How do you make use of Nintendo Joy-Cons on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV

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Apple has announced Nintendo controller support for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and tvOS 16 which means that it’s now possible to pair Joy-Cons with your devices. Here’s how.

Nintendo controllers connect via a specific signal therefore they’re not visible to devices that are looking for a traditional Bluetooth controller. Yet, Apple has enabled its devices to recognize Nintendo controllers and easily pair them.

Note: To connect with a Nintendo controller, the user is required to have iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or TVOS 16. These operating systems are being tested in beta and won’t be available to the general public until the end of the year.

How do you connect your Nintendo controller to Apple TV, an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

  1. If your device is running the necessary OS Start by opening Settings.
  2. Click on Bluetooth on your iPhone and iPad. For an Apple TV choose Remotes and Devices and then Bluetooth.
  3. When using the Nintendo controller Hold and press the button for pairing.
  4. If the light on your controller starts to flash, make sure you check the controller’s name within Settings.
  5. Select the controller’s name and pair

The process only needs to be repeated once so it is the Nintendo controller is being used exclusively with an Apple device. Turn on the controller and join with an Apple device automatically. Or, If the controller was already connected to your Nintendo Switch previously, repeat the pairing procedure.

Pair, rename, and connect to Nintendo controllers from Bluetooth settings

Connect, change the name of the pair, and pair with Nintendo controllers using Bluetooth settings

How do you make use of Your Nintendo controller with an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

Once you’ve linked your Nintendo controller to the device, it can be used as a game controller. A lot of games on Apple Arcade as well as in the App Store are compatible with controllers.

The Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons are a unique controller as they’re technically two distinct devices. Apple has set up the pairing mechanism to display the Joy-Cons separately however, the system will consider them to be one controller.

It is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, wireless Gamecube controller, and other controllers that connect and function in the same manner. Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV will recognize the controllers and then map the buttons accordingly.

Options that can be customized

Apple comes with a unique game controller menu that is only displayed when the Game controller connects to the. This menu lets users set each button and function of the controller in different ways from default settings.

Remap controller buttons, choose vibration levels, and more with Apple's controller configuration tool

Change the controller’s buttons, set the level of vibration, and much more using Apple’s controller configuration tool.

Every game may have different control maps that place buttons in awkward or difficult-to-remember positions. This could be fixed by creating a customized button map for each game played on the device.

For the iPhone or iPad open the Settings app, then select General, and then choose Game Controller when a controller is connected. Users can create profiles through this menu and associate them to controllers that are paired and games installed.

The Apple TV will allow custom controller profiles for any connected controller

It is expected that the Apple TV will allow custom controller profiles to be created for any connected controller

In Apple TV, there is an option to choose profile profiles for controllers in the Bluetooth menu. Select the game controller you want to play on the Bluetooth menu, where you previously paired the controller in the past, then select the profile you want to use or create a brand new profile.

Note: The ability to customize controller functions does not work for Nintendo controllers in the initial developer beta. It is expected that this issue will be addressed prior to the release of the final version.