How to add a third-party game controller to your Apple TV

Apple has gone big on games with the new Apple TV. The only slight hiccup is that the Apple TV Remote – lovely as it is – isn’t always the best choice for gaming. If you want pinpoint, accurate control in the best racing and platform games that the App Store has to offer, you owe it to yourself to splash out on a third-party game controller.

How to add a third-party game controller to your Apple TV

I dug out my iOS game controller of choice, the Bluetooth-connected SteelSeries Stratus XL, and while it doesn’t officially offer Apple TV support, it works just fine.

Is it worth the effort? At around £50, the SteelSeries Stratus XL is anything but cheap, but it makes all the difference in games such as Beach Buggy Racing and Bean Dreams 2. Why? Well, precise steering is all but impossible if you use the Apple TV Remote’s tilt-to-steer controls, yet is pixel-perfect on the SteelSeries’ analogue sticks, with the trigger buttons allowing for subtle dabs of the accelerator and brake when required. And where the cutesy platform challenges of Bean Dreams become an exercise in touchpad-stroking futility on the Remote, it’s just as much fun as on the iPhone or iPad with a decent gamepad in your mitts.

You don’t have to shell out on the SteelSeries controller, though – any Made for iPhone (MFi) controller that you have lying around should work, if you follow the instructions below.

How to add a third-party game controller to your Apple TV

  • On the Apple TV’s homescreen, scroll down to select the Settings menu.


  • Now select the “Remotes and Devices” option.


  • Now select the Bluetooth option.


  • Now, make sure that your controller is switched on and is in pairing mode. If it is, you should see it pop up in the list below.


  • Scroll down and select your game controller from the list, and, in a matter of seconds, you should see a message confirming that it is now connected.


  • You should now be able to navigate back and forth through the menus without the Apple Remote. That means there’s only one thing left to do – play some games.

Want to get the absolute most from your Apple TV? Then click here to check out our list of the best Apple TV apps there are. 

Bean Dreams


Beach Buggy Racing


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