CIA Install, what is it for?

Sorry if I’m being an idiot, but in the File dropdown, there is an option to “Install a CIA file”. I gave it a go once, and when it finished, I noticed nothing new happened.

What is the intended purpose of that?

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Right now the game list doesn’t look in the emulated SD card for games, so if you want to install games with it you need to look in the file path manually.
Right now, it’s mostly useful for installing game updates.

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I don’t use the emulated SD card for storing games, I have a folder where I store all my ROMs. Anytime I want to use one of them I merely bring it up manually.

So can I use that install thingy for playing a .cia file or must I place it in the emulated SD card?

CIA stands for CTR Installable Archive, hence Citra install them in the same way a 3DS would, that’s their intended purpose. Directly running CIAs is not supported. So while you could use it to install games, then find them in emulated SD to run, it’s much easier just to use .CXIs .CCIs or .3DSs in the first place

Could you kindly show me how to “So while you could use it to install games, then find them in emulated SD to run”, as I would at least like to give it a shot before giving up.

IIRC the game would be in user directory/sdmc/Nintendo 3DS/lot of zeros/lots of zeros/title/first 8 digits of the games title ID/last 8 digits

It’s worth noting that this feature will likely be covered in the November Progress Report.

In the Nintendo e-Shop on your 3DS!
Anything else is obviously illegal and of course not supported by Citra.
Once you have bought and installed your game you can easily dump it by following this guide


If a game is available as cartridge I would recommend buying it second hand and then following this guide

In citra, that serves to install the update of the games and the DLC if it has but it only works if the update and the DLC are from the same region of the game if they are different, nothing will happen.