We recently showed you how to use your PS4 controller with your Mac to play both new and classic games in OS X, but what about Microsoft fans? The good news is that you can also use an Xbox One controller with a Mac.
The (somewhat) bad news is that, unlike the plug-and-play and wireless nature of the PS4 controller, the Xbox Controller requires some third-party drivers and configuration to work in OS X, and will only work while connected via a USB cable.
There are several unofficial projects that aim to provide Xbox One controller support for the Mac, but the one we recommend is the Xone-OSX (now deprecated) project by Drew Mills (a.k.a. FranticRain).
Look for the 360Controller page that replaces the deprecated Xone-OSX.
To use it, first disconnect your Xbox One controller from your Mac if necessary (if you had tried to just plug it in without any drivers, you’d notice that it doesn’t do anything, even though the controller is recognized in System Profiler).
Next, head over to the (the Xone-OSX project page is now deprecated – no longer maintained by the developers) at GitHub to instead find the 360Controller page, which is described as a TattieBogle Xbox 360 Driver (with improvements). Note, that the 360Controller GitHub repo has installation and other instructions to help you make the transition easier.
- About – The driver supports the Xbox series of controllers, including those listed on the about section.
- Installation – This section includes a link to the releases pages so you can download the latest version, then install it using the installer. Note: If you use a version of macOS greater than or equal to macOS 10.13.4, then you should use the version signed by “Drew Mills.”
- Uninstallation – If you decide to uninstall this driver, you can simply go to System Preferences, navigating to Xbox 360 Controllers, then clicking on the Advanced tab to finally click uninstall, which will prompt you for your admin password to complete the process.
- Usage – Under Usage, you’ll find help troubleshooting your controller along with a list of games that don’t work with it.
From the 360Controller page, download the 360ControllerInstall_1.0.0-alpha.3.dmg install file. Next, double click on the dmg file to start up the installation wizard for installing the Xbox 360 Controller Driver, then follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation.
Note: The DMG file extension stands for Apple Disk Image File (AKA: Mac OS X Disk Image file), which is a burlesque of the full disk image file.
You’ll need to reboot your Mac after the installation is complete, so make sure to save your work and close any open apps.
Once macOS starts back up, connect your Xbox One controller using a Micro-USB to Type A USB cable and you’ll see the controller’s Xbox light turn on if the driver installation was successful.
To configure your Xbox One controller for use with your Mac, head to System Preferences, where you’ll find a new “Xone Controller” preference pane. With your Xbox One controller plugged in, you’ll be able to test buttons and inputs, adjust dead zones for calibration, and optionally invert the control scheme for the left or right analog sticks.
Unfortunately, you can’t use the Xbox One controller wirelessly, as Microsoft uses proprietary wireless technology for the Xbox One, compared to Sony, which uses standard Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
We’ve been testing the new TattieBogle Xbox 360 Driver for a few days and are happy to report that everything works great in apps like OpenEmu and modern OS X games. Controller support isn’t as broad in OS X as it is in Windows, but \ makes the Xbox One controller look like an Xbox 360 controller to most applications, ensuring maximum compatibility for the relatively limited number of games that support third-party controllers.
As with the PS4 controller, just make sure you go into each app’s settings or preferences and select the Xbox One controller prior to starting the game (it appears as “Microsoft Official Wired” in OpenEmu, for example).
If you have trouble with Xone-OSX, another Xbox One controller for Mac project is Xbox One Controller Enabler (now deprecated as in no longer used or maintained by the developers), also hosted at GitHub. This project has been deprecated sending users to them instead.