Before You Begin
Do NOT format the included microSD card. This will result in the loss of the RetroidOS closed system and all pre-installed games. If this happens, a copy of the contents (without games) can be found here.
Do NOT update or delete any of the preinstalled apps or Retroarch cores. Many of these are older or modified versions which have been optimized to work on the RP2. If you are coming from a console gaming background, you may be used to all updates being both required and more-or-less improvements. This does not apply to the RP2: the various installed Android apps are not written specifically for the RP2, but for all Android devices. Due to the age of the RP2's hardware, updates may actually reduce functionality, or cause an app to stop working entirely, due to removal of support for legacy hardware/firmware.
Be careful about restoring/formatting Android. If you do this, you will lose pre-installed emulators and possibly some configuration settings. If this happens, you can find a backup image of Android here, and instructions on the process here. If you need to restore Android to the original state, you will need to flash it. This can brick your device if done incorrectly, please only attempt at your own risk, and ask for assistance in our Discord channel if needed.
Applying The Screen Protector
Follow this helpful video guide for how to apply the screen protector.
Booting Up For The First Time
When you first power your RP2 on after removing it from the box, it will boot into Android 6.0.
Setting Up RetroidOS
If you want to use your RP2 as a streamlined, plug-and-play, handheld retro game emulator, please click on this link for a step-by-step guide. On the other hand, if you don't mind getting your hands dirty with Android and fiddling with emulator files and settings, read on.
Once your RP2 is powered on and showing the Android home screen, you should be able to connect your device to your Wi-Fi network through your system settings. WEP does not work on the RP2, so use WPA2 encryption.
If your preference is to use the RetroidOS closed system, navigate to the Toolbox application and select "Install Retroid Pocket App". (If you have an RP1, you'll want to download the Retroid App APK file within the built in browser from https://bit.ly/3bZhcQN and install it with Miix. It shows up under the APK Files menu in Miix). Once installed, open the Retroid app and say OK when it asks to reboot to the Retroid Pocket System. To setup WiFi in the RetroidOS system, hold the Home button for two seconds, and select Handheld settings. Open WiFi and click on Connect WiFi Network, and select the network you wish to join. To return to the Android OS, hold down the Home button for two seconds and click on Switch system. Press OK when asked to reboot to Open Source Android System.
Adding your own ROMs to RetroidOS
If these instructions don't exactly match the way you've set up your own RP2, you'll already know enough to change those steps on your own, so I'll assume that you're doing this with a unit fresh from the factory.
- Safely eject your micro SD card from the RP2. If you aren't sure how to do that, just turn the unit off completely (not just standby), then remove the card. The micro SD card slot is on the bottom of the unit, under a rubber flap. After you lift the flap (it's NOT a plug that comes out completely), push the card INTO the slot slightly with your thumbnail. It is held in place by a mechanism kind of like a clicky ballpoint pen. Pushing it in slightly until it makes a soft click will cause a spring to push it out so you can grab it easily. Do not use tweezers or any metal tools, as you will probably damage the slot.
- Connect the micro SD card to a computer with a suitable card reader. If your computer tells you that the card must be formatted before use, DO NOT FORMAT THE CARD. There is (probably) nothing wrong with it, and it contains hard-to-replace files that are required by Retroid. If you see such a message, try using a different card reader, or a different computer.
- On the computer, copy any ROM files you want to transfer into the "/games/download/" folder on the micro SD card. This might also be a good time to make a backup of the files that came on the micro SD card with the RP2, in case something happens to the card later. Once the copy is complete, safely eject the micro SD card from the computer.
- Reinsert the micro SD card into your RP2. Push it into the slot until you hear a soft click; this will be a little further in than flush with the edge of the slot. Don't forget that the micro SD card should be inserted with the face (printed side) down (away from the screen side), and the back (plain black side) up (toward the screen side). If you switched the RP2 off, turn it on again. If it is in Android mode, switch to Retroid mode.
