How To Patch IPS and UPS Files to Play a ROM Hack

If you ever played a Gameboy Advance emulator, then chances are you will need ROMs. The ROMs will act as the cartridges, which are basically the games.

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A Gameboy Advance ROM will have a .GBA file format. This means that only a GBA emulator can run this type of file, or there are some NDS emulators that can run it as well.

It is like an MP3 player can’t play an MP4 file, or at least only the audio will play, but you can’t see the video.

That is the same for Gameboy ROMs, but there are those that come in a .IPS or .UPS file format. However, regular GBA emulators cannot play these file formats.

What you need to do is to know how to apply an IPS or UPS patch to these ROMs. What happens is that you need to do a step-by-step procedure to transform a .IPS or .UPS into a .GBA file.

*NEW
There’s a new file format that some rom hackers are now adapting, it is a .bps file. Check this guide to learn How To Patch A BPS ROM Hack File.

What you need to do if you want to apply an IPS or UPS patch

The outcome that we want is to change the .IPS or .UPS into a .GBA. You can’t play the .IPS or .UPS files; hence patching the file is needed.

The process of patching means that we change or update the original content of the .GBA file to have the contents of the .IPS or .UPS files will be keeping the .GBA format.

In order for that to happen, we need a couple of things.

Things Needed for Patching a ROM hack

  • Patch file
  • ROM base
  • Patcher app

The first thing that you need would be the .IPS or .UPS patch file. You’ll need those because they are the games you want to play. With Pokemon games, the ROM hacks will change the game’s content.

The next thing you need is the base ROM or the ROM on which the hack was based. For example, a ROM hack Pokemon Gaia uses FireRed as its base game.

The third thing you’ll need is the patcher which is the app or program that you will use to apply an IPS or UPS patch. The gist of this is that we will patch an actual Pokemon ROM into a ROM hack or whatever the contents are inside the .IPS or .UPS file.

Finally, always make sure you have a separate copy of the original Pokemon game ROM because once the patch is finished, all the contents of that ROM will be changed and gone forever.

Why the patch would fail

  • There are several reasons, and the first one is that the .IPS or .UPS file from the start is unreliable. In short, it isn’t a good copy or it just wasn’t programmed correctly.
  • The second reason is that you’re not using the right base game. You’re probably using Pokemon FireRed as the base game but it actually needs Emerald.
  • Your copy of the base game isn’t reliable. There are ROMs out there and not just Pokemon that may have been corrupted or isn’t suited for patching the .IPS or .UPS format.
  • The patcher is not good and unreliable. Don’t worry, we’ll be including reliable patchers in the step by step procedures.

How to Patch a .IPS file using Lunar IPS (Works for Windows PC’s)

In this procedure, we will guide you on how to apply a .IPS patch. The patcher we will use is Lunar IPS. This patcher will only work on .IPS formats. We will also use the Rocket Edition Final v1 as our .IPS file which we will patch with FireRed as the base game.

Step 1
Download the Lunar IPS patcher.

Step 2
Launch the Lunar IPS and click on Apply IPS Patch.

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Step 3
Choose the .IPS file you want to patch which in this case is Rocket Edition Final v1.

Lunar ips patching rom hack

Step 4
You will then click on the base game which is FireRed in this case.

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Step 5
The patch will automatically happen which is usually a couple of seconds.

Step 6
This one is optional but you can rename the newly patched FireRed ROM to Rocket Edition Final v1 or whatever you want.

Apply an ips or ups patch

Step 7
Launch the GBA emulator and if the ROM loads properly and not it isn’t FireRed that comes out but Rocket Edition, then you did everything correctly.

IPS Patching Video Guide

Using Lunar IPS for patching .ips rom hacks

How to apply a .UPS Patch using NUPS Patcher (Works for Windows PC’s)

We want to know how to apply an IPS or UPS patch, and we already know how to do it on a .IPS file. In this part, we will teach you how to apply a patch to a .UPS file. You’ll need to download the NUPS Patcher app for this one. Much like LIPS, the NUPS patcher only works on a .UPS file format.

