How to Connect Xbox Controller to iPhone in 3 Steps, With Photos

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How to Connect Xbox Controller to iPhone in 3 Steps, With Photos

Console gamers no longer pick on those who play video games on their mobile phones (well, mostly). With updated processors and screen resolutions, gamers around the globe can enjoy many mobile games like Genshin Impact and even Fortnite (you can even play Xbox games on your phone). Fortunately, iOS manufacturers heard the pleas of mobile gamers and added Xbox Controller functionality to iPhones.

If you’re unsure how to connect your Xbox controller to your iPhone, don’t worry. We will show you in a moment. We’ll also explore some pretty neat features and games to make your gaming experience even better.

Xbox Controller and iPhone Compatibility

We don’t want to walk you through the tutorial below without first making sure everything is going to work. Not all Xbox controllers are compatible with iPhones, and not all iOS versions are compatible with Xbox controllers.

So, before you try to connect the two, read through these sections and ensure your tech meets all the requirements.

Compatible Xbox Controllers

Unfortunately, you may need to upgrade your Xbox controller before you can start mobile gaming with flair. Before you run to GameStop or Amazon, see if you have one of these iPhone-compatible Xbox controllers:

Compatible iPhones

Now, let’s make sure your iPhone will work with the Xbox controller. While most iPhones today are compatible, you’ll need to ensure you’re running iOS 13 or later. Some older model iPhones can’t update that far anymore. Follow these steps to check your iPhone’s OS version:

  1. Open Settings and tap General
  2. Tap About.
  3. Check the iOS Version.

If you aren’t running at least iOS 13, try performing an update. Go to Settings>General>Software Update. Then, ensure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and has sufficient battery life.

How to Connect Xbox Controller to iPhone

Moving away from potential compatibility issues, it’s time to start pairing! It only takes a few steps to connect your Xbox controller to your iPhone. Turn your Xbox controller on by pressing the Xbox button, and do this:

Note: After you pair your controller the first time, you won’t have you can tap the Xbox controller in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings and connect automatically.

Step 1: Press the Xbox Pairing Button

With your Xbox controller charged and ready to pair, press the pairing button.

The pairing button has three Wi-Fi waves on the back of the controller.


Helpful hint: If you have trouble finding it, look at the left bumper button. It’s the button next to it.

Step 2: Open the Bluetooth Settings on Your iPhone

Now, grab your iPhone and open the Settings app. Then, tap Bluetooth.

Go to Bluetooth under Settings.


Note: Toggle the Bluetooth switch off and on if you don’t see a spinning circle at the bottom of the page next to Other Devices. Toggling the switch tells your iPhone to look for a compatible Bluetooth device.

Step 3: Tap the Xbox Controller

Under the list of connected Bluetooth devices, you’ll see a new one in the Available devices section. Tap your Xbox controller.

Scroll down and tap Xbox Wireless Controller.


Now, you can launch an app and start playing your favorite mobile game.

In the following video, Cozy Alpaca demonstrates how to connect an Xbox One controller to an iPhone.

Xbox Controller and iPhone Troubleshooting

It only takes three steps to connect an Xbox controller to your iPhone. Unfortunately, it isn’t always a seamless process. If you’re having issues with your Xbox controller and its connection to your iPhone, walk through the following sections to fix it.

Xbox Controller Keeps Disconnecting from iPhone

One common problem you’re likely to experience when trying to pair Xbox controller and iPhone is persistent disconnection. You’re playing a game, and all of a sudden, your controller disconnects. It’s no fun, but easy to remedy. Try this fix:

  • Turn the Xbox controller off and back on (Hold the Xbox button for several seconds).
  • Turn your iPhone off and back on.
  • Forget the Xbox controller (Settings>Bluetooth>i button next to controller>Forget Device), then re-pair it.

Your Xbox Controller Needs an Update

Some issues, like requiring a pin to connect or buttons not working properly (the A button does what the right bumper is supposed to, for example), mean you need to update your Xbox controller.

Do this to update your Xbox controller:

Note: The instructions may vary depending on the controller or whether you’re using a PC or Xbox. If our steps don’t work, you can find more options on the Microsoft website.

  1. Plug the controller into the Xbox.

Xbox Controller Isn’t Showing Up in Available Devices

Another common issue many people run into is the Xbox controller won’t appear in their Available Devices list. However, it’s pretty easy to fix that problem.

This first recommendation may sound a tad obvious, but we assure you, sometimes it isn’t. Your Xbox controller may appear as a series of random numbers and letters. If you see a random device, let the pairing mode turn off on your Xbox controller. If the device disappears, that was your Xbox controller. Put it in pairing mode, and tap it to connect the controller to your iPhone.

Next, review the steps in our first section to ensure your devices are compatible. You may need to update your phone, update your controller, or get some new tech (we hope not, but also, we like new tech).

Mobile Gaming is More Fun with Controllers

As you can see, it’s so simple to connect an Xbox controller to your iPhone. While you won’t have all the functionality the controller has with an Xbox, you can still enjoy mobile gaming. Pairing your controller to your iPhone is as easy as putting everything in pairing mode and connecting it. Of course, if you do have any problems, take a look at the troubleshooting section above.

How to Connect Xbox Controller to iPhone in 3 Steps, With Photos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are all iPhone games compatible with the Xbox controller?

Unfortunately, no. Some iOS games won’t work with your Xbox controller. If you’d like an updated list of compatible games, click here.

Can I use the Xbox controller for Xbox remote play on my iPhone?

Yes. If you download the Xbox app and want to play remotely, you can use the controller and the Xbox app on your iPhone.

Why is my battery draining faster when the controller is connected?

When you use your Xbox controller with your iPhone, it will drain your battery a bit faster. This happens because your iPhone is taxing its resources to maintain the connection while playing games.

How do I unpair my Xbox controller and iPhone?

If you need to unpair your devices, you can. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Bluetooth. Tap the i button to the right of your Xbox controller. Then, tap Forget Device.

Your Xbox controller will disappear from the list.

Can I use the Xbox controller on non-game iPhone apps?

No. The Xbox controller is only compatible with some applications. At the time of writing, only game apps are compatible with the controller.

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