How to use an Xbox One or Series X controller with iPhone or iPad

Xbox One controller with iPad
Xbox One controller with iPad (Image credit: iMore)

Over the last few years, more and more awesome games have become available on iOS. While many of them do provide touch controls, this can lead to your fingers covereing important sections of the screen or at least leaving greasy smudge marks everwhere. Fortunately, the Xbox One and Xbox Series X controllers, some of the best video game controllers out there, are compatible with many iOS games. You just have to go through the process of connecting them.

How to use an Xbox One or Series X|S controller with iPhone or iPad

Connect your Xbox controller to your iPhone or iPad to start playing the best iOS games out there.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, go to your Settings.
  2. Go to Bluetooth.
  3. Turn Bluetooth on.

Xbox Controller With Iphone Bluetooth Slide Button Steps 1 To (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Hold down the Xbox Controller's pairing button. It's located on the top. This works with both an Xbox One or an Xbox Series X controller.

Xbox Controller With Switch Tabletop Xbox Pairing Button (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)
  1. Wait for the Xbox Controller to appear under Other Devices.
  2. Tap the Xbox Controller to pair with your device.

Xbox Controller With Iphone Pair Controller (Image credit: iMore)

Now the controller is connected and ready to go. That was easy as pie, huh? Now you'll be able to use your comfortable Xbox controller with any controller compatible games on Apple Arcade or with whatever games are available through the App Store.

Customize your controller

If you have access to at least iOS 14.5 or later on your best iPhone or iPad, you can even customize your controller settings.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, go to your Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Then Game Controller.

How To Find Controller Settings (Image credit: iMore)

That way, you can remap buttons and even have specific apps remember your prefered button customizations. This also lets you adjust other settings or disable video clips and screenshots.

Oh so easy

While touch controls can certainly get you by with most games, using a traditional controller like the Xbox Controller will be a lot more convenient. You won't have to worry about smudging up your screen, your hand will have something ergonomic to grasp, and if you have the latest iOS installed, you can even remap buttons to your liking.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.