How To Use A Gamepad For Any iOS Game

The iPhone and iPad are fantastic gaming devices, but a lot of games still try to emulate gamepads with onscreen buttons on the touchscreen, and it just doesn't work that well. Fortunately, a jailbreak app called Blutrol lets you turn a handful of different gamepads into controllers for any game with touchscreen buttons. Here's how to set it up.

We've talked about turning your Android or iOS device into a portable retro game arcade before, and while you can still use those tricks, this method makes it so you can use a bunch of different controllers for any game on iOS, not just emulators and the handful of games that support controllers. It might sound a little fishy, but it works incredibly well and isn't that hard to set up.

What You'll Need

You don't need much to make this work, just a single app, some games and little patience:

  • A jailbroken iPad, iPhone or iPad Touch.
  • Blutrol ($US6.99) from the BigBoss Repository on Cydia.
  • A PS3 Dualshock controller (note: you also need the SixPair tool for Mac or the SixaxisPairTool for Windows to pair the PS3 controller with your iOS device), Bluetooth Keyboard, Wiimote, Phonejoy, iCade, iControlPad or iMpulse controller.

That's it. Now we just need to get your controller paired up with your device and working with your games.

Pair Your Gamepad with Your iOS Device

First things first, we need to get the gamepad paired with your iOS device. We'll be using a PS3 controller, which takes an extra step. So, if you're using a different gamepad, skip this part.

How to Setup a PS3 Controller

The PS3 controller takes one additional step to get it working with your iOS device, but it's not complicated, and you only have to do it once. When you're done, your controller is paired with your iOS device every time.


  1. Download and run SixaxisPairTool.
  2. Connect your iOS device to your computer with the lightning cable or 30-pin cable.
  3. Connect your PS3 controller to your computer with a USB cable and wait for the Bluetooth address to come up.
  4. Once it's paired with your computer, get your iOS device's Bluetooth address by heading into Settings > About > Bluetooth. Enter that address into SixaxisPairTool and click update. Now your iOS device should be linked to your PS3 controller.


  1. Download SixPair Tool and run the app.
  2. Connect your iOS device to your computer with the lightning cable or 30-pin cable.
  3. Connect your PS3 controller to your Mac with a USB cable.
  4. Click the "Pair Controller to iPad" button.
  5. When it's successful, open Blutrol on your iOS device, tap the controller tab, select the PS3 controller and tap "Connect". When it's connected, you can disconnect the PS3 controller from your Mac.

Now you can select your PS3 controller inside Blutrol as a Bluetooth device (if it doesn't appear right away, head into Settings > BTStack and select "BTStack" as the active Bluetooth system).

Pair Other Controller to Your iOS Device

Thankfully, other controllers don't take the extra step that a PS3 controller does. For the rest of the supported devices, just follow the directions for pairing that are included with the device (or just head into Settings > General > Bluetooth and make sure they're already recognised). Then open the Blutrol app, tap "Controller" and select your gamepad.

Set Up Blutrol for Any Game

Now that your iOS and gamepad are paired up together it's time to start playing games. Thankfully, this part is easy too, and you only have to do this once for each game.

  1. Open up the game you want to use the controller for (obviously it makes the most sense to pick a game with onscreen buttons. We'll be using Sonic CD).
  2. Take a screenshot of the game when the controls are displayed (tap the home button and power button at the same time).
  3. Exit the game and open up Blutrol.
  4. Tap the "Games" tab, and then the "+" sign.
  5. Select the game you just took a screenshot of.
  6. Tap either portrait or landscape (depending on how you took the screenshot), and select the screenshot you just took.
  7. Tap "Add," select the controller of your choice, and then tap either landscape or portrait.
  8. You'll now see your screenshot with your gamepad's buttons laid over it. Here, you're essentially assigning a button combination, so when you push a button on the controller, it "taps" the screen for you. Move the gamepad buttons to cover up the on-screen controls however you like (you can also resize the analogue stick or d-pad with pinch and zoom). When you're happy with the setup, tap "done."
  9. Now open up the game again, and start playing the game with the controller (if it has trouble, just force-quit the game and start over).

That's it! From now on you'll be able to easily pair your controller with your iOS device and start playing games. Just don't tell any of your friends on the leaderboards why you're doing so well. It also works with any app you want (not just games), so you might be able to come up with some other creative uses.


    Yeh.. but you need to JB the iPad/iPhone.. it's a shame Apple won't allow this to be done...

      I'm not sure if you heard; but for the first time in a very long time we have a fully functional, secure jailbreak tool for EVERY device.
      You would be a coward Not to jailbreak.

        Aren't there rumours that the next update closes all the holes that evasi0n uses? Don't get me wrong, I have jailbroken my iPad, but it may well mean that I'll be stuck on the current version for the forseeable future. Besides, it's still not reasonable to expect that every user has already or should have jailbroken.

        Either way, there needs to a "JAILBREAK" tag right at the start of an article, preferably in the header (although they won't do that because it cuts down on click-farming hopefuls)

        For everyone this article DOES apply to, I believe DealExtreme just opened up an Australia section, which means faster and cheaper shipping on their range of cheap bluetooth controllers. Maybe worth a look if you don't already have one?

    I was all excited until he said if you have jailbroken your device and was like damnit. Can't be bothered with jailbreaking anymore so have to wait until Apple approve this which could be a long time hence the jailbreak so its a catch 22.

    Don't approve this message: article says iPad touch at start of article should be iPod touch

    For anyone interested, you can do the same on Android with an app called Game Keyboard. It's great, particularly if, like me, you're still hanging on to your XPeria play.

    Real buttons are still the best.

      xPeria Play was a great phone for gaming, except that even by the standards of the day it was massively under powered. Wish they'd make a new one with specs comparable to the S3.

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