While the touch controls on iPhones are suitable for brief periods of gameplay, using a controller is the preferred option for extended sessions. There is a growing selection of games that are compatible with gaming controllers on both iPhone and iPad, allowing you to experience the same level of enjoyment as you would on a console like an Xbox or PlayStation. iPhones and iPads have always provided an excellent gaming experience, and the use of a controller can enhance that experience even further. If you play a lot of games on the iPhone, these are the best gaming controller for iPhone and iPad you can buy in 2023.
Best gaming controller for iPhone and iPad in 2023
If you do extended gaming on your iPhone, you should also invest in a good wireless charger. Some of the best MagSafe wireless chargers allow you to prop up the iPhone in landscape orientation. So, you can pair a gaming controller with your iPhone and place it on a wireless charger to enjoy extended gaming without losing battery life. Also, check out the best MagSafe power banks to ensure your iPhone is charging when you use touch controllers to play games.
We have divided this article into two sections. The first section deals with controllers that work with both iPhone and iPad, while the second section has controllers that turn your iPhone into a handheld gaming machine. You can use the table of content below to switch to the section you want.
- Top game controllers for iPhone and iPad
- Best iPhone gaming controller to turn into a handheld gaming machine
Top game controllers for iPhone and iPad
1. 8Bitdo Lite gaming controller for iPad and iPhone
If you are a fan of 2D games and want an affordable and compact game controller for your iPhone, there’s none better than the 8Bitdo Lite controller. It’s a Bluetooth gaming controller made for Nintendo Switch but works great with iPhones and iPads. The controller features split DPAD for more accurate actions, four face buttons, shoulder buttons, and USB-C charging. It’s available in beautiful and cute colors, and we love using it to play 2D games on our iPhones and iPads.
- Compact and fits easily in your pocket
- Excellent for playing 2D games
- Cannot play 3D games with much accuracy due to lack of analog buttons
- Can be tiring during long gaming sessions
2. 8Bitdo Sn30 Pro gamepad for iPad and iPhone
If you want analog controls for playing 3D games, the 8Bitdo Sn30 Pro is an excellent choice at an affordable price. For under $50, you are getting a solid controller with tactile buttons and precise analog joysticks. The buttons feel great, and it even comes with rumble support. What we love the most about this controller is its compact size. You can toss the controller in any bag and even carry it in your pocket.
We don’t recommend this controller for people who play games for hours on time, as the lack of a grip makes it uncomfortable, but if you play games in shorter bursts of 30 minutes to an hour, you are going to love this controller. Its affordable price, excellent buttons, and analog joysticks make it a must-buy, in our opinion.
On the other hand, if you want a controller with a grip that allows for hours of comfortable gaming, you can get the Sn30 Pro+ controller. For a few extra bucks, you will get a full-size controller with excellent hand grips.
- Affordable price
- Tactile buttons and precise analog controls
- Compact size
- Can be tiring during long gaming sessions
3. GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro wireless controller
The GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro is one of the best wireless controllers you can buy for iPhone and iPad. Instead of using the regular potentiometer-based joysticks (found in the likes of PS5 and Xbox controllers), the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro uses the hall sensor joystick. Since there are no degrading pieces, the joysticks last long, and you will not experience any joystick drifts. The joystick has passed the test of 50 million times, with long life, anti-breakage, and anti-jamming, and feels premium in hand.
Another good feature of the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro is that it is fully customizable and multi-platform compatible, so you can use it with your iPhone, iPad, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. The controller also has an Al key, which can learn and record your actions for up to ten minutes. You can then replay the game by hitting a button, which can save you a lot of frustration when playing a difficult level in a game. The controller has dual-vibration motors that support vibration intensity adjustment, a six-axis gyroscope to support motion sensing games.
There are too many features to count here, so we have linked to LinusTechTips' review of the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro, which covers the controller in great detail. You should definitely watch the video before making the purchase.
- Hall sensor joysticks
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Highly customizable
- Premium build-quality
- Replacement parts are available for home repair
- Needs a dongle for Xbox compatibility
4. PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller
The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller is one of the best controllers you can buy, and it works with iPhones and iPad out of the box. The controller gives excellent haptic feedback, improving your enjoyment of the games your play on your iPad and iPhone. The controller is ergonomic and you won’t feel fatigued even after hours of continuous gameplay. We also recommend pairing this controller with an OIVO PS5 iPhone mount clip that allows you to mount your iPhone to the controller for an enhanced gaming experience. There's not much more to say about this, it's a PS5 controller and you cannot go wrong with this option.
