Use A Playstation 3 Controller On Your Mac With Bluetooth [OS X Tips]

Use A Playstation 3 Controller On Your Mac With Bluetooth [OS X Tips]

Yesterday, we showed you how to use an XBox 360 controller on your Mac, using a wired controller. We’re pretty sure it will work with the wireless controller and a Microsoft wireless adapter, as well, but we weren’t able to test it.

Today, however, we’ll take you into new territory and show you how to use your PS3 controller via Bluetooth for some wireless gaming joy with your Mac. Don’t try to use the PS3 controller with Steam’s Big Picure, just yet, though, as it only officially supports the XBox 360 controller. Other Mac games, like all of the ones ported by Feral, are reported to work well with a PS3 controller, though.

Here’s how to set it up.

First, launch System Preferences and click to open the Bluetooth preference panel. Click the checkbox next to On, and Discoverable. Then plug the mini USB charging cable into an available USB port on your Mac. Next, plug the mini USB end of that same cable into your PS3 controller. The red LED lights will blink slowly, as your Mac is now charging the PS3 controller.

Now, hold the PS button down on the controller, for about 3 seconds. Then release it, and pull out the USB mini cable from the controller. Leave it plugged into the Mac; you’ll need it in a moment. The red LED lights will start to flash faster, and your Mac will ask for a passcode. Make one up, or use the standard ’0000’ to make the passcode dialog box disappear.

It’ll come back up again. Before you type in the passcode again, and again, and again, navigate to the preferences window again and click on the little gear there at the bottom. Add the PS3 controller to your Favorites list, then click the checkbox next to the ON label again to turn Bluetooth OFF. This is counter-intuitive, but do it anyway.

Now, strangely enough, reconnect the mini USB cable to your PS3 controller (since you left it in your Mac as directed above, right?), press the PS button for 3 seconds again, then pull the cable out. Your PS3 controller will continue to flash like it’s trying to pair. Ignore that and turn Bluetooth on again on your Mac. Your PS3 controller should now show up in the device list, letting you use it with any applications that have support for the controller.

Now you know how to get your Playstation 3 controller up on your Mac, and use it wirelessly. Go game!

Related
  • Wirehedd

    I now have the means to utterly defeat my 11 yr old son in Team Fortress 2!!!

    My hands are too beat up to be competitive with a mouse and keyboard anymore.:)

  • Paul Herron

    You’re welcome. ;)

  • MightyModest

    Instead of the LED lights flashing faster after unplugging it, they stop altogether. Then when I press the button again, a window pops up with a 6 digit password I’m supposed to input. I can’t type those numbers with a controller. Has anyone seen this?

  • caosseeker

    why does my mac show “you must restart your computer, press the power button etc etc etc…” when i try to connect the ps3 controller?
    HELP PLEASE!!!!

  • JFKiachu

    can you configure the controls? like from a app or something, for the game COD: MW1

  • mcmacker4

    Will I be able to pair the controller back to my PS3 once it is paired with my Mac?

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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