra team said the performance issues with SachinVin’s app “led to an increase in support and feature requests from the team – which had nothing to do with the unofficial Android port.”

Although they commended the efforts of this developer, they could not provide support for it because it was unofficial. 

In spite of the fact that Citra could not provide support to this app, they invited SachinVin to collaborate with them to develop an app that Citra users would love (and actually be able to use).

You can read all about the results of our testing of this unofficial app on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 7 Pro below.

What’s new about the official Citra 3DS Emulator?

As a result of SachinVin joining Citra’s team. A number of graphical and layout issues were encountered in the app, as well as settings that did not save.

It was necessary to fix these issues, then test them, then fix them again. You have to be careful when working with Android. Therefore, the app had to undergo a lot of testing before being released to the public. 

Furthermore, Citra implemented quite a few performance-enhancing features in addition to fixing technical issues.

The phone keyboard can be used in games that require it, for motion control functionality, and camera/mic functionality, to name a few.

An external gamepad can be used with the app, which was a great addition. Citra’s team realized a lot of people would want gamepad support, so they built it in.

Gamepads of almost all types can be used with it. As a result, you won’t have to use those pesky touchscreen controls if you have one.

Citra says that if your gamepad isn’t working, you can contact them on their Discord server; they’ll try to figure out what the issue is and fix it. That’s awesome!

How do you use the Citra Emulator?

You need to take a few steps before you can start playing Citra Emulator once you download and install it on your Android device.

Rest assured that there are many ways to improve performance in the app, though we won’t discuss every single setting. Before proceeding, make sure that all of your (legally acquired) ROMs are stored in the same folder.

The following are the basic steps for using the Citra Emulator on Android:

  1. Google Play Store users can download the app.
  2. Grant permission requests to the app.
  3. Choose the folder where your ROMs are stored.
  4. Play a game of your choice!

Your device may not be powerful enough to run a 3DS emulator if you’re experiencing choppy performance. Since it takes a lot of power, anything but the latest flagship will struggle.

However, there are a few things you can try. The first thing you should do is change the internal resolution to 1x.

To get a smaller boost, you can turn off “Accurate Shader Multiplication” and enable “Enable Asynchronous GPU Emulation.”  Additionally, some 3DS games may work better than others, and some will not work at all.

Citra Premium features

The Citra Emulator app is free to download from the Play Store, but a premium version is available as an in-app purchase. There are a few special features included, including a dark theme and texture filter, for about $5.

Citra Premium’s real benefit is supporting developers. Citra has been developed by them in their own time for years. The app will continue to be updated as long as you support them!