While it's perfectly possible to play most games on your Apple TV using the Siri Remote, it can be far more enjoyable to use a dedicated game controller. Here's how to set one up with your Apple TV.

Products Used In This Guide

How to pair 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. Open Settings on your Apple TV.
  3. Click Remotes and Devices.

    Open Settings, click Remote and Devices

  4. Click Bluetooth.

    Click Bluetooth

  5. Click on your controller in the list of Bluetooth devices to pair it.

You'll now be able to play games using the paired controller.

How to pair a game controller to your Apple TV on tvOS 13

  1. Turn on your controller.
  2. Open Settings on your Apple TV.
  3. Click Remotes and Devices.

    Open Settings, click Remote and Devices

  4. Click Bluetooth.
  5. Click Pair Game Controller.

    Click Bluetooth, click Pair Game Controller

  6. Follow the instructions Apple gives you for pairing your DualShock 4, Xbox Wireless, or MFi controller.
  7. Click on your controller in the list of Bluetooth devices to pair it.

    Follow instructions for your controller, click on controller in list

Now, you'll be ready to play both your existing games, as well as Apple's upcoming slate of Arcade games, with two of the most popular game controllers in the world.

The equipment you need

If you want to pair a Bluetooth game controller with your Apple TV, you're going to want one of these controllers.

Apple Arcade-ready

DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

A popular game controller ready for Apple Arcade.

Support for the DualShock 4 is coming in tvOS 13, which is out now in public beta and coming soon to everyone. A great controller with comfortable grips, it's perfect for everything from puzzle games to action titles.

If you're already a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro owner, you already have one of these on hand. Pairing is fairly easy, and you'll only need one controller between both your console and your Apple TV.

Old faithful

SteelSeries Nimbus

A solid Bluetooth controller for your Apple TV.

The SteelSeries Nimbus has been around for a while and has been the go-to game controller for many not only on Apple TV but iPhone and iPad, too. It has two sticks, four face buttons, a D-pad, and four triggers, so it's ready to go for almost any modern game.

SteelSeries has been cranking out controllers for the Apple TV since they first became a thing. The Nimbus has proven popular thanks to great ergonomics and a fairly standard, console controller-like button layout.

Additional Equipment

While our primary controller picks are great, these are some other excellent options for your Apple TV gaming.

Xbox Wireless Controller ($47 at Amazon)

Like the DualShock, the Xbox One S controller will be supported with tvOS 13 and is another great pick.

Horipad Ultimate Wireless Game Controller ($30 at Apple)

Horipad's controller is particularly good for smaller hands if you need that consideration.

SteelSeries Stratus ($29 at Amazon)

This tiny controller makes a solid travel companion and is great for switching between Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad.

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