Game controller emulation is coming to macOS Big Sur 11.3

macOS Big Sur
macOS Big Sur (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Game controller emulation is coming with the macOS Big Sur 11.3 update.
  • The feature will let users map a keyboard and mouse to an app or game instead of needing a controller.

Game controller emulation is on its way to macOS Big Sur.

As reported by MacRumors, the latest beta of Big Sur has added game controller emulation for Apple silicon Macs, allowing users to use a keyboard or keyboard and mouse as their game controller.

The new feature was discovered by Steve Moser, a contributor for the outlet.

"I finally found where the Game Controller Emulation images I found in a previous beta live. This should help iPad game devs bring their games to macOS without having to figure out how to map controller buttons to the keyboard. I really like that this will be a unified experience."

Touch Alternatives M1 Macs

Touch Alternatives M1 Macs (Image credit: MacRumors)

The feature will help users without a controller use their keyboard or keyboard and mouse combo in place of a controller. This will come especially in handy for iPhone or iPad apps that have been adapted for the Mac.

When running an iPhone or iPad app, opening up the preferences brings up a Touch Alternatives and Game Control interface that can be used to make touch-based iPhone and iPad apps run better with Mac controls.With Controller Emulation toggled on, common game controller buttons are mapped to keyboard keys and mouse buttons. X, for example, is mapped to Q, the direction stick is mapped to WASD, and Y is mapped to E. L1 and L2 can be accessed by pressing Tab and Shift, respectively, and the Space Bar is the A button.

If you prefer a controller and are wondering which one to get, check out our list of the Best Gaming Controllers for Mac in 2021.

It is still unclear when macOS Big Sur 11.3 will be available to the public. The release is currently on the fourth developer beta, so it should not be too long before all of us get to enjoy this new feature.

Joe Wituschek

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.