How to connect a PS controller to your Mac

Apple has been going big on gaming for a while, but the launch of Apple Arcade signaled that its focus on games is here to stay. It’s perhaps surprising, then, that Apple doesn’t make its own controller. Thankfully, it does support connecting great third-party controllers to your Mac like the PlayStation 4 DualShock and PS5 DualSense. Here’s how to connect the controller to your Mac.

Unpair the controller from your console

Before you connect your controller to your Mac, you’ll need to unpair it from your console.

For PlayStation 4:

  1. Switch on your PlayStation 4.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Choose Bluetooth Devices.
  4. Click on DualShock 4 and choose Disconnect.

For PS5:

  1. Switch on your PS5.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Choose Accessories > Bluetooth Accessories.
  4. Click on DualSense and choose Disconnect.

Your controller is now ready to be used with your Mac.


When my Mac gets overloaded with apps and their by-products, I run CleanMyMac X. This is a tool developed by MacPaw that has recently been notarized by Apple. It shaves off extra baggage from your Mac so you can game faster.

All you need to do is run the Optimization tool in CleanMyMac X. 

(link to the free version of the app)

The Optimization module allows you to quickly and easily remove Login Items and Heavy Memory Consumers to give your Mac a speed boost.

How to connect your PS controller to your Mac via Bluetooth

The steps below work for both PlayStation 4 DualShock and PS5 DualSense.

  1. Press and hold the PlayStation button and the Share button on the controller until it starts flashing. It’s now in pairing mode.
  2. In the Finder on your Mac, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
  3. Click on the Bluetooth pane.
  4. When you see the name ‘wireless controller’ in the list of devices, click Connect next to it. Sometimes, this step may be omitted, and the controller will connect automatically. 
  5. The PS controller is now connected to your Mac.

How to connect a PS controller to your Mac using USB

You’ll need a micro USB to USB-A cable, as well as a Mac that has a USB-A port, to connect PlayStation 4 DualShock. For a PS5 DualSense, you’ll need a USB-C to USB-C cable and a Mac with a USB-C Port. However, if your Mac doesn’t have these ports, you may as well connect a controller using USB adapters. 

  1. Plug one end of the USB cable into the PS controller.
  2. Plug the other end into a USB port on your Mac.
  3. Press the PS button in the center of the controller to turn it on.
  4. Click on the Apple menu and choose About This Mac and navigate to System Report.
  5. Select USB in the left-hand column.
  6. If you see your controller listed in the main window, it’s successfully connected and ready for use.

Optimize your Mac for gaming

The whole point of connecting a PS controller to your Mac is to allow you to play games. But depending on which ones you play, games can chew up a ton of system resources, which means you’d better make sure your Mac is running as fast as it possibly can.

To speed up your Mac with CleanMyMac X, follow these steps:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X.
  2. Choose the Optimization module in the sidebar.
  3. Press View All Items.
  4. Click on each section in the middle window to see the available options.
  5. Check the box next to any of the options you want to run.
  6. Press Perform.
CleanMyMac X - heavy consumers

To give your Mac an extra tune-up, check out the System Junk tab. It optimizes your Mac by getting rid of temporary files that can slow it down, ditching unnecessary application files and resolving problems with broken installations.

Here’s how to speed up your Mac with CleanMyMac X:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X from your Applications folder.
  2. Click on System Junk in the sidebar and press Scan.
  3. When it’s finished, press Clean or, if you want to see more details, click Review Details.
  4. Deselect any items you don’t want to remove by clicking the checkmark next to them.
  5. Press Clean.

Mac is becoming a very good option for playing games with the launch of Apple Arcade and the increasing number of great games in the App Store. Support for third-party controllers, such as PlayStation 4 DualShock and PS5 DualSense, makes playing those games even more fun. Before you follow the steps above to connect it, however, it’s worth giving your Mac a tune-up using CleanMyMac X to make sure it’s running at its optimum performance.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.