Step 1
Download the NUPS Patcher.

Step 2
Launch the Patcher and click on Apply a UPS patch to file.

Patch rom hack nups

Step 3
Click on the Browse next to File to Patch.

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Step 4
Choose the base game that we will be patching, and for this example, we have FireRed once again.

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Step 5
Click on the Browse next to UPS patch.

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Step 6
Choose the UPS file you want to patch and for this example, we’ll be using Pokemon Gaia.

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Step 7
Click on Patch and wait for the file to patch.

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Step 8
You’re done, and the FireRed will become Pokemon Gaia.GBA instead of UPS.

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Step 9
Once again, it is optional to change the name of the file and try launching it on a GBA emulator.

UPS Patching Video Guide


How to Patch .IPS or .UPS files using ROM Patcher JS (Works for Mobile, Windows, and Macs)

The ROM Patcher JS is an interesting specimen because it can apply an IPS or UPS patch. This means that regardless of which file format you want, ROM Patcher JS can pull through. You still need the base game, but the interesting part is that you patch the files online. That’s right, the patcher itself is a website, and you don’t need to download any app or program, and here are the steps to use it.

This is a good site to use when you’re playing on mobile devices and want to patch a rom hack directly to your phone.

Step 1
Head to the website of ROM Patcher JS. Click here to go to the site.

Step 2
Click the Choose File on the ROM File section.

Rom patcher js

Step 3
Choose the base game for the patch and in this case, we’ll be using FireRed once again.

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Step 4
Now click on Choose file in the Patch File section.

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Step 5
Choose any .IPS or .UPS file you want to patch. If you take a look at the image, any of those two will do but we’ll use Pokemon Gaia.UPS for now.

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Step 6
You’ll see a small green check meaning that both ROMs are compatible. All you need to do now is to click on Patch to start the process.

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Step 7
Once the patch is done, the file will automatically be downloaded to your device or computer.

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Step 8
You can rename it or not but launch the GBA emulator and see if the game works.

Patching with ROM Patcher JS Video Guide

Conclusion

Now that you know how patch IPS and UPS files to play a Rom hack, you can use any of the three methods above based on what you need.

Remember that the patcher you use will only patch specific to the ROM’s file type whether it is a .IPS or .UPS one. In some cases, you don’t have to download a GBA ROM file with a .IPS or .UPS format.

If you look hard enough, you may find an actual ROM with a .GBA format of the ROM hack that you want. Most of the time, these files are available if the ROM hack is currently having an update or patch being made for it.

If you want to get ahead, then by all means try to patch the ROM files that you have so you can play them on your GBA emulator.



About Taichee

Taichee is the ultimate writer for Pokémon gaming enthusiasts. With extensive experience, he expertly delves into popular Pokemon game series and ROM hacks for GBC, GBA, and NDS, meticulously testing cheats and sharing general gaming strategies on Pokemoncoders.

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60 thoughts on “How To Patch IPS and UPS Files to Play a ROM Hack”

    • Hello Jared, each rom hack typically comes with its own set of instructions for updating, usually provided by the author. However, I haven’t come across any information on how to simplify these instructions.

      Reply
  1. I am struggling to get the updated Nameless (4.12) and I am following the steps but when I try to open the game in MyBoy the screen flashes white then goes to black! I am irritated by this! What am I doing wrong here?

    Reply
  2. Hello, I am trying to patch Yu-Gi-Oh PokeDuel ups with Pokemon FireRed gba. It initially worked. However, when I started the game, it came up on the screen: “WRONG SAVE TYPE!
    Please Change to Flash 128k.”
    This message will not go away no matter what I try. I used the ROM Patcher JS. method. I am unsure what I should Do.

