How to get an iPhone or iPad game controller for under $50

Before you drop $100 for a controller from Logitech, Moga, or SteelSeries, read this.

The venerable PS3 controller can pair with a jailbroken iOS device for wireless gaming goodness.
The venerable PS3 controller can pair with a jailbroken iOS device for wireless gaming goodness. Sony

If you're serious about playing games on your iPhone or iPad, you've no doubt followed with interest the recent batch of game controllers from Logitech, Moga, and SteelSeries. You've probably also blanched a bit at the $100 price tag accompanying each one.

Here's good news: You can actually get a much better controller for less than half the price. Here's how:

Step one: Buy a PlayStation 3 controller. (If you already own one, bonus -- this whole exercise now has a price tag of $2.) Amazon sells the PS3 Dualshock 3 for $44.99, shipped, though you can find one for closer to $35 from various third-party sellers.

Stage a jailbreak!
Stage a jailbreak! Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Step two: jailbreak your iDevice. Not sure how? CNET's Jason Cipriani recently explained the process in "How to jailbreak your iOS 7 device." It takes only a few minutes.

Step three: Search the Cydia store (which is installed as part of the jailbreak process) for a tweak called Controllers for All ($1.99). Install it.

Step four: Using the free SixPair utility (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux), pair your PS3 controller to your iDevice. To do so, you'll need to connect both to your PC using their respective USB cables. Then follow the remaining couple steps outlined in the SixPair instructions.

Step five: On your iOS device, turn off Bluetooth via Control Center. (Controllers for All will be leveraging it behind the scenes.)

Asphalt 8 is among a small but growing number of games that support MFi controllers.
Asphalt 8 is among a small but growing number of games that support MFi controllers. Gameloft

That's it! Now install a Made For iPhone (MFi) game like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Asphalt 8, Sonic 2, or any other great iOS controller-ready games. Press the PS3 button on the controller when prompted, and you should be all set for gaming goodness.

At maximum, you'll have spent around $47. But you can pull this off for even less if you work at it. Take that, SteelSeries! (Actually, TouchArcade just reported that the company's Stratus controller will sell for $79.99, which is a little more reasonable.)

 

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