I was able to build the latest MAME core on iOS for RetroArch. I was looking into updating the mame core for my MAME4iOS repo (it’s on 0.139) , and the libretro one seemed the easiest path to getting it to build. It took awhile to wrap my head around the build system, as it’s incredibly complicated. You have to build the thing that makes the build, so certain things need to be built on the host OS before building for the target OS. I was able to modify the macOS target to build for iOS, and the pull request I made was approved.
Since building the mame core takes a lot of time, here’s a link to the compiled core (arm64, 64-bit only): https://mega.nz/#!KUIgSCDK!2rpf24qf4uoKVlrA7Lf1cuE-_1QtVvPTZEdQQZPEkf0
Unzip the file and place it into the pkg/apple/iOS/modules folder (where the cores are supposed to go), run Xcode and build and run.
See the libretro doc for more info on building and running for iOS: https://docs.libretro.com/guides/install-ios/
Someone (@Weedy_Weed_Smoker ?) can also make the IPA with the new mame core available too.
Some games refuse to run (like Daytona USA) but this might be due to MAME itself, and some like the Naomi-based games are really slow (i’m on an iPhone XS Max). I’m working with someone to tweak things to squeeze performance out of the ARM cpu to improve speed, but no promises there.
If anyone can run any new noteworthy games, feel free to put them down The ones I’ve discovered are Denjin Makai (wanted to run this for awhile), Beatmania and the Crossed Swords 2 bootleg.