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How to Pair PS4 or Xbox Controllers with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Android



The DualShock 4 and Xbox One controllers were originally designed for use on their respective consoles. However, thanks to Apple's latest software updates, you can more easily pair them via Bluetooth with your iOS 13 device, iPadOS tablet or Apple TV via TVOS 13. With Android 10, you can also easily pair both controllers, and you can also use earlier ones Couple versions of Android and iOS.

This is probably of particular interest if you subscribe to Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. You can play several of the games offered by both services with one controller. Fortnite paved the way for the expansion of controller support as it became available on selected phones. However, the PS4 and Xbox controllers (though not all Xbox controllers) will work on mobile devices with more games than ever before, and especially with many of these games offering native support for their button layouts.

Setting up the DualShock 4 and Xbox Wireless Controller with your device is easy. However, the details of the setup will vary slightly, depending on which controller you have and which operating system this is you are coupling the controller with. We will meet all the variables below.


Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

First put your controller in pairing mode.

No matter which device you use to pair the Sony DualShock 4, the controller must be paired first. To do this, hold down the Share button to the left of the touchpad, and then press and hold the center PlayStation button. The lightbar at the top of the controller starts flashing. This indicates that a device is being searched for pairing.

If you have an Xbox wireless controller, first make sure that it is Bluetooth enabled. There's an easy way to detect this: If your gamepad has a glossy plastic around the Xbox button, it will not work. However, if this region is made of the same matte plastic as the front of the controller (see illustration above), this will be the case.

To enable pairing mode, turn on the controller by holding down the Xbox button in the center button. Once it lights up, click and hold the connect button on top of the controller near the bumpers until the Xbox logo flashes. This indicates that you are ready to pair.


To pair your controller with iOS

  • Open the Settings app and tap the Bluetooth option at the top of the page. If your DualShock 4 or Xbox controller is in pairing mode, it will be listed as a "DUALSHOCK4 Wireless Controller" or "Xbox Wireless Controller".
  • Tap the option that applies to you. Once the pairing is completed successfully, the light bar at the top of the DualShock 4 turns pink. The backlit center button on the Xbox controller stops flashing and stays lit.
  • If you are using an iPad with iPadOS, follow the same steps to connect one of the two controllers.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

On Apple TV (with tvOS 13)

  • Open the Settings app on the Apple TV Home screen, navigate to "Remote controls and devices" and click this option.
  • Navigate down until you find "Bluetooth." and then click inside. The first option on the next page is a handy resource called "How to Pair Game Controllers." Read if this is necessary. If your controller is in pairing mode, it will be displayed in the "Other Devices" section of this Bluetooth connection screen.
  • Once the controller is connected, you can use it instead of Apple. Includes remote control.

On Android

  • In software versions prior to Android 10, it was possible to pair Bluetooth controllers with Android phones, but the latest update from Google detects controllers faster. As a bonus for Android 10 users syncing a DualShock 4, the touchpad can be used both as an operating system mouse pointer and in-game if you do not want to navigate with the analog stick. It's cool!

( Note : These steps vary slightly depending on the phone you are using.)

  • If you're using a pixel on Android 10, navigate to the Settings app, then click "Connected Devices." Finally, you can find and pair your controller by selecting "Pair New Device". The DualShock 4 appears as a "Wireless Controller," while the Xbox Controller is simply called an "Xbox Wireless Controller."
  • Under Android 10, the DualShock 4 lights up in blue to indicate that it has been successfully set up. The illuminated center button on the Xbox Controller remains lit while connected to your phone.
  • If you're using an older version of Android, such as Android 7 Nougat or Android 8 Oreo, you may need to drill down into a Bluetooth subroutine. In the Connected Devices setting, click the menu to pair a controller.

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