The controller for Sony’s PlayStation 4, the DualShock 4, is one of the most popular gamepads right now. It’s even a great controller for people without PlayStation consoles, since it can also be used with gaming PCs and Android devices. That’s right, you could be playing Fortnite, Minecraft, and plenty of other titles on your phone with physical controls with a PlayStation 4 controller.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up the DS4 with your Android phone or tablet, plus some tips for improving the gaming experience.
There are two ways you can connect your DualShock 4 to your Android phone. Just like with a real PlayStation console, the controller supports both Bluetooth and direct USB connections. Bluetooth is the easiest option, but USB may be preferable for long gaming sessions, since your phone can provide a steady charge to the DS4.
The DualShock 4 can connect to your phone over a Bluetooth connection, just like it does with a regular PlayStation console. First, hold down on the PlayStation and Share buttons on your controller until the light bar on the back starts to flash white. This places the DS4 into pairing mode.
Next, open the Bluetooth options in your phone’s Settings app, and pick the option to pair a new device. Tap the DualShock 4 in the list (it may simply show up as ‘Wireless Controller’), confirm the pairing if you get a popup, and you’re done. Super simple.
When you’re done playing games, you can disconnect the DualShock 4 in the Bluetooth settings to turn it off, or simply hold down on the PlayStation button for around 10 seconds.
If you prefer to use a wired connection, you can do that too — all you need is the correct cable or adapter for connecting your DualShock 4 to the port on your phone or tablet. There are a few options for doing this.
If your phone or tablet has a microUSB port, shaped like the one on your DualShock 4 controller, then you’ll need to purchase an OTG adapter like this one. They give your device a full-size USB port, which you can then use to plug in the DualShock 4 with its included power cable (or any other microUSB cord).
If your device has a USB Type-C connector instead, you have two main options. You can either use a USB Type-C adapter, which lets you connect your DualShock 4 using the existing power cable, or you can buy a USB Type-C to microUSB cable, so you won’t have to deal with adapters at all. There is no functional difference between the two choices, both will give you a low-latency connection.
The DualShock 4 will start working automatically when it is connected over USB — no extra setup is required. Just plug and play.
Modern versions of Android have great integration with the DualShock 4, to the point where you can navigate around your phone or tablet without even touching the screen. Here’s what each control does when paired to an Android device:
- Touchpad: Moves a mouse cursor around on the screen, click or tap to press the mouse. Use two fingers to scroll up/down, like on a laptop touchpad.
- PlayStation Button: Takes you home.
- ◯ Button: Takes you back.
- △ Button: Types a space.
- ◻ Button: Acts as a Delete key.
- ✕ Button/Options Button: Acts as an Enter key.
- Left Joystick/D-Pad: Changes highlighted app on the home screen, moves cursor position in text, etc.
But you didn’t go through all this trouble to scroll through emails with a DualShock 4, you want to play games. While there are plenty of Android games that work with physical controllers, there are some that may not support the DS4’s dual joysticks. Below are some titles that should at least partially work with the DualShock, depending on which version of Android you have.
If you also own a PlayStation 4, Sony’s official Remote Play app is specifically designed for the DualShock 4. It’s definitely something worth checking out once you get your controller working.
Finally, it might be a good idea to purchase a Nyko Smart Clip or OIVO Mount if you plan to use a DualShock controller with your phone on a regular basis. Propping up your phone to play games can get tedious after a while.