If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to connect your Xbox controller to your Mac.
While Macs aren’t necessarily seen as the peak gaming computers, the introduction of faster processors and Apple Arcade certainly made the idea more appealing. Pairing your Mac with an Xbox controller can spice up your gaming experience.
If you’re ready to get gaming, follow the steps below to learn how to pair your Xbox controller and Mac using Bluetooth. Of course, we’ve also added some troubleshooting info if you run into any problems.
How to Connect an Xbox Controller to Mac – Easy
You can connect your Xbox controller to your Mac in two ways. We’ll show you the easier method. While it’s a bit simpler, we can’t guarantee it will work. Your Xbox controller may not appear, or you might not have the Bluetooth icon in your Mac menu bar.
Either way, you can try these steps first. If one of the options is missing on your Mac, skip to the next section.
Step 1: Turn Your Xbox Controller On
First, hold the Xbox button on your controller to power it on.
Note: Make sure your controller is charged and in Bluetooth range.
Step 2: Press the Pairing Button
If you’re already familiar with your Xbox controller, press the pairing button until the Xbox button starts flashing.
For those unfamiliar, this button is next to the left bumper button on the back of the controller.
Step 3: Click the Bluetooth Icon on Your Mac
Assuming you have the Bluetooth icon in the top right corner of your Mac, click it.
Step 4: Click Bluetooth Settings
A drop-down menu will appear. If you’ve ever paired your Xbox controller to your Mac before, you’ll see it in this list.
However, if you haven’t connected your Xbox controller to your Mac before, click Bluetooth Settings.
Step 5: Select Your Xbox Controller
Now, click on your Xbox Controller in the list.
Note: It should say Wireless Xbox Controller. But if you see a random series of letters and numbers, that may be your Xbox controller. If you take your controller out of pairing mode, and that device disappears, it’s your Xbox controller.
Step 6: Select Connect
After you click on your Xbox controller in the list, the Connect option will appear. Click it.
Your Xbox controller should now connect to your Mac. However, we included a Troubleshooting list below if it doesn’t.
How to Connect an Xbox Controller to Mac – Alternative Option
Another way to connect your Xbox controller to your Mac involves going to the System Settings. If, for some reason, you don’t have the Bluetooth icon in the top right corner, follow these steps instead.
Step 1: Click the Apple Icon
Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your Mac screen.
Step 2: Click System Settings (Preferences)
A small drop-down window appears. You can click System Settings at the top of this menu.
Note: Older versions of OSX listed this option as System Preferences. If that’s the option you see, click it.
Step 3: Click Bluetooth
A large window will open. Click Bluetooth in the left menu.
Note: If you’re running an older version of OSX, you won’t see a menu on the left. You’ll see a series of icons instead. Click the Bluetooth icon.
Step 4: Put Your Controller in Pairing Mode
Grab your Xbox controller and hold the pairing button (button next to the left bumper) until the Xbox button flashes.
Step 5: Click Your Xbox Controller
Your Xbox controller should appear at the bottom of the list. Click it.
Step 6: Click Connect
Finally, click Connect to pair your Xbox controller.
The Xbox controller button should stop flashing, and the controller’s name should appear at the top of the Bluetooth list.
Here is a step-by-step video for further reference:
Connection Issues and Fixes
Hopefully, your Xbox controller is connected to your Mac, and you’re enjoying your favorite video game. But if not, you will be soon. Browse through the following sections to fix the connection between your Xbox controller and Mac.
The Controller Won’t Appear in the Available Devices
The first and more common problem you may run into is that your controller won’t appear in your Mac’s Bluetooth list. Unfortunately, this may be because your Xbox controller isn’t compatible with your Mac.
Ensure you’re using one of these Xbox controllers:
- Model 1708 (You can see the model number under the battery)
- Series S/X
- Elite Wireless 2
- Adaptive Controller
If you don’t have a compatible Xbox controller, you will need to get a new one before you can connect it to your Mac. However, if you have a compatible controller, there’s more to check.
Next, ensure that your controller has enough battery life to pair to your Mac and that the Xbox button flashes when you put it in pairing mode. Then, try to move your controller closer to your Mac. It’ll need to be within Bluetooth range (about thirty feet with no obstructions).
The Xbox Controller Won’t Connect
Perhaps your controller shows up in the Bluetooth list, but you can’t get it to pair. If so, there are a few fixes to try. Walk through these solutions to connect your controller:
- Ensure the controller is charged.
- Update your Xbox controller’s firmware.
- Update your Mac.
- Forget unused devices (this can keep your Mac’s Bluetooth from working correctly.
- Turn off your Xbox (your controller may pair with the wrong device)
- Forget the controller on your Mac and pair it again.
The Xbox Controller Won’t Stay Connected
Finally, you’ve connected your Xbox controller to your Mac. But your gaming experience is ruined because the controller won’t stay connected. If this is your predicament, walk through the following steps:
- Update your controller’s firmware
- Update your Mac
- Forget the controller in the Mac’s Bluetooth settings and re-pair it
- Charge your controller (and your MacBook if you’re using a Mac)
- Power off any other devices where your Xbox controller is connected
- Ensure your Mac isn’t connecting to other Bluetooth devices (AirPods, keyboards, mouses, etc.)
If you keep running into trouble with your Xbox controller and Mac, you can contact Apple for more help! The support team is wonderful and will get you back up and running quickly.
Xbox Controllers and Macs: A Match Made in Silicon Valley
As you can see, playing games on your Mac with an Xbox controller is pretty straightforward. Pairing the two devices is incredibly similar to pairing any other Bluetooth peripherals. Try the above two methods to see which works, and start gaming!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Andrej Antic/Shutterstock.com.