Connect Your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons to Your iPad and iPhone

In less than a minute, you can easily link your Joy-Con controllers to your Apple device.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
2 min read
Nintendo Switch controllers

Joy-Con controllers make it easier to play games on your Apple iPhone.

James Martin/CNET

In the last few years, game-makers have introduced more complex gameplay to the mobile experience. Services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now allow you to play more expansive games like Call of Duty, Fortnite and Apex Legends on your iPad and iPhone.

Unfortunately, your phone or tablet probably has a smaller screen than your TV, which means less real estate for visuals and controls, and so a gaming controller might be necessary. You could buy any number of third-party controllers, but if you own a Nintendo Switch, you don't need to spend any money.

Thanks to iOS 16, you can pair your Joy-Con controllers to your iPhone and iPad for gaming. And it only takes a few seconds to do.

Read moreBest Controllers and Accessories for Xbox Cloud Gaming

If you want to check out more, here are five hidden iOS 16 features in the new operating system for the iPhone. Once you download iOS 16, here are the first three things you should do. And if you've got an iPad, here's how to download the recent iPadOS 16.1 update.

Joy-Con controllers being used to play games on the iPhone

You can either use one or both Joy-Con controllers.

Jeremy Perez/CNET

How to pair your Joy-Cons to your iPad or iPhone

To start, you'll want to make sure that your Joy-Cons are charged and ready for use. If not, simply attach them to the Nintendo Switch while it's charging in the dock. Once your Joy-Cons are charged and ready to go, slide them off of your console and do the following:

1. First, press and hold down the black pairing button on top of the Joy-Con until the green light starts running back and forth. This means the Joy-Con is now in pairing mode.

2. Next, on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth.

3. Now, scroll down and find your Joy-Con under Other Devices. You should see either Joy-Con (L) or Joy-Con (R), depending on which Joy-Con you're currently pairing.

4. Finally, tap the Joy-Con option to pair it. Repeat this process for the other Joy-Con, if needed.

Once your Joy-Cons are paired, you can go into any game that supports third-party controllers, like Minecraft, Among Us and Call of Duty, and play with your newly paired Joy-Cons. Not all mobile games will support both Joy-Con controllers at once, so you might only need to pair one.

To unpair the Joy-Cons, go to Settings > Bluetooth, tap the blue information icon, and then hit Disconnect.

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