The way to Join an Xbox Controller to Your Mac

It's great to play on the beautiful display of a Mac computer. Whether you're using Steam, OneCast, Apple Arcade, or emulators, it's really fun and beautiful.

The only thing that could improve the experience is plugging a controller into your Mac – especially if you're playing Xbox or other console games. Then you get great graphics and great control over your game.

Depending on the type of controller you want to use, there are several different ways you can connect an Xbox controller to your Mac. Find your model below to see how your controller can work with your computer.

Connect wireless bluetooth Xbox controllers

The controllers in this section all have one function in common: Bluetooth connectivity. This enables wireless pairing not only with the Xbox One and Xbox One S / X consoles, but also with Windows PCs and Macs.

This section covers the following controls:

  • Xbox One S Wireless Controller

  • Xbox One X Wireless Controller

  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

  • Xbox Adaptive Controller

Other console controllers can also connect to a Mac using Bluetooth. We'll talk about how to improve your Mac gaming experience in our article.

To pair one of these controllers with your Mac, turn the controller on and hold the button Pairing button on the device. This button is on the top of your controller on the left.

The Xbox logo button should start blinking. This means that the controller is in pairing mode.

Go to on your Mac System settings> Bluetooth. You can find a list of devices nearby that can be connected, including one called Xbox Wireless Controller. click on Connect Button to the right of this device name.

Your controller should now be paired with your Mac!

If you're having trouble, read the settings or preferences for the game system you're playing on and look for a controllers section.

To disconnect the controller when you're done playing, go to System settings> Bluetoothand met the Separate Button next to the Xbox Wireless Controller.

Xbox One Wireless Controller before 2016 and Wired Xbox Controller

Xbox One wireless controllers released before 2016 are not Bluetooth compatible. Therefore, although they are wireless, they cannot be paired with a Mac like the controllers above.

You can still connect them with just a few additional steps. And in a few more steps than connecting an Xbox controller to a PC.

These steps also apply to all wired Xbox controllers, including Xbox 360 controllers if you still have one around and want to use it.

First, you need to download and install the 360Controller driver (free).

Xbox drivers come natively on PCs, but they need to be added on Macs. 360Controller is only available on GitHub. Make sure you get the latest version.

Double click the DMG file and run the PKG file. Then follow the instructions on the screen to install the driver.

After installing the driver, make sure you have the correct cable for your controller and Mac. You need a micro-USB port for your controller on one side and a USB or USB-C port for your Mac on the other. The last part depends on what ports or converters you have on your Mac.

Once you have your cable, connect it to your controller and then to your Mac. Turn on your controller with the Xbox button.

Next go to System Settings> Xbox 360 Controllerswhich should now be in your system settings. You will be given a card of your controller as well as the name above which should be the Xbox model it belongs to (Wired) At the end.

You can reset or change your controller buttons by clicking them on the map and tapping new inputs on your controller. To disconnect the controller, simply pull out the power plug!

Xbox Series X and Series S controllers

The Xbox series X / S console is the latest generation of Microsoft's game console. And it comes with bluetooth wireless controllers. While some people have been lucky enough to connect their Series X / S controllers to their Mac computers using the Bluetooth instructions above, many others haven't.

According to an Apple support page on connecting wireless controllers, Apple and Microsoft are working together to create Bluetooth compatibility support between the new Xbox series X / S controllers and macOS.

This means that there is still no compatibility between the controllers and Mac computers – at least not at the time of writing.

You can try using a cable – Microsoft sells a ten-foot USB-C cable – but that hasn't been very lucky for most people either. Even less so than Bluetooth, in fact.

So, when macOS receives the driver update for this compatibility, schedule a connection via Bluetooth according to the Xbox One wireless controller steps above. We will surely be on the lookout for it.

Connecting is just getting easier

Apple and Microsoft are not known for their devices to be compatible with each other. However, Xbox controllers are showing how this is changing, especially with the latest systems.

We hope that our steps above will help you pair your Xbox controllers with your Mac and that your gaming experience will be much better in return. We had a lot of fun with our and other console controllers.

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About the author

Jessica Lanman
(4 articles published)

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By Jessica Lanman

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