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To connect any console game controller to a Windows computer or Mac



  collection of PS4 and Xbox controls on board

The console control does not always work as soon as you connect them to a Windows computer or Mac. We have compiled a list of guides so you can learn how to make your favorite controller work with your computer.

Most controllers intended for use on computers, such as USB Logitech controllers, will be HID compatible devices and support XInput or DirectInput protocols that you can use in most games. Some may work out of the box and others may need a custom driver. For console controllers, especially older ones, you may need a hardware adapter if not in USB, as Bluetooth support is beaten or missing.

This guide includes Windows and MacOS, but most HID controllers will work on Linux, too.

PlayStation 4 (DualShock 4)

  PS4 dual-shock controller

Windows supports Sony PS4 controllers without additional software as long as you plug them through USB. You need a hard disk adapter to use the control unit wirelessly.

Macs also support Sony's latest controls by default, even with a wireless connection. Unfortunately, these controllers appear as a generic input device, which may not work in all games.

PlayStation 3 (DualShock 3)

Windows needs a custom driver for PS3 controls, and it's a bit complicated to install.

Mac devices support these controls without additional software. Wireless connection via Bluetooth or connect it with a USB cable.

PlayStation 1 and 2 (DualShock 1 and 2)

Sony's PS1 and PS2 controls are older and do not use USB. You can get an adapter, but it is probably best to download a DualShock 3, as it is almost the same, but with wireless and USB support.

Xbox One

 Xbox one controller

Windows is fully supported by the box, as this is Microsoft's flagship manager. Simply close and play, or connect via Bluetooth. You can also update the controller firmware from your computer if you are using Windows 10.

Macs support the Xbox One controllers wirelessly without any extra, but you need extra software to connect your controller via USB. Specifically, you need the 360Controller driver, which extends support for wired USB Xbox One controllers.

Xbox 360

Windows supports wired 360 controllers by default, but wireless controls require a dedicated USB adapter.

Mac needs a custom driver. Due to kernel extension problems (kexts), wireless support causes core panels and is disabled in this driver.

Original Xbox (Xbox "1")

You need an adapter and some custom drivers, but it doesn't seem quite simple. MacOS has an older driver, but it may not work with new versions of macOS. Even if you are crazy, you can completely move away from the adapter and cut a few cables together, even if we do not recommend it.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

 Nintendo Switch Controller

The Nintendo Switch Pro controller works automatically when you connect it via Bluetooth to Windows and MacOS, but you need to set it to Steam to be used in play.

RELATED: How to connect Nintendo Switch Joy -Con or Pro Controllers to your computer

Wii Remotes and Wii U Pro Controllers

Windows will connect the controller by default, but it cannot be useful as a controller in all apps. The Dolphin, the Wii emulator, supports using them as inputs, but we didn't have any on hand to test the entire system.

Mac is supported the same way – just in Dolphin. System usage is technically supported, but we strongly recommend finding a new control. MacOS Sierra broke support for the only driver, Wjoy, but it was updated on a new fork. However, the current version does not work either, so you need to build the latest commitment from the source in Xcode, update a bunch of built targets, fix some errors, write it with an Apple Developer account, and then start restoring and disabling system integrity protection [19659031] to install it. Only then can you connect the control unit properly.

GameCube Controllers

Of course you need an adapter, but Windows and Mac should be supported by default via HID. Support may vary depending on the adapter you receive. You can get an official, but the Mayflash adapta seems to work well for half the price. This adapter has a switch so you can use it on both PC and console, making it a HID device instead of a proprietary console just one. The Dolphin can communicate directly with it and supports the Wii U mode, which can fix some bugs with the extra ports.

Note that macOS HID implementation overrides Dolphin's direct communication with the device so it does not support having multiple controllers connected. There is a solution, but it cannot work with each adapter.

Guitar Hero Controllers

 Guitar Hero Controller

This is a bit strange, as Guitar Hero has as a guitar hero. many different console versions, but there is still a thriving community on PC with CloneHero. Most should work with an adapter, so it's best to check their wiki for instructions.

Other controls

Other Retro Controllers usually need adapters, if you do not get updated USB versions of them. Most adapters should use standard XInput and DirectInput connections and should be configured in Steam and any of the apps below.

Third party controllers vary depending on what you get, but most should use the same standard XInput connections. Usually, it will list its compatibility on Amazon, so be sure to buy one that is compatible or download something more common.

If your controller is not listed here or you cannot make it work with these guides, a quick Google search for the controller name plus your operating system version and "driver" should lead you to decent results.

If you need to reshape your controls, you can use Steam's built-in large image mode to do so. If you need to use it in a non-Steam game, try AntiMicro for Windows and Enjoyable for macOS, both free.


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