How to Connect a Game Controller to Your iPad or iPhone

By | January 14, 2022

There are so many games available on the App Store, but playing them can be difficult. Although some are designed with touchscreen confines but still less than optimal, For example, you will need a standard game controller to get the most out of games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Minecraft.

So how do you connect a game controller to your iPhone? We’ll show you how..

3 Types of Controllers You Can Connect to Your iPhone

There are three types of game controllers available for iOS devices:

  • Bluetooth game console controllers, such as Xbox One controller, PS4 controller, etc.
  • A third-party MFI controller, specifically designed for use with iPhone and iPad.
  • A stick-on capacitive thumb controller, which is a smaller device that attaches to the screen using suction.

We will take a look at these three methods of controlling games on iPhone.

Can You Connect Game Controllers with Jailbreak

At one point, the only way to connect a game controller to an iPhone was to jailbreak the device. However, this is not a practical solution. Jailbreaking is not frowned upon, and we’ve seen why jailbreaking your device is a huge security issue.

Most of the desired features it delivers are now built into iOS, making it largely useless. Therefore, we are just looking for ways to connect game controllers to iPhone without jailbreak.

Connecting the Game Controller Console to Your iPhone

The most popular game controllers are available with the corresponding consoles, Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4.

But how can you connect a console game controller to your iPhone or iPad? iOS 13 introduces improved support for Bluetooth game controllers, such as those available with Xbox One and PS4.

All you need to do is put your phone in pairing mode, then make sure the game console your controller is paired with is turned off. You may also want to unplug your console so you don’t accidentally turn it on and plug in your controller during the process.

Next, put the controller in pairing mode, then use the Bluetooth Bluetooth menu to pair the devices. We dive into that in more detail below.

How to Connect PS4 Controller to iPhone

Want to connect your PS4 controller to your iPad or iPhone? open Settings > Bluetooth on your Apple device, then make sure your PS4 system is turned off. Put the PS4 controller into pairing mode (hold down the button PlayStation and Share together).

When the white light flashes, the controller is found, and under Other Devices You will see the devices listed. Tap Dualshock 4 Controller to pair the device.

To disconnect a device, go to the Bluetooth screen on your iPhone, find the device, then tap the button i. choose Unpair if you want to disconnect it now, or Forget this device to remove it completely. Or, turn off the controller by holding down the button PlayStation for 10 seconds.

Use the same steps to connect a PS4 controller to an iPad.

How to Connect Xbox One Controller to iPhone

Microsoft has released several revisions of the Xbox One controller, and previous models did not support Bluetooth connection. You can tell if your Bluetooth has Bluetooth if it looks like the bottom controller in the illustration below:

If your controller has plastic around the Xbox buttons like the top of the image, it unfortunately doesn’t support Bluetooth. This also applies to the original Xbox One Elite controller, even though the Elite 2 supports Bluetooth.

To start pairing a compatible Xbox One controller, make sure your Xbox One is turned off. Next, open Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone or iPad. Press the button Xbox on your controller, then hold down the button Connect on top of the controller for about three seconds.

iOS should detect it and list the controllers below Other Devices as Xbox Wireless Controller. Tap this to pair. After that, you can then play controller-enabled games with the device.

To unpair the device, visit the Bluetooth screen again when you are done playing. Scroll to your controller name, tap i, then select Unpair to disconnect or Forget this device to remove it completely from your device. Turning off the controller by holding down the button Xbox for 10 seconds also works.

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The process for connecting an Xbox One controller to your iPad is the same.

Connect a Third Party Controller to Your iOS Device

Expensive console game controllers. If you don’t have a console yet, it’s better to spend money on a dedicated smartphone controller.

It’s easy to connect to your phone and often Android compatible too. This means you can share the controller with friends or relatives. And if you switch from iPhone to Android, you won’t need a new mobile game controller.

The controllers will only work via Bluetooth, but they must also be MFi certified. Apple’s standards ensure that hardware and software are compatible, making it easy for developers to add gamepad support to games.

To connect this controller, use the Bluetooth steps described above. The only difference is that non-console controllers will have a different button for Bluetooth discovery. Check the device documentation to find this.

Which Smartphone Game Controller is the Best

These devices are more affordable than console controllers and are made for mobile gaming. You’ll find them in game stores and on Amazon.

Nimbus Bluetooth Mobile Controller

With over 40 hours of battery life, this Fortnite-ready controller connects via Bluetooth 4.1 and is compatible with MFi-ready titles on all iOS devices.

The controller features a D-pad button, two thumbs up, standard A/B/X/Y buttons, and shoulder and trigger buttons.

Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller

A more compact solution, this Bluetooth 2.1 controller offers 10 hours of battery life. With a D-pad, thumb, A/B/X/Y, and four shoulder/trigger buttons, you’ll find yourself in complete control.

This lightweight controller is pocket-sized and weighs just 2.72 ounces.

STOGA Mobile Game Controller

This wireless gaming controller features the mandatory D-pad, thumb, A/B/X/Y, and four shoulder buttons, but its standout feature is the positional clamp for attaching your phone.

The 10 hour battery will keep you playing the game. Meanwhile, the controller connects directly to the game without any additional software.

Capacitive “Stay On” controller

Despite the prevalence of third-party controllers, developers still design games with touchscreen audiences in mind. On-screen controls remain the standard control method, but are far from accurate or pleasant to use.

One compromise is the use of stick-on controllers, like this model from Vakili. The controller attaches to your iPad using a suction cup, and uses the capacitive touchscreen to add a more tactile element of control to your gameplay.

Unfortunately, such devices are becoming increasingly difficult to find. A smart compromise is GameSir F1 Grip Game Controller, which combines a traditional game controller grip with an on-screen controller pad.

It is clear that the best way to play the game is to use the control method that is most suitable for it. If you’re lucky, the developer will support external controllers if needed. Of course, playing online multiplayer games like Fortnite with a controller will give superior results with the default touch method.

Whether you plan to use a console controller, mobile game controller, or thumb pad, be sure to choose the device that gives you the edge.

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