How to Connect a Gaming Controller in iOS 13

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While Android has long allowed mobile gamers to utilize video game console controllers, Apple’s first official adventure into this arena starts this fall. The release of iOS 13 will help make millions of iPads and iPhones around the world feel like traditional gaming systems. Officially, Apple’s iOS products will support both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers. This feature and Apple’s upcoming Arcade service are likely to continue the meteoric rise of mobile gaming.

Here is how you can connect a gaming controller in iOS.

The Basics

Connect Gaming Controllers Ios13 Download

This one is straightforward, but, of course, the most important step is to install iOS 13. It will be available later this month, and updating your device is incredibly easy. Go to “Settings -> General -> Software Update.” Once the update is availab;e amd you’ve found it, just hit the Install button. Go have a coffee and come back twenty minutes later.

PlayStation 4 Pairing Mode

Connecting Gaming Controllers Ios13 Dualshock

Once iOS 13 is set up, connecting a PS4 controller is as easy as it gets. Find the “PlayStation” button. It’s a small circular button outlined in the image above. Next, identify the “Share” button which is also identified next to a red arrow above. Hold both of those buttons down until you see the controller’s light bar start blinking. Once that’s done, you’ll find “Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller” listed in your device’s Bluetooth settings.

Xbox One Pairing Mode

Just like with the PlayStation 4 button, connecting an Xbox One controller is simple and straightforward. However, to do this you must make sure you have a Bluetooth-compatible Xbox One controller. This is identified by making sure your controller starts with model number 1708. Pending the verification that you have the right controller, you’re ready to connect.

Connect Gaming Controllers Ios13 Xboxone

On the front of the controller is a wireless connection button, press and hold it down. If everything goes smoothly, you’ll see “Xbox Wireless Controller” appear in your Bluetooth settings on your iOS devices.

Connecting on Your Device

Now that the devices are ready for connection, we’re ready to sync them together. Head to “Settings -> Bluetooth.” Once you’re on this screen, you should see either the “Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller” or “Xbox Wireless Controller” under the “Other Devices” section. Tap whichever one is relevant, and if the connection works, it should move the device up to “My Devices.” That’s it. You’re ready to play. If your controller ever turns off, connecting the device again is as simple as turning it on, provided you haven’t connected to anything else in between. If so, you’ll have to reconnect.

Connect Gaming Controllers Ios 13 Bluetooth

Compatible Games

It’s still early in the iOS 13 app update cycle, so there’s no doubt hundreds of games will be compatible. While the list grows, you can look for any game compatible with MFi controller and know that your PS4/Xbox controller will work for Bluetooth playback. While the App Store games are the primary focus here, don’t forget about the ability to play back PS4 games with Sony’s Remote Play app. You can connect directly to your PS4 and stream from any Wi-Fi network around the world. Microsoft is said to be working on its own streaming app which should come to iOS devices once it’s released. Third-party options for Microsoft do exist, but they’re all pretty buggy, and you’re best served waiting for the official release.


Connect Gaming Controllers Ios13 Disconnect

Playing games with a controller on an iOS device is a dream come true for many mobile gamers. However, with this good news also comes some warnings, the most notable of which is a reminder to disconnect your controller while not in use. You can do that by going back into the Bluetooth menu under Settings and hitting the “i” next to the respective controller name, then pressing “Disconnect.. You can follow the same steps above to reconnect. Stopping the connection saves battery life. Alternatively, you can also turn off each controller to preserve battery life.


Apple’s decision to enable controller support is going to have a ripple effect across the mobile gaming industry. Developers are unquestionably working fast to add support, as this feature is more than likely to exponentially increase downloads for certain game formats. Does adding a controller make you more interested in mobile gaming? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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