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How to use the PS4 controller on a PC

How to use the PS4 controller on a PC

If you are a fan of games, in this article you will find out how to connect and use the PS4 controller on a PC. Many players have made the transition from the console to the PC, but converts can only use a keyboard or mouse to play, and it is not very convenient especially for those who have used controllers for years.

Can the DualShock 4 controller be used to play on PC?

Of course, but it’s not as simple as you imagine. After seeing this guide on how to use the PS4 controller to play on iPhone and iPad, now we discover how to use it also with the PC.

More and more people are switching from the console to the PC, simply because a powerful gaming PC is able to produce better graphics and frame rates that can exceed both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – a high-end gaming PC can also outperform the PS4 Pro.

At this point the question is a must: can we use the DualShock 4 controller to play on PC?

Technically yes, but it’s not as simple as we’d like to hope for. Let’s see how to do it.

How to use DualShock 4 controller on PC: Is it PC compatible? And with the Mac?

Sony had announced that the DualShock 4 controller would be compatible with Windows. This meant that players would not have to buy extra accessories, and had given them the freedom to switch between the two platforms, Windows and Mac, or so they thought. Unfortunately, it’s not really the plug-and-play solution we had thought of and using a DualShock 4 controller on a PC requires some work to set it up if the game does not specifically support DualShock 4.

DualShock 4 controller

And what about the Mac? Can the DualShock 4 controller be used to play on Mac? Technically yes, you can connect the DualShock 4 controller to the Mac, either via USB or Bluetooth and the Mac will recognize it as a gamepad, but it gets a little more complex from that point on.

You see, Windows has the advantage of having the integrated XInput API in its operating system, which is what makes the Xbox controller compatible with Windows. It’s what programmers use to run the PS4 controller on Windows, but the same can not be said for the Mac. So while the DualShock 4 will be recognized as a gamepad, it will be much more difficult to find games that have support for the controller and it can take a long time to set it before it works properly.

How to use DualShock 4 controllers on PC: compatible games and use of DualShock 4 with Steam

While normal games have enjoyed the support of DualShock 4 over the past few years, 2016 has marked a turning point. For the first time, leading developers have begun to add full support to this controller, making it much easier to use the PS4 controller on a PC.

The likes of No Man’s Sky, Watch Dogs 2, NBA 2K17 and Dark Souls III all got plug-and-play support with the DualShock 4, connected wirelessly or using the controller via Bluetooth. These games have also included the DualShock 4 overlay button, so that to get instructions in the game, the user must click the “X” button instead of “A”, like on an Xbox pad.

Not all games offer support for using the PS4 controller on PC, but more and more titles are supported, including Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands in 2017. If you’re not sure if a game supports DualShock 4, visit this list held by PC Gaming Wiki fans where you find compatibility with various operating systems.

In 2016, Steam also added DualShock 4 support, so you can now use it to navigate the Steam menu in Big Picture mode – even on a Steam link. But be careful: just because you can use the PS4 controller with Steam, this does not mean you can use it with all the games. Most games still do not work without extra settings, but fortunately, there is a way to use the DualShock 4 with almost all PC games.

How to use the PS4 controller on a PC: how to install InputMapper

As mentioned above, even if the DualShock 4 has compatibility with Windows, developers must add a specific support, otherwise, it will not work. Fortunately, there is an application available that will map the DualShock 4 controller directly into the Microsoft XInput API. The end result is that the games will be “tricked” thinking of using an Xbox 360 controller, and you’ll be able to play many games using the DualShock 4 controller with all its features.

So, what is the application and how do I use it?

1) Download and install Input Mapper. The first step is to go to the InputMapper website, download the latest version of the tool and install it on your PC.
2) Connect the DualShock 4 controller. Once InputMapper is installed, the next step is to connect the controller to the PC. You can do this via a USB connection or via Bluetooth, but it is worth bearing in mind that a Bluetooth connection is not as stable as wired. However, if you are adamant about connecting via Bluetooth, just hold down the Share button and the PlayStation button on the controller, until the light flashes to enter pairing mode, then pairing on the PC.


3) Open InputMapper and get ready to play. Now that you’ve installed InputMapper and connected it with the DualShock 4 controller, it’s finally time to open the application. When the InputMapper opens, the DualShock 4 controller is recognized and should function identically to an Xbox 360 / One controller (in most cases).

It is worth checking the game first if it has compatibility problems. If the question arises, go to the InputMapper Settings menu and enable the ” Use exclusive mode” option. If you want to customize your gaming experience and remap buttons (and create macros), you can do so via the Profiles menu within the application.

While InputMapper is a lifesaver for those that have the DualShock 4 controller and a PC, keep in mind that it is still a work in progress. First, the InputMapper application must be open whenever you want to play a game. Although it may seem like a hassle, there is an option within the application that lets you start it in reduced mode every time Windows starts. Also, as designed to imitate the Xbox controllers, you’ll probably see the inverted graphics of the A and B buttons instead of X and O during the game.

How to use the PS4 controller on a PC: What is the alternative?

Are there any alternatives to using InputMapper and DualShock 4? The only simple alternative we can suggest is to buy an Xbox 360 / Controller to use for PC games. Microsoft XInput API makes the game with an Xbox 360 / Controller a simple experience, sometimes you forget that you are playing on a PC and not on an Xbox.

Microsoft’s controllers also have a downside – unless you have one of the latest Xbox One S controllers with Bluetooth – you will not be able to connect it to your PC wirelessly. However, you can purchase an Xbox controller with a wireless PC adapter, or you can simply purchase the wireless adapter if you already have a controller. If you still have an Xbox 360 controller, you can also purchase a 360 wireless adapter. I hope you find this guide useful for using the PS4 controller on a PC.

Ankit Bhardwaj is Founder of 'Teknologya'. He has a very deep interest in learning things related to the digital world and love to sharing his knowledge with others through blogs.

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