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. Boost your Apple Arcade experience (or just download individual games) with a physical controller.
Not all Xbox controllers are (yet) supported
With the release of the Xbox Series X and S consoles in November 2020, Microsoft has released a new version of its wireless controller. Called the “New Xbox Wireless Controller,”
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 updating the firmware on the controller itself, either through an Xbox Series X or S console or a Windows 10 PC. You can find more information about compatibility directly from Microsoft on the 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 you can also use other Bluetooth controllers, including Sony’s DualShock 4 and Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
Connecting a controller to your Apple TV
You need to connect your controller wirelessly via Bluetooth. To do this, locate 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.
Now that the controller is in pairing mode, turn on the Apple TV and go to Settings> Remotes & Devices> Bluetooth. Your Apple TV will immediately start searching for compatible Bluetooth devices. Any devices you have already paired will appear under “My Devices” at the top of the screen.
Your Xbox controller should appear in the list at the bottom of the screen under “Other Devices”. Select it and wait. The Apple TV will try to pair with your controller. Once the logo on the front of the controller stops flashing and the Apple TV says the device is “Connected”, the process is complete.
To unpair your controller, pair it with your Xbox console again or go to the Bluetooth menu on your Apple TV, select your controller and choose Unlink Device.
Play some games now
Now that your Xbox controller is paired with your Xbox, you can play any games that have MFi controller support. You can view a long list of these games at controller.wtf/mfi-games.
Do you want to get the most out of games on your Apple TV? Consider subscribing to Apple Arcade for access to a ton of high-quality mobile-friendly titles.
RELATED: What is Apple Arcade? Here’s everything you need to know