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How to Use Sony’s New PlayStation 4 (PS4) DualShock 4 Controller to Play Games on Your Mac

Posted in Mac, News, OS X on 28/10/2013 by J. Glenn Künzler

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Gaming on the Mac can be a rewarding experience, but there aren’t a great deal of Mac game controllers available. Plus, if you’re already used to a Sony DualShock PlayStation controller, using something different can be a confusing experience. We’ve already pointed out a method for using your existing PlayStation 3 controller with your Mac – but what about the new PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller?

PS4 Controller DualShock 4 Mac

The good news is that the DualShock 4 also includes baked-in support for both Mac and PC gaming – and it’s a bit easier to set up than the PlayStation 3 controller (although it works with fewer games). Here’s how to get it set up and working over both USB and Bluetooth on your Mac! We tested this on OS X Mavericks, and found it is compatible with a fair number of games.

Option 1: USB

The easiest and most hassle-free way to use the DualShock 4 with your Mac is to simply plug in using a MicroUSB cable. The DS4 automatically works as a joystick in most Mac games over USB. This method requires no setup.

Option 2: Bluetooth

Dual Shock 4 Pairing 2

It’s also possible to set up the controller via Bluetooth – although it uses a different method than pairing a PlayStation 3 controller. Here are your full instructions, via Reddit (thanks to Patrick McCarron for the link!)

  • Open Bluetooth preferences on your Mac.
  • Put the DualShock 4 into Pairing mode by pressing and holding the PlayStation and Share buttons until the light bar blinks rapidly.
  • Wait for the Wireless Controller device to show up in Bluetooth (select Add Device in OS X Mountain Lion or earlier – shows up automatically in Mavericks).
  • Select “Wireless Device” and click Pair. The process will now complete automatically.

Note: Don’t forget to turn off the controller after your gaming session by holding down the Playstation button till the light bar shuts off.

Compatibility

While we have yet to find an official list of supported games, we’ve tested this using Steam’s Big Picture mode, and found it to work flawlessly. It also worked in Tomb Raider: Underworld via USB (but not via Bluetooth), GangStar: Miami Vindication via USB (but not via Bluetooth), and Borderlands 2 over both USB and Bluetooth.

Overall, current compatibility is far better over USB at the moment. Steam’s Big Picture mode support both USB and Bluetooth modes flawlessly. The DualShock 4 isn’t technically set for release until November 15 – but U.S. users can pick one up online (or via in-store pickup) today via GameStop ($59.99, direct link). Update: The DualShock 4 is now available from Amazon.com - $59.96, with free 2-day shipping for Amazon Prime members!

Remember – you can also use a DualShock 3 PS3 controller to play games on your Mac, which is supported by almost all Mac games! We also expect DualShock 4 compatibility to improve significantly over time.

UPDATE (12/16/2013): According to a tip received from MacTrast reader Tom Crown, backed up by a statement from Feral Games, you can now add DualShock 4 support to any and all of Feral’s official Mac games!

From the official email from Feral Games:

In order to use your Official Sony PS4 DualShock 4 controller, please follow the below steps:

  • Find your copy of your Feral Interactive game (usually in the Applications folder).
  • Right click (or ctrl click) and click “Show Package Contents” from the dropdown menu
  • Open the “Contents” folder, then the “Resources” folder and finally “Input Devices”.
  • Drag the attached PS4Dualshock.plist file into the folder (you will be asked to Authenticate using your username and password, please do so).

Close the Finder window and restart the game with the pad plugged in. The game should now recognize the pad correctly. 

UPDATE 2 (12/16/2013): Confirmed working in Tomb Raider Underworld – although we could NOT get this to work in LEGO Batman 2 and certain other titles. Also: This trick works in Mac App Store versions of the games, as well at the official Steam versions.

Click here to download the custom .plist file! A full list of Feral Games titles can be found below, along with links to the Mac App Store:



  • Adam Smith

    I tried it, it saw it, paired, but steam doesn’t see it on my early 2013 MBP Retina running Mavericks. I also tried borderlands and hotline miami with no luck.

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      Interesting. Steam sees it on my 2012 iMac. You may have better luck over USB until developers start supporting it better.

      • Adam Smith

        Perhaps you had earlier installed some ps3 controller drivers?

        • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

          Never installed any drivers at all, actually.

          • Adam Smith

            Did you have to reboot?

          • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

            No.

            As an aside: it’s highly possible an update near the release of the PS4 will bring better support.

  • Ian Schopa

    Any speculation as to why it works with different / fewer games than the dual shock 3?

