How to Use Your Xbox Controller for iPhone

New iPhones and iPads are quite capable of running games with the kind of graphics that would have required a computer or game console in the past, but many people find playing action games with touch screen controls to be difficult or unenjoyable. Fortunately, it's quick and easy to connect a video game controller with Bluetooth capability to your iPhone or iPad.

Pairing a video game controller works just like pairing most other Bluetooth accessories, but in case you're new to using these kinds of devices, we'll walk you through the steps to connect a typical current Xbox controller to your iPhone. The steps should be nearly identical for similar Bluetooth video game controllers, or for connecting to an iPad instead. For other tips and guides on making use of your iPhone and related accessories, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

Related: 5 Quick Ways to Fix iPhone Bluetooth Not Working

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How to Pair an Xbox Controller to iPhone

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Home screen with Settings app marked.
  2. Tap the Bluetooth option.

    Settings screen with Bluetooth option marked.
  3. On your Xbox controller, ensure the power is on (press and hold the Xbox button until it lights up).

    Xbox controller front view with Xbox button marked.
    Image courtesy of Microsoft
  4. Press and hold the pair button until the Xbox button begins to flash.

    Xbox controller top view with pair button marked.
    Image courtesy of Microsoft
  5. On your iPhone, look for your controller to appear under Other Devices. Tap it to connect.

    Bluetooth Settings screen with "Xbox Elite Wireless Controller" marked under Other Devices.
  6. Connecting should be quick but may take a moment. After, the controller should appear under My Devices and say Connected next to it.

    Bluetooth Settings screen with connected "Xbox Elite Wireless Con..." marked under My Devices.

Now your Xbox controller is connected to your iPhone. At this point, you can simply start the game that has controller support as normal, and then use the controller in the game as you would with a game on the computer or Xbox console. Have fun!

Top image courtesy of Microsoft

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Author Details

Brian Peters's picture

Author Details

Brian Peters

Brian Peters is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life, a creative writing hobbyist, and general technology enthusiast. He has a bachelor's degree in English, and has completed National Novel Writing Month multiple times. He lives in the Austin, Texas, area with his wife, two dogs, and two cats.