How to Connect a Controller to an Android Phone or Tablet
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Touch controls for mobile games aren’t always great. Perhaps they’re poorly implemented, or maybe your device doesn’t support multitouch. Instead of getting frustrated about this, why not consider connecting a game controller?

You can connect many types of controllers to Android via USB or Bluetooth, including your Xbox One, PS4 or Nintendo Switch controllers. Here’s how to connect virtually any game controller to your Android device to enhance your mobile gaming.

Control Android Games Over USB or Bluetooth

Your Android gaming will receive a considerable boost with the help of a controller. If you’re playing Fortnite on your phone Is Fortnite Battle Royale on Mobile Worth Playing? Is Fortnite Battle Royale on Mobile Worth Playing? How well does the mobile version of Fortnite Battle Royale fare against the PC and console versions? Is it doomed to fail like so many other mobile shooters? Let's find out... Read More , or even something slower-paced like Minecraft, a controller provides more stability than touch controls.

Generally, you’ll connect a controllers using either a USB cable or Bluetooth. You have five general options for connecting a game controller to your Android phone:

  • Standard USB controller
  • Standard Bluetooth controller
  • Xbox One controller
  • PS4 controller
  • Nintendo Switch Joy-Con

In a moment, we’ll look at each of these in turn. Note that we’re skipping older console controllers (such as the Xbox 360 controller) due to out-of-date apps and changes to Android’s Bluetooth support.

Let’s examine how to set up each of these controller methods and use them on Android.

Connect a USB Controller to Android

If you want to grab any USB controller and start playing games on Android, you’ll need a USB-OTG cable. This is a special dongle that essentially adapts a standard USB connector to fit in your phone or tablet.

However, the OTG-USB cable does more than that, even letting you connect all manner of USB devices and drives to Android. Our guide to OTG-USB explains this in more detail.

You’ll first need to purchase a USB-OTG cable. They’re available for cheap from Amazon. Make sure you choose a USB-C or micro-USB connector depending on what your phone uses.

Anker USB-C to USB 3.1 Adapter, Converts USB-C Female into USB-A Female, Uses USB OTG Technology, Compatible with Samsung Galaxy Note 8, S8 S8+ S9, iPad Pro 2018, Nexus 6P 5X, LG V20 G5 and more Anker USB-C to USB 3.1 Adapter, Converts USB-C Female into USB-A Female, Uses USB OTG Technology, Compatible with Samsung Galaxy Note 8, S8 S8+ S9, iPad Pro 2018, Nexus 6P 5X, LG V20 G5 and more Buy Now On Amazon $7.99

Simply connect the USB-OTG dongle to your Android phone, then connect the USB game controller to that. Games with controller support should detect the device, and you’ll be ready to play. That’s all you need.

Connect a Standard Bluetooth Controller to Android

Bluetooth controller for Android

If you have a generic Bluetooth game controller, you’re almost guaranteed that it will work with your Android device. It’s nearly as simple as connecting a USB controller, although of course you won’t need any dongles.

Open Settings > Connected devices > Connection preferences > Bluetooth > Pair new device, then follow the specific instructions make your controller discoverable. Look for a dedicated Bluetooth button, or check the manual for the right button combination.

Your phone should detect the controller; tap its name to establish the connection. As with USB, games that can use controllers will detect the them when you start the game. Other games might support controllers, but require additional software from Google Play.

Connect an Xbox One Controller to Android

If you have an Xbox One controller, you’ve already got a fantastic way to control Android games. But how simple is it to hook one up to your Android device?

Xbox Wireless Controller - White Xbox Wireless Controller - White Buy Now On Amazon

Similar to connecting the Xbox One controller to your Windows PC, you don’t need any additional hardware with a newer model controller. A typical Android device’s Bluetooth support is all you need to connect the controller to your phone or tablet (or Android TV).

Before starting, make sure the controller is fully charged, and you’ve unplugged your Xbox One. If you don’t, the controller remains paired to it, which means you can’t pair it with your Android device.

