Fortnite is now free on iPhone and iPad – here's how to get it

No subscription required: you can play Fortnite for free with Xbox Cloud Gaming

Fortnite
(Image credit: Epic Games)

If you want to play Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad, we've got good news for you: Epic's multiplayer shooter, which was booted off the App Store in 2020, is back. You can play it on your device via Xbox Cloud Gaming, and you don't need an Xbox Game Pass subscription – so you can play the game free of charge. 

This is great news for Fortnite fans and terrible news for me personally, because my youngest and all their primary school pals are Fortnite addicts. The novelty of my kid begging to do chores to earn money for V-Bucks wore off a while ago, and it feels like for kids at least, Fortnite has become an enormous black hole for pocket money.

Which of course is why Epic is happy to have it in Cloud Gaming. Fortnite has always been free to play. But it can get awfully expensive if you want to personalise it –which from what I've seen, every primary school kid does.

Show me the money!

The reason for Apple kicking Fortnite off the App Store is simple: money. Apple wanted its usual third of in-app purchases and Epic didn't want to comply, so the two firms parted ways. It wasn't a friendly breakup: Epic introduced changes designed to bypass the App Store, Apple blocked the game and Epic filed a lawsuit. Apple won on nine out of ten counts, although Epic is appealing the ruling.

Xbox Cloud Gaming is the easiest way to get Fortnite on iOS/iPadOS, but it's not the only one: GeForce NOW has been testing it too, but that's a closed beta so it's not widely available.

It'll be interesting to see how Fortnite performs in the cloud. I've played a lot in Xbox Cloud Gaming but those games have been single-player, where network congestion and lag aren't really a huge problem. But serious gamers know that even a little lag can make the difference between life and death in fast-paced shooters. I hope that doesn't mean iPhone and iPad players turn out to be cannon fodder for gamers on PS4, PS5 and PC.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).