How to Connect a PS4 or Xbox Game Controller to Your iPhone or iPad

If you like mobile games, iOS is the place to be. Between the long list of great iPhone games and the best Apple Arcade games, there is plenty to keep you entertained. While many titles are designed specifically for a touchscreen, others are difficult to touch and slide – but the good news is that you can connect a game controller to your iPhone or iPad quite easily.

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Apple added this option in iOS 13, just in time for the launch of its subscription gaming service, Apple Arcade. If you play something like Fortnite or Oceanhorn 2 on an iPad, a controller really makes it easier. You can add a PS4 DualShock 4 controller or an Xbox One controller surprisingly easily. Moreover, besides adding them to iPhones and iPads, you can also add them to iPod Touch or Apple TV.

How to connect a PS4 controller

Here are the steps to connect a PS4 Dualshock controller to your iPad or other iOS device:

  1. Take your PS4 controller. Press and hold the PS button and the Share for a few seconds until the indicator light of the controller flashes white rapidly – it means it is in pairing mode.
  2. Open Settings> Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and make sure that Bluetooth is activated. If you’re pairing with an Apple TV, go to Settings> Remotes and devices> Bluetooth.
  3. Look for DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller in the device list. Tap on it to pair.

Congratulations, your PS4 controller is now ready for you to start playing. Since games downloaded or designed for tablets or smartphones rely on touch controls, you will need to change your game settings to sync and connect a controller.

If you want to disconnect the controller, just go to Settings> Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, press the I next to the controller, then press Disconnect. Or, if you want to unpair completely, select Forget this device.

How to connect an Xbox controller

Here’s how to pair an Xbox controller with an iPad or other iOS device. Xbox controllers must have Bluetooth capabilities for this technique to work.

  1. Take your Xbox controller. press the Xbox button, then press and hold the small Login button on the top for a few seconds to put it into pairing mode.
  2. Now you can open Settings> Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and make sure you have enabled Bluetooth. If you’re pairing with an Apple TV, go to Settings> Remotes and devices> Bluetooth.
  3. Look for Xbox Wireless Controller in the device list and tap it to pair.

If you want to disconnect the Xbox controller from your iOS device, open Settings and Bluetooth on your phone or tablet. You can terminate the connection by finding the controller in the list of Bluetooth devices and pressing I.

How to connect a third-party controller

You can use the following instructions to connect and disconnect external controllers with your Apple devices. Note that there are many Bluetooth game controllers designed for Apple devices.

  1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to activate Bluetooth pairing mode on your controller.
  2. On your Apple device, go to your settings and select the Bluetooth option and activate it. When using an Apple TV, go to the remotes and devices settings and select Bluetooth.
  3. Once the controller appears in the device list, select it to pair.

Once again, you can disconnect the controller by going to Settings> Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and touching I next to your controller in the list.

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