Begin by putting Android into discoverable mode as explained in the previous section. Next, hold the Sync button on the Xbox One controller. Upon detection, select the controller on your phone and follow the instructions to pair.

Note that this will only work with newer Xbox One controllers that use Bluetooth. The original models released when the Xbox One first came out use RF, which Android doesn’t support. In the below image, the bottom controller (with no plastic around the Xbox button) supports Bluetooth.

Xbox Controller Comparison

If your controller won’t connect wirelessly, you can use USB OTG instead. This also applies if you want to connect an old wired Xbox 360 controller. It should work with most Android devices, although note that the Guide button may flash while you use it.

Connect a PS4 Controller to Android

Sony has used Bluetooth in its controllers for years, which makes it easy if you want to play Android games with a PlayStation 4 gamepad.

Make your Android device discoverable, then sync the controller by holding the PlayStation and Share buttons simultaneously. When the controller light flashes, you should see a Wireless Controller entry listed on your Android device.

Select this to complete pairing. A solid blue light on the PS4 controller means that it’s successfully connected.

Play Games on Android With Nintendo Switch Joy-Con

Amazingly, it’s even possible to hook up a Nintendo Switch controller to your Android. You can either sync one Joy-Con on its own, or as the video above illustrates, sync both as a full two-handed controller.

To sync both Joy-Con attached to the Joy-Con Grip like this, you’ll need a wireless adapter and USB-OTG dongle compatible with your phone. This convenient wireless adapter bundle from Mayflash includes everything you need.

Mcbazel Mayflash MAGIC-NS Wireless PS4 PS3 Xbox One S 360 Controller Fighting Stick Adapter for Nintendo Switch PC NeoGeo Mini with USB to Type C OTG Cable Game Card Storage Case Mcbazel Mayflash MAGIC-NS Wireless PS4 PS3 Xbox One S 360 Controller Fighting Stick Adapter for Nintendo Switch PC NeoGeo Mini with USB to Type C OTG Cable Game Card Storage Case Buy Now On Amazon $21.99

As ever, games that have controller support will respond to this far better than those that do not. Check the accompanying video to find out more about controlling Android with Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers. And be sure to learn how to share your Nintendo Switch gameplay online.

Keep in mind that addition to the Joy-Con, you can connect the Nintendo Switch Pro controller to your Android device How to Use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on PC and Android How to Use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on PC and Android Here's everything you need to know about how to use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on PC and Android. Read More .

What Is the Best Android Game Controller?

You can connect any of these controllers to your Android phone or tablet with varying degrees of success. While connecting is generally easy, some games just don’t work right with a controller.

The best controller option is the one that works for you. However, despite the quality of Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch controllers, one designed specifically for mobile gaming may work better for you long-term. Whatever the case, if the games you play support console controllers, you should be fine.

But perhaps a game controller isn’t ideal for your kind of mobile gaming at all. Want something different? Try these mobile games with crazy control methods 5 Mobile Games You Control in Crazy Ways 5 Mobile Games You Control in Crazy Ways Tired of the same old mobile games? These five unique titles for Android and iOS let you play using your phone's microphone, gyroscope, and even by tapping the back of your phone. Read More .

Explore more about: Android Tips, Bluetooth, Game Controller, Mobile Gaming.

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  1. Olaitan femi
    October 15, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Do I need to root my android phone to play ppsspp game with a game controller

  2. freez
    January 2, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    after connecting the OTG and the Xbox 360 pad ,the pad starts flashing the green lights but does not work

  3. Doesn't Work
    August 15, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Nope, doesn't work at all. Marshmellow on samsung.

  4. Audris
    July 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

    So i just bought this Ravcore Spear gamepad wich is a xinput usb gamepad(so basically an xbox gamepad) and it came with this usb-microusb adapter but when i plug it in my phone my phone doesn't recognize the gamepad even if the lights on the gamepad are on. Pls help if i can get it to work i will give my 8bitdo nes gamepad to my friend.

  5. Lars James Manansala
    December 30, 2016 at 8:51 am

    So, I have a USB Famicom (NES) controller and an USB OTG ready tablet (Toshiba AT300), I tried to plug it but it seems that nothing happened, though I installed a NES emulator which is supposed to be compatible but my tablet did not detect the controller... please help here... :)

  6. baesho
    December 29, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    My question is how to pair multiple controllers to one android tablet?
    example: I have shield tablet & I play 'pix the cat' so how to add more than one controller?
    Thanks

  7. Doug McKinnon
    November 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Will this work with a wireless Xbox 360?

  8. chris
    November 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I have the RCA 11 Maven Pro Tablet, and the PS3 Sixaxis works fine out of the box, but not the 360 controller.

  9. vipin
    July 5, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I am using oppo R7 handset. I have installed fifa 2015/2016 in my handset and i have a game pad controleer with me. when i connect the game pad with handset and try to play am only able to move the player, not able to pass or shoot or any other key is not wotking. Please help me to resolve the issue.

  10. Der
    June 30, 2016 at 3:49 am

    Can this work for Xbox orginal controller

  11. vaibhav
    February 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    If you use the wired xbox 360 controller with a smartphone, how will the controller charge? Do the batteries get charged from the phone? Or how does it work? I have no idea about these things. I just bought a xbox 360 wired controller, and I use it with samsung galaxy s5.
    Any help regarding the charging of the controller would be highly appreciated. Thank you!

    • dzmax
      February 20, 2016 at 9:21 am

      The wired controller doesn't have a battery!

      • Mauritius
        January 23, 2017 at 2:03 am

        :D

  12. Daniel
    January 17, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    how about connecting a xbox 360 controller to rca maven pro 11.6

  13. Brandon B.
    May 24, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Hi names PuttyMac I was wondering I've got an pc wired controller from radio shack an usb otg small cord, will that work on anything. Its a macro wired controller from radio shack. And I have an fierce android from metro pcs. Can I you these items to work with each other. If not is there something for it. And my phone not rooted I think.

  14. Mark
    May 17, 2015 at 3:54 am

    When I plug my controller in all the lights flash green and it doesn't work. Any suggestions?

    • Duane
      December 3, 2016 at 5:13 am

      Did u figure this out mark? Ive just given it a go and i have the same issue with the flashing lights!

  15. Pawel
    May 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

    On the Xperia Z series it's a stock function that make available to connect ps3 and ps4 controllers.You can also stream the game on the device from the ps4.

  16. lalrinfela
    April 9, 2015 at 4:21 am

    is otg cable support hid game controller?

  17. Joe
    February 28, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Hey man, I have a problem. I know this was tested in Nexus 7 but would you happen to know why my Galaxy Note 10.1 (2012 edition) can't recognize my controller? It's a wireless controller, I have the wireless receiver and the OTG cable. Both of them work, I've tested them separately (the wireless receiver with the pc) but when they are plugged together into the tablet, the controller seems to respond and connects, however, nothing in the screen reacts :( Help please.

  18. nick
    January 8, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Anyone know how to get the XBOX 360 controller to work on a UHOST 2 android TV box? I plugged it in and all I got was a flashing light on the controller.

    UHOST2 is an android device that connects to your TV through HDMI. It works exaclty like a tablet but has no screen. Getting emulators to work with a controller would be great. Could make an entire arcade on your tv~!

  19. nick
    January 4, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I have a samurai wireless Bluetooth controller from gamestop. It pairs with my HTC FIRST . but it does not work. I cannot set controls for emulators I can't control nothing. It pairs but won't connect . please help me set this up. Is there an app or driver or something I can configure so I can get this controller working. I really wanna play my old school games. It worked fine on my galaxy s3 but I don't have it anymore so I really need to make it work on this phone. I'm not rooted and I have no computer. So if anyone can help and get my controller working properly. I will send them some PayPal money . depending on the timelyness of the responses and fix . determines how much I will reward . thanks and I hope someone can figure this out. Pce

  20. Zeke
    January 3, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Yep, works perfectly on my HTC One M8. Vice City the controls are the same as the hacked ones on the Windows version, Mega Drive emulator needed a bit of configuring but is acceptable, SNES emulator worked straight away.

  21. Laisan
    January 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I got a game like Japanese Taigo, there are 9 places on screen and you can touch one or two at the same time.

    I want to play it by external joystick, game pad or something. Is it possible to map the 9 places on screen to keypad, like you said?

  22. Aarav
    January 1, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    is it works in htc desire 820. ? coz today i purchase a usb remote which is not working in it.. any solution.. ?? plz help

  23. Rishabh
    December 26, 2014 at 6:12 am

    It does not. work onmy mObile. What To do

  24. Rishabh
    December 26, 2014 at 6:12 am

    It does not. work onmy mObile. What To do

  25. Rishabh
    December 26, 2014 at 6:08 am

    it does not on my device Nokia X give suggestion

  26. don
    October 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Nice love your website very informative though i know i would find your site much earlier if you had you tube videos better optimization, looking forward to see some videos with quick game play examples everyone loves videos thanks.

  27. Yami Genesis
    October 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Yeah there are some gba games that are hard to play with a touch screen configuration... The xbox controller should definitely do the trick

  28. Anonymous
    September 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I'm using a $5 usb game controller intended for pc, With Galaxy Note 2 running Android 4.1.2 and usb otg cables. Working great for ppsspp v. 0.91, no noticeable lag nor glitch. Haven't had a chance to try the wireless controllers but planning to.

  29. hellas22
    July 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    i connected the wired xbox 360 controller to my acer iconia a1-810 and at first it worked very well. but somehow the connection got lost during playing some games. when trying to reconnect it i need some tries to get a new connection which does again only last for a certain time. does someone have the same problem or know a solution?

    • Shrey
      March 4, 2016 at 2:30 am

      So does this works properly with local controllers?

  30. Jarom Ort
    June 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    You can use your PSP as a wired controller with the USB OTG if you have CFW (CFW is possible and 100% safe on all PSP models) and the FuSa GamePad homebrew app.

  31. aka kywildcat
    June 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks gonna order a wired controller and otg cable, and give this a try

  32. El Shiftos
    May 18, 2013 at 1:30 am

    I tried this with a wired xbox360 controller, on a galaxy tab 8.9 running 4.0.4, with a known good OTG adaptor. The green light on the controller flashed continuously but didn't show any signs of working in the OS or any games.
    I tried a usb mouse with the same OTG adaptor and that worked fine.

    Bah!

  33. Nevzat A
    May 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I'd more than happy if I could use my force-feedback wheel with Asphalt 7. It would be fabulous. I'm waiting for Asphalt 7 -or 8?- PC (Windows 8) version for my dream to come true :)

  34. Humpster Sameasabove
    May 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    that's soo cool

  35. Nevzat A
    May 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Time to try this on my phablet! Many thanks for the article.

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

      You're welcome! It actually works really well -- I played through Sonic 4 episodes 1 and 2. I previously bought them in a sale but the touch controls were too terrible. They were great to play with an xbox controller.

  36. Gideon Waxfarb
    May 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    AFAIK, some of this functionality won't work in Android 4.2, due to changes that Google made to the bluetooth stack and (I believe) USB OTG as well. Friends tell me that Wiimotes and other HID-compatible controllers still don't work, as of 4.2.2. PS3 controllers work if you're rooted, due to the sixaxis app using its own bluetooth stack.

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Worked fine for me on Android 4.2.2 with a wired Xbox controller + USB OTG cable.

      I hear there are big problems with Bluetooth though. All the more reason to go wired xbox controller + USB OTG cable -- seems like the best supported option.