How to Connect an Xbox Controller to an iPad in 4 Steps

Andrej Antic /

If you love Apple Arcade and mobile gaming, you ll love it even more when you connect an Xbox controller to your iPad! Rather than furiously tapping the screen hoping to beat the AI in a race, you could use an Xbox controller and give yourself an ergonomic advantage.

At History-Computer we love everything gaming, especially everything that makes gaming easier. We re about to show you how to connect your Xbox controller and iPad to make gaming a little more fun. We ll also show you some helpful tips along the way and walk you through a few troubleshooting steps at the end.

Xbox Controller iPad and Bluetooth Prerequisites

Before attempting the pairing process, let s ensure all of your equipment will work together. Unfortunately, some outdated iOS versions and controllers will leave you without a connection. Before attempting the steps below, ensure your devices meet the following prerequisites.

Getting the Right Xbox Controller

You must have one of these Xbox controllers to connect to your iPad:

  • Xbox Wireless Controller Model 1708 (the model number is under the battery)
  • Xbox Series S Wireless Controller
  • Xbox Series X Wireless Controller
  • Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller
  • Xbox Adaptive Controller

iPad Requirements

Assuming you have the correct controller, you should be good to go. But here are a few things to check on your iPad:

  • You re running at least iPadOS 13 or later (iPadOS 14.5 or later for the Series S/X controllers)
  • Your Model is:
    • Any iPad Pro
    • iPad Air 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation
    • iPad 9.7 5th or 6th generation
    • iPad 10.2 7th or 8th generation
    • iPad Mini 4th or 5th generation

Now that you re certain you won t waste your time trying to connect an Xbox controller and iPad that aren t compatible, let s get to our tutorial!

How to Connect an Xbox Controller to an iPad

Connecting an Xbox controller to an iPad is incredibly simple. It s similar to pairing any other Bluetooth device to an iOS device. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Turn on Pairing

You must begin by initiating pairing on your Xbox controller. Face the controller away from you and hold thepairing button(it has three curved lines) until the Xbox controller light begins to flash.

Xbox controller
The pairing button is at the front of the Xbox controller, next to three curved lines. Hold it down to enter pairing mode.

Step 2: Open Settings on Your iPad

Unlock your iPad and tap theSettings app.

iPad Home screen
The settings app usually has an image of a complex gear. If you can t find it, search for it in your apps.

Note: TheSettings appis typically on the home screen. But if you can t find it, swipe to the right (to the left on older iPadOS versions) and typeSettingsin the search bar at the top.

Step 3: Tap Bluetooth

After you launch Settings, tap theBluetoothoption near the top.

iPad settings
Scroll to Bluetooth on the left menu. Make sure your Bluetooth is turned on.

Step 4: Tap the Xbox Controller on the List

Finally, selectWireless Xbox ControllerunderAvailable Devices.

iPad Bluetooth settings
If you have previously connected your Xbox controller, it will appear under My devices . Otherwise, it will be listed under Other devices .

Note: Based on our experience, some controllers show up as a series of random letters and numbers. Ensure the light is flashing on the Xbox controller and try the device at the top of the Available Devices list.

Connecting an Xbox Controller to an iPad Troubleshooting

Hopefully, you ve successfully connected your Xbox controller to your iPad and you re done reading our article now. However, we know that technology can be a headache at times. For those of you who could notconnect your Xbox controllerto your iPad, this section is for you.

If, for any reason, your controller isn t connecting, try the steps outlined below.

Xbox Controller Won t Go Into Pairing Mode

If your Xbox controller won t go into pairing mode or it doesn t appear in your Available Devices list on your iPad, don t give up just yet. It s likely a simple power or software issue.

First, ensure your Xbox controller has enough charge to connect to your iPad. Turn on your Xbox and ensure the controller is paired. Then, look in the top right corner for the battery life indicator. Of course, you can also try another battery if you have one handy.

Next, you can update your Xbox controller. Plug your Xbox controller into your Xbox using theUSBcable and hold thepair buttonon the Xbox. The Xbox will run a firmware update if one is available. Then, try putting your controller in pairing mode again.

Lastly, turn off your Xbox and any other paired devices. If your controller is trying to pair to an existing device, it may not want to go into pairing mode or appear in your iPad settings.

Note: You must hold the pairing button for five to ten seconds. Try holding it a bit longer to see if it goes into pairing mode.

The iPad Won t Connect to the Controller

Perhaps the Xbox controller isn t the issue. If your iPad isn t cooperating with your Xbox controller, first ensure the software is up-to-date (software updates fix system glitches, including Bluetooth). Go toSettings>General>Software Updateand see if one s available. Then, follow the prompts on the screen to perform the update.

Next, try turning Bluetooth off and back on. You can also turn your iPad off and back on to fix connection issues (this works 90% of the time).

Lastly, contactApple Supportfor more assistance. While the resolution should be quick and simple, your iPad may have another issue. A quick call to Apple Support will help you to identify your iPad s problems.

Note: Check the connection with other Bluetooth devices. This will help you diagnose whether the problem is with the iPad or the Xbox controller. If all your Bluetooth devices aren t cooperating, there s an issue with your iPad and you ll need Apple Support.

Xbox Controller Keeps Disconnecting From the iPad

One of the most common complaints about using an Xbox controller with an iPad is that it won t stay connected. Unfortunately, this issue is a bit more challenging to diagnose, but it still isn t impossible.

If your Xbox controller won t stay connected to your Xbox or your iPad, it likely needs a firmware update. If your iPad won t stay connected to your AirPods orApple Pencil(or another Bluetooth device), the issue lies within the iPad (try restarting or performing an update).

Lastly, after performing any updates and ensuring both devices have adequate battery life, try unpairing your Xbox controller (iPhoneSettings>Bluetooth>i icon> Forget Device), and reconnecting it.

Connect iPad to Xbox Controller Wrap Up

The process of connecting an Xbox controller to an iPad is so simple anyone can do it. However, there are a few prerequisites and troubleshooting options if things just don t go as planned. Certainly, playing iPad games is so much easier and more fun with a controller!

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