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. 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 how 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.

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 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, those are the ROM hacks which will change the game’s content.

The next thing you need is the base ROM or the ROM which the hack was based on. 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

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.


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.


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

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.


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


Step 5
Click on the Browse next to UPS patch.


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


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


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


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

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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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 just 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.

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The patcher doesn’t look like the picture when I download it so I don’t know how to do it with the new interface.

Jo Anden

When I patch it together and start the download it becomes a .txt file instead of gba. How would I fix this?

Jacq Bian

What would you recommend if I’m using an HP laptop?


Either of the mentioned methods works with your HP laptop.

Eric Kosick

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?


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


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?


Hello! I wanted to ask what patcher I need if I’m using a mac?
Thank you so much!


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.


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.


What patches should I use if I’m using android


Use ROM Patcher JS, see section How to Patch .IPS or .UPS files using ROM Patcher JS.


Can i do this in android phone?


Yup, please read on through the guide.


Trying to patch Pokemon XD to XG new gen an says the patch doesnt match the game file
how do i fix this problem


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… Read more »


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.


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… Read more »


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?




Make sure the game is in .gba file format and not in .zip. Also, you might need a v1.0 FireRed rom version instead of v1.1.


I had the same problem as ZeroD and downloading v1.0 instead fixed it instantly. Thanks!


I’m glad my suggestion helps and yes, cheats can work only on V1.0 and not on v1.1


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!


Which game are you trying to play?