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Can you connect a controller to an iPad Mini?

Can you connect a controller to an iPad mini? Yes, you can! If your iPad is running iPadOS 13.0 or above, you’ll be able to use Xbox an Playstation controllers with your device. If you are stuck on an earlier version of iPadOS, you can still use your iPad mini with MFi (made for iPad) controllers. All you need to do, either way is connect to bluetooth and pair them up— it’s even easier than slipping on an iPad case

How to Connect a PlayStation Controller to Your iPad mini

First things first— before you begin, you’ll want to check the your iPad is updated to iPadOS 13.0. You can do this in your iPad settings, by visiting General and then Software Update. 

When you’re ready to start, here’s the procedure:

  1. Visit your iPad Settings, then click on Bluetooth. This is usually in the second block of links, next to your Wifi settings. 
  2. Now pick up our controller, and press the middle PS button at the same time as you press SHARE. Hold both buttons down for five seconds, and the LED indicator lights should begin to flash. 
  3. In the Bluetooth menu on your iPad mini you should now see the name of your controller. For instance, if you are pairing a DualShock controller, you may see something like ‘DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless Controller’. Click this, and it will pair with your device.
  4. Now open your game on the iPad mini, and start playing with your controller. 

If you’re finished playing and you’d like to disconnect, you can either hold the PS and OPTION button on your controller, or by going into the bluetooth menu on your iPad (in Settings) and press the (i) button next to the controller name. 

Bluetooth works pretty well, most of the time, but it may on occasion loose your connection. If this happens, just pair again.

How to Connect a Xbox Controller to Your iPad mini

Not all Xbox controllers play nicely with the iPad. You’ll need a modern one like the Xbox One that connects with bluetooth. Neither the Elite controller or the Xbox 360 will work, as they are not bluetooth based.

Got a bluetooth based Xbox controller? The next  step is the same as your preliminary step for the playstation controller: make sure you’ve got iPadOs 13.0 (or better) running on your device. If you don’t, update it. Once that’s taken care of, here’s what you need to do to connect:

  1. Open the Settings on your iPad Mini, then click ‘Bluetooth’. Turn it on by sliding the toggle to green. 
  2. Press the center button on your controller to wake it up. Then find the wireless pairing button— it should be above the charging port, right next to the left trigger. 
  3. Hold down the wireless pairing button for five seconds, or until the Xbox logo on your controller starts to flash. 
  4. Look back at your iPad’s Bluetooth menu, and you should see the name of your controller there. It might be called ‘Xbox Wireless Controller’ or something similar. 
  5. Tap to connect, then wait till your iPad shows you pairing was successful.
  6. Open your game and start playing with your controller. 

How to Connect a MFi Controller to Your iPad mini

Here’s how to connect a MFi controller to your iPad mini:

  1. In your iPad Settings, go to Bluetooth, then slide the toggle to on (green).
  2. Turn your controller on pairing mode. The way you do this varies depending on the controller, but generally there is a bluetooth button you want to hold down. Typically, flashing lights let you know the device is in pairing mode. 
  3. Check your iPad’s bluetooth menu, and you should see the controller’s name listed under Other Devices. Click to connect, and wait a moment or two for the pairing to take place
  4. Open your game and start playing with your controller. 

How to Connect a GameVice controller to Your iPad Mini

Then there’s the GameVice controller. Unlike bluetooth controllers, a GameVice is actually connected physically to your iPad via the lightning connector. Fitting on either side of your iPad mini, it runs your tablet into a portable game console, complete with all the controls you could possibly want. 

The best thing about this game controller is that there is no lag whatsoever; a necessity for immersive game play.  The controller is also easy to put on when you're going to be gaming and take off when you want to use your iPad mini for something different or slip on its iPad case for a trip out to town. 


Downside? There’s no one size fits all; you have to buy the controller designed for your iPad model, and if they don't have one ready for your iPad, you’re out of luck.  If you’ve got the right GameVice model for your iPad mini, though, here's how to connect:

  1. Place the controller under your iPad mini, and connect the right hand-side of the controller to your devices lightning port. 
  2. Stretch the left hand side out under the iPad and fit it over the left hand side. 
  3. Open your game and start playing. 

Alternative Controller Types

There are other types of controllers you can use with your iPad mini, including suction-based devices that stick onto your iPads screen. Your tablet is pretty small, though, so you may not want to give up that much of your precious real estate. 

For these controllers, follow the directions that come with the controller to connect with your iPad. Most bluetooth controllers follow the simple MFI connection procedure described above.

Got connected? Congrats! No longer are you glued to the TV, computer, or other stationary screen.  With your iPad mini and a controller, you can take your gameplay anywhere; and enjoy a completely immersive experience even in the midst of a busy commute or boring waiting room vigil. Just make sure you’ve got your device safely tucked away in a quality case, for safe keeping on the road!