If you own a PlayStation 4, you already own a DualShock 4 wireless controller. Paired with your Apple TV, you can use your Sony controller to play Apple TV games, including those offered with an Apple Arcade subscription.
Which PlayStation Controllers Are Compatible With Apple TV?
As of January 2021, only the DualShock 4 controller designed for the PlayStation 4 is compatible with Apple devices like the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad.
If you have a PlayStation 5, you cannot use the updated DualSense controller with your Apple TV.
Hopefully, Sony and Apple can resolve this incompatibility in future software updates. Keep in mind that the DualSense may require a firmware update via a PlayStation 5 console before it can work.
For now, you’ll have to use a DualShock 4 (or another compatible Bluetooth wireless controller) to play Apple TV titles with a gamepad.
Pair Your DualShock 4 With an Apple TV
Pairing is a very simple process, and your Apple TV and DualShock 4 should remember your pairing settings for future sessions. The first thing you’ll need to do is put your controller into pairing mode.
To do this, press and hold both the Share and PS buttons on your controller at the same time until the LED indicator starts flashing. (It’s visible on the rear of the controller and touchpad on later models.) Once you see the flashing light, you have 20 seconds to pair your controller before it goes back into sleep mode.
On the Apple TV, go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. At the top of the screen under “My Devices,” you’ll see a list of devices that you’ve already paired. Below this under “Other Devices,” you should see your DualShock 4 controller listed.
Select the DualShock 4 and wait for pairing to complete. Once the lights on the back (or front) of the DualShock 4 stop flashing and the Apple TV reports that the controller is “Connected,” then you are ready to start playing some games.
You can charge your controller while you play using a micro USB connection plugged into any 5V USB outlet. You don’t have to use the cable that came with your controller. Remember that if you plug the controller into a PS4, it will automatically pair with that console (and disconnect from the Apple TV).
You can manually unpair your controller by going to the Bluetooth menu and selecting your DualShock 4 followed by “Unpair Device.”
Known Issues With the DualShock 4 and Apple TV
Unfortunately, there are some well-documented issues with the Apple TV and DualShock 4, though it’s unclear whether these issues affect only certain revisions of hardware. Many people report that the DualShock 4 disconnects during use for seemingly no reason, with no word from Apple or Sony on a fix.
If you encounter this issue, there’s no real resolution. You might want to try restarting your Apple TV, which you can do by pulling the plug (give it ten seconds), or by pressing and holding the Menu and Home buttons on the remote until the LED status light blinks on the front of the unit.
While playing, make sure you don’t stray too far from the Apple TV and that the unit isn’t hidden behind anything that might cause interference. If you suspect wireless interference from other Bluetooth devices, try relocating those devices to see whether the problem is resolved.
Now Play Some Games
Whether you have the 4K Apple TV or not, you can now enjoy some great games with a full physical controller. This makes it much easier to control the action on the screen.
The DualShock 4 isn’t the only Bluetooth peripheral you can connect to your Apple TV. Learn how to connect a wireless keyboard to your Apple TV for faster text entry. You can connect Bluetooth headphones to an Apple TV, too.