How to Use a PlayStation 5 Controller on an Apple TV

The video version of this Article

You might not be able to get your hands on a PlayStation 5, but how about a PS5 controller and an Apple TV? Anyone?

Ok yeah, let’s be real, even the most hardcore of Apple fans know the Apple TV and PS5 are 2 entirely different beasts. But the Apple TV does have some gaming capabilities, whether you’re playing something in Apple Arcade, a native Apple TV game, or even just using it with SteamLink. And it’s going to be a lot easier to play with this than the Apple TV remote, even the new Siri Remote. Sorry Apple. But it was kind of Apple to give native PS5 controller support into its devices. But enough beating around the bush, let’s talk about how to connect this controller up.

Before You Begin

First things first, you need to be running tvOS version 14.5 or later. Anything earlier won’t have that support baked in. To check what version you’re running:

1: Open the Apple TV Settings app and select “General”

The Apple TV Settings Screen with General highlighted at the top of the list.

2: Select “About”, and in the middle of the page will be a section labeled “tvOS” which will tell you what version you’re on (you can ignore the parenthesis).

The General section in Settings with About highlighted at the top.

If you’re running something older than 14.5, then you’ll need to update your Apple TV.

1: Go back up to the main level of the Settings app and scroll down and select “System”.

The main Settings pane with System highlighted, above "Sleep Now" and below "Network"

2: Select “Software Updates” then hit “Update Software”. This will check to make sure you’re on the latest version, and start downloading and installing the update if you’re not already.

The System Pane, with Software Updates highlighted.  It is below "What's New" and above "Reset"

Once you’ve confirmed you’ve got the latest version of tvOS, it’s time to connect.

Connecting the Controller to the ATV

1: Open up the Settings app and select “Remotes and Devices”.

The Settings Pane with "Remotes and Devices" highlighted.  It is below "AirPlay and HomeKit" and above "Accessibility".

2: Next select “Bluetooth”, since that’s what the PS5 controller uses. NOTE there’s is a nice little section at the top telling you how to connect the controllers if you need them, but since you’re reading this article I’ll tell you how to do it instead.

The Remotes and Devices Pane, with "Bluetooth" highlighted.  It is below "Remote" and above "Remote App and Devices".

3: Now grab your PlayStation controller. Locate the PlayStation logo in-between the 2 thumbsticks and the “Create” button in the top left corner of the controller by the touchpad.

The PlayStation 5 logo being pointed to on the controller.  It sits between the 2 thumbsticks.
The PlayStation Logo
The Create button being pointed to.  It sits to the top right of the directional pad, and to the top left of the controller's touchpad.
The Create Button

4: Hold both the PS Logo and Create button at the same time for a few seconds, until the lights on the touchpad begin to flash blue rapidly.

5: Once the lights start flashing, the DualSense controller should appear under the “Other Devices” header. Select it with your Apple Remote and after a few seconds the Apple TV should say that it has successfully connected to the controller.

The Bluetooth pane in the Settings showing the DualSense controller successfully connected notification in the top right corner.

NOTE the controller may show orange lights on either side of the touchpad since it’s not connected to a PS5, but that’s ok.

Using it like a Remote

Now that it’s connected you can use the controller like your Apple remote. The D-Pad and Both thumbsticks will move around the interface, the X or Cross button will act as the OK/confirm button, and the “Circle” button will act as the back button. The Square button can also act as the OK button. The triggers and bumpers, (L1, L2, R1, and R2 if we’re being technical) will act as left and right movements for getting around the interface, but will also let you to fast forward or rewind in video apps like Netflix and YouTube. The touchpad in the center doesn’t really do anything, nor does pressing into the thumbsticks. The triangle also doesn’t seem to do much.

The DualSense wireless controller settings.  Identify Controller is highlighted, with Disconnect and Forget options below it.
The Customization pane with Customization highlighted at the top.

If you want to check out a video walkthrough of this, as well as some gameplay footage from the Apple TV, you can check out the YouTube video above. Stay tuned for the iOS and Mac versions of this article as well. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com You can also check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen. Thanks!

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