Fortnite, one of the most popular games currently available on any platform, was unceremoniously removed from the App Store in 2020 following a disagreement between Apple and Epic Games. Players around the world were horrified by the decision, which meant that it was no longer possible to download Fortnite on iPhones and iPads in the usual way.
But fear not, because it’s still possible to install Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad, even if you’ve never bought or played the game before. In this article, we’ve outlined the ways you can play Fortnite on iPhone or iPad even though Apple no longer allows it on the App Store.
UPDATE: Starting May 5, 2022, Microsoft will make Fortnite available for free through the Xbox Cloud Gaming platform, meaning iPhone and iPad users now have another way to play. We will explain this new method to run Fortnite on your Apple device along with the other solutions below.
Why can’t I install Fortnite from the App Store?
You’ve probably heard all about Apple’s longstanding feud with Epic Games. It all started when Apple banned Fortnite from the App Store in August 2020 after Epic set up an in-app payment system in an attempt to circumvent Apple’s 30% cut.
The companies sued each other and battled it out in court for the rest of 2020 and most of 2021, with the judge eventually reaching a verdict that heavily favored Apple.
If you already have Fortnite, the good news is that this does not mean that Fortnite will be removed from your iPhone. Fortnite is going nowhere. It will stay on your iPhone. The only possible problem could be if the bugs cause the app to stop working in the future.
The people who have the problem are those who don’t have Fortnite on their devices yet and want to find a new way to get it.
Will Apple allow Fortnite to return to the App Store?
The legal dispute appears to be largely over, barring some appeals and resistance to the judge’s stipulations. But there is little sign of reconciliation between the two companies, and it doesn’t look like Fortnite will return to the App Store anytime soon.
Method 1: Use Xbox Cloud Gaming to play Fortnite
Requires: A Microsoft account
You can use Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming platform to stream Fortnite.
You can play Fortnite this way using touch controls or an Xbox controller, which can be paired with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac using these instructions: How to pair an Xbox One controller with your iPhone or iPad.
The main downside to this method is that because you’re streaming the Xbox version of the game over the cloud, there can be some quality compromises and increased latency.
To set up Xbox Cloud Gaming and play Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:
- Go to xbox.com/play on your iPhone or iPad browser and sign in with your Microsoft account.
- Here you will find Fortnite and other Xbox Cloud Gaming games.
Fortnite does not require a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
Learn more about Microsoft’s announcement that Fortnite will be available for free through the Xbox Cloud Gaming platform.
Method 2: Download Fortnite from My Purchases
- Requires: You have purchased/installed Fortnite in the past
Even though Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, it’s easy to install Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad if you don’t have a copy of Fortnite on your device right now, but have purchased and/or installed in the past.
- Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap the Account icon (usually shows your Apple ID or Memoji profile picture).
- Touch Purchased > My Purchases to access a list of all the apps and games you’ve downloaded.
- Search for Fortnite (you can use the search bar).
- Tap the download icon (a cloud with a down arrow) to download Fortnite again.
Method 3: Install Fortnite using Family Sharing
- Requires: Someone else who has purchased Fortnite
The problem with the above method is that it will only work if you have previously downloaded Fortnite. So what if you’ve never installed Fortnite on your iPhone?
One possible solution could be to link your account to someone else’s through Family Sharing.
If your family member downloaded the app in the past and your accounts are linked by Family Sharing, you should be able to download the app on your iPhone.
To set up Family Sharing, follow these steps:
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap your name to access your Apple ID settings.
- Now tap ‘Set up Family Sharing…’ (If you already have the service set up, it will just say Family Sharing).
- Select Purchase Sharing and make sure it’s turned on.
- You’ll also need to add a payment method – keep in mind that if you’re setting up Family Sharing and enter your card details, you’ll pay for all downloads across all Family Sharing accounts.
- Now go back to the App Store as per the steps above.
- Tap on your name icon.
- Tap Purchased.
- Tap on your family member’s account.
- Now search through the apps until you find Fortnite.
In a separate article, we explain how to set up Family Sharing.
Method 4: Play Fortnite using GeForce Now
- Requires: GeForce Now subscription; decent internet connection
If you haven’t downloaded Fortnite in the past and don’t know anyone who has, or who does, but you’re not willing to set up Family Sharing with them, then your best option is to use nVidia’s GeForce Now service, which has been updated in January 2022 to allow Fortnite to be played through a Safari web browser. It’s a closed beta for now, but we hope it will become a normal part of the service in due course.
GeForce Now is a cloud-based gaming service. That means the actual game is rendered on a server somewhere rather than locally, so you can get high-end gaming PC performance on a cheap PC, Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Just make sure you have a good internet connection – Nvidia recommends 25-50Mbps.
Subscription pricing is tiered, including a free tier (hooray!) at the bottom for short sessions and limited performance. The Priority plan costs £8.99/$9.99 per month, while the elite performance RTX 3080 tier costs £89.99/$99.99 for six-month periods.
You can get all the details in the explainer on our sister site Tech Advisor: What is Nvidia GeForce Now?
Method 5 – Buy an iPhone with Fortnite on it
- Requires: Money; sense of recklessness
The last method is also the one we would least recommend. And that’s keep looking
eBay for a second-hand iPhone with Fortnite.
Our advice is that this would be a bad idea. For the iPhone to be sold with Fortnite installed, it must still be linked to someone else’s account. At the very least, this will be a headache, because you’ll have to switch back and forth between your account (for which you won’t have the password) and your own account, which you’ll need to use to add other apps or make other changes.
You can use the device as a pure Fortnite machine and do everything else on your main iPhone, but it’s still likely to be a hassle.
In any case, it’s always better for devices to be fully wiped between owners, for security, privacy, and data access reasons. In extreme cases, the previous owner could remotely wipe his iPhone after he started using it and added his own data, or even accessed information on it.
It’s just not a good idea, especially when (as we’ve seen) there are other methods that are much less risky.
Should I sell my iPhone with Fortnite?
For similar reasons, we do not recommend that you try to make a quick buck by selling your iPhone with Fortnite installed on it. You should always properly wipe an iPhone or iPad before selling it or you risk someone else accessing your data, spending your money, or even impersonating you.
Here’s how to clean your iPhone before you sell it.