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How to Use a Gamepad with Your Mac
If you enjoy playing games on your Mac, you might want to use a gamepad instead of a keyboard and mouse. A gamepad is a device that has buttons, joysticks, triggers, and other controls that you can use to interact with games. Gamepads can offer a more comfortable and immersive gaming experience, especially for genres like racing, fighting, sports, and platformers.
However, not all gamepads are compatible with Macs, and not all games support gamepads natively. In this article, we will show you how to use a gamepad with your Mac, whether it is wireless or wired, and how to customize its settings for different games and apps.
Connect a Wireless Gamepad to Your Mac
Many gamepads use Bluetooth technology to connect wirelessly to your Mac. Some of the most popular wireless gamepads are the Xbox One controller, the PlayStation 4 controller, and the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. To connect a wireless gamepad to your Mac, you need to pair it with your device using Bluetooth settings. Here are the general steps for pairing a wireless gamepad with your Mac:
Press and hold the appropriate button or buttons on the gamepad to put it into pairing mode. This makes it discoverable by your Mac. Check your gamepad's documentation for setup details specific to pairing with a computer.
On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Bluetooth.
Select the gamepad from the list of nearby devices, then click Connect.
You should see a confirmation message that your gamepad is connected. You can now use it with games and apps that support it. To disconnect your gamepad, you can either turn it off or remove it from the Bluetooth settings on your Mac.
Connect a Wired Gamepad to Your Mac
Some gamepads use a USB cable to connect to your Mac. These gamepads are usually plug-and-play, which means they should work as soon as you plug them into a USB port on your Mac. However, some gamepads may require drivers or software that are not built into macOS before they will appear in your system. You can check your gamepad's documentation for installation instructions and download links for any required drivers or software.
One example of a wired gamepad that requires additional software is the Xbox 360 controller. You can download an unofficial driver for this controller from this GitHub page. After installing the driver, you should be able to use your Xbox 360 controller with your Mac.
Customize Your Gamepad Settings
Depending on the gamepad and the game or app you are using, you may want to customize your gamepad settings to suit your preferences. For example, you may want to change the sensitivity of the joysticks or triggers, remap the buttons or keys, or adjust the vibration feedback.
For some gamepads, macOS includes settings for customizing buttons and other features. You can find these settings by choosing Apple menu > System Preferences, then clicking Game Controllers in the sidebar. Then click the name of your gamepad and select Default Controls. You can also use the Buddy Controller feature to combine inputs from multiple controllers into one.
However, not all gamepads have customization settings in macOS. In that case, you can use third-party apps that let you configure your gamepad to act as a keyboard or mouse. One such app is GamePad Companion, which costs $7.99 on the Mac App Store. Another app is USB Overdrive, which is free for basic features and $20 for advanced features.
With these apps, you can assign keyboard keys or mouse clicks to any button or control on your gamepad. You can also create different profiles for different games and apps. This way, you can use your gamepad with any game or app that supports keyboard or mouse input.
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