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      My guess is they’ve changed the specifics of how the controller communicates with the console – probably to add the new features of the DS4, like the touch pad, and increased joystick sensitivity.

      • Ian Schopa

        What would it take for all the games that work with DS3 to work with DS4? I’m guessing the likelihood of sony making mac drivers is extremely low. And any currently available games being patched seems, again, very unlikely. I’m just wondering if it makes any sense at all to go with a DS4 after trying to get the Wii U pro controller to work with even a couple of my 50+ game steam library.

        • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

          I honestly have no idea.

  • Link2999

    I can get the controller to connect to Steam Big Picture, but I’m having the same problem I had with the DS3 where when I go to open a game like Borderlands 2, none of the controls work and the controller completely drops in-game support. Do I need to install some other drivers or something?

    • RationalCitizen

      Did you ever get this working?

  • Ian Lowell

    Can’t seem to get it to work with borderlands 2 steam version. Any ideas?

  • John Brobst

    Works great with USB, but hardly any luck with bluetooth.

    Pairing was no problem, and different games (steam, emulators, team fortress, etc. as well as joystick mapper) recognize that there is a controller but controller actions don’t affect any of the applications, even when trying to configure controller.

  • Jonathan Jane

    So far my DS4 only works in steam big screen mode, once in games it kinda recognize there’s a controller there but nothing is working…. I’m using a early 2011 Macbook Pro…any help??

    • radixe

      In big screen mode, it shows which games supports or half supports the controller. there is an icon under the library games. You can try setting the controller buttons first. The triggers wasn’t working before and it works after I reset the button configuration.

  • TomCrown

    Feral has a PS4 plist that you can drop into all their games that work perfect for wireless play.

  • Erich

    there is no input devices folder. What should i do?

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      If the folder is not there, that particular game does not support the DS4.

  • Patric Schwaab

    It works fine when plugging it in via micro USB, but when I try to use it through bluetooth, it recognizes just fine, but steam big picture doesn’t recognize it as a controller. Any suggestions?

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      It’ll come in time. I think Steam will need to update their controller support.

  • Darthfrazier

    Guys download an app called controller mate. It will allow you to custom map the controls on the ds4 to kbm. It works great

  • bablecso

    Can you get pirated games to work with DS4 on Mac? Or only the steam, app store, feral games have the support?

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      It’s only certain Feral and Aspyr games at the moment.

  • MFFQ

    I just bought the DS4 controller along with Batman: Arkham Asylum. Have connected by bluetooth and everything was working great after adding the plist file. However, the R2 button does not work in the game whereas every other button does. Please can anyone help at all??

  • nuno baptista

    can anyone tell me if this works to control the transport functions of GarageBand please ? cheers

  • BennoB87

    The shoulder buttons work just the half way, when I try to push them completely down they don’t give a signal (at borderlands goty). All other functions are given. How can I edit the .plist by my self?
    And what do I have to change to solve that problem, I mean it’s annoying to be disabled to shoot or aim. Thank you for every kind of help.

  • BennoB87

    Works. Perfect with Bluetooth and arkham city goty :)… Thanks a lot

    • BennoB87

      BTW: Borderlands2 and other games are working with a manual edit via the full version of “Controllers” from “vivid machine”.
      Got it for 5 bucks and it works great with DS4 Bluetooth…
      If you don’t believe, try the demo

  • Bob

    can i use it for minecraft?

  • thom

    where’s bioshock infinite in the list?

  • Romina Samong

    hi! I was wondering if ps1 games would work using a ps4 controller in the mac? I’ve always wondered and Im hoping for a response! Thank you.

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      I have no idea what you mean. PS1 games don’t run on Macs.

      • Romina Samong

        With a PS1 emulator?

        • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

          It would depend on whether that particular emulator supports the DualShock 4.

  • Chris Aita

    Just got a DS4, do they not have a charge at first?

  • Sawyer

    I’m finding that the shoulder buttons on the DS4 aren’t working when I try to play Bioshock. Is there a way I could fix this?

  • andy

    how is this like the only even semi helpful article on this topic online, i feel like this is some big time badass stuff

    • J. Glenn Kunzler

      Thanks – I agree. This is a big deal.

  • MattBrr

    The mac app store version of borderlands 2 does not seem to support the DS4 since there’s no folder… Any different ways to connect it?

    • MattBrr

      especially since in the description it says it supports the DS3 and X360 controller. But I can’t find a way to connect the DS3 either. Help pls

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J. Glenn Künzler

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J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.