AetherSX2 emulator (How to play PS2 games on Android)

In this post, we’re going to be discussing the AetherSX2 emulator (How to play PS2 games on Android).

An emulator is software that allows your smartphone to mimic a gaming console. We’ve already covered video game emulation and emulators here. So please check that out.

The Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2) is a 64-bit home console from Sony and it is the successor to the PS1. It was released in 2000 (in Japan) and went on to become the best-selling console of not just the 6th generation of Video Game consoles, but of all time. Sony sold approximately 155 million and shipped over 158 million PS2 consoles, a feat that still stands unchallenged to this day.

AetherSX2 emulator (How to play PS2 games on Android)

The PS2 has a stunning library of over 4,000 games with lots of award-winning exclusives that can only be played on the PS2. These include:

  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • God of War 2
  • Need For Speed: Most Wanted
  • Pro Evolution Soccer
  • FIFA
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Metal Gear Solid 3
  • Gran Turismo 4
  • Smackdown Vs Raw 2011
  • NBA 2K
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Silent Hill 2
  • Devil May Cry etc.

Using the AetherSX2 emulator will allow you to play these classic titles on your smartphone.


The AetherSX2 emulator is an emulator of the Sony PlayStation 2. It was developed by a guy called Talreth and it is a free game under the Creative Commons license.

The story of the AetherSX2 and Talreth is a bit of a sad one. This is because the developer has abandoned the game after falling out with people who trolled him to no end and even issued him death threats. Some persons have stated that Talreth was a bit of an unsavory character and was difficult to work with but issuing death threats is simply taking things too far.

As a result, the app is a bit unfinished but it works better than most of the other so-called premium emulators and the best part is that it’s free!

When it comes to how to play Playstation 2 games on Android, the AetherSX2 emulator is simply the best way to do it. This emulator has supported all the PS2 ROMS that I have thrown at it so far. This means that there should be almost no problem with game incompatibility. It can also upgrade game resolution depending on how powerful your phone (GPU) is. This is something that the original console could only dream of.

System requirements

To run this emulator, you’ll need a phone with at least:

  • SoC: A lower midrange phone with an SoC containing A73 or A75 CPU cores. Examples include Helio G70, G80, G85, G88, Snapdragon 662, 665, 675, 680, 685 etc.
  • RAM: 4GB
  • OS: 64-bit Android 10.0 and above

Whilst a phone with these specs will run some games, you’ll run into the problem of frame rate drops, loading hiccups, lag, and some unplayable games.

I have a Snapdragon 720G (A76 big cores) phone and I can play a lot of games but it does struggle sometimes. To enjoy the AetherSX2 emulator, you’ll need:

  • SoC: something with at least 4 A76 or 2 A78 CPU cores clocked at 2.0GHz and a B-class GPU. Examples include SD855, Dimensity 1050, Exynos 1380 and above, etc. If you can get your hands on a phone with a flagship SoC, it’ll be even better.
  • RAM: 6GB
  • OS: 64-bit Android 10 and above

A phone with these specs should ensure that you not only run games very well but should eliminate those annoying FPS drops.

Controller support

This emulator supports all Bluetooth controllers provided that your phone also has support for them. In my opinion, playing emulator games with a controller is the best way to play.

How to set up the AetherSX2 emulator

  • Step 1: Install the AetherSX2 emulator from PlayStore
  • Step 2: Create a folder in your internal storage and name it AetherSX2 or PlayStation 2. It doesn’t matter really.
  • Step 3: Enter the emulator and tap on the “drop-down menu”, go to “game directory” and choose the folder that you have just created.
  • Step 4: You’ll need to source for your own BIOS image. It is very easy to source online, just use Google. When you find it, download and copy-paste it to the AetherSX2 folder.
  • Note: To check if you have done the above correctly, go to App, tap on the drop-down menu, and click on Start BIOS. The iconic PS2 boot sequence should come on.
  • Step 5: You’ll have to download PS2 games or ROMS from the internet. This is a tricky part. You’ll have to be careful not to download viruses lol. To save you the stress, I found this dump on GitHub that you can explore.
  • Step 6: Games usually come compressed so you’ll have to decompress them. You can do this with most file managers around. Cut and paste the extracted files to the AetherSX2 folder.
  • Note: If done correctly, they should pop up on the homepage of the emulator.

Pairing a controller 🎮

If you’ve got a controller, simply pair it to your phone first, then hit the drop-down menu and go to the controller 🎮 settings.

Click on port one, choose DualShock under controller type, and then choose Automatic Mapping. That’s it. You’re good to go.

Other settings

If you use a Midrange phone like me, you may want to tinker with the following. These include:


  • Emulation orientation – landscape
  • Display alignment – Automatic
  • Show FPS – Yes


  • EE Cycle rate (underclocking) -75% (1)
  • EE Cycle skip (underclocking) – Mild underclock
  • Affinity control mode – Disabled
  • Multi-threaded VU1 – Yes
  • Instant VU1 – Yes
  • Enable Frame limit – Yes


  • GPU Renderer – Vulkan
  • Upscale Multiplier – 1.25x
  • Bilinear filtering – Nearest neighbor


  • Enable Recompiler – Yes
  • Enable VU0 Recompiler – Yes
  • Enable VU1 Recompiler – Yes
  • Enable IOP Recompiler – Yes
  • EE FPU correct add/sub – Yes
  • Enable fast mem – Yes

I cannot guarantee that these settings are a one-size-fits-all but they work for me and I’m sure that they’ll work for you too.

Thank you for reading to the end. As always, ensure to check out our links for more information and…

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