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

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

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. 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:

  1. Adam Smith says:

    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.

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

      1. Adam Smith says:

        Perhaps you had earlier installed some ps3 controller drivers?

        1. Never installed any drivers at all, actually.

          1. Adam Smith says:

            Did you have to reboot?

          2. No.

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

  2. Ian Schopa says:

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

    1. 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.

      1. Ian Schopa says:

        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.

        1. I honestly have no idea.

  3. Link2999 says:

    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?

    1. RationalCitizen says:

      Did you ever get this working?

  4. Ian Lowell says:

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

    1. PCMasterRace says:

      yea get a PC

      1. scxfan says:

        But PC’s suck for most everything except games.

  5. John Brobst says:

    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.

  6. Jonathan Jane says:

    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??

    1. radixe says:

      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.

  7. TomCrown says:

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

    1. Maccen says:

      Can you post a link to this?

  8. Erich says:

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

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

      1. swami says:

        I don’t have the folder there what a pity! The game is on the list of Feral Games titles (lego lord of the rings)
        May I try with DS3?

  9. Patric Schwaab says:

    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?

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

  10. Darthfrazier says:

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

  11. bablecso says:

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

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

  12. MFFQ says:

    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??

  13. nuno baptista says:

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

  14. BennoB87 says:

    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.

  15. BennoB87 says:

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

    1. BennoB87 says:

      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

  16. Bob says:

    can i use it for minecraft?

  17. thom says:

    where’s bioshock infinite in the list?

  18. Romina Samong says:

    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.

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

      1. Romina Samong says:

        With a PS1 emulator?

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

  19. Chris Aita says:

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

  20. Sawyer says:

    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?

  21. andy says:

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

    1. J. Glenn Künzler J. Glenn Kunzler says:

      Thanks – I agree. This is a big deal.

  22. MattBrr says:

    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?

    1. MattBrr says:

      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

      1. Bluebie says:

        On recent versions of OS X, DS3 support is built in to the operating system. Plug the controller in to the Mac with a USB cable, then press the Playstation logo button in the middle of the controller – this will turn the controller on. The controller will also automatically pair itself to the computer over bluetooth – if you unplug it now, the controller will connect via bluetooth, which should just work automatically. To turn the controller off you can either go to the bluetooth menu on your mac menu bar, and select disconnect under that connected item, or you can press and hold the Playstation logo button for about 5 seconds – hold it until the lights on the top turn off (normally they blink)

        Pressing the Playstation logo button to turn the controller on is really important. Even over USB the controller will appear to apps, but wont transmit any button or joystick data until you press that button to enable it.

  23. Malfeusz says:

    Just got Harry Potter years 1-4 on sale in Mac App Store and the dualshock 4 works as sweet after implemendation of your file. Great thanks

  24. Reed says:

    It doesnt work with gang beasts someone help

  25. swami says:

    Pairing was no problem, but there is no “input devices” folder in my Feral Interactive Games although the game (lego lord of the rings) is on the list of of Feral Games titles, so it’s not true you “can now add DualShock 4 support to any and all of Feral’s official Mac games “…. what a pity. Maybe DS3 will work. I’ll take a shot

  26. Rokr424 says:

    borderlands 2 was my first try on bluetooth and it didn’t seem to realize it was even there..

  27. kalli says:

    jeeep, the ps4 controller just works great on my mac mini with sonic allstars! thanks for this helpful description!

  28. Truman Farnsworth says:

    Can I play Minecraft with this?

  29. FredEFuego says:

    This Trick worked perfectly for me play Dues Ex Human Revolution on my Mac Pro 6.1 via DS4 over Bluetooth flawlessly. Thank you for posting this up! 🙂

  30. juancerda says:

    works great

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