- In the Retroid system, hold the "HOME" button until the system menu appears.
- Move the highlight to "Enter game settings" with the d-pad or left thumbstick, and then press "A" to select it.
- Move the highlight to "External games management" with the d-pad or left thumbstick, and then press "A" to select it.
- Using the controls shown on the right side of the screen, select a game to add to the Retroid's game menu.
- A window will pop up, asking you to choose an emulator for this game. Move the highlight to the appropriate emulator name with the d-pad, and then press "A" to select it. Only the short emulator core names are shown, so if you can't figure out which emulator is the correct/best, you may need to do some research. This list may help.
Your game should now be available from the Retroid game menu. If you have finished adding games, press "Y" until you get back to the main game menu. Enjoy!
NOTE: Some people have commented that game files must not be zipped. These instructions have only been tested with a regular (uncompressed) Super Famicom game. There may be additional issues with using zipped files or multi-file games (e.g. bin/cue disc images). Also, this process will not work without the RetroidOS files present on a normally-formatted (i.e. not Android "internal storage") microSD card, even though RetroidOS will appear to be working normally otherwise.
SD Card Options
The RP2 comes with a 32 GB microSD card. Do NOT format or erase this card before backing up the files it comes with, as these are the files required for RetroidOS to work. If your card is erased, damaged, or accidentally formatted, you can find the necessary files (but without any games) here. If you want more than 32GB of storage in your RP2, you will need to replace the 32GB card with another card. If you want to use RetroidOS with a new card, you will also need to copy the critical files over to the new card, in exactly the same directory structure. For advice on which microSD card to buy, see Accessories.
Whichever micro SD card you use in your RP2, it can be set up either as internal storage or external storage. Depending on your needs, you may wish to have both an external and internal card, or just one or the other. To swap between cards, make sure to turn off your device before removing one card and inserting the other. If you have an internal card and an external card, you will need to boot up the RP2 in one mode or the other with the incorrect card inserted. In this case it is probably best to swap cards while switched off in RetroidOS mode, as this likely offers less chance for damage to critical files.
Using Your SD Card as Internal Storage
If you set up your micro SD card as internal storage under Android, you will no longer be able to use the same card to run RetroidOS. Once you tell Android to use a micro SD card as internal storage, you won't be able to use Android without that card in your RP2, as Android will move vital system files, and possibly apps, over to the card. Additionally, you will not be able to use the card in a card reader connected to a computer, as it will be formatted in a special Android format, which includes encryption. Please note that you will still be able to start up the RP2 in Android mode, and at first glance it will appear to be fine. However, it will not be operating correctly, and trying to open any apps without the "internal" card installed may cause corrupted files that mean you need to reinstall some apps or maybe even completely re-flash Android onto your RP2.
Formatting your micro SD card as internal storage under Android will completely erase whatever is currently stored on it. If you format the 32GB card that comes with your RP2 as internal storage without backing it up first, you will permanently lose the files required to run RetroidOS on your RP2.
With the warnings out of the way, there are several advantages to setting up your microSD card as internal storage under Android. One is that you will be able to install many more Android apps than would fit into the built-in 8GB storage. Also, some Android apps have difficulty accessing external micro SD cards, so this would remove that barrier. Finally, setting the micro SD to be used as internal storage is the only way to make it accessible when connecting your RP2 to a computer over USB (for some reason, the RP2 doesn't expose the external card over USB).
There are two slightly different ways to format your micro SD card as internal storage under Android:
- Open the Settings app and go to Storage & USB , then click on the card volume label (the name of your micro SD card). On the next screen, click on the "three dots" menu icon in the upper-right, and select Format as Internal. To be able to see your RP2 when it's connected to your computer, you'll also need to click on Migrate Apps and Data in the same menu, once you've finished formatting the card.
