Microsoft makes using Xbox Controllers on iOS even better

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Xbox Controller with iPad
Bluetooth Low Energy and cross-platform support.
Photo: Apple/Microsoft

Microsoft is testing new firmware for Xbox Controllers that makes using them with iPhone and iPad even better. The update adds Bluetooth Low Energy support, and allows you to pair both an Xbox console and iOS device so that switching between the two is easier than ever before.

When Apple rolled out iOS 13 in 2019 and finally embraced PS4 and Xbox gamepads, they instantly became some of the best options for those who want to enjoy their iPhone and iPad games with physical controls.

If you opt to use one of Microsoft’s many Xbox Controller models, your experience is about to get even better, thanks to a big firmware update.

Xbox Controller update adds cross-platform play

The update adds Bluetooth Low Energy support, “which delivers better compatibility across devices and allows for better pairing experiences,” Microsoft explained in a blog post on Thursday. The feature will support wireless remote play across iOS 15, Windows 10, and Android devices.

Even bigger than that is a new cross-platform play feature. For the first time, you’ll be able to pair your Xbox Controller with two devices simultaneously (one Bluetooth host, like an iPad, and one Xbox Wireless host, like an Xbox console), and then quickly and seamlessly switch between the two.

“We are invested in expanding Xbox gaming beyond the console, so Xbox controllers need to work equally well on both Xbox consoles and Bluetooth devices and moving between all these devices needs to be easy,” Microsoft said.

This is a terrific feature for those who use a single Xbox Controller to play games on both an Xbox console and a mobile device.

Faster input recognition

Finally, the update also introduces Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) for those with an Xbox Series X or Series S console. DLI delivers controller inputs more efficiently, reducing latency for a more response gaming experience.

This firmware will be available to Xbox One controllers with Bluetooth support, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, and the Xbox Adapter Controllers. It’s currently rolling out in beta to Insider testers and will be available to all at a later date.