Here’s how to connect PS4 or Xbox One controller to Mac

connect PS4 controller to Mac

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Apple’s Mac devices have never traditionally been seen as gaming hardware. Even Apple never pitched them that way; rather it was always marketed as a device to help you with your official work. However, over the past few years, Apple has changed its approach toward gaming (Apple Arcade, for example), giving you more reasons to use your Mac as a gaming machine. You can even pair a PS4 controller to Mac, as well as an Xbox One controller to Mac.

Support for PS4 and Xbox One controller

Apple recently added support for the popular game controllers, including the Xbox Wireless Controller and Sony’s DualShock 4 controller, in iOS 13, iPadOS, tvOS 13 and macOS Catalina 10.15. Prior to this, there was no built-in support for the game controllers in Apple’s operating systems.

One of the best things about Apple’s support for the controllers is that it does not need any extra work on the part of the game developers. The supported controllers work automatically when you pair them with Apple’s device.

Before the launch of iOS 13, only MFi-branded (Made for iOS) controllers could be paired with Apple devices. To get this certification, the controller had to pass several tests and checks, and this limited the number of wireless MFi controllers on the market. Now, most popular proprietary gaming controllers can pair with Apple devices and that too without any additional requirements.

Apple officially announced support for the Xbox and PlayStation controllers during Apple’s annual developer’s conference in June at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Along with playing games, you can also use the controllers to navigate the tvOS user interface, such as turning the Apple TV on or off, selecting TV shows and more.

Apple, however, has not enabled any special feature for the controllers that you get when playing on the consoles. This means the support for the controllers is limited to playing buttons, such as four action buttons, joypads, Menu button and directional buttons. Other features such as a dedicated Siri button, pressure sensing and more are not enabled for now.

How to connect PS4 and Xbox One controller to Mac

Now that you know all about the support from Apple for the PS4 and Xbox One controllers, let’s discuss how to connect PS4 and Xbox One controllers to Mac. First, here’s the steps to connect a PS4 controller to Mac:

  1. Put the controller into the pairing mode by pressing and holding the PlayStation and Share buttons.
  2. Go to the Bluetooth settings in the Mac. You can either use the Bluetooth dropdown in the Menu Bar or the System Preferences.
  3. From the list of available devices, look for the “wireless controller.”
  4. Click on the Connect button. The light on the controller will go from blinking to lit.

That’s it!

Now let’s see the steps to connect an Xbox One controller to Mac:

  1. Turn on the Xbox controller.
  2. Press and hold the pairing button located on the top of the controller. Keep holding it until the Xbox logo starts to blink.
  3. Go to the Mac and then to the Bluetooth settings.
  4. From the list of available devices search for “Xbox wireless controller.”
  5. Click on the Connect button.

If you face any issue in connecting your controller to the Mac, make sure the console is nowhere near the respective controller. Also, ensure that the controller’s battery is fully charged.

On the other hand, if you are okay with wiring up, then you can connect the controller via micro USB cable as well. One extra benefit of doing so is that it also charges your controller while you play. Once you connect the controller using a USB cable, an orange light appears on the touchpad, showing that charging is on.

How to unpair and rename

Though the Xbox and PlayStation controllers include an automatic standby mode to save battery, it is still recommended that you unpair or disconnect them when not in use. To do so, follow the below steps:

  1. Go to the Bluetooth settings on the Mac.
  2. Select the controller (Xbox or PlayStation) from the list, and then choose Disconnect.

Once you disconnect, the status light on the controller should also turn off. Now, the next time you want to use the controller, you will have to pair it again using the steps detailed above. Also, after you unpair the controller from the Mac, you can pair it with any other supported device.

You can also rename the Xbox and PlayStation controller name in the Bluetooth list to any name you like. To do so, follow the below steps:

  1. Go to the System Preferences on Mac.
  2. Look for the Bluetooth icon, and click on it.
  3. Right-click on the controller in My Devices and then choose Rename.
  4. Type the name that you want, and then click Rename to save the changes you just made.

Now, in the Bluetooth settings and menus on the Mac, your controller will show up under its new name.

You can refer to the below video as well:



About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at amanjain@valuewalk.com