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iOS 16: Use Your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons to Play Games on Your iPhone

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This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular product.

You don’t need to have your Switch on hand to use your Joy-Cons. In fact, now that iOS 16 is available, you can pair the Nintendo controllers to your iPhone (and iPad when iPadOS 16 releases later this year) for gaming. And best of all, pairing the Joy-Cons to your iPhone or iPad takes only a few seconds.

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 games like Call of Duty, Fortnite and Apex Legends, which can be difficult to tame on your mobile device. Your phone or tablet has a smaller screen than your TV, which means less real estate for visuals and controls, and so a gaming controller might be necessary.

Third-party controllers aren’t new to Apple, though. Right now, you can pair both the DualSense from PlayStation and the wireless controller for Xbox to your iPhone or iPad. And controllers from other companies, like the Backbone One and the Razer Kishi, are made specifically for mobile gaming.

Read moreBest Controllers and Accessories for Xbox Cloud Gaming

However, if you already own a Nintendo Switch, there’s no need to buy a third-party gaming controller. You’ve got two attached to the sides of your console. 

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.

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


Jeremy Perez/CNET

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

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.

@cnetdotcom Did you know this? #iPhone#iOS16#NintendoSwitch#Nintendo#Switch#apple#bluetooth#hack#howto♬ original sound – CNET

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.

Read morePlay Fortnite on iPhone: A New Workaround Brings the Game Back to iOS


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