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How to use your PlayStation or Xbox gamepad with your phone

DualShock Xbox gamepad shutterstock 247388812
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Now that both PlayStation and Xbox consoles use Bluetooth gamepad controllers, you can easily pair them with your iPhone or Android smartphone. Learn how to connect the DualShock or Xbox controller to play games with traditional controls.

With a new generation of consoles on the shelves, there are thousands of gamepads that are suddenly obsolete, especially in the case of the DualShock 4, since Sony doesn’t allow using the PS4 gamepad with PlayStation 5 games.

But since the DS4 and newer revisions of the Xbox One controller — launched after the Xbox One S/X releases — use Bluetooth connections, it is possible to synchronize them with your smartphone and play console game ports, native games with gamepad support, emulators, or even cloud streaming games.

How to pair a PlayStation gamepad with your phone

To connect a DualShock 4 or DualSense controller with your smartphone you need to put the gamepad into pairing mode. To do so, follow these instructions:

  1. Simultaneously press the PS button and the Share/Create buttons until the touchpad light starts to blink.
  2. Follow the steps to connect the gamepad with Android or iOS.
NextPit pair PlayStation gamepad
The DualSense PS5 gamepad can also be paired with a smartphone by pressing the PS and Create buttons / © Sony

How to pair an Xbox gamepad with your phone

First, make sure you have a Bluetooth-compatible gamepad — models released after the Xbox One S/X launch, which have the same plastic around the Xbox button as the controller’s face.

Also, check on the Xbox console or the Xbox Accessories app for PC if there is an updated firmware for the controller (yes, even gamepads now receive OTA updates). After that, follow these steps:

  1. Turn on the gamepad by pressing the Xbox button.
  2. Press and hold the ((( (pair) button until the Xbox button starts blinking.
  3. Follow the steps to connect the gamepad with Android or iOS.
NextPit pair Xbox gamepad
If the plastic around the Xbox button is different from the rest of the front, the gamepad does not support Bluetooth / © Microsoft

How to connect a Bluetooth gamepad on Android

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select the Connected devices option.
    1. Or Connections > Bluetooth, depending on the phone.
  3. Tap on Pair new device.
  4. Tap on the detected controller and confirm the pairing.
Connect Bluetooth gamepad Android EN
Bluetooth pairing steps on Android may change depending on the brand's custom skin / © NextPit

How to connect a Bluetooth gamepad on iOS

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select the detected controller.
  3. Tap on Pair.
Connect Bluetooth gamepad iPhone EN
Pairing Bluetooth devices on iOS is a bit more straightforward / © NextPit

That's it for this article. Do you prefer touch controls or using a good old gamepad? What kind of games do you play on your phone? Share your suggestions on the comments below!

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Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Having written about technology since 2008 for a number of websites in Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and Germany, I specialize in the mobile ecosystem, including various models, components, and apps. I tend to not only value performance and specifications, but also things like repairability, durability, and manufacturer support. I tend to prioritize the end-user's point of view whenever possible.

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