How To Pair A PS4 or Xbox Controller With Your iPhone, iPad and Android Device

PS4 and Xbox controllers
Image: Vulcan Post

The new iOS 13 may not be as favourable to many gamers especially those in the battle royale genre as of now but that doesn’t mean that gaming on Apple devices is over. The DualShock 4 and Xbox One controllers were originally meant to be for their consoles.

But thanks to the many awesome features on iOS 13 and Android, you can now play games on your mobile device without necessarily having to touch it. This is probably of particular interest if you subscribe to the new Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. This is because you can play several of the games on offer form either service with a controller.

Fortnite had paved the way for expanding controller support when it arrived on select phones. But PS4 and Xbox controllers (though not all Xbox controllers) work on mobile with more games more than ever and crucially, many of those games offer native support for their button layouts.

With that in mind, the process for setting up the DualShock 4 and Xbox wireless controller with your device is simple. However, the details of the setup vary a bit depending on which controller you have and what operating system that you’ll be pairing the controller to. We’re going to hit all of the variables below.

Get Your Controller Into Pairing Mode

FYI, Sony’s DualShock 4 controller always requires you to have in the pairing mode before doing anything else. This is on both Android and Apple devices. To make this happen, press and hold its “Share” button to the left of the touchpad, then also hold the middle “PlayStation” button. The light bar at the top of the controller will start to blink, an indicator that it’s looking for a device to pair up with.

ps4 controller

Image: YouTube/Spllitz

For the Xbox controller, first, ensure that it’s Bluetooth-ready. If your gamepad has a glossy plastic surrounding the Xbox button, it won’t work. if that region is made of the same matte plastic as the face of the controller (as shown in the picture above), it will.

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

Pairing Your Controller With iOS

  • Open the “Settings” app, and then tap the Bluetooth option near the top of the page. When your PS4 or Xbox pad is in pairing mode, you’ll find it listed as “DUALSHOCK4 Wireless Controller” or “Xbox Wireless Controller,” respectively.
  • Tap whichever option applies to you. Once it’s successfully paired, the light bar on the top of the DualShock 4 will turn pink. The Xbox controller’s backlit middle button will stop blinking and remain illuminated.
  • If you’re using an iPad with iPadOS, follow these same steps to connect either controller.

On Android

  • Navigate to the “Settings” app, then click “Connected Devices”. Finally, you can find and pair your controller by selecting “Pair new device”.
  • On Android 10, the PS4 pad’s lightbar turns blue to indicate that it has been set up successfully, and the Xbox controller’s backlit middle button remains illuminated while it’s connected to your phone.
  • If you’re using an older version of Android, like Android 7 Nougat, or Android 8 Oreo, you may have to drill down into a Bluetooth sub-menu from within the “Connected Devices” setting to pair a controller.

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