How to install a Nintendo 3DS emulator for Android

melonDS Pokemon Z Fold 2 Lifestyle
melonDS Pokemon Z Fold 2 Lifestyle (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

When it comes to finding the best emulators for Android, there are a lot of variables to consider, along with a lot of options to choose from. For those who want to play Nintendo 3DS ROMs on their smartphones, thankfully, there aren't as many options out there. Here's how you can install a Nintendo 3DS emulator for Android.

How to install a Nintendo 3DS emulator

The first step in the process is finding the best Nintendo 3DS emulators that you want to try. There are a few different options, although our current favorite is Citra Emulator. For the purpose of this guide, that's the emulator that we'll be using. Regardless of which emulator you pick, the steps will largely be the same.

  1. Download Citra Emulator from the Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app on your phone after it's installed.Source: Android Central

  1. Tap Allow to provide Citra access to view files on your device.
  2. Select the folder where your Nintendo 3DS ROMs are stored.
  3. Tap Select this directory at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Select the game you want to play from the list.
  5. Wait for the game to load.
  6. Enjoy!Source: Android Central

After the game has loaded into Citra, you can start playing those classic games from the heyday of the Nintendo DS. But before you get started, we would definitely recommend playing around with the app to try and customize everything to your liking. Or you can connect one of the best game controllers for Android emulators and forget the touch-screen controls altogether.

Additional Equipment

Now that you have your Nintendo 3DS emulator installed, it's time to make sure you get the best experience possible. In order to do that, you'll likely want to pick up an external controller, as the touch-screen controls can be a bit too cramped.

8Bitdo SN30 Pro Render

8Bitdo SN30 Pro Render (Image credit: 8Bitdo)

8BitDo SN30 Pro ($45 at Amazon)

If you're looking for just a basic Bluetooth controller to play Nintendo 3DS games, then it doesn't get much better than the 8BitDo SN30 Pro.

Razer Kishi Android Render

Razer Kishi Android Render (Image credit: Razer)

Razer Kishi ($77 at Amazon)

With the Razer Kishi, you can forget about worrying about latency due to the Bluetooth connection thanks to the built-in USB-C port.

8Bitdo Pro 2 Controller Render

8Bitdo Pro 2 Controller Render (Image credit: 8Bitdo)

8Bitdo Pro 2 ($50 at Amazon)

The 8Bitdo Pro 2 has the chance to take over the top spot as the best controller for Android emulators with classic colorways and more.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.