Get ready to play some games on your Apple TV by adding a third-party controller.

If you decided to pick up a third-party Made For iPhone (MFi) gaming controller along with your new Apple TV this week, you're likely going to want to set it up. Here's how to pair your controller with your fourth-generation Apple TV.

Add a game controller to your Apple TV

  1. Turn on your controller. (On the SteelSeries Nimbus, you can do so by switching the Hold button to ON.) If the controller has been previously paired, you may also have to press and hold the Bluetooth button.
  2. On your Apple TV, use your Siri remote to go to the Settings app, then go to Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.

  3. Find your game controller and click on the entry. After a few moments, your controller should automatically pair.

How to add an iPhone or iPad as a game controller for your Apple TV

Third-party MFi game controllers are universal: You can use them anywhere on your Apple TV, including in non-gaming apps and on the Home screen. If you're looking to connect your iPhone or iPad to use as a controller, however, you'll have to first launch the specific game in question on both the Apple TV and your iPhone or iPad, then follow its instructions for pairing.

Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod currently can't control the fourth-generation Apple TV outside of specific applications—though we hope an update to the Remote app comes soon to remedy that.

Troubleshoot adding a game controller

If you're running into an issue adding a third-party MFi controller, there are a couple of steps you can take.

  1. Make sure your controller is charged.
  2. Restart your controller by turning it off, then on again.
  3. Restart the Apple TV.
  4. If your controller has previously been connected to any other Bluetooth devices, make sure it's not currently connected to those devices before attempting to pair with Apple TV. If you're still having trouble, you may have to click or tap on the device, then "Forget Device", under the Bluetooth screen.


Having trouble with game controllers, or want to know more? Read our overview on third-party controllers, and if you still have questions, pop them below and we'll try to get them answered as best we can.