Mobile gaming has never been more popular. There is something for everyone these days, from a casual puzzle to a competitive shooter. The latest phones can run demanding, graphically impressive titles, so ports of popular PC and console games are increasingly common, but they are not always fun to play with touchscreen controls. A mobile game controller is what you need.
We tested several of the top controllers by playing various games for hours at a time to find the very best performers. These are our favorites. We marked the platform each controller supports, but there may be others that unofficially work. You should read up on the best mobile games, the best phones, and the best phones.
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This is the best mobile controller for most people, with a unique combination of features, a thoughtful retro design, and solid performance, all at a reasonable price. The D-pad is a disappointment in phone controllers, but not here. The buttons are easy to use. The textured back adds grip. There are two buttons on the back that you can use to keep your thumbs on the sticks. You can connect to four devices with this controller, including a Nintendo Switch, a MacBook, a phone, and a PC. Make sure you have an 8Bitdo Mobile Clip with you.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 has a battery that is good for about 20 hours, but it is replaceable, and you can swap in two AA batteries. You can remap buttons, adjust the stick,trigger, and vibration sensitivity, and even set up custom macros in your favorite mobile games with the 8BitDo Ultimate Software app. The controller lacks support for both consoles.
It works with Nintendo Switch, Windows, and other platforms.
The Backbone One is a delight. Plug the Lightning into your phone and play. The buttons and bumpers feel nice and clicky, with fast response times, and there's broad support for PS Remote Play, Xbox Remote Play, and Steam Link. Even if you don't like mobile gaming, this controller can turn your phone into a console or PC. I played Stardew Valley for so long that I forgot I was playing on my phone. The built-in jack is nice.
The optional app is what sets Backbone One apart. The features are free for the first year. The catalog of controller-supported games is a great place to start. There's also an interface for seamless voice chat, as well as one-tap streaming and support for gaming mode. Backbone offers an accessory for free for the large cameras of the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max.
It works with the following:
The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is for people who like to play games on their PC or laptop while on the go. It feels like a Wireless Controller, with a similar button layout, but with a D-Pad offset at the top left. The compelling trick that makes the Stratus Duo special is that you can switch between a phone and a PC with a flick of a switch. It comes with a small device that you can plug into your computer to connect to the internet. You have to buy the SmartGrip separately, but the flexible brackets keep your phone in place and are essential for mobile gaming.
The games in my Steam library worked well with the Stratus Duo. You can use it to play games from your PC on your phone. It was the same with games on the other platforms, but I had a few random issues with the Pixel 6. The battery inside the Stratus Duo is supposed to be good for at least 20 hours, and that seems to be correct based on my testing. It uses a dated port for charging.
It works with all of the above.
This controller is ideal for XBOX remote play, and it has an XBOX button in the center, like the official model. It's much lighter, but there are plenty of buttons, thumbsticks, and pushers on the back. There is only one disappointment, the lack of any haptics. The clip design has a cradle that expands to accommodate most phones. The side of your phone has buttons for power and volume, but it has minimal forks. You can connect to your phone with either cable or wireless technology.
The Moga XP-5 X can double up as a portable battery pack with a 3,000-mAh rechargeable battery inside. There is a MicroUSB port in the top and aUSB-A port that can be used to plug in a cable. You can stream games from your console to your phone with Remote Play, but you can't play on the Xbox itself.
It works with Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox.
This controller is small and doesn't need much power, making it ideal for on-the-go gaming. It can hold virtually any phone that is up to 6.8 inches long and 0.29 inches thick, and it stretches open to cradle it. The textured sections give you great grip, and you can get plenty of buttons, though the shoulder triggers are basic. It has a better gaming experience than a Bluetooth controller.
It felt tailor-made for twin-stick shooters like Jydge, when I tested it with the Pixel 6. It worked with most of the games I tried, but not all, and if you need to map keys, you must use the buggy and confusing Gamesir app. Since there is no power off button on my phone, I worry about the long-term impact on my phone, and since there is no power off button, I don't want to leave my phone in it all the time.
It works with a number of platforms.
The Sony dualsense controller is a controller.
If you have a controller that is good, you should use it. The dualsense controller is a highlight of the PS5. You can pair it with your phone, just as you would any other device that supports Bluetooth. It won't work with every game, and you won't get the full benefit of the adaptivetrigger unless you use it with the PS5 but it makes a great mobile stand-in. The PS Remote Play app is available for both phones and tablets.
You are all set if you add an Orzly gaming clip. You can use the PS4 controller with your phone.
It works with all of the above.
The controller is white.
You can use the Wireless Controller with your phone if you already play on Xbox. It is easy to pair with an iPad, iPad mini, or a phone using the easy guide. It is not going to work with everything. If you are an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you can stream games on your phone. You can add a PowerA MOGA Mobile Gaming Clip to mount your phone.
It works with all of the above.
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a controller.
Unfortunately, there is no official support for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on the iPad. Simply hold down the sync button on the top of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller until it starts flashing, and you will be able to connect to anANDROID device. Go to the settings on your phone and select the Pro Controller if you want to pair a new device. It won't work perfectly with every game.
It works with Nintendo Switch.
For some of us, playing a first-person shooter doesn't feel right without a keyboard and mouse. The device allows you to play on an iPad, an Apple phone, or both with a wired or wireless keyboard and mouse, but it does so in a confusing, cobbled-together way. You need either the official Sony PS4 controller or the Microsoft XBOX One wireless controller, which you can connect to the Keymander 2 with a MicroUSB cable. The mouse and keyboard can be configured in the K2 Mobile Game Dock app.
The dock is a little flimsy, but it was able to hold my iPad in place, with ports in the side and back. I had trouble getting it to work, but once it was hooked up and configured, I was able to play Call of Duty, and Minecraft. The Keymander 2 Mobile could be used for remote play on consoles or for streaming services. Only games with controller support work well, and you need to adjust settings frequently for the best results.
It works with many devices, including the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PS4.