Apple TV hardware storage limitations will prevent most emulators from

Minecraft used to be on Apple TV, but it was removed

The developer of the iPhone emulator application Delta reported That one of the key limitations of Apple tvOS is why it doesn't make a version for Apple TV.

Apple TV doesn't have a shortage of games since it has Apple Arcade, but an online conversation with the developers revealed that every game and every app on tvOS faces memory limitations. Each one has a maximum of 500 KB in which to store everything you need, from results to saved games or, in the case of emulators, even game ROMs.

In an article about Mastodon, Berlin developer and author of a book on Swift, Ole Begemann, explains that you can save more than 500 KB, but at a risk.

Developer Ole Begemann's thread on Mastodon about the limitations of tvOS

Even the Apple guidelines that Begemann refers to describe 500 KB as “limited.” Anything stored above this limit can be deleted by tvOS itself any time the Apple TV 4K runs out of space.

In response to Begemann, emulator developer Riley Testut said that this limitation also interferes with him. “To be honest, the lack of persistent storage is the main reason I haven't ported Delta to Apple TV yet,” he said.

The RetroArch emulator is available on Apple TV, but in a discussion on the gaming forum Resetera, sparked by Begeman's thread, users are complaining about the same limitation. On Reddit, advice for new users to boot game ROMs into RetroArch includes using the cache, but there are no comments yet that they might be removed by tvOS.

Apple's documentation explains that data stored above the 500 KB limit is stored in a cache that is not cleared while the game or other application is running. “However, when space is low and your app is not working, this data may be deleted,” it says.

This cache also has a limit. It, as well as all application code and resources such as images and audio, should occupy no more than 4 GB — or actually a little less. “Do not use all cache space as this may cause unpredictable results,” Apple warns.

Apple notes that “your app can store and retrieve user data in iCloud” and presents this as a solution. But slow downloads from iCloud complicate the app as it has to control whether its data is stored locally or not.

An unnamed developer under the name Mastodon Ezekiel then stated in the Mastodon thread that it was this storage issue that spelled the end of Minecraft for Apple TV. Minecraft launched on Apple TV in 2016 but was later removed.

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