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Developer(s) Citra Team
Latest version N/A
Active No
Platform(s) Windows
Emulates Nintendo 3DS
Compatibility Official List
Programmed in C++
License GNU GPLv2
Source code GitHub (archive)
BIOS/Keys Required for some games and decryption

Citra (formerly Akiru) is a discontinued free and open-source Nintendo 3DS emulator/debugger written in C++. It is also available as a libretro core. While the emulator is no longer active, a fork maintained by PabloMK7 is still active.


Citra emulates a subset of 3DS hardware and therefore is useful for running/debugging homebrew applications, and it is also able to run many commercial games. Some of these do not run at a playable state. On May 23, 2020, a official Android release for Citra came out. The minimum requirements are Android 8 (64-bit) and OpenGL ES 3.2 support. Since 15th September 2023, Citra has also added support for Vulkan, resulting in improved performance in a number of scenarios. Many games achieve playable framerates on a variety of hardware, though the developers recommend an Android device with a Snapdragon 835 chip or better.


See Yuzu#Lawsuit.


Windows Linux macOS Android Latest Archived Builds
Latest Archived Nightly (2104)
Latest Archived Canary (2798)
Also see Citra MMJ, PabloMK7, Limón, rinsuki and Lemonade forks.

Shared data[edit]

Some 3DS games make use of shared files from the console's system software. These games will not boot in Citra if said files are not present in the user folder.

These files are not provided by the Citra developers for legal reasons, so they can be downloaded from the Emulator Files page.

Importing saves[edit]

Some games require this to bypass bugs in title screens.

  1. Get the Title ID for the game version you have from here. For example, we'll try with the European version of Zelda: ALBW. Its full Title ID is 00040000000EC400.
  2. Take the last 8 digits of the Title ID. (in our example, 000EC400) In case this method fails later, take 00000000 instead, or make sure the save file and the ROM image are from the same region.
  3. Make an empty folder named as that partial Title ID (000EC400). Put inside it another folder named "data", then inside that one put another folder named 00000001, then inside that one put the actual save data files.
  4. Move the folder with the title ID and put it here:
    \user\sdmc\Nintendo 3DS\00000000000000000000000000000000\00000000000000000000000000000000\title\00040000


Emulation issues[edit]

Emulation for various features is non-existent or not actively worked on enough to be in a usable state. This includes:

  • Connectivity features relying on Wi-Fi (Wii U/3DS, Switch/3DS, 3DS Local Multiplayer, 3DS Online...), not in small part due to the setbacks hindering Wi-Fi DS emulation. However, Download Play is emulated.
  • New 3DS mode. It is now in a playable state, but some games may still crash with it enabled.

Game image format[edit]

Citra accepts games in .3ds, .cia or .cxi format. Furthermore, in Summer 2017, chances are your existing dumps tailor-made for Citra most probably made with the officially recommended tool braindump, which were missing some data yet could be emulated on Citra, have had their compatibility broken as a design choice with no options provided to fix those dumps. You'll have to get new dumps.

While the latest sighax exploit allows for dumping decryption keys to convert (and possibly load) encrypted games in either .3ds or .cia format, development for a solution to allow for this Citra, even one requiring keys from your console, was formerly not actively pursued as a design choice. Tools on 3DS and PC exist to convert those to decrypted .3ds format, and a guide can be found here. However, Citra now allows loading/installing encrypted 3ds/CIA files if the necessary AES keys are provided. The required keys are provided with the 3DS Shared Data downloadable above.


Citra developers decided to implement a telemetry feature, uploading to them through Internet connection detailed logs and data about your computer specs and the games you're playing. When booting Citra for the first time, you get asked if you want to enable it.

macOS compatibility[edit]

Although macOS support in Citra is still poor, macOS builds have returned to Citra Canary 2485 and newer thanks to the addition of the new Vulkan renderer. Previously, macOS builds were discontinued after build 1782 due to the developers raising the OpenGL requirements to version 4.3, while macOS only supports up to version 4.1. The new Vulkan renderer addresses this by utilizing the MoltenVK translation layer instead of OpenGL, enabling compatibility with macOS systems. Additionally, these latest builds are Universal and have native support for both Intel and Apple Silicon.

Issues with downloading[edit]

If you decide to install it from the archived link, The updater tries to fetch for updates and cant fetch any due to it shutting down forcing you to quit the setup

External links[edit]