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

iPad Pro and iPhone on a table with a PS4 controllerKhamosh Pathak

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Open the world of gaming on iPhone and iPad to the two most popular game controllers. You can now connect a PS4 or Xbox One S controller directly to your device and instantly start playing any game that supports controllers.

Supported models

game controllers previously supported by iPhone and iPad, but they had to be certified with the help of MFi program (Made for iPhone). The options were severely limited, expensive and not so great.

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 support more wireless controllers, but the system is not open for all Bluetooth wireless controllers. Only PS4 Dualshock 4 and Xbox One controllers are currently supported. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller does not work.

There are some Xbox One controllers in the wild. Apple currently only supports the 1708 model, which is the Xbox One S controller (the original Xbox One controller does not work). Most Dualshock PS4 controllers are supported (with the exception of the CUH-ZCT1U model that came with the original PS4 in 2013).

The easiest way to check if your controller is supported is to connect it to your iPhone or iPad.

How to connect a PS4 and Xbox controller to an iPhone or iPad

You can associate a controller with your iPhone or iPad using the Bluetooth section of the Settings application. Open the "Settings" application on your iPhone or iPad, then press the "Bluetooth" option.

Here, make sure the Bluetooth feature is turned on and in discovery mode.

Tap Bluetooth, and turn on the Bluetooth feature.

Now, put your controller in pairing mode. If you are using a PS4 Dualshock 4 controller, hold down the "PS" and "Share" buttons at the same time until the LED on the back of the controller turns white and starts blinking rapidly.

PlayStation ControllerPlayStation

If you are using an Xbox One S controller, press and hold the "Pairing" button on the back of the controller. If you are pairing the controller with a device for the first time, you must press and hold the "Xbox" button.

diagram of an Xbox controllerXbox

Now the PS4 or Xbox controller will appear in the "Other Devices" section. Press it to have the controller associated and connected to your iPhone or iPad.

Tap the controller in the list to connect to it

How to disconnect and unlink the controller

You can quickly disconnect the controller using the new expandable Bluetooth menu in Control Center.

On your iPhone or iPad, slide your finger down in the upper right corner of the screen to open the Control Center. If you're using an iPhone with a Home button, swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen.

Slide your finger from the top right corner on your iPad to use the Control Center.

Then press and hold on the "Toggle" panel.

Tap and hold the Switch section in Control Center

Here, press and hold the "Bluetooth" button to expand the menu.

Press and hold on the Bluetooth flip-flop

Find the paired controller and press it to disconnect it. You can return to the same menu and press the controller to reconnect.

Tap the controller in the Bluetooth menu to disconnect

To unlink a controller, you must access the "Bluetooth" menu of the "Settings" application. Here, locate the controller and tap the "i" button next to it.

Press the i button next to the controller name

In the menu, tap "Forget this device" to ungroup.

Tap Forget this device

How to play games with the controller on your iPhone and iPad

Support for controllers on iOS and iPadOS has been around for many years. That's why many popular games already support it. Once the controller is connected, go to the game settings page to see if you can enter controller mode.

If you play games of Apple Arcade, the controller will be activated automatically when you launch the game. Apple Arcade games also highlight controller support for a game at the very top of the list.

Check if an Apple Arcade application supports controllers

The controller support is just one of the new features in iOS 13. Once you have paired your controller with your iPhone or iPad, you must activate the dark mode to make it easy for late-night gaming sessions.

RELATED, RELATED, RELATED: How to enable dark mode on your iPhone and iPad

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