While most PC games are played using a keyboard and mouse, there are certain genres like racing, fighting, sports, split screen, etc. that are better enjoyed with a gaming controller. But if you don’t have one, there’s no need to worry. In this article, we will show you how to use your iPhone or Android phone as a controller for PC gaming.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons of Using Phone as Gaming Controller
Nothing beats the good old controller that you can buy on Amazon. However, if you don’t own one and don’t want to buy a new accessory for that one-off gaming session, using your phone as a gaming controller makes a lot of sense. But there are some pros and cons:
- Your phone can be used as a gamepad, which eliminates the need for purchasing an additional controller.
- Since smartphones are portable, you don’t have to carry around a controller everywhere.
- Using a phone as a controller gives you the option to customize the button layout to your convenience, which is not possible with the gamepad.
- Many people are already accustomed to using touchscreens on their smartphones, so using it as a controller can feel intuitive and familiar.
- Depending on the availability of the app or software, you can use your phone as a controller across multiple platforms, such as Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and Linux.
- Your phone is not designed to function as a game controller. So during extended gaming sessions, you may miss the ergonomic comfort that comes with a dedicated gamepad.
- Lack of the physical buttons may not give you the tactile feeling and precise input that is often seen on a dedicated game controller.
- One of the major cons of using your phone as a controller is battery drainage. If you’re using it for a longer duration, you might not have enough juice left to even perform other essential tasks or make important phone calls.
- Depending on the method of connecting your phone to the PC, there may be latency issues or connectivity limitations that could affect the gaming experience. Wireless connections, in particular, may introduce some delay between the phone and the game.
- You may see latency or connectivity issues while using your phone as a gamepad. This can significantly impact your gaming experience.
- Notifications popping frequently on your phone’s screen may cause distraction and potentially affect your gameplay.
Tip: Learn how to fix slow game download speed on Steam.
How to Use iPhone or Android as Gamepad to Play PC Games
Once the download and installation process is completed, follow the below steps:
1. Open the app on both your phone and computer.
2. Next, make sure both of your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Tip: Learn how to stop iPhone from switching from Wi-Fi to mobile network automatically.
3. Now on your iPhone, tap on the Connect button and select your Windows PC.
As for Android, navigate to the Profile section and hit the Connect button. After that, tap on the Wi-Fi icon and select your PC.
4. Once the connection is established, it will show you the Connected status at the top of the PC Remote app (Desktop).
5. Now, return to your iPhone or Android phone and navigate to the Layouts tab. In this section, select the gamepad layout based on the game you’re planning to play.
If you didn’t find the layout for the game you’re playing, you can opt for the Xbox 360 controller layout instead, as it is compatible with a majority of gaming titles. Personally, we used the Xbox 360 controller layout to play games since we are familiar with its layout and button configuration.
If you’re an Android user, you also get the option to customize the layout to your liking.
6. That’s it. Now you can start playing games on your PC by using your phone as a gamepad.
In case you didn’t notice, there are additional ways to connect your phone to your PC. However, it’s important to note that this option is exclusively available to Android users.
Connect Using a USB Cable
If you’re having trouble connecting with the Wi-Fi method or facing the latency issue, you can try this method:
1. Navigate to the Connectivity settings page and tap on the USB icon.
2. Now go to the tethering page and enable the USB tethering option.
That’s it. Both your devices will be successfully connected.
Connect Using Bluetooth
Another way to set up your Android device is via Bluetooth mode. Here’s how to do it:
1. Turn on the Bluetooth on both your phone and PC.
2. After that, go to the Connectivity page and tap on the Bluetooth icon. Afterward, it will display a list of nearby Bluetooth devices.
3. Simply tap on the name of your PC, and you’re all set to use your Android phone as a controller.
Tip: Here’s a list of the best Bluetooth multiplayer games for Android.
Connect Using QR Code
If none of the methods are working, you can try connecting using the QR code.
1. Launch the PC Remote app on your computer and click on the Generate QR Code button.
2. Once the QR code is generated, head over to your Android device and tap on the Connect button.
3. Now select the Connect to PC option and point your phone camera toward the QR code.
That’s all there is to it. You can now easily use your phone as a controller for playing PC games.
Quick Note: Both your phone and PC need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi connection in order to work.
Limitations of the PC Remote App
- You can’t use two phones as a controller on the same PC to play games.
- Sometimes joystick movement may freeze while playing games.
- You may have to occasionally deal with fullscreen video ads.
Other Alternatives to PC Remote App
It’s not like PC Remote is the only app that is capable of transforming your phone into a gaming controller. On the internet, you will find many other apps that claim to offer similar functionality and features. We tried all of them and during our research, we didn’t find any of them that effective or functional.
However, if you’re not into gaming and just want to control your PC from your smartphone, there is an app called Unified Remote. It is available for Android, iOS, and Windows platforms and offers a vast collection of features, including a music controller, keyboard and mouse, file manager, remote screen viewer, and more.
Phone as PC Controller
Now, transform your phone into a fully functional controller and immerse yourself in a whole new gaming experience. You no longer need to worry about the availability of the dedicated gamepad. Simply install the app on both devices, and you’re ready to dive right in.