    Reply
      • hey i see that this reply i recent so i have a question what would the best gba emulator be like one that can also play ds gbc and gb games on for pc

        Reply
  3. I’ve been struggling to patch emerald theta ex, I’ve been trying for 2 days even going to version 1.0 of emerald, but nothing is working, could you please help?

    Reply
  4. Struggling to patch radical red, the radical red rom is .ups so I have followed the steps provided and received a prompt saying ‘the patch doesn’t match the file, patching cancelled’ am I just making a simple error? I am using the NUPS patcher provided from this site

    Reply
    • Hey Ashley, thanks for coming here. First off, Radical red is a FireRed rom. So you need to find and use a clean FireRed rom for patching, preferably the older version, which is V1.0 that most rom hacks require for patching. You can also watch this video on how to patch rom hacks with NUPS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ch5EPf8z80. Hope this helps.

      Reply
    • Hi Phoebe, I appreciate your feedback, and I’m glad the guide helped you out. If there’s anything from that guide you think needs improvements or need to be fixed, just comment here. Thanks for coming here.

      Reply
  5. I’m trying to patch liquid crystal to fire red (its Rom base) and when I used patcher JS I put the base in rom base and it wouldn’t let me put anything in after that, what do I do? I tried restarting the website but it did it again.

    Reply
  6. I’m trying to patch the latest Touhou Puppet Play Enhanced (Reloaded) version to FireRed and NUPS is giving me the “patch doesn’t match the file” error despite working for previous versions of the hack.

    Reply
  7. I have download ups file of pokemon unbound so I did as told in the video but it says “the patch doesn’t match the file” (the file I selected was fire red I am pretty sure that’s the one the game’s based on)

    Reply
  8. I downloaded the latest GS Chronicles and played it to the point where my guys are level 16 and evolving but as soon as any of them evolve it crashes my game. I have seen several people ask this question but with no response. How do you fix this problem?

    Reply
    • Could be a bug in the game? Or try switching to another emulator. I recommend using VBA for Windows or MyBoy for Android.

      Reply
  9. When i tried to do FireRed.gba and FireRed Radical ups that came from ur website, It says the patch is corrupt. What do i do? Get another version of FireRed or get a new ups?

    Reply
    • For Mac users, you can go with ROM Patcher JS which is the third tutorial in this guide. But you can also you the tool called Multipatch. I’m updating this article to include a tutorial for Multipatch.

      Reply
  10. I was using VBA-M for fire red rocket edition and when I tried to load up the patched file on the emulator it was just a white screen.

    Reply
  11. Hello. First, I want to say your articles are awesome. I’ve just recently gotten into pokemon ROMs and they have been a huge help. I’ve been going through this article in conjunction with your article about the best pokemon ROMs 2021 to get a good collection. So far, everything is working – i just am wondering, normally with my emulator (VBA) the version of Fire Red i play is a .zip file. With these methods, the games aren’t .zip, but .gba. Do I have to be careful If i plan on using both .zip and .gba with my emulator, or is it ok to switch between them for different games as long as it’s all working?

    Reply
    • Hey there Nick, thanks for coming here. There shouldn’t be a problem if you’ll use .zip or .gba. But my suggestion is to put that file in a folder separate from other games you have.

      Reply
  12. hey, i imagine my issue is an easy fix and im just struggling because ive never been good with files and coding and the like. im trying to patch pokemon saiph to firered, however when i go to patch them nups says that theres an error opening the firered file. i can open the firered file fine on my emulator, so im not sure why its having issues opening if it can run as is. again, probably a really easy thing to fix, sorry if im asking the obvious or its a silly mistake, i really struggle with anything even remotely behind the scenes in computers and just patching them together period feels so out of my depth

    Reply
  13. I click on the fire red gba file, then go to try to patch it to pokemon gaia but it says file does not math. Any solution?

    Reply
  14. Why i can’t save the game? I am saving the game and im closing the program.. once i open it it brings me back to new game..
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply