The last several years have been fantastic for mobile gaming. While Candy Crush and Angry Birds were the only mobile games available in the past, the mobile gaming industry has recently seen a boom thanks to the arrival of AAA titles like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and Fortnite.
Even better, you can now play PC and console games on your smartphone thanks to cloud gaming services like Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
All of that is good news, but let’s face it, touchscreen controls can be annoying, particularly in games like Call of Duty where split-second reactions may be the difference between virtual life and death. Third-party controllers are useful in this situation.
While iOS users were previously restricted to (often pricey) MFI controllers, Apple opened up support for ordinary Bluetooth controllers with the introduction of iOS 13. Android users have had access to a variety of Bluetooth controllers for some time.
So, if you’re prepared to advance your mobile gaming, check out our list of the top game controllers for smartphones running iOS and Android right now.
Best controller for iPhone and Android in 2022
1. Overall, Razer Kishi is the best.
The most popular controller is the Razer Kishi, which was created with iOS and Android users in mind. The Kishi may be used with various smartphones as long as they have USB-C or Lightning connection. It effectively transforms your smartphone into a Nintendo Switch by adding controls to the left and right of the screen.
The Kishi’s key selling point is that, unlike other controllers, it connects directly to the phone, eliminating the need to charge the controller while also enhancing reaction times in mobile shooters like Call of Duty Mobile. The difference is obvious.
The controller is well-built overall, with two clickable analog sticks in addition to a full set of triggers, shoulder buttons, AXBY buttons, a D-Pad, and navigation buttons. Even better, a USB-C passthrough connector lets you keep your phone charged during extended gaming sessions.
Additionally, it folds up small when not in use, making it simple to tuck into a jacket pocket for usage on extended train rides. What more could one ask for?
2. Backbone One – The best gaming app for iPhone
As long as you have an iPhone, the Backbone One is the best mobile controller.
The Lightning-connected controller has all the bells and whistles you’d expect, plus it is ergonomically designed for comfort.
There are rear bumpers, analog sticks, face buttons, distinct pause and options buttons, as well as a few extras like a headphone port and a screenshot button. It’s a unique feature that enables voice chat in compatible games to sound better by connecting your wired gaming headset to the Backbone One.
Although the hardware is first-rate, the Backbone One offers much more than simply hardware.
You may access the Backbone app by pressing the controller’s blazing orange button. Without a designated Game folder on the iOS home screen, the stylish, well-polished app seems to be your gaming center, providing easy access to your favorite mobile games.
You may play and talk with other Backbone One users using its social features, and you’ll even get notifications when friends start playing so you can join them.
You can stream some of the top AAA games on your iPhone with complete access to all game features and functionality thanks to the controller’s full compatibility with cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, which even includes a free trial in the package.
The combination of hardware and software support is significantly more comprehensive than that of the competitors, providing iPhone users with an unmatched mobile gaming experience. If there was an Android counterpart, it would be our #1 choice overall, but that isn’t currently in the works.
3. The best controller for cooling is the GameSir X3 Type-C.
GameSir typically produces affordable mobile controller attachments, but their new GameSir X3 Type-C controller is a whole other animal, featuring not only a customizable controller but also remarkable built-in cooling.
Even those who have gaming phones with specific cooling systems often experience overheating during extended gameplay sessions, which generally results in a hot spot on the back of the phone as well as performance and battery degradation.
By literally mounting a fan-powered cooling system to the back of your smartphone, the GameSir X3 Type-C seeks to address that issue. The multi-part system, which keeps your smartphone cool and lowers the temperature by up to an amazing 24 degrees Celcius in only a few minutes, includes a cold copper plate, a Peltier cooling module, a heatsink, and a seven-blade fan.
The fans may be moved to better fit your smartphone if necessary. The RGB lights on the fans contribute to the gaming aesthetic. The only drawback? The fan lacks a built-in battery and requires continual USB-C power to function, so if you want to use it while traveling, you’ll need to purchase a power bank.
Of course, the X3 Type-C is more than just a cooler; it’s also an excellent mobile controller. There is zero latency when connecting to your phone through its USB-C connector. The controller works well with all gamepad-ready Android games, including cloud streaming applications from companies like Nvidia and Xbox.
It is also quite customizable. There are two sets of thumbstick caps and D-Pads included in the package, and the buttons are magnetic, letting you swap between an Xbox- and a Nintendo-style configuration. The controller and all of its attachments are kept together in a lovely hard shell travel case.
It works with a variety of smartphones as long as they have a USB-C connection and vary in size from 110 to 179mm.
4. The best complete controller is the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller.
The Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller combines a regular controller’s design with a wired connection’s responsiveness to provide the best of both worlds. The controller draws its power from the smartphone, eliminating the need to charge it rapidly, and reaction times are swift as well. It is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, and both Lightning and USB-C types are available.
By having a unique smartphone mount, it goes above and beyond regular console controllers. You can connect your device to the top of the controller in landscape mode and at an adjustable viewing angle.
The principles of a solid smartphone controller are there, even though it is not the most ergonomically designed controller we have seen. It is also far less expensive than some of the competitors.
5. GameSir X2 – A substitute with a Switch theme
The GameSir X2 provides a similar design to the new GameSir X3 Type-C, but without cooling capabilities. Unlike the high-end model, it also comes in USB-C and Lightning versions for Android devices, as well as a Bluetooth version for the best of both worlds.
It has the same red and blue colors underneath the analog sticks as the most common Joy-Con combo, giving it a Switch-like aesthetic, although that is tolerable in comparison to how it mimics Nintendo’s Y-X, B-A button arrangement. You’ll find yourself fighting against muscle memory while browsing menus, particularly during fast-paced games, since the majority of mobile games, if not all of them, are built on the regular Xbox layout.
There are several positive aspects to the X2 if you can get past its peculiar button arrangements, such as the USB-C port’s ability to spin up to 51 degrees, which makes it much simpler to insert your phone, and the addition of a dedicated screenshot button. Additionally, it has a generally attractive design and is far less expensive than its higher-end sister.
6. Nacon MG-X, an authorized Android Xbox controller
Another Switch-inspired mobile controller, the Nacon MG-X is an approved Xbox attachment that was created with Game Pass Ultimate cloud streaming in mind, so you can trust that it will work.
The controls are designed after an Xbox pad, as you would assume, and include asymmetric clickable joysticks, ABXY face buttons, a D-pad, and four shoulder buttons (though the triggers are a little mushy – my only real complaint about the pad). The identical “menu” and “view” buttons seen on the official controllers are also included, along with an Xbox-branded power button.
Up to 20 hours of battery life are claimed, and when you do need to recharge it, USB-C is the preferred method.
This utilizes Bluetooth 4.2 to connect to phones instead of some comparable competitors, which results in a little bit more input latency, but that’s less significant if you’ll be using it mostly for cloud gaming anyhow. Additionally, it makes the pad more versatile since it now works with any Android phone, however, iOS is not supported.
In that regard, Nacon only specifies compatibility for displays up to 6.7in, although I was able to use it comfortably with the Xiaomi Mi 11’s 6.81in the display, suggesting that the company’s size predictions may have a little room for error. The controller may also serve as a Bluetooth pad for a tablet, PC, or even a real Xbox because of the sticky, textured back that firmly grips devices. When there is no phone inserted, the controller is tiny enough to be portable yet still pleasant to use on its own.
7. Sony DualSense – Excellent for PlayStation 5 gamers
One of the PS5’s key selling features is undoubtedly Sony’s DualSense controller, and it becomes even better since it works with both iOS and Android devices. Aside from looking better, the new DualShock 4 also feels more comfortable in the hand, and the textured grips are a significant feature. Overall, it is an upgrade over the previous DualShock 4.
But the adjustable triggers and haptic technology steal the show. Advanced haptic feedback from the former may simulate rains or footsteps on metal floors for more immersion in games, whilst the resistance of the triggers can change based on what you’re doing. Although it may take some time until these capabilities are added to mobile apps, if you already own a PS5, they are well worth considering as they enable remote play of PS5 games.
The earlier DualShock 4 controller from Sony is also completely compatible with iOS and Android smartphones if you don’t have a DualSense controller.
8. An excellent wireless controller is the Xbox Wireless controller.
Microsoft’s Xbox wireless controller, which competes with Sony’s DualSense controller, is now compatible with iOS and Android smartphones.
The updated controller offers a slightly refreshed look compared to the older Xbox One controller, though it doesn’t quite have the major redesign that Sony’s option offers. The main noticeable difference is the addition of textured patterns in more areas, including the triggers themselves, for improved grip. Additionally, the concave D-Pad has been updated to better match the new Elite controller cosmetically.
The upgraded controller has Bluetooth LE for a low-power connection, which is significant for smartphone users since it should result in longer battery life than the Xbox One controller’s predecessor.
If you happen to have an old Xbox One controller lying around, it is also perfectly compatible with cellphones.