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How to use any gamepad on an Android phone (Infographic)

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

While it´s usually ignored from mainstream videogame talk, truth is, both the Android and iPhone OS have quite the collection of good games on their store. The only problem with them is that they usually suffer from their platform, as smartphones aren´t designed with gaming in mind.

Either if you are playing Fornite or another game, the smartphone has an inherent control problem. Its screen is rarely as responsive and snappy like a normal controller is.

So, what are you to do?

Well, you can pair up your gamepad to your android and use it to play games, like we are about to show you:

Flowchart of how to connect any controller to an Android phone

A flowchart Infographic explaining how to connect a gamepad to an Android Phone step by step, either by Bluetooth or with a USB cable.

If you don´t like Bluetooth, you will need a USB-OTG cable to connect the gamepad, like this one. A normal USB cable will not work with a smartphone.

You can pair up even more unusual controllers aside from the ones mentioned here, like a Joy-Con (as long as you have an adapter) or a keyboard, but unless you really want to play with these alternatives, a gamepad would be a better choice for gaming on your android.

Hopefully, this guide has been useful to you. We already created similar infographics in the past about connecting a Pro Controller or Dualshock gamepad to the PC. If you instead wanted to learn how to use your phone as a controller for a PC, we have that guide too!

If everything went smoothly, then you are probably playing on your phone right now, as this guide works even on iPhones, (except for the Elite and Pro Controllers) although Apple has their own exclusive gamepads. However, things might not have gone smoothly, and your controller might not be working as expected. If that´s the case, then keep reading, because we are about to do some...

Troubleshooting how to your gamepad to an Android phone.

Right of the bat, I have to mention that not all games are compatible with a controller, and not all controllers are compatible with your phone.

The most popular ones, Fortnite and Minecraft, are compatible with a controller. As a rule of thumb, if you control a character or vehicle moving in a 3D space, odds are you can use a gamepad to play that game. For more puzzle-oriented titles, like Candy Crush, controller support is rarely incorporated.

Some games will detect the controller automatically, while in others you have to enable that option from the settings. If your game is supposed to have controller support but isn´t reacting to your gamepad, this might be the issue. Try looking in the options menu of the game for a way to turn on controller support.

While the Android OS is compatible with a lot of third-party accessories, the phones it is installed in are not always that flexible. For example, Sony´s Dualshock 4 is not natively compatible with the Huawei phones, so you can´t just turn on the Bluetooth and connect it. You will need the direct connection of an adapter or USB-OTG cable to be able to play with it.

This is especially a problem if you are buying a generic gamepad off Amazon, remember to always check which phones are compatible with the controller before buying.

The old Xbox controllers don´t have Bluetooth.

Speaking of incompatibility issues, while the Xbox One controllers work as advertised, the Xbox 360 gamepads don´t have Bluetooth, so you can only connect them with a USB cable.

If you have one of the big three controllers, the Dualshock 4, Pro Controller or Xbox gamepad, and they aren´t working with your phone after following the flowchart, the problem might be that they are still paired with their respective console.

Before trying again, make sure to turn off or unplug your Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch. Once the controller is no longer connected to the console, it should be able to pair up with your phone without issue.

The buttons should work like expect them too, but in case you are having trouble, you should also be able to remap them by downloading special apps, like BT JoyCenter. Of course, these apps don´t work on all controllers, but if you search around the web you´ll be able to find one that will work with your preferred option.

And that should be it for the most common problems. Have another issue? let me know in the comments and I´ll try to troubleshoot it too.

Remember that not all games are compatible with the controllers, so if you did everything right, but the gamepad is still not working, it might be due to the game. You can also try to use a mouse and keyboard to play games on your phone too.

Of course, to play on Android with a controller, you need to have one beforehand. There are a lot of Bluetooth gamepads designed specifically for mobile gaming. If you want to browse them, take a gander at the bottom of our page here. Of course, you might want to do the opposite and stream PC games to your phone, well you can with Steam Link, just mind the data use.


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