If you want to use your Apple tablet for gaming, you'll absolutely want to snag one of the best iPad gaming controllers to get the most out of your slate. While they're certainly not gaming-first devices, there are an abundance of mobile games available, as well as the option to leverage features like GamePass and Remote Play on your consoles.
While there aren't too many bespoke iPad gaming controllers like we see for mobiles and other handheld devices, plenty of popular PC and console controllers can connect to iPads via Bluetooth. It's certainly a lot easier than using touchscreen controls, which are the bane of many a mobile gamer, meaning you can still have a competitive edge in multiplayer games while on your non-gaming device.
The best iPad gaming controllers available now
Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
+ All-round powerhouse
+ Extra attachments available
+ Strong battery life
This more affordable alternative to the Elite Series 2 is the gamepad to buy if you want the final word in competitive controllers for iPad, especially if you own an Xbox as well. Hands down, there is no better tool to explore Game Pass's library with on an iPad.
Best for reliability
+ Extremely comfortable
+ Reliable build
+ Pairs Easily
- Poor battery life
The DualShock 4 is still one of the best gaming controllers ever made, and thanks to an easy Bluetooth pairing system, it'll connect very easily. It's available in a plethora of colours, has a reliable build quality, and hardly ever suffers from drift issues. Battery life can sometimes be a problem, though.
+ Swappable face buttons
– No back buttons
If you want something that can serve you across iOS, Android, PC, and Nintendo Switch, this is a superb option from a reputable controller brand. And the best part? It's very reasonably priced too. We've found this to be an exceptionally versatile controller that has a slew of premium features.
Best for ergonomics
+ Classic Xbox feel
+ Great ergonomics
– Needs batteries
– Not as good as the Elite Series 2 Core
A frequent flyer on any best controller list, the standard Xbox wireless controller will easily connect to your iPad, and it's a great companion for playing Xbox Game Pass games. Xbox controllers are famously wide and sturdy, which makes them popular options for players who have larger hands.
Best for versatility
+ Battery life
+ Apple Arcade support
Previously, this controller came with an Apple Arcade membership trial, although customer reports indicate this offer is no longer active. Regardless, it supports a vast number of Arcade titles, and is compatible with a plethora of devices. Users have reported reliability and app support issues, however.
Best for PS5 fans
+ Great features
+ Convenient for PS5 players
– Poor battery life
As with the DualShock 4, the newer DualSense is an easy option for playing games on an iPad. It does have fairly poor battery life, and it's far more expensive than the DualShock 4. Still, if you own or are looking to buy a PS5, it's an absolute no-brainer.
How to choose an iPad gaming controller
The best way to narrow down what iPad gaming controller is best for you is foremostly to identify which other consoles or devices, if any, you'd want support for. If you own multiple different devices from different ecosystems, you might want something with more versatility like the SteelSeries Nimbus+. Or, if you're a loyal PlayStation or Xbox player, you'll want something more attuned to those ecosystems.
If you're still stuck, the next best thing is add budget into the mix. Since many of these controllers have features incompatible with the iPad, rather intended for traditional gaming devices, you might be better off just going for the most budget-friendly option.
How we test iPad gaming controllers
As with any gaming controller test, there are some features at the top of our list; ergonomics, features, build quality, and compatibility, to name a few. We look at how comfortable the controller is to hold and use over long periods of time, and if the build quality is robust enough to see you through the years.
We'll also test all of the marketed features for functionality and how well they work in the given ecosystem; however, in the case of iPad gaming controllers, many won't offer things like haptics or touch control on account of compatibility issues.
Finally, we'll weigh up factors like price and aesthetics to help ensure we highlight great deals that will level up your gaming setup.