I've messed around with gaming controllers for the iPhone, but no controller has done it better than the Backbone One. Between the controller and the app, it's an experience that's so good that it feels like what Apple should have built.
The iPhone gaming controller Apple should have made
The Backbone One transforms your iPhone into a true portable gaming device that lets you play games from iOS, Apple Arcade, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Google Stadia, and Nvidia GeForce Now.
If you're looking for a full review of the Backbone One, you can read the review I wrote back when I first got my hands on it. Thankfully, my opinion of the controller hasn't changed at all and I still think it's the best gaming controller for the iPhone I have ever seen.
One of the biggest gripes I've always had with gaming controllers for the iPhone are that they are good when you are playing a game...and that's about it. Most of the controller brands don't offer an app to navigate in to select a different game. You're stuck with this odd experience of jumping back out into your iPhone's home screen and flipping around for the next game.
With the Backbone One, the company also offers the Backbone app which not only shows you the games you have downloaded on your iPhone but games from Apple Arcade, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Google Stadia, and Nvidia GeForce Now. The controller is compatible with all of them and the app does a great job bringing all of those games into one discoverable experience.
The Backbone One app also supports parties, chats, screenshots, recording, and even streaming to Twitch. It's the magic that takes a simple iPhone gaming controller and goes the extra mile to turn it into a complete experience.
The Backbone One essentially transforms your iPhone into a pseudo-Nintendo Switch that can also play Xbox, Stadia, and other games. It's a fantastic idea that brings all of mobile gaming under one sleek and organized roof. The controller is also great with a solid design that doesn't add much bulk to the iPhone as opposed to some other iPhone controllers.
The only problem with the Backbone One is that it is only on sale for a Lightning Deal for Prime Day that only has hours left. If you happen to miss this Lightning Deal, we are also tracking all of the best remaining Apple deals. Be sure to look at our Apple Prime Day deals hub if you're looking for what's left to grab before Prime Day is over.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.