- At almost any time (but still in Android), move the virtual mouse to the top of the screen, press and hold the "A" button, and move the mouse down to the bottom of the screen. This will drag the notification menu down. You should see a notification with a micro SD card icon that says, "(Card volume label) For transferring photos and media". Click on this notification to get to the same screen described in option 1, then click on the "three dots" menu icon and click the menu items listed above.
To transfer files from a Mac via USB, you'll need Android File Transfer. In certain cases, Mac OS still may not recognize the device. In this case, connecting the card to your Mac using a card reader is recommended.
Linking your internal apps to External SD card
There is another option to use your external card as storage for your apps. Advantages to using external card as internal storage is, you can still use your external sd card at card readers; you can move your apps back to internal storage if you want to replace the card; if you don't link system apps from internal storage to external card; you will be safe even if the external card gets corrupted. Also you can continue using RetroidOS with this option if you choose to. Lastly, you won't have any trouble with OTA updates.
To be able to do this first you need ROOT. Refer to the rooting section under Firmwares on this wiki. Afterwards, you will need a program as Apps2SD. Download it from Google Playstore. Open it, you will need to use "Partition Tool" from the first main menu. WARNING: This will delete your whole card and you should do a backup before doing that. You will have 3 options at Partition Tool, first one is for Rom storage; make it as FAT32 format, second one is for moving the apps; make it an "ext4" and the third one is for "swap" that is supposed to add more RAM for the system to use. Resize the partitions to your liking and hit "yes".
Device will reboot at that point. Open Apps2SD, click "Link Apps to SD card"; it will ask you to create mount script. Choose ext4 and from below, tick the box to the left of "Advanced". It will say "Success!" on this point and apps will show up. Just choose the app you want to carry to external sd card and click Link from bottom right and it is done.
Using Your SD Card as External Storage
If you would prefer to use your micro SD card in card readers and other devices, and don't want to install many Android apps to your RP2, you will probably want to keep the card as external storage. Additionally, if you want to use RetroidOS, you cannot use a card formatted as internal storage; while your RP2 will still appear to boot normally into RetroidOS, you will not be able to access or install any games.
To use RetroidOS with a new micro SD card, you will need to copy the files from your original 32GB card over to the new card. These files include encryption keys and support files that will allow RetroidOS to read stored games, to install new games from local files, and to access the Retroid "online store". Before you copy the files over, you should also format your new card as "exFAT" format. Using a card formatted as "FAT32" (the most common way that they come in the package) doesn't seem to cause any problems for RetroidOS, but RetroidOS may damage parts of the FAT32 filesystem, causing errors if you also try to use it in Android or an external card reader connected to a computer.
Some guides recommend using partition management software (e.g. MiniTool, Disk Genius) to make a complete backup of the partition on the included 32GB micro SD card, and then write this backup to your new micro SD card. If you are comfortable working with partitions and drive images, this can work very well. However, it doesn't appear to offer any advantages over simply formatting your new micro SD card to "exFAT" and then copying all the files over normally. Furthermore, if you make a mistake during the partition copying process, it is possible to introduce errors into your micro SD cards which would require more work to repair.
The controller is already setup in RetroidOS, and should also already be set up in all emulators in Android. If you are prompted to choose a controller, the RP2's own controls will be listed as "Playstation 3".
Joystick Mode Toggle
The "Toolbox" app in Android has a setting labelled "Joystick Mode Toggle". This will change how the RP2's left analog stick appears to all apps within Android. The options are:
- Analog Square mode - Apps will see the left joystick as an analog stick, but it will only register movement in eight directions (up, down, left, right, and diagonals).
- Analog Circle mode - Apps will see the left joystick as an analog stick, and it will register the full range of movement in all directions.
- Retroarch mode - Apps will not see the left joystick at all. Any movement of the left joystick will be copied to the d-pad.
