Apple is making it easy for developers to add on-screen controls to games with iOS 15

Ios 15 On Screen Controls
Ios 15 On Screen Controls (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's iOS 15 will add a feature that makes it easy for developers to add on-screen controls to games.
  • iOS 15 is now available in developer beta while it'll be released to everyone this fall.

Apple's upcoming iOS 15 release will make it easier for developers to add touch controls to their games. The update, which is now available in developer beta and will be released to the world later this year, means controls can be added to a game with just a few lines of code.

Announced during the Platforms State of the Union last week, the new API is also discussed in developer documentation online as well as a WWDC session that goes into more detail.

Use a virtual controller to display software controls that you can customize over your game. You create a virtual controller from a configuration where you choose the input elements to display. You can even customize the images for the elements. When you connect the controller to the device, users interact with it similarly to a real controller.

Playing with a real controller will still offer a better experience and you can find some of the best iPhone game controllers in our collection. But this addition will be a big deal for game developers who want to make sure everyone can play their titles without having to buy a controller first.

Apple continues to improve the gaming experience across its platforms and Apple Arcade is also picking up new games all the time. The game subscription service is part of the Apple One subscription bundle, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.