How to pair the Xbox Wireless Controller with an iPhone or iPad

If consoles aren’t your thing and you have a crush on mobile gaming, then you can try out games on your iPhone or iPad using an Xbox wireless controller. We’ll show you how to put a pair together.

The Xbox Wireless Controller (that’s how Microsoft calls its Xbox Series X | S controller) works perfectly with several games on iPhones and iPads, including some that are part of Apple Arcade. In most cases, you won’t get stuck trying to figure out the control scheme as most iPhone games will give you the exact button prompts for the Xbox wireless controller.

What is Apple Arcade? Here is everything you need to know

To enjoy this experience, you must first pair the controller with your iPhone or iPad. The next step is to navigate to Settings> Bluetooth on your iPhone and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

Then you need to press the Xbox logo button on the controller to make sure the controller is on. When the Xbox logo is lit, the controller is on.

Tap and hold the Xbox logo button for six seconds to turn off the Xbox wireless controller when it's paired with Bluetooth

Now look for the pairing button on the top of the controller between the LB shoulder button and the USB Type-C charging port. Press and hold the pairing button on the Xbox Wireless Controller to put the controller in pairing mode. The Xbox logo will start flashing quickly when the controller is in pairing mode.

Here’s how to put your Xbox controller in pairing mode

Xbox Series controller pairing button

From here, take your iPhone or iPad and open Settings, then tap on “Bluetooth”. Under Other Devices, tap Xbox Wireless Controller.

Tap Xbox Wireless Controller to pair it with your iPhone or iPad

Sometimes nothing happens after you tap the Xbox controller entry in the Other Devices list. If you encounter this problem, turn off Bluetooth on your iPhone or iPad, and then turn it back on. Then try again tapping Xbox Wireless Controller in the Other Devices list.

You will now see a confirmation request called “Bluetooth Pairing Request”. Tap on “Pair” and the controller will be paired with your iPhone or iPad.

Click Pair to connect your Xbox controller to your iPhone or iPad

That’s it – you are now connected and ready to go! When you’re done playing, you’ll need to take something extra to turn off your Xbox controller.

Here’s how to turn off an Xbox controller when it’s paired via bluetooth

How to find games with controller support

The next step is playing with the controller. There is a helpful one List of controller-compatible iPhone and iPad games on the website. There you can search for games that make the most of your Xbox wireless controller.

If you have an Apple Arcade subscription, you can visit any arcade game’s page in the App Store and see if it has controller support. To do this, look at the info bar under the “Get” button on any game page. Swipe the info bar to the right and if you see “controller assisted” you’re good to go.

Controller support mentioned on the App Store page for Apple Arcade Games

It’s worth noting that some Apple Arcade games can only be played with a controller plugged into your Apple TV. This is why you should definitely take a look at how to connect the Xbox Wireless Controller to an Apple TV.

If you plan to use the Xbox Wireless Controller with your Xbox and a mobile device such as an iPhone, you should try pairing the controller with multiple devices at the same time. Have fun!

Here’s how to sync your Xbox controller with multiple devices at the same time

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