Disclosure: Some links on this page are monetized by the Skimlinks, Amazon, Rakuten