How to Connect an Xbox Controller to Apple TV

An Xbox One S controller.
Anthony McLaughlin/Shutterstock.com

Your Apple TV is much more than a media-streaming box. It has built-in games, and it works with the Xbox controller and other popular game controllers. Power up your Apple Arcade experience (or just download individual games) with a physical controller.

Not All Xbox Controllers Are Supported (Yet)

With the release of the Xbox Series X and S consoles in November of 2020, Microsoft has released a new version of its wireless controller. Dubbed the “new Xbox Wireless Controller,” it has a slightly different shape and texture to the previous Xbox One controller and includes a new Share button for screenshots and video recording.

Xbox Series X and S consoles
Microsoft

As of January 2021, Microsoft has not yet updated the controller to work with Apple devices. This includes the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, all of which share the same operating system core (kernel).

Microsoft plans to add support in the future, and this will likely require the firmware on the controller itself to be updated, either via an Xbox Series X or S console or a Windows 10 PC. You can find out more information about compatibility direct from Microsoft on its Xbox Support website.

As of January 2021, only the following Xbox-branded controllers are compatible with Apple TV:

  • Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth (Xbox One, Model 1708)
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller (Series 2)
  • Xbox Adaptive Controller

Don’t forget that you can use other Bluetooth controllers too, including Sony’s DualShock 4 and Nintendo’s Switch Pro controller.

Connecting a Controller to Your Apple TV

You’ll need to connect your controller wirelessly via Bluetooth. To do this, find the pairing button along the top edge of the controller near the battery compartment. Press and hold this button until the Xbox logo on the front of the controller starts flashing.

Xbox Series Controller Pairing Button
Tim Brookes

Now that the controller is in pairing mode, turn on the Apple TV and go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. Your Apple TV will immediately begin searching for compatible Bluetooth devices. Any devices you have already paired will appear under “My Devices” at the top of the screen.

At the bottom of the screen under “Other Devices,” you should see your Xbox controller appear in the list. Select it and wait. The Apple TV will attempt to pair with your controller. Once the logo on the front of the controller stops flashing and the Apple TV says that the device is “Connected,” the process is complete.

To unpair your controller, either re-pair it with your Xbox console or visit the Bluetooth menu on your Apple TV, select your controller, and choose Unpair Device.

Now Play Some Games

With your Xbox controller now paired with your Xbox, you can play any games that have MFi controller support. You can see a long list of these games at controller.wtf/mfi-games.

Want to get the most out of games on your Apple TV? Consider subscribing to Apple Arcade for access to a heap of high-quality mobile-friendly titles.

RELATED: What Is Apple Arcade? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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