How to connect a PS4 or Xbox game controller to your iPhone or iPad

If you’re into mobile gaming, then iOS is the place to be. Between the long list of great iPhone games and the best Apple Arcade games, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. While many titles are designed especially for a touchscreen, others are awkward to tap and swipe your way through — but the good news is that you can hook up a game controller to your iPhone or iPad quite easily.

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

How to connect a PS4 controller

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

  1. Grab your PS4 controller. Press and hold the PS Button and the Share button together for a few seconds until the light on the controller rapidly flashes white — this means it’s in pairing mode.
  2. Open Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and make sure that Bluetooth is toggled on. If you’re pairing with an Apple TV, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.
  3. Look for DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller in the list of devices. Tap on it to pair.

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

If you want to disconnect the controller, simply go to Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, tap the I next to the controller, and then tap Disconnect. Or, if you want to unpair completely, select Forget This Device.

How to connect an Xbox Controller

Here is how you can pair an Xbox controller with an iPad or another iOS device. Xbox controllers must have Bluetooth capabilities in order for this technique to function.

  1. Grab your Xbox controller. Press the Xbox Button, then press and hold the small Connect Button on the top for a few seconds to put it in pairing mode.
  2. Now you can open Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and make sure that 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 list of devices, and tap on 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 interrupt the connection by looking for the controller in the list of Bluetooth devices and tapping on I.

How to connect a third-party controller

You can use the following directions to connect and disconnect outside controllers with your Apple devices. Do note that there are numerous Bluetooth game controllers designed with Apple devices in mind.

  1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how to activate the Bluetooth pairing mode on your controller.
  2. On your Apple device, go into your settings and select the Bluetooth option and turn it on. When using an Apple TV, go into the settings for remotes and devices and select Bluetooth.
  3. Once the controller pops up on the devices 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 tapping the I next to your controller in the list.

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