iOS 16 Sneaks Nintendo Controller Support Into the Mix

One or two joy-cons, the pro controller, and more

Despite all the many iOS 16 features covered in WWDC 2022, it seems Apple may have left one out of the presentation: The ability to connect wireless Nintendo controllers.

Much like pairing a PlayStation 5 (or PS4) controller with a Mac, Nintendo controller support isn't new for Apple's computers—but up until now, it hasn't been available for its mobile devices. It turns out, though, that buried among the multitude of new functions coming to iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 is compatibility with Bluetooth Nintendo controllers.

Nintendo Switch joy-cons


Once the iOS 16 developer beta became available, it was only a matter of hours until some began to discover the new feature. The creator of the in-progress Delta emulator and AltStore, Riles, excitedly noted the new controller support almost immediately. Screenshots taken in iOS 16 show that the Switch Pro, as well as joy-cons, now appear in the Bluetooth pairing menu.

Many developers with access to iOS 16 confirmed Nintendo controller connectivity across many devices. iPhones, iPads, Pro controllers, multiple joy-cons, and even the wireless NES controller that came with Nintendo's mini-console all seem to be working together. The joy-con functionality, in particular, has people buzzing as you can use a single joy-con or immediately activate two that will function together as a single controller.

Whether Apple or Nintendo have any big plans for this new feature in iOS 16 remains to be seen, but even if there isn't anything major coming, it does at least offer more physical controller options. Assuming neither company decides to ax compatibility, you should be able to start pairing your Bluetooth Nintendo controllers with your iPhone or iPad when iOS 16 releases later this year.

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