Google Accounts on Android on the RP2
The RP2 offers Android 6.0; with this you can link a Google account to the device for use with Google services like the Play Store. If you don't want to link your personal account, you are also free to use your RP2 without any linked accounts, or you can create a new, "dummy" account for the device. You could also use FLOSS/free/libre alternatives to get new apps and install them manually (a.k.a. "sideloading").
To do that you can use the F-Droid app catalogue for managing the FLOSS apps, like Moonlight or Retroarch (adding the Retroarch repo first; which normally is a version newer than the one available from the Play Store). You can also use Aurora store(also in f-droid) a direct alternative to Play Store, to manage all the apps (like Steam Link).
Finally if you have any privacy concerns you can safely disable (in the Toolbox app) the google apps like:
- Google Play Store
- Google Play services (also GSF Google Services Framework)
- Google Contact Sync
- Browser (replace with Firefox/Fennec is recommended)
- Sound Recorder, Music, Video, Pictures
The default apps in the RP2 do not interact with the GSF.
Frontends & Launchers
Helpful Video Content Collection
The following video collection has been created to collate all of the current Retroid Pocket 2 YouTube content, Covering Guides, Information, Performance Tip and Tricks & Reviews. All videos have been posted in the Retroid Handhelds Discord server, which can be found here Here and the Youtube / Media channel Here
These videos have been created by Retroid Enthusiasts in order to share information and to help the Retroid Community - Check them out on Youtube and Subscribe to the channels to see many more informative and helpful video content.
- The Retroid Community Pocket 2 Community: Video Content Creator: Spec
- Putting on the glass screen protector: Video Content Creator: RetroGM
- How to put roms on to your Retorid Pocket 2: Video Content Creator: More Tech Sir!
- Install Dual Boot Mode on Retroid Pocket 2: Video Content Creator: Wicked Gamer & Collector
- Retroarch Theme, Config and Setup: Video Content Creator: Emulation Dojo
- Themes Preview - Frankatchoo by Muttonheads: Video Content Creator: Emulation Dojo
- Themes Preview - XMBC by chalotron: Video Content Creator: Emulation Dojo
Set Ups, Optimisations, Performance Tests and Game Showcases!
- Optimisation and Setting Guide: Video Content Creator: Emulation Dojo
- Third Party Apps - Android / PC Ports: Video Content Creator: More Tech Sir!
- FPse Configuration Guide on Retroid Pocket 2: Video Content Creator: Spin Reto
- PSP Emulation Test - PPSSPP: Video Content Creator: Spin Retro
- PPSSPP Optimisation & Performance Test: Video Content Creator: Emulation Dojo
- Frontend DIG Setup and Customisation: Video Content Creator: Emulation Dojo
- Sega Dreamcast Guide: Video Content Creator: Retro Game Corp
- Sega Dreamcast Gameplay Test - 41 GAMES!: Video Content Creator: Retro Game Corp
- How to Configure GBC.emu, GBA.emu, MD.emu, and SNES 9x EX+: Video Content Creator: Spin Retro
- DOS Game Emulation Test: Video Content Creator: Spin Retro
- Top 10 Megadrive Games: Video Content Creator: Spin Retor
- Android Game Showcase #1: Video Content Creator: Spec
- Android Game Showcase #2: Video Content Creator: Spec
- Mupen64Plus - N64 - Mario Party 3: Video Content Creator: Spin Retro
- Arcade Games Tested on RETROID OS (FBA & MAME): Video Content Creator: Spin Retro
Product reviews, Comparisons and Inspirations
- Product Test: Skull & Co. grips: Video Content Creator: Retro Game Corp
- Super Famicom Controller vs RP2: Video Content Creator: RetroGM
Helpful Video Content Collection shall be updated with Future content sometime in the future
Thank you to straxusii, TortugasSs, silverduskmusic, r0b0-tr0n, Jecklen, dsachs420, TotallyTerry, R E T R O, Lugubrious, DFOXpro, and Pocchitte for their contributions to this guide.