How to use Nintendo Joy-Cons with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV

Written By Anirban Reviewed By Apple TV How-to iPad iPhone 11 Min Read

The Nintendo Switch is a revolutionary device in gaming. It’s been around for a while, and although gamers have been enjoying its benefits, a few may not have much of an idea about its compatibility and versatility. So, I’m going to give more information about the device and tell you how to use Nintendo Joy-Cons with iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Thanks to Nintendo’s compatibility with Apple devices, your gaming spree won’t come to a premature end!

About the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch was released in 2017 and quickly became one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time. The quality of games that it supported and its portability made it a favorite among old and new gamers alike. You could dock the Nintendo Switch with your Smart TV or even play games on the console itself, and that made it one of the few hybrid consoles in the gaming world.

The Switch’s handheld mode uses two detachable controllers called the Joy-Con. You can either use both of them together for a single-player gaming format or hand over one of the controllers to your friend to enjoy multiplayer and co-op games. With over 320 gaming titles released just by the end of 2017 for the Nintendo Switch, the console is easily one of the most popular gaming hardware in the world today.

Why use the Joy-Con with Apple devices?

With games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, Apex Legends, and PUBG being staples of the mobile gaming scene, your iPhone or iPad may not be the best device for playing these games. The smaller screen real estate on the iPhone isn’t ideal for touch controls. Moreover, iPad’s screen composition also makes it slightly difficult for smaller hands to operate.

A gamepad format might be the easier way to use these devices, and it may elevate your mobile gaming experience. However, mobile gamepads such as the Razer Kishi can be quite heavy on your pockets. Instead of purchasing an entire gamepad just for your mobile device, you could use your Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con to continue your gaming without the need for an extra purchase.

Other controllers, such as the DualSense controller from PlayStation or the Xbox wireless controller, are also more difficult to acquire. Moreover, their utility will remain confined to your mobile games if you don’t have the main consoles accompanying them. However, with the Nintendo Joy-Con, you get both the hybrid console and its connectivity options. This makes them a better overall option in terms of gaming.

How to connect Joy-Con to iPhone?

The Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con allows you to connect either one of the controllers to your iPhone individually or connect both of them together. Based on your gaming requirements, you can proceed further. With Apple’s advancements made on the iOS 16, your iPhone will consider both Joy-Cons as part of a single controller. Now, let’s check out how to connect Joy-Con to your iPhone.

  1. Make sure that your iPhone has the latest operating system (iOS 16) downloaded and installed before proceeding.
  2. Switch on your iPhone’s Bluetooth connectivity.
  3. Take the Joy-Con that you want to connect to the iPhone, and turn it to the inner side. You should notice a small black button.
  4. Press and hold the black button until the Joy-Con’s LED indicators start flashing.
  5. Now, go to your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings and check for available devices. The Joy-Con should be listed there.

    Connecting a Nintendo
  6. Select the Joy-Con, and it should pair with your iPhone automatically. If the pairing is successful, you’ll notice that the LED indicator on the Joy-Con has stopped flashing and is now static.

    Stable LED indicator on the Nintendo Joy-Con
  7. If you want to connect both Joy-Cons to your iPhone, you’ll have to repeat the steps mentioned above until both of them are connected to your device.

How to connect Joy-Con to iPad?

The iPad’s powerful hardware and larger screen make it an optimal candidate for mobile gaming. Thankfully, you can connect the Joy-Con to your iPad for a superior gaming experience. The steps for this are similar to the steps for connecting the controllers to your iPhone. So, it shouldn’t cause you any difficulties. Nonetheless, let’s run through the steps below:

  1. Ensure that your iPad has all the latest software updates (iPadOS 16) downloaded and installed.
  2. Open your iPad’s Bluetooth connectivity options and switch it on.
  3. Take your Joy-Con and turn it to the inner side. Find the small black button on the Joy-Con’s body and press and hold it until the LED indicator on the Joy-Con starts flashing.
  4. Go back to your iPad and check the list of available devices. You should find the Joy-Con listed there.
  5. Select the Joy-Con option from the list of available devices, and the iPad should automatically pair with the controller. If the pairing is successful, the LED indicator on the Joy-Con will stop flashing and become static.
  6. Repeat the process for the other Joy-Con to connect both of them together to your iPad.

How to connect Joy-Con to Apple TV?

The Apple TV also provides an excellent gaming option for those people who want to delve into some casual gaming. With a range of games available both on the Apple Store and Apple Arcade, gaming on the Apple TV has never been more accessible. To make your gaming experience even better, you can connect the Joy-Con to Apple TV and have more control over your gaming scenarios. Let’s check out the steps below:

  1. Please ensure that your Apple TV has tvOS 16 installed before proceeding with the steps.
  2. Go to your Apple TV’s Home screen and search for the Remotes option.
  3. Under the Remotes option, you should also find an option called Devices. Select it.
  4. Find the Bluetooth segment and switch it on for your Apple TV.
  5. Now, pick up the first Joy-Con controller that you want to connect and turn it to the side. On the inner side, you should find the black Pairing button.
  6. Press and hold the button until the LED indicator on the Joy-Con starts flashing.
  7. Go to your Apple TV’s Settings option and find Joy-Con’s name in the list of available devices.
  8. Tap on the name, and the pairing should be successful. If the Joy-Con’s LED indicator has stopped flashing and is static or stable, the controller has been paired to your Apple TV.
  9. Repeat the process for the other Joy-Con, if you need to connect both of them to your Apple TV.

Unpairing the Nintendo Joy-Con

If you want to disconnect or unpair the Joy-Cons from your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, the process is fairly simple. All you need to do is go to the device’s Settings segment, go to the Bluetooth option and find the Joy-Con’s name on the list of connected devices. Select the blue information icon, and you should see a Disconnect option. Tap on this, and your Joy-Cons will be disconnected from your Apple device.

Customizing the Joy-Con

Considering the huge amount of games available in the Apple App Store and Apple Arcade, quite a few of them have controller support. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as more and more people are now using controllers for mobile gaming. Apple has recognized this and added a special gaming controller menu that is activated if you’ve connected a controller to your Apple device.

This menu allows you to customize the controls for each game that you’re playing using the Joy-Con. Since many games have different controls and gameplay mechanics, one single configuration for all games could lead to awkward gameplay. So, if you want to customize the controls, you can do so pretty easily.

For configuring the Joy-Con controls on an iPad or iPhone, go to the Settings menu. From there, navigate to the General segment and find the Game Controller option. This option will only be available if you connect the device to the controllers. The menu will allow you to create multiple controller profiles based on different gaming controllers that you’ve connected to in the past and the games that you’re currently playing.

Bluetooth customization options for Nintendo Switch on an iPhone

For customizing the controller’s control scheme on Apple TV, you’ll have to go to the Bluetooth menu. From there, you can choose the game controller that you’ve paired with the Apple TV and make changes or create game control profiles to your liking. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Final thoughts

Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of how to connect the Joy-Con to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, you should have a far superior gaming experience. Thanks to Apple’s efforts in adding compatibility, you should also have no issues configuring the control schemes based on the different controllers that you’ve used and the games that you’re playing. If you’ve got any additional suggestions, let me know in the comments below!

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By Anirban Senior Writer
Anirban is a literature post-grad who delves in philosophy and postmodern novels when not writing on tech and gaming. His love for research is only trumped by his love for chai and heavy metal.
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