Stylish game on your Mac using your DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller
With the release of Apple Arcade on iOS, iPadOS, tvOS and macOS, it makes sense for Apple to officially support a variety of popular third-party controllers – as well. While previous versions of Apple software are only compatible with officially licensed MFi controllers, you can now use Sony’s DualShock 4 and Xbox One controllers throughout the Apple family.
This is a big improvement to the overall playing experience – you no longer need to use third-party tools to configure your controller before playing your favorite game on Mac, and to be honest, PS4 and Xbox One controllers are much better than MFI-certified, right?
We describe how to use the PS4 and Xbox One controllers on Mac, both on MacOS Catalina and also on older Mac software.
Use the PS4 and Xbox One controllers on MacOS Catalina
If you run macOS Catalina and want to use a PS4 or Xbox One controller to play your favorite Apple Arcade titles, the process is quite easy. You only need to make sure you use the Xbox One controller recently if you are a Microsoft fan, because the controller that was originally released along with Xbox One doesn’t support Bluetooth – which came a few years later.
1a If you are using a PS4 controller, hold the PS button and the Share button until the Touch Bar on the back of the controller blinks white.
1b If you are using an Xbox One controller, hold down the Xbox button and the small wireless connection button next to the left bumper until the Xbox logo turns white.
2. On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner and select System Preferences.
3. Click the Bluetooth icon.
4. Your PS4 or Xbox One controller will appear in the list of available Bluetooth devices – click Connect to pair the controller with your Mac.
There she is! You can then use your PS4 or Xbox One controller to play your favorite Apple Arcade games, and other Mac games that support the Apple Game Controller framework. Note that you must re-pair the controller with your console the next time you use it, but all you need is a simple microUSB cable connection.
Use PS4 and Xbox One controllers on previous macOS / OS X versions
But what if you run an older machine that doesn’t get MacOS Catalina maintenance? There is good news, but also bad news. The good news is that you should be able to connect your DualShock 4 controller to a Mac in the same way as in Catalina, detailed above, but unfortunately, it will not offer universal support for games.
Instead, you have to rely on developers who add support for controllers manually. This is no big deal if you play a game on your Mac that is available on the console, because it will likely support DualShock 4, but it might be difficult to play niche titles without using third-party software to remap your controller buttons.
It should be noted that the DualShock 4 controller must be compatible with most Steam titles that offer controller support, although there may be other problems – such as games featuring Xbox-themed buttons – but it is still a viable option for those who are running older Mac software.
Unfortunately, while Sony DualShock 4 offers basic Mac support, the same cannot be said for the pre-Catalina Xbox One controller. You must connect your controller with a microUSB cable and use third-party software such as 360Controller (supports both Xbox 360 and one controller) to manually change the button mapping depending on the game you are playing.