The Best Game Controllers for the iPhone


Ever since Apple introduced official controller support for the iPhone a few years ago, mobile gaming has exploded on the platform. The App Store has more ports and indie titles, the Apple Arcade has given users a dedicated gaming ecosystem, and services like Stadia let iOS users experience AAA titles on their mobile devices.

MFi (Made For iPhone) controllers are now widely available, and consumers can now choose between well-known controllers for the latest consoles to devices specifically made for the iPhone.

If you’re looking to upgrade your iOS gaming experience — whether it’s on the iPad or iPhone — here are the best MFi controllers you can get. Our overall pick is the SteelSeries Nimbus+ because it was explicitly designed for gaming on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

For more on iOS gaming, check out our picks for the best overall games on iOS, as well as our picks for the best RPGs.

Best overall: SteelSeries Nimbus+

When it comes to the best controllers for iOS, there isn’t anything that stacks up to the SteelSeries Nimbus+. SteelSeries has always made great third-party accessories for gamers, but they worked hand in hand with Apple to make this controller the ideal solution for Apple gamers.

The Nimbus+ works on all iOS devices, including Apple TVs and MacOS devices. The Nimbus+ has home buttons built into the center of the controller for easy navigation back to the home screen on whatever device you’re using. It also comes with a phone mount to make playing games on your iPhone more comfortable.

Combine all of this with the stellar 50-hour battery life, and the Nimbus+ is undoubtedly the best controller for iOS you can get.

Runner-up: Sony DualSense PS5 controller

The Game Awards creator, Geoff Keighley, holding the PS5 DualSense controller.

With iOS 14.5 on the horizon, the update brings support for the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller. That’s good news for PS5 fans since the DualSense is one of the best and most innovative controllers to come out in recent memory.

It will be interesting to see if and how iOS utilizes the adaptive triggers, which vary the amount of haptic feedback based on in-game actions. Even without that, though, the DualSense is a beautiful and comfortable controller that is sure to please gamers whether they’re on the Apple Arcade or playing Call of Duty: Mobile. It’s bigger than the DualShock 4, solving the PlayStation controller’s age-old problem of being too small for people with big hands. The DualSense also has a USB-C port for charging, making it a great companion for the iPad Pro and iPad Air if you don’t want to lug around extra cables.

For accessibility: Xbox Adaptive Controller

If you or someone you know has a handicap that limits their ability to play games — especially touch-focused games that are common on mobile devices — the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a must-have. The Adaptive Controller is exactly what it sounds like: Adaptive. It serves as a hub for many game accessories, each serving a specific purpose, such as large buttons and a joystick.

The goal is obvious. Having a customizable hub means users can make a controller just for them. The adaptive controller connects just like the regular Xbox One controller, and the hub reads just like anything else. Combine that with the robust accessibility options within iOS itself, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller makes mobile gaming truly available to everyone.

For gaming on the go: Razer Kishi

External controllers are great and all, but lugging around a whole controller takes up precious bag space. If you’re looking for a game controller, you can take it with you anywhere. That’s where something like the Razer Kishi becomes appealing.

When the Kishi is collapsed, it has a compact form factor, perfect for throwing into a bag. When you’re ready to use it, the Kishi stretches over your iPhone and connects with the lightning port, and it gives the device a Switch-like aesthetic. The buttons are clicky and tactile, and it’s a great companion for PUBG and Call of Duty: Mobile players. Since the controller connects directly to your phone, there isn’t any latency like the kind commonly found in Bluetooth controllers. For this reason alone, it’s a great permanent solution for shooter fans. It also comes with an additional lightning port; that way, you can charge your phone while you play.

For a controller that’s easy to use and put away, the Razer Kishi is the way to go.

For retro fans: 8BitDo SN30 Pro

If you aren’t interested in modern controllers or want something with a smaller footprint, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro is an excellent Bluetooth controller that works with iOS. It isn’t officially an MFi controller, but it works great with iPhones and iPads nonetheless. The controller is modeled after the SNES controller, but it has some modern luxuries like rumble vibration, motion controls, and dual analog sticks. It also charges via USB-C, so it fits nicely into a modern ecosystem without adding more cables to your bag.

There are many cheap retro controllers out there, but the products from 8BitDo have excellent build quality and are consistently among the best available. If that’s your jam, this is the one to get.

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