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Play Fortnite on iPhone: A New Workaround Brings the Game Back to iOS

And best of all, it's completely free.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
4 min read
Fortnite logo on an iPad

Fortnite is back on the iPhone and iPad.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Thanks to Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming service, you can once again play Fortnite on iOS.

Back in 2020, Epic Games made several updates to Fortnite, including one that allowed players to bypass Apple's App Store payment system and its commissions. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has repeatedly voiced his opinion on the matter, blasting Apple on the 30% revenue cut it makes on every single purchase made via the App Store.

Apple didn't take too kindly to this violation of its guidelines, and so it permanently banned the popular multiplayer shooting game from the App Store. And to this day, the game is still not available for download in that way, and it could be years before it returns to the App Store. But there is another way to play Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a partnership with Epic Games that would make Fortnite accessible to anyone with an Xbox Cloud Gaming account. Shortly after, Nvidia announced a similar partnership with Epic Games that also allows you to play Fortnite, via its GeForce Now streaming service

All long as you have access to a web browser -- such as Safari or Chrome -- you can once again play Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad. Here's what you need to know. 

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GeForce Now running on the iPhone 13 Pro showing Fortnite, Apex Legends and Rocket League thumbnails

Fortnite is available to play on GeForce Now for iOS.

Lori Grunin/CNET

For Xbox Cloud Gaming, first create or sign in to your Microsoft account

If you already have a Microsoft account, you can skip ahead to the next section. If not, you need to create a Microsoft account first, which takes only a few minutes.

On your iPhone or iPad, in the web browser of your choice, go to the Microsoft sign-up website and create a new account using an email or a phone number. The process involves creating a password, adding your name and birthdate, verifying your email and solving a puzzle to prove that you're not a bot. 

Save your username and password to iCloud or keep your credentials elsewhere, because you'll need them later to play Fortnite.

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Microsoft's account signup page

You can quickly create a Microsoft account.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Now, go to the Xbox Cloud Gaming website and add it to your home screen

In Safari, Chrome or other mobile web browser, go to the Xbox Cloud Gaming website and tap the green Play for Free button underneath the Fortnite logo. If you aren't already signed in to your Microsoft account, do that now. An Xbox account is also required to play any games, so if you're asked to create an Xbox account, do so.

Next, tap the green Get Ready to Play button -- this will bring up a window at the bottom of the screen asking you to add Xbox Cloud Gaming to your home screen to launch the game from there. To do this, tap the share button in the navigation bar and then hit Add to Home Screen. You must add the website to your home button or else you won't be able to play Fortnite.

Adding Fortnite as an app

Add the Xbox Cloud Gaming service to your home screen.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Finally, open the home screen app and play Fortnite

Once the Xbox Cloud Gaming website is on your home screen, hit Play for Free, sign in to your Microsoft account and then tap Play to begin playing Fortnite. 

A loading screen from Xbox and then one from Fortnite will appear. Use the controls on the screen to link your Fortnite account or play as a guest (I ran into problems playing as a guest, so I would recommend linking your existing Fortnite account or creating one).

At the top left, you have a number of controls to mute your microphone, exit the game, configure your controls, view the Xbox menu and more. For the best experience, bring down the control center, make sure the portrait orientation lock button is off and flip your phone horizontally so that you can play full-screen.

As for gameplay, Fortnite obviously doesn't run as smoothly as it does on your computer or gaming console, and the controls are a bit difficult to master, but at least this does offer you a way to play on the go -- as long as you have a pretty decent internet connection.

Fortnite gameplay on the iPad

This is what Fortnite via Xbox Cloud Gaming looks like on the iPad.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

For Nvidia, how to play Fortnite with GeForce Now

As long as you're a GeForce Now member, you can also play Fortnite on iOS thanks to Nvidia's video game streaming service. However, unlike with Xbox Cloud Gaming, you're limited to a single hour session at a time with the free GeForce Now membership. After an hour, the service will automatically close, and while you can start another hour session right after, constant interruptions are not ideal.

To play Fortnite, go to the GeForce Now website in your web browser, tap the share icon and hit Add to Home Screen to add the service to your home screen as an app. Next, launch the GeForce Now app you just created, agree to the terms and conditions and tap on Fortnite.

Before you can play the game, you must either log in to your existing account or create a new one. Choose the free membership option (you can also pay to avoid session interruptions), and enter your email, a password, a display name and your birthdate. Once your account is created, go back and hit Play to load up Fortnite.

Like with Xbox Cloud Gaming, you have a number of touch controls for playing the game, as well as to bring up a keyboard, mute your microphone, copy and paste and other actions. And as mentioned in the previous section, it's best to play the game horizontally so that you have more screen real estate for it.

Fortnite on GeForce Now in three columns

You can also play Fortnite on GeForce Now.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET