Android Entertainment

How to Connect a PS3 Controller to Your Android Phone or Tablet

Megan Ellis Updated 28-11-2019

Mobile games are becoming more advanced all the time, so it’s no wonder that a lot of people are interested in pairing controllers with their devices. One popular option is the PlayStation 3 (PS3) controller.


But doing this is not a matter of plug-and-play. In fact, there is setup and some legwork involved in making sure your pairing dreams come true.

Here are two ways to pair your PS3 controller with your Android phone or tablet, along with their compatibility limitations and other requirements.

Using a PS3 Controller With Your Android Phone

You might choose to pair a PS3 controller with your Android phone because you have a spare one lying around. But because the PS3 controller comes from an older generation of hardware, it has some limitations.

While PS3 controllers do have Bluetooth functionality, they don’t seamlessly connect to other hardware like newer controllers. Both the original Sixaxis and DualShock 3 versions of the PS3 controller are specifically meant to connect to either the PS3 or the PSP Go. Connecting to other devices takes some setup and requires workarounds.

The DualShock 4, which has a wider range of Bluetooth compatibility, is only available with the PlayStation 4 console. This is why you will need to use software and cables to connect your PS3 controller to your Android smartphone or tablet.


Method 1: Use Sixaxis Controller (Root Required)

Compatibility: Most Android devices, but issues with HTC and Samsung
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you need: Rooted phone, USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapter, PS3 controller, PC, and a mini-USB cable

laptop, ps3 controller, and Android phone

Sixaxis Controller is the go-to app for those looking to pair their PS3 controller and Android mobile device. In terms of pairing apps, it has the widest range of compatible devices.

However, the app requires root access. This may be a deterrent for some users, since rooting Android This Is the Best Way to Root Your Android Device If you want to root your Android phone or tablet, this is the best way to do it. It bypasses restrictions that other root methods don't. Read More voids your device’s warranty. If you’re not careful, you could also brick your phone or make it vulnerable to security threats. Luckily, there is a variety of software to help you safely root.


If your device has a locked bootloader (such as HTC devices), you will first need to go through the process of unlocking your bootloader before you can root your phone. Once you’ve done this, you can get started with Sixaxis Controller.

Download: Sixaxis Controller ($2.49) [No Longer Available]


Step 1: Check Compatibility

Since Sixaxis Controller is a paid app, it’s recommended that you use the free Sixaxis Compatibility Checker app first to make sure it will work on your phone. In the compatibility checker, you simply need to press Start to check whether your phone is compatible.


The app will also state whether your phone is rooted or not. If your phone is not rooted, it can’t perform the check and the Sixaxis Controller app will not work on your phone.

sixaxis compatibility checker Android phone

If you’ve rooted your phone, the app will do a compatibility check. You will know whether your phone is compatible if the app is able to provide your phone’s Bluetooth address. It also shows a dialog box that confirms compatibility.

sixaxis compatibility success


Keep this Bluetooth address on hand (you will need it later) and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Getting the Controller Ready

Besides rooting your phone, extra setup is required for your controller too. You need to make your PS3 controller compatible with the Sixaxis app by preparing it using a PC tool. The option suggested by the app’s developers is SixaxisPairTool.

Install this tool onto your PC and run it as an administrator. There is a Windows version, as well as a macOS and Linux controller pairing tool. We will cover the Windows tool.

The simple program provides you with a small dialog box stating the Bluetooth address of your controller’s master device. It also has a space that allows you to change the master device. Type your phone’s Bluetooth address (as provided by the compatibility checker) in this box and continue. The program will then install the correct drivers needed for your controller.

sixaxis pair tool

You may run into issues with this portion of the pairing process. Sometimes SixaxisPairTool does not run, with an error saying that libusb0.dll is missing.

sixaxis pair tool windows error

One workaround for this is to go into the folder where you installed SixaxisPairTool and enter the x86 directory. Here, rename libusb0_x86.dll to ibusb0.dll. Then copy this file, along with libusb0.sys, to the same folder where SixaxisPairTool.exe resides.

You should also access the Device Manager (right-click the Start Button) and uninstall the device named HID compliant game controller under Human Interface Devices. If you can get the program to run, but can’t install the drivers, you can use SCP Toolkit as an alternative driver installer.

Next, move onto the mobile app portion of the pairing process.

Step 3: Pair Controller Through Sixaxis Controller App

sixaxis app phone and controller

You’ll be glad that this step is relatively easier then prior ones. Make sure the app has superuser permissions on your phone before you start.

At this point, it’s as easy as pressing the Start button in the Sixaxis Controller app. The app will then do a series of checks to make sure you have the correct drivers.

By pressing the Pair Controller button, you’ll be able to check that your phone’s Bluetooth address is now the controller’s master address. If you were unable to properly pair the controller with SixaxisPairTool, the Pair Controller function will do this for you—as long as you have the correct drivers installed.

When the dialog in the app says Client 1 connected, the connection is successful. You can check to make sure everything is working by pressing buttons and moving the sticks around—the app should respond by moving its selections according to your buttons.

sixaxis ps3 controller android gif

Now, just start up a game that allows gamepad input and have fun!

Method 2: Use Sixaxis Enabler (No Root Required)

Compatibility: Most Samsung Galaxy phones, but certain other Android devices—especially newer models.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you need: Compatible Android phone, USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapter, PS3 controller, mini-USB cable

Android phone and ps3 controller

Using the Sixaxis Enabler app to connect your PS3 controller to your Android device is certainly the easiest method. So why don’t more people promote it?

Its extremely limited compatibility, especially with older devices, makes this method only usable with certain phones. Since the app doesn’t require rooting your device, your phone or tablet must already have the correct firmware support for PS3 controllers. The brands which most commonly work with the app include Samsung Galaxy and Nexus phones. Some LG flagships are also compatible.

Like Sixaxis Controller, Sixaxis Enabler is also a paid app. So if you’re one of the lucky people who has a device that works with the app, what do you need to do?

Download: Sixaxis Enabler ($2.49)

Step 1: Open Sixaxis Enabler

The first step for this method is extremely simple—buy the app, then download and open it. The app doesn’t require you to root your device or need any special permissions.

The app itself is also extremely simple, with a minimalistic user interface. This includes a screen with instructions and a troubleshooting page. At the top of the app, you can see its status. When it says Detecting Sixaxis, please attach controller, you should do just that.

Step 2: Allow the App to Pair

Once you’ve connected your controller and switched it on, you’ll receive a prompt asking whether you want to allow the app to access your device. Simply select OK and the app will begin syncing.

If your device is compatible, the status of the app will change to Sixaxis Enabled. You can then move the controller’s joysticks and press buttons to make sure that the app registers these movements. If it works properly, lines of input code will appear as you interact with the controller.

If your device is not compatible, rooting will not fix this unless you add a custom ROM that has the proper firmware updates. In our testing, an HTC One M7 worked with Sixaxis Controller while rooted, but was not compatible with Sixaxis Enabler.

However, we’ve confirmed compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy S8. We were also able to use the app with the Galaxy S10 and Huawei P20 Pro. Once your controller is paired to your device, you can simply open a game and begin using it.

Other Ways to Pair a Controller to Android

Despite the increasing popularity of using controllers for Android games, there are a limited number of ways that you can pair your PS3 controller with your phone. We’ve outlined the two main methods Android owners can use, so hopefully one of them works for you.

However, newer controllers and dedicated Android controllers have emerged on the market. If you’re looking for an easier method, check out our guide on connecting a controller to your Android smartphone or tablet How to Connect a Controller to an Android Phone or Tablet Sick of touch controls for gaming? Find out how to connect a PS4, Xbox, or other controler to an Android phone or tablet. Read More .

Image Credit: destinacigdem/Depositphotos

Related topics: Android Tips, Game Controller, Mobile Gaming, PlayStation.

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  1. cbze3
    April 6, 2020 at 1:25 am

    Usless article. The idea of conecting a dualshock to an android phone is for using it wirelessly. DS4 can be connected as a generic phone; but DS3 works only with selected devices. Sixaxis Enabler needs to be improved and Sixaxis Controller needs root; which doesn't help unless you root your device.

  2. Brendon
    December 27, 2019 at 12:54 am

    Hey!! I tried downloading the controller app but it appears that it's no longer on play store. What do I do?

  3. ervz
    January 26, 2018 at 9:22 am

    help i already tried this application bit still i get no detection on my devices im using huawei tab3 and oppo phone pls help me i already have sixaxis controller app and compatibility app pls help me

  4. cool dude
    January 11, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Doesn't work with the Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro for anyone wondering just ignoring compatible lists and stuff. I like the article thanks it was a memory.

  5. jade
    January 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Can U publish an article where u can connect the controller without sixaxis app and otg cable

    • Megan Ellis
      November 1, 2017 at 7:17 am

      The story has been updated with a no root option. Unfortunately, you will still need an adaptor to connect the controller to your phone, and there are only a few phones compatible with the new app.

      It looks like most app devs aren't really focusing on this kind of functionality. Some Xperia phones though have it built in

      • MC
        November 26, 2019 at 7:53 pm

        Well it isn't a no root option, I'm not actually sure what Sixaxis enabler does as android natively supports USB OTG and you can use a PS3 controller regardless without it. Your article is unclear and makes it sound like it is an option for using a controller wirelessly.

  6. Anonymous
    August 5, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    This was a real pain to do but it was well worth it. Now I can enjoy all my GTA games to their full extent. Nice guide.

  7. abdulmajeed
    May 17, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I did everything the guide said to but when it gets to listening for controllers, nothing happens, ps controller just keeps flashing for a while and the app doesn't pick up the contoller. Any ideas??

  8. Biamcs
    April 1, 2015 at 1:46 am

    I sucessfully connected my controller in the compatibility checker. But when I tried to connect in the actual app, first it doesnt say the local bluetooth address, even after i click start. Then after it says "Driver Starting..." it goes "Segmentation fault" and it doesn't connect. Any tips? I am using galaxy s5 btw

  9. seriousguy23
    March 12, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Can somebody please help me my controller is supported on my nexus 7 but I cannot adjust left and right stick in order to normally play games.

  10. jan
    March 4, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Hi there. i found problem.
    i have rooted device, sixaxis checker ok, then i run it in full app, Start, successfully configured BT, controllers listening, pressing ps button, unplug, chnage IME but there is no activity from my bluetooth, so its not working without cable and with cable it works badly. what iam doing bad?
    (sometimes - cause i tried it 1000X - its ask for password for connect on bluetooth, but there is no password...)

  11. roberto
    October 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    1- Connect pad via cable and use for 1 min. It will pair the pad without you knowing

    2- Disconnect pad and turn on Bluetooth. Press power on pad and will come up Ps3 controller connected

    3- Enjoy ps3 native without cables and without paying for strange apps.

    • James B
      October 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      And how exactly does it emulate on-screen controls in games that don't natively support the controller without some "strange app"?

  12. robert
    October 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    connect it by USB to your phone, no big deal, detected out of the box and running in all games. Save your cash.

  13. Carlos
    October 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Does that work with w 8?

  14. ben
    October 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    will i be able to use it with my ps3 again?

    • James B
      October 15, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Yes, but you'll need to re-pair it with the ps3 as if you'd bought a new controller.

  15. Adil Khan
    August 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Hi There!

    I just want to ask you can we play any game with PS3 Controller or just some games.


    • James B
      August 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      any game, yes, but you will need to run through the setup for each game to choose a custom profile. The best games will be those with on-screen analog control stick, which the app can map to the physical controller.

  16. ouyagamer
    July 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I installed the checker in my Ouya console but it just stayed at "driver starting..."

  17. Gs kp
    July 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    The problem is how to give ps4 controls to my android 4.0.4