Whilst mobile gaming gets a bit of a bum rap amongst console and PC gaming crowds, it’s actually worth more than both segments combined. Of the $157 billion net worth of the gaming industry in 2020, around 57% of that amount is thanks to mobile gaming. By 2030, Research and Market estimate the mobile gaming industry will be worth around $272 billion on its own.
Numbers don’t lie, but let’s break down how the mobile gaming industry is going to get there. Yes, there’s a massive following with the free-to-play aspect of mobile gaming, buying gems, candy, or coins to gain an advantage. But with the emergence of cloud gaming in recent years, mobile gaming is slowly transforming into a proposition for traditional gamers and mobile users alike.
Best controller for iPhone - How did we pick?
xCloud (Game Pass for the cloud), GeForce now, and other console game offerings are making their way to mobile with the promise of console and PC performance by offloading processing duties to datacentres. There’s only one problem, touchscreens make for terrible video game controllers. Whilst Apple won’t support apps for these kinds of services, running a browser-based alternative get’s around that issue.
There’s also some great bespoke mobile experiences of famed gaming IP such as Call of Duty, Fortnite, and many more. Again, touchscreen controls aren’t great. So we’ve listed a handful of the best controllers for the iPhone below to help you make your mind up. From full handheld controller solutions to clips that allow you to use your existing Xbox and PlayStation controllers, there’s something for everyone in this buyer’s guide.
Looking for the best controller for your iPhone? Here are our picks
Robust build quality
Most expensive option
It’s hard to think about gaming peripherals without thinking about Razer, but the Razer Kishi is aimed at the hardcore mobile gamer market. This product is for the Xbox Series X owner who wants to carry on being Master Chief out of the house but doesn’t want to clip tier Xbox controller onto their iPhone.
Razer Kishi is a clamp controller solution, splitting a traditional controller setup to either side of a landscape iPhone. The best bit is that it fits all iPhones, you’ll just need to be running iOS 9 or higher, which no one should now be running in 2021.
It aims to give a traditional controller experience on mobile, featuring clickable thumbsticks for some cheeky L3 and R3 action alongside a well-placed and responsive D-Pad for beat ‘em up and retro titles. It also has a USB-C pass-through port for passthrough charging, making sure you can keep the game going with a power bank whilst on the go if needed. It is the most expensive option on this list, but it’s also the coolest.
Compatible with any lightning socket Apple device
Light build quality affects phone to controller balance
One of the age-old arguments with hardcore gamers is wired or wireless? Granted, they’ll always be a minute level of input delay with wireless controllers, but unless you’re playing at a competitive level, players won’t notice that handful of nanoseconds.
Rotor Riot’s best controller for iPhone solution is a game controller with a built-in iPhone clip that plugs into a lightning connector. It’s MFI compatible which means exceptional performance that’s been approved by Apple themselves.
If you don’t mind a wire hanging out of your iPhone, it’s a nice bit of kit. It has L3 and R3 functionality, something that’s become almost necessary with first-person shooters on all formats. It has pass-through charging which means you can charge your iPhone whilst using this best controller for iPhone. The only issue we have is that it feels a little light, which means clipping an iPhone on the controller will result in the setup being a little top-heavy.
Foldable for easy storage
Not a dedicated controller
PowerA is a synonymous peripheral brand for console gamers, providing budget controllers and other accessories with unique brand collaborations (That wireless Gamecube controller though). Their MOGA Xbox controller clip isn’t the best controller for iPhone, but it offers a great way to use one of the best controllers mankind has ever invented.
Also being compatible with Xbox Series X/S, it features dual articulation points to keep that perfect viewing angle locked in. Whilst it’s compatible with all iPhone models, it will also fit in most Android handsets too. Make sure to check measurements if you happen to own a giant handset.
This best controller clip for iPhone doesn’t only turn an Xbox controller into a mobile controller, it’s a perfect fit. There’s no rattle or movement when it comes to practice using this thing. It’s also the best solution for serious Xbox fans taking their game library or GamePass subscription on the go.
Adjustable clip design
Similar to the Kishi at a lower price
Not the most responsive controller for hardcore users
Another clamp design that extends to match your iPhone size, PowerA has attempted to emulate a Nintendo Switch controller layout scheme with questionable results. Yes, it’s a more reasonably priced clamp controller when compared to the Razer Kishi, but users will be sacrificing quality.
The buttons, thumbsticks, and triggers lack that premium feel, especially for players used to PlayStation and Xbox controllers. This is a great product for a younger gamer or casual mobile game enthusiast because anything is better than touch controls, right?
It has a half-decent battery, a familiar setup to Nintendo Switch, and gives users a nice-looking controller solution that shrinks down and stores nicely in a backpack and handbag when not in use. It’s not the best, but if you’re not looking for the best then there are no issues with the best controller for iPhone, GameSir X2.
160-degree viewing angle
Not compatible with PS5 controllers
Yep, we know, this isn’t the best controller for iPhone. However, the chances are you’ll have a PS4 controller knocking around, know someone who does, or can pick one up for cheap. The PlayStation 4 controller is a highly recommended and compatible Bluetooth-capable controller used by mobile and PC gamers (when it’s not doing its proper job).
Its grip is custom made for PlayStation 4 controllers, meaning you’ll get a snug fit that doesn’t wobble about or become a hindrance rather than a benefit. Providing your iPhone is below 3.4” in width, this clip should do the job.
The best thing about this clip is the viewing angle. 160 Degrees of leverage allows for users to find just the right viewing angle, there’s also a metal kickstand at the rear of the clip. We’re not sure why you’d want to use this clip with a kickstand as you need to hold it to use it, but it’s nice to know your best controller fr iPhone setup won’t fall over when put down. The only downside here is that it’s not compatible with PS5 dual sense controllers.
See, we really meant that we’ve found the best controller for iPhone for everyone, even those who want to use their existing controller for that next round of Call of Duty mobile. If you haven’t got an existing controller, clamp controllers are a great choice for those who are either just getting into mobile gaming or wish to get a premium bit of kit for future use.
Things To Consider
Do I need to buy a purpose-built controller for my iPhone?
No, a controller capable of Bluetooth connectivity will work with mobile devices.
Are traditional game controllers or clamp controllers better?
It’s down to personal preference. Some people will prefer having an Xbox controller, whilst others will prefer a controller that is built around their iPhones.
We know it’s the most expensive best controller for iPhone, but it’s the best overall controller for what mobile gamers need. We all want a traditional controller experience when we can, but having a mobile phone on a clip above a Series X/S controller isn’t always practical.
Razer Kishi hits a good middle ground between traditional gaming and practical mobile gaming. At the end of the day, mobile gaming is just that. A different beast to stationary console and PC options, mobile gamers want peripherals that make sense. Razer Kishi is a product that ticks all of those boxes.