Here’s how to pair your Xbox One controller with your Apple device, now that Apple TVs, iPhones, iPads, and Macs natively support Microsoft’s Bluetooth-equipped Xbox One Wireless Controllers.
Make sure you’re running the latest operating system
To use an Xbox Wireless Controller, your Apple device needs to be running one of the operating systems slated for a fall 2019 release. Here’s Apple’s schedule:
- iOS 13 was released on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.
- iPadOS 13 and tvOS 13 are slated for a Monday, Sept. 30, 2019 release.
- macOS Catalina will arrive in October 2019.
You can check the software version that you have installed on your iPad and iPhone by tapping Settings > About and looking for the Software Version row. On Apple TV, that information lives in Settings > System > Software Updates.
You could, if you’re feeing adventurous, participate in Apple’s beta software program to test features like this now, but keep in mind that it’s an inherently risky decision. Yes, you get access to upcoming features early. But also yes, it’s all unfinished — and by its nature buggy — software. Proceed at your own risk.
How to pair an Xbox Wireless Controller with an iPhone and iPad
- Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and make sure that Bluetooth is toggled on.
- On your Xbox One Wireless Controller, press the Xbox button, and then hold down the Connect button (that’s the small button above the Xbox button and next to the Left Bumper) for a few seconds until the Xbox button starts blinking faster. That puts it into paring mode.
- A few seconds later, you’ll see Xbox Wireless Controller at the bottom of the Bluetooth settings screen on your Apple device. You may need to tap on that. Or your device may just display a pop-up notification.
- Either way, tap Pair.
How to pair an Xbox One controller with an Apple TV
Paring an Xbox One controller to an Apple TV is pretty similar to paring it with a portable device.
- Open Settings and select Remotes and Devices.
- Select Bluetooth in the menu that loads.
- On your Xbox One Wireless Controller, press the Xbox button, and then hold down the Connect button (that’s the small button above the Xbox button, next to the Left Bumper) for a few seconds until the Xbox button starts blinking faster. That puts it into paring mode.
- A few seconds later, you’ll see Xbox Wireless Controller at the bottom of the Bluetooth settings screen on your Apple TV.
- Navigate down with your remote, and click on “Xbox Wireless Controller” to pair your controller with your Apple TV.
That’s it for almost everything (macOS notwithstanding). You are now free to use your Xbox One controller with games that support … well, controllers. And speaking of games that support controllers, make sure to check out some of the best games from Apple Arcade at launch.