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Apple iOS 14, iPadOS 14 deliver major gaming improvements

Apple’s recently announced iOS 14, macOS, iPadOS 14, and tvOS promise several major improvements that could make gaming on them feel more like playing on a console or PC.

Apple released new details about its upcoming operating systems this week, including a rash of new game-controller support functions, like button remapping, rumble, and motion controls. As long as developers code those features into their games, players with traditional game controllers will be able to swap their buttons, feel vibrations during gameplay, and more.

On games that support Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers, developers can set the Lightbar at the top to change colors based on a character’s health. They can also let players use the DualShock 4’s touchpad for finger tracking.

That may not seem like much to console players who have had those features for years, but until now, features most players take for granted on console games haven’t been available to iOS, tvOS, or macOS players.

The updates are part of a broader set of gaming improvements Apple unveiled in this year’s software updates. A new Game Center makes it easier to find friends to play with and access leaderboards and achievements. Apple also said that it’s finally allowing Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 to work with iOS-based games. The company didn’t say, however, whether Sony and Microsoft controllers for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will also work with the new operating systems.

In addition to console controller support, PC players will find a home on Apple’s iPad with dramatically improved keyboard and mouse functionality. Apple’s iPadOS already works with keyboard and mice, but the experience has been less than stellar. Players can’t hit multiple keys on a keyboard, for instance. And clicking with a mouse tends to be more trouble than it’s worth. Apple’s update aims at addressing that.

Apple unveiled its new operating systems at its first virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday. All of the updates will be available later this year as free downloads, but developers can start building the new functions into their games now. Check out our full rundown on all of Apple’s announcements at the event.

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Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. He has been writing about the world of…
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