Easily attach iPhone to Xbox controller with OtterBox MagSafe clip [Review]

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OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe review
The OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe offers better gaming with the convenience of magnets.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe uses magnets to connect your iPhone to your Xbox controller. It’s quick but secure. And you can easily rotate between landscape and portrait orientation.

I played a bunch of different games over the weekend using this accessory. Here’s why I like it.

OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe review

Playing an RPG or almost any action game with touchscreen controls is a rotten experience. It’s possible but frustrating. Thumbs sliding around on a flat display are hardly ideal. Especially when compared to physical buttons and joysticks. Fortunately, you can use an Xbox or PS4 controller with your iPhone.

A great many titles support the combination. That includes Apple Arcade games, but also Google Stadia and Xbox Game Pass.

Earlier in 2020, OtterBox released the original Mobile Gaming Clip, which lets you attach almost any handset to an Xbox controller. But it doesn’t support portrait mode.

A new MagSafe version is for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series, and it’s a bit easier to use. And it does support portrait mode.

Hardware and design

The accessory clips onto the front of a Xbox One controller, a Xbox Series X|S controller or a Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. It’s not a general purpose clip — it works with only these three. But the advantage of specialization is it attaches very solidly. I played games for hours with this clip and there was never the slightest hint of it coming loose.

And the Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe doesn’t block access to any of the buttons, joysticks, or ports on the controller. I’ve spent more hundreds of hours with an Xbox controller in my hands than I like to think about, and the add-on never interfered with gameplay.

The clip has two hinges, giving you a wide range of options for positioning the iPhone in front of the controller, and the angle at which the screen is tilted. That’s important because I have a fairly exact arrangement that I find comfortable — anywhere else and the front or the back of the controller seem too heavy.

That brings up an important point. The MagSafe version of the Mobile Gaming Clip is a mere 3.3 ounces, but add in the weight of your iPhone and the combination is noticeably heavier than an Xbox controller alone. That said, there’s nothing OtterBox can do about it but design its clip so you can balance that weight as comfortably as possible. Which it did.

OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe with an iPhone 12
The two hinges in the Mobile Gaming Clip let you change the position and viewing angle of your iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The back of the handset can be as much as 3.5 inches away from the front of the controller. That’s plenty of room for my hands. Or both hinges can close down, allowing the Gaming Clip to fold up for easier transport.

The bottom hinge locks into place so you won’t jar it awry. The upper one can’t be locked, but is firm enough I never had problems with it moving.

Incidentally, the Mobile Gaming Clip can also act as a stand for your iPhone when it’s not attached to the Xbox controller. Put it on a flat surface and you can watch hands-free video.

MagSafe

This version of OtterBox’s accessory depends on the magnets that are part of Apple’s MagSafe system. Some of these are in the clip and others are in the handset. The result of a tight connection. I can bump the bottom of the iPhone and it won’t come off. Or even turn the Xbox controller upside down and shake it. But grab the handset and twist and it’ll come lose.

As noted, the MagSafe version supports portrait and landscape. If you have a game that runs only in portrait — like Wurdweb — you can use this clip and an Xbox controller to play it.

The downside is that this accessory works on with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models (and probably iPhone 14, etc.). Earlier Apple models don’t have the necessary magnets built into them.

Just so there’s no confusion, many MagSafe accessories charge your iPhone. This one doesn’t. It’s only a mount. That said, the Lightning port is completely available if you want to plug in your handset.

OtterBox Gaming Carry Case

This clip isn’t the only gaming accessory OtterBox released this year. There’s also the Gaming Carry Case. It’s designed to hold an Xbox controller with the Mobile Gaming Clip attached.

I tested the case with the MagSafe version of the clip and the fit is good. Just as good as the original version.

OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe final thoughts

OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe is fairly portable.
The OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe is lightweight and makes a decent stand, too.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

I play games on my iPhone almost every day, and I really dislike using touchscreen controls for action games. Using an external controller is so much better. And the OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip makes this a snap. Adding in the convenience of MagSafe is like a cherry on top.

OtterBox built a reputation for making top-quality cases, but has been branching out recently. As noted, it offers a lineup of gaming products with this MagSafe accessory just the latest addition. And it’s a worthy addition.

Pricing

The Mobile Gaming Clip for MagSafe is $39.95 on the OtterBox website.

That appears to be the only place that it’s available at the time of this writing.

Comparable products

The most obvious competitor is the non-MagSafe version of the Mobile Gaming Clip. This works for more devices and costs a tad less: $29.95. Don’t miss my review of the accessory.

Or there’s the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller ($49.95) if you don’t want to go wireless. Made specially for the iPhone, it includes a Xbox-like design that communicates with your handset over a Lightning cable. Apple likes this enough to put it on the Apple Store. I reviewed it too.

And, of course, there are tons of $10 Xbox phone mounts for sale on the internet. But it’s possible you’re interested in the OtterBox version because so many of the cheap ones aren’t worth the cost. They’re either badly designed, badly made, or both.

OtterBox provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.