How to Connect an Xbox One Controller to an iPhone

Play iOS games without touch controls

Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices gained official support for Microsoft’s Xbox controllers after the launch of iOS 13. This means any new Xbox gamepad can be used as an iPhone controller for playing iOS video games. No hacking, special cables, or third-party hardware required. Here’s how to enable an Xbox controller for iPhone gaming using the settings already built into your smartphone.

The instructions in this guide apply to iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina or higher.

How to Connect an Xbox Controller to iPhone

Connecting an Xbox gaming controller to an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad is fairly simple and should take no more than a few minutes to complete. Here's how:

Before beginning, make sure you have Bluetooth enabled on your iPhone and the latest version of iOS installed.

  1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your iOS device. If Bluetooth is disabled, tap the toggle switch to turn it on.

  2. Press the Xbox logo button in the center of the controller to power it on.

    Only Xbox controllers with Bluetooth support can connect to your iOS device. You can check for Bluetooth support on the controller’s box, if you still have it, or by looking at the controller itself. Newer Xbox controllers with Bluetooth support have a traditional audio jack, while older models only have a square port.

    Xbox One controller.
  3. Firmly press the Sync button at the top of the controller until the Xbox logo button begins to flash.

    Xbox controller Sync button.

    The Sync button is the small black button with the three curved lines next to it. It's the same button you use to connect the Xbox controller to a PC or Xbox One console.

  4. Your Xbox controller should appear in the list of Other Devices. Tap its name to pair it to your iOS device.

    If you want to use your Xbox controller with your Xbox One after connecting it to your iPhone or iPad, you need to re-pair it to the console. It might be a good idea to get one controller for your Xbox One console and another to use as an Xbox phone controller.

  5. Open the iOS video game of your choice and tap Controller, or a phrasing similar to this, from its in-app settings.

Can You Connect Xbox Controllers to iPhones Running iOS 12?

The ability to connect Xbox controllers to an iPhone or iPad is only officially supported in iOS 13 and up. To pair an Xbox controller with a device running iOS 12 or an earlier version of the Apple operating system, you need to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, then install the Cydia app, which adds the functionality.

Jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad can void the device’s warranty.

Since iOS 13 is a completely free update for most iPhone and iPad owners, it’s highly recommended you simply update your device’s operating system and connect an Xbox controller the official way described above.

iOS 13 is available on iPhone models from the iPhone SE and up. iPhone 5 models and older are unable to upgrade to iOS 13. Apple considers them too out-of-date for modern features and apps.

Essentially, you can jailbreak an older iPhone model to support Xbox controllers, but the device may not be powerful enough to play the video games that support controllers. Many popular iPhone games require one of the latest versions of iOS to even run.

What iPhone Games Support Xbox Controllers?

A growing number of video games on iPhone support Xbox controllers and other traditional gamepads. The iOS versions of Fortnite and Stardew Valley are two of the most popular titles with Xbox controller support. Some other titles you can use your controller with are:

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