5. Xbox Core wireless controller
Like the PS5 DualSense controller, the Xbox Core wireless controller also works with your iPhone and iPad via Bluetooth. The controller comes with a hybrid D-pad and textured grip on the triggers, bumpers, and back-case, allowing for a comfortable gaming experience. We love that the Xbox Core controller comes in multiple colors, allowing you to choose the one that suits your personality. Instead of a built-in battery, the Xbox Core controller uses AA batteries, which some users find off-putting. But if you invest in rechargeable batteries and a battery charger (like this one from Energizer from Amazon), you can have an endless game run without stopping to charge your controller.
If you are buying the Xbox Core wireless controller, you might also want to buy the OtterBox MagSafe Xbox controller clip. It’s one of the best MagSafe accessories and allows you to connect your iPhone with dealing with clumsy clamps.
Best iPhone gaming controller to turn into a handheld gaming machine
While the game controllers that work with both iPhone and iPad are fun to use, if you want to enjoy a true handheld gaming experience, you should buy a gaming controller that converts your iPhone into a handheld gaming machine, like the Nintendo Switch. Another benefit of using a handheld controller is that they connect to your iPhone via the lightning port, so you get minimal lag. Also, they take power from your iPhone so you don’t need to charge them separately.
5. GameSir X2 iPhone mobile gaming controller
If you want an affordable handheld mobile gaming experience with your iPhone, you should buy the GameSir X2 iPhone gaming controller. The controller attaches to your iPhone via the lightning port, so you get minimal lag. We love that the controller features a rotatable Lightning plug, so even if you are using a case on your iPhone, you can just tilt the lighting connector to get the perfect fit. Using the GameSir X2, you can play all the iPhone games that support controller gameplay, along with cloud-gaming games from Luna, Steam, and Xbox.
The GameSir X2 also features pass-through, allowing you to charge your iPhone while playing games. If you use one of the best wall adapters from our list, you can fast charge your iPhone while gaming. For on-the-go gaming, you can also buy a good power bank. Coming to the controller itself, you get micro switch buttons with a lifespan of 3 million clicks, personalized analog buttons, an adjustable three-gear turbo function, and more. We also love that the analog buttons have a wide range of motions, and are very close to console controllers.
If you are on a budget, you cannot go wrong with the GameSir X2 iPhone mobile gaming controller.
- Tilt support for lightning plug
- Excellent joysticks
- MFI supported
- Micro-switch buttons
- No audio-jack
- Not good ergonomics
- D-pad doesn’t have a lot of travel
- Weighs more
6. Backbone One mobile gaming controller for iPhone
The Backbone One iPhone gaming controller is our favorite handheld gaming controller on this list for several reasons. Firstly, it sports a light and compact build, allowing you to easily carry the controller and play for hours without fatiguing your hands. Secondly, its companion apps give you easy access to all the controller-supported games installed on the device. It also shows you the most popular controller-supported games on the App Store, so you can download and enjoy them at your leisure.
And thirdly, we love that it offers both pass-through charging and a headphone jack, allowing you to enjoy wired audio. While Bluetooth audio is great for listening to songs and streaming movies, it can a bit of a problem while gaming. Even the minuscule lag in audio while gaming can play havoc with your perception, ruining your game enjoyment, and decreasing your performance in competitive online gaming.
Other features of the controller include responsive analog triggers, tactile buttons, and clickable thumb sticks for the ultimate mobile gaming experience.
- Excellent analog triggers
- Built-in headphone jack
- Best companion app
- Ergonomic grip
- Doesn’t work with most cases
7. Razer Kishi V2 Game controller for iPhone
The final handheld gaming controller on our list is the Razer Kishi V2. The biggest benefit of the Razer Kishi V2 is that it comes with cutting-edge microswitch buttons, analog triggers, customizable triggers, and programmable macros to bring console-level gaming to your phone. Overall, it sports a better build quality than the other two hand-held controllers on our list. We also love the programmable macros that allow us to set custom actions.
However, there are a few missing features. First of all, you don’t get the 3.5mm headphone jack, so you will have to rely on Bluetooth audio. We also don’t love the Razer companion app, as it’s pretty barebones and doesn’t do a good job of surfacing games. However, the companion app can improve with future software updates and if you don’t care about wired audio, it will be the better option than BlackBone One for you.
- Excellent build quality
- Customizable triggers and programmable macros
- Nexus companion app is not good
- No headphone jack
Top gaming controller for iPhone and iPad
We hope that the list was able to help you find the best gaming controller for your iPad and iPhone. We have included both traditional controllers that work with both iPhone and iPad and controllers that turn your iPhone into a handheld gaming machine. Check them out and let us know which controller you are buying for your gaming needs.