While the DualSense controller was designed with the PS5 in mind, you can also use it to play games on your Mac. With the release of macOS Big Sur 11.3, Apple introduced the ability to use Sony’s next-generation DualSense controller for PS5 on Mac with any controller-supported game.
Here’s how to connect your PS5 DualSense controller to your Mac via Bluetooth and USB-C cable, and how to correctly configure it for games on Steam too.
What you’ll need
- A DualSense controller
- A Mac running macOS Big Sur 11.3 or later
- USB-C to USB-A/C (optional)
How to connect a DualSense controller to a Mac
There are two ways to connect a DualSense controller to a Mac – using Bluetooth or a USB-C cable.
The best way to connect a DualSense controller to a Mac is using Bluetooth – the primary way the DualSense connects to your PS5 when gaming too. All you need to do is put your DualSense controller into pairing mode and connect it to your Mac:
- On your DualSense controller, hold the PS button and Share button (top-left) until the LED around the trackpad flashes.
- On your Mac, head to System Preferences > Bluetooth.
- Locate your controller in the list of available devices (don’t worry if it appears as DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless controller, it’ll still work) and click Connect.
It’s worth noting that if you want to use the DualSense controller with your PS5, you’ll have to turn the console on and connect the controller via USB-C cable to re-establish the connection.
While most gamers will opt to connect the DualSense controller to a Mac via Bluetooth, you do have the option of connecting it via USB-C to USB-A on older Macs or USB-C to USB-C for Thunderbolt 3-enabled machines.
There aren’t any particular benefits to performance, but it’ll at least save your controller battery from draining over hours of use – and you don’t need to connect via the Bluetooth menu either. Simply plug your controller in with a USB-C cable and begin playing games.
How to use a DualSense controller with Steam on macOS
While the DualSense controller will automatically work with PlayStation Remote Play and the library of MFI-compatible games available as part of Apple Arcade on the App Store, you’ll have to manually configure the controller if you want to play controller-supported games via Steam.
Thankfully it’s not as complex as it sounds – you just need to enable the correct setting in the Steam client first.
- Connect your DualSense controller to your Mac via Bluetooth or cable.
- Open the Steam app.
- In the top-left of your display, click Steam > Preferences.
- Once the Preferences window pops up, click Controller on the left-hand navigation pane.
- Click General Controller Settings.
- Tick the box for PlayStation Configuration Support.
You should now be able to enjoy controller-supported games on Steam complete with PlayStation-branded button prompts to match.
The limitations of using DualSense on Mac
As mentioned earlier, there are limitations to using your PS5’s DualSense controller on your Mac.
First and foremost, the controller won’t work with all titles available on macOS – it’ll work specifically with MFI-supported games on the App Store, including those available as part of Apple Arcade, Sony’s Remote Play app and controller-supported games available on Steam, Epic Games Store and GeForce Now.
There are also limitations to the tech available in the controller; while you can take advantage of the advanced haptics and force feedback triggers with games available on PS5, these features are unavailable when playing games on a Mac. You’ll still feel basic vibration feedback, but it won’t be as immersive as the PS5 experience.