How to Use a Playstation 4 Controller with Mac in OS X El Capitan & Yosemite
Many Mac users have a gaming console or two as well, and if it happens to be a Playstation 4, then you’ll find that using that PS4 controller with OS X is incredibly simple. This basically means your DualShock Playstation 4 controller will work as a native game controller for any supported game running on a Mac, ranging from native OS X games to emulators. It works very well, and since many of us prefer to play games with a controller it’s a great way to extend the value of a pricey PS4 purchase.
You can use the Playstation 4 controller either wirelessly through Bluetooth or wired with USB, both are easy to setup and work just fine once configured, so it’s just a matter of personal preference, though many users will prefer the wireless approach. We’ll cover that first, but if you want to use the USB approach we’ll take care of that as well. Either way you can play games on the Mac display or a connected TV, and it’s pretty great. To be clear, this works in just about all versions of OS X, we’re focusing on new versions with OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite and OS X Mavericks, but the steps are basically the same in other versions too.
Connect PS4 Controller Wirelessly to Mac with Bluetooth
You’ll want to pair the Playstation 4 controller to the Mac with Bluetooth before attempting to play any game, this only takes a moment:
- Open the Bluetooth preference panel in OS X, accessible from > System Preferences
- Turn on Bluetooth in OS X if you haven’t done so yet, you can do that through the System Preference panel or the Bluetooth menu bar item
- Hold down the Playstation “PS” button and the “Share” button until the light at the top of the controller starts blinking quickly in a pulse fashion, this places the controller into pairing mode
- The Mac should quickly detect the controller and it will appear in the Bluetooth devices list as “Wireless Controller” or “PLAYSTATION(4) Controller” to pair the PS4 controller
- Once it has appeared in the Devices list of Bluetooth panel, you can close System Preferences and use the controller as intended in your game(s) of choice
You shouldn’t need to use the Bluetooth Setup Assistant, the controller typically is detected on it’s owns and works as soon as it’s paired. Prior versions of OS X may require the setup assistant or attempting to manually discover the PS4 controller, but the latest versions, including OS X Yosemite and OS X Mavericks, do this automatically.
Is the Bluetooth Preference Panel refusing to find the PS4 controller when used wirelessly? It’s probably simple, go here to fix Bluetooth discovery issues with OS X Yosemite using these steps.
Of course if the wireless approach doesn’t work at all for some reason, you can opt for a wired controller experience which is very easy to setup.
Connect the Playstation 4 Controller to Mac with USB
There’s basically no setup to this except in the game that you want to use the controller with. Because it’s somewhat game dependent, there’s no exact approach, but it’s generally something like this:
- Connect the PS4 controller to the Mac with the USB cable
- Open the game you want to play with the PS4 controller, then head to that games preferences or settings
- Look for a section in the games preferences regarding Controllers or Gamepad setup, configure the controller as desired and enjoy
And there you have it, easy. Enjoy your gaming.
Don’t have a Playstation 4? Maybe another console instead? That’s ok, because Playstation 3 controllers work on a Mac, and Xbox One controllers do too, though the latter will require a bit more work to behave as intended.