Use an Xbox One Controller on a Mac with Enabler Tool for OS X

Jan 20, 2015 - 9 Comments

Xbox One controller support in Mac OS X with Xbox One Controller Enabler

The Xbox One is a great gaming console with an excellent controller, and if you have a Mac with a few games you’d like to use a controller for, you can use a third party tool to gain Xbox One controller support for gaming in OS X.


The free utility is appropriately called “Xbox One Controller Enabler” and it allows the controller to function with a USB connection on any Mac with OS X Mavericks or OS X Yosemite, though the latter requires a slightly more technical implementation to get working. With any OS X version, getting the Xbox One controller to work on the Mac is slightly more complex than using a Playstation 3 controller, and as the support is unofficial, there may be a few quirks encountered along the way. Nonetheless, it’s certainly worth a try if you have an Xbox One and a Mac and you’d like to use the controller with.

The tool works by simulating a virtual joystick, which is why there may be some quirks with certain application compatibility.

Xbox One Controller Enabler in Mac OS X

You’ll probably want to download the precompiled binary, unless you feel like building the source yourself. As already mentioned, this utility is a bit more complex which makes it better aimed at advanced Mac users who don’t mind running experimental software. If you have a Playstation 3 or PS4 controller, it’s much easier to immediately get one of those working on a Mac.

Launching the app is probably sufficient to get it working with prior releases of OS X, but according to the developer, OS X Yosemite users will need to enable kernel extension developer mode for the XboxOneControllerEnabler tool to work. This is possible through the Terminal by entering the following command string:

sudo nvram boot-args=kext-dev-mode=1

Typically modifying boot arguments requires a reboot, so you’d probably ant to do that and then relaunch the enabler app before attempting to use it within modern versions of OS X.

On a quick side note, to turn off kext-dev-mode later, you can use the following command string:

sudo nvram boot-args=kext-dev-mode=0

Not having an Xbox One myself (I’m still cruising with a lowly Xbox 360, woe is me), I’m not able to test this out, though it seems to work based on reports from around the web. Try it out with your favorite game(s) on OS X, as long as they have gamepad controller support it should be good to go.

Star Wars KOTOR Screen Shot

Heads up to CultOfMac for finding this nifty utility, it should be a nice touch for Mac gamers who prefer a gamepad to the keyboard and mouse.

If you have an Xbox One and try this out, let us know in the comments how it works for you.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Games, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

9 Comments

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  1. Cory o yroC says:

    A friend used this with Xbox One and it worked fine for basic emulators, not sure if it works good with complex games where precision controller work is needed. By the way, there is a similar tool for the Xbox 360 controller called – wait for it – TattieBoogie – but for the Xbox 360 controller to work on a Mac you need to get the wireless USB receiver, or the converter cable for a wired connection. The Xbox One controller has the big advantage of using USB and MicroUSB, so the connection is direct, just like the Playstation controllers.

    Kind of a mystery why Playstation controllers work immediately in OS X and Xbox ones don’t without added software, makes you wonder if it’s some old rivalry leaking in?

    Anyway, Xbox 360 driver for Mac is here, also free:

    http://tattiebogle.net/index.php/ProjectRoot/Xbox360Controller/OsxDriver#toc1

  2. DG says:

    Regarding the xBox controller, much better to;
    1. Reboot into Windows and buy the Windows version of the game.
    2. Boot into Windows with Parallels and buy the Windows version of the game.

    • Paul says:

      Indeed, most games run a lot better in Windows than a Mac with OS X, but not everyone wants to have a Boot Camp partition or Virtual Machine for Windows. But yes I believe Windows does support the Xbox controllers immediately with Plug and Play.

      • DG says:

        I assure you. I don’t want to have a BootCamp partition or run Windows but it’s a necessary evil compared with the embarrassment that is Mac gaming.

        The situation isn’t as bad now of course. Prior to 10.10 joe public didn’t even know what Mac he had – Early 2009, WTF?? All he knows is he bought it in 2010.
        On top of that the ports are often problematic.

  3. Peter says:

    What about a PlayStation Controller ?
    is there anything out there for support for that ?

  4. brook says:

    does this work please tell me asap

  5. aluhaakubar says:

    is there also any way to make the controller work without a connection via usb? i bought the wireless adapter lately and my mac seems to not be able to detect the controller via the adapter

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