Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


How to connect a PlayStation 4 controller to your iPhone

There's some great controllers for mobile gaming out there, but why spend the money on one when you've already got a PlayStation 4 controller collecting dust? We show you how to connect a Sony PS4 controller to your iPhone to instantly up your mobile game.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

Mobile gaming isn't the touchscreen-only affair it used to be. Smartphones are increasingly home to serious, competitive games that require external controllers to really play at your peak ability. Lots of manufacturers have stepped in to create options designed specifically for this purpose. But, what if I told you there's a good chance you've got a perfectly viable, possibly even superior controller for iPhone games sitting in a drawer right now?

Many people don't even realize it's possible to connect some official console controllers to other devices. Their reliance on Bluetooth technology means they can indeed be used with things like PCs and smartphones. The PlayStation 4 controller has seen its popularity for this purpose skyrocket thanks to the sheer number of them available and the excellent quality of the controller itself. 

We're going to show you how to quickly and easily pair your PlayStation 4 controller with your iPhone for use in any mobile game that supports external Bluetooth controller inputs. Follow this quick tutorial and you'll never again miss a shot because your thumb got in the way.

How to connect a PlayStation 4 controller to your iPhone

Surge's phone mount accessory holding a smartphone

A smartphone mount like this one from Surge (linked below) can turn your iPhone into a mobile gaming powerhouse

Surge -- Amazon
  • Materials needed: A PlayStation 4 controller and an iPhone
  • Estimated time: 30 seconds

Step 1: Open your iPhone's Settings app and find the Bluetooth section 

iOS 15's Settings menu

You'll find your Bluetooth settings in the first group of options within the Settings app

Michael Gariffo

Open the Settings app on your iPhone, find the Bluetooth option and tap it. Once it opens, make sure your Bluetooth is turned on, then grab your PlayStation 4 controller and proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Put your PlayStation 4 controller into pairing mode

A PlayStation 4 Controller with descriptive text showing how to put it into pairing mode

Pressing and holding these two buttons at once will put the device into pairing mode, making it discoverable by any supported Bluetooth device

Michael Gariffo

With your PlayStation 4 controller turned off, press and hold the PS button and Share button (shown above) until the light panel on the top of the controller begins to rapidly flash white. This means the controller is now in pairing mode and ready to connect. We'll be going back to the iPhone for step 3.

Step 3: Connect to the PlayStation 4 controller

The iOS 15 Bluetooth devices screen with the PlayStation 4 controller listed

Any devices available to pair will show up in the "OTHER DEVICES" section

Michael Gariffo

With your PlayStation 4 controller in pairing mode, take a look at your iPhone's Bluetooth menu. When you're in this menu, the iPhone will constantly check for available Bluetooth devices nearby. Give it a few seconds and the PlayStation 4 controller should show up as DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller in the OTHER DEVICES section of the menu. Once you see it there, tap its name to connect to it. 

Final step: Verify your connection

The iOS 15 Bluetooth menu with a PlayStation 4 controller now connected

The controller should move up to the MY DEVICES section within a few seconds of you tapping it

Michael Gariffo

Once you tap DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller your iPhone should connect within a few seconds. After it has successfully connected, the device will move from the OTHER DEVICES section up to the MY DEVICES section where all actively connected Bluetooth devices live. From here, you just need to boot up your favorite game (that supports external Bluetooth controllers) and get gaming. 

PlayStation 4 controller smartphone holders

Below are a few smartphone holders we found that will let you connect your PS4 controller to your iPhone to easily take your gaming on the go. While most of these mounts are pretty universal, make sure to double check that your specific model of iPhone is supported by the provided smartphone clamp, especially if you have a larger model, like the iPhone Pro Max .


Can I connect other generations of PlayStation controllers?

Yes! The official PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 5 controllers can be connected to your iPhone using exactly the same process. The only difference will be the location and appearance of the PS button and Share button. Everything else about the connection process is identical. 

What are some iPhone games I can play on a controller?

There are likely over a thousand iPhone games you can use a controller to play, so we can't list them all here. However, Apple created a web page showcasing some popular titles that support controller input during the iOS 14 era. Unfortunately, it hasn't fully updated the page since the release of iOS 15, but it does appear to be adding newer games (judging by the appearance of Diablo Immortal). We've also put together a short list of some of the most popular supported titles across a wide range of genres below, to get you started. 

Can I use my PlayStation 4 controller on iPad too?

Absolutely. The process is, once again, identical to connecting a PlayStation 4 controller to an iPhone. This means it's possible to turn everything from your iPad Mini to your 12-inch iPad Pro into a mobile gaming powerhouse. At some larger screen sizes, this setup might even give your PC or television a run for its money. 

Editorial standards