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How to Open a CIA File

June 27, 2022

have you met a CIA file and you don’t know what it is? Maybe you know what the file is, but you just don’t know how to open it. Thanks to this simple guide you will be able to find out what the CIA file extension is, how to open it and how to work with it.

CIA files can only be executed by certain programs. If you cannot open the CIA file, it may be because you do not have a suitable program to open it, or its file association is corrupted.

Let’s see what you can do about it.

CIA file
Index of contents

  1. What is a CIA File?
    1. What is the difference between CIA and 3dsx?
  2. How to Open a CIA File?
    1. How to Open a CIA File in Windows
    2. How to Open a CIA File on Mac
    3. How to Open a CIA File on Linux
    4. How to open a CIA file on Android
  3. Fix CIA File Association Errors
  4. To close

What is a CIA File?

INC are the acronyms for “CTR Importable Archive“, in Spanish means “CTR importable file”. The development of this file was done by Nintendo, and it is a game related file.

This format allows the 3DS to play titles imported from the CTR. The Nintendo CDN contains the same data as the CIA files and titles.

CIA files are used to install game content on a Nintendo 3DS handheld device. They contain game content, TMD (title metadata), and a ticket (encrypted title key).

A CIA file is commonly used to update game cards and store eShop content for the 3DS.

Citra’s software currently you can install CIA (decryptions) easily. Make sure you have copied the files from your 3DS system.

The CIA installation can be done by selecting File, Archive > Install CIA in the menu bar. The CIA file you want to install can be found on your computer.

Citra installs CTR Installable Archive the same way a 3DS would, so they’re meant to be used for that purpose. CIAs cannot be executed directly by the user.

However, it is much easier to use just to install games, than to find them on the emulated SD to run them.

What is the difference between CIA and 3dsx?

3dsx is a homebrew format that can be used for various exploits. Nintendo uses CIA packaging formats for its products. NCCH files are stored on CIA, which can be installed on 3DS NAND or SD cards.

That’s why you can convert a CIA to an NCSD and vice versa, they both contain NCCH files.

How to Open a CIA File?

Run the CIA file by double clicking on it. If you’ve already installed the software to open it, and the file associations are set up correctly, the CIA file will open without a problem.

If Windows keeps asking you which program should be used to open the file, the problem is most likely caused by broken file associations.

Next, we will show you an easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide to opening CIA files on different operating systems.

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How to Open a CIA File in Windows

  1. You need to download the software citra. It is a free emulator for Nintendo 3DS which is very effective and stable. You must use this software to open the file.
  2. Next, you need to locate the downloaded file. If you don’t remember where you downloaded your CIA file, you should check your folder “downloads” since it is usually saved there automatically.
  3. Once the CIA file is located, right click it.
  4. From the dropdown menu, click “To open with”.
  5. Choose “citra” from the software list.
  6. Click on “To accept”.

Done, here the CIA file will open.

How to Open a CIA File on Mac

  1. Just like on Windows, you also need to download Citra emulator for Mac. But the main page states that the software is not compatible with Mac M1, so if your Mac is M1 you should give up this idea. If you have a Mac with another type of chip, you will not have problems.
  2. Next, you need to locate the downloaded file. If you don’t remember where you downloaded your CIA file, you should check your folder “downloads” since it is usually saved there automatically.
  3. Once the CIA file is located, right click it.
  4. From the dropdown menu, click “To open with”.
  5. Choose “citra” from the software list.
  6. Click on “To accept”.

Done, the CIA file will be open.

How to Open a CIA File on Linux

  1. You need to download the software citra. You must use this software to open the file.
  2. Next, you need to locate the downloaded file. If you don’t remember where you downloaded your CIA file, you should check your folder “downloads” since it is usually saved there automatically.
  3. Once the CIA file is located, right click it.
  4. From the dropdown menu, click “To open with”.
  5. Choose “citra” from the software list.
  6. Click on “To accept”.

How to open a CIA file on Android

  1. First of all, you need to locate the downloaded CIA file. The file can usually be found in the folder “downloads” from your phone.
  2. If you try to run the file, it will show you an error.
  3. Find the app “Google Play Store” And enter.
  4. Search for “Citra” in the store using the search bar.
  5. Select and download the emulator “citra” for Android.
  6. When the download is finished, run the application and open the CIA file from there.

Fix CIA File Association Errors

To fix the problem quickly and automatically, it is best to use a third-party repair application. Our recommendation is to use Outbyte PC Repair. Proceed as follows:

  1. Go to the official page of Outbyte PC Repair to download. It is a very effective free software.
  2. Once the download is done, proceed with the installation, it will take a few minutes.
  3. Then double click the program to run it.
  4. On the program interface, click Start Scan to identify all possible issues.
  5. Review the scan results and click “repair items”.

We do not recommend trying to fix the problem manually if you are not computer savvy. It is recommended to use automatic tools such as Outbyte PC Repair.

The fixup tool repairs broken and corrupt file associations and helps the system to open a CIA file with the correct program.

The repair tool is fast and easy to use.

To close

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Although the small 3DS console is no longer in use, giving way to other consoles of the brand, it is also true that there are still many 3DS in the hands of users. Therefore, CIA files and emulators like CITRA are still used.

Opening a CIA file is very easy, having Citra as supporting emulator software.