How to connect a wireless game controller to your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

It’s easy to connect a wireless PlayStation, Xbox, or other Bluetooth game controller to your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac.

How to connect a wireless game controller to your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

Pair and connect a controller

Instructions for PlayStation game controllers and Xbox game controllers are available, but the general steps are the same for all Bluetooth game controllers that can be paired with a computer or mobile phone.

  1. Press and hold the appropriate button or buttons on the controller to put it into pairing mode. This makes it discoverable by your Apple device. Check your controller’s documentation for setup details specific to pairing with a computer or mobile phone.

  2. Open Bluetooth settings on your Apple device, then select the controller from the list of nearby devices.

Customize controller buttons and features

For a growing number of game controllers, Apple devices include settings for customizing buttons and other controller features.

  1. Make sure that your Apple device has the required software:
      • iOS 16 or later on iPhone
      • iPadOS 16 or later on iPad
      • tvOS 16 or later on Apple TV
      • macOS Ventura 13 or later on Mac

  2. Make sure that the controller is turned on and connected to your Apple device.

  3. If customization settings are available for your controller, you can find them here:
      • iPhone, iPad: Go to Settings > General > Game Controller. Tap the name of your controller, then tap Default Controls.
      • Apple TV: Go to Settings > General > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. Select your controller, then select Customization.
      • Mac: Choose Apple menu  > System Settings, click Game Controllers in the sidebar, then click the name of your controller.

When you pair more than one controller that can be customized in this way, these settings include Buddy Controller. You can use the Buddy Controller feature to combine inputs from multiple controllers into one so that another person can support you in getting to the next level in your game.

If the controller doesn’t connect or work as expected

Support for specific buttons and features, such as a controller’s audio jack or lights, varies by controller and the app you’re using with it.

• Install the latest software updates — both for your Apple device and the controller. If a software (firmware) update is available for the controller, get it from the maker of the controller.

• In Bluetooth settings, select the contoller or the info button (if present) next to its name, then select Forget This Device. Connect the controller again.

• Reduce the number of Bluetooth devices connected to your Apple device. This can also help with connection issues related to wireless interference. Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD support up to four Bluetooth game controllers at the same time, or one controller when Apple TV is also using a Bluetooth audio accessory. The limit for other Apple devices varies based on your specific setup and wireless environment.

• To charge your controller, use the charging solution included with your controller or recommended by the controller manufacturer.

MacDailyNews Note: With some apps, you can use an iPhone or iPad as an additional controller. This doesn’t require a Bluetooth connection. Contact the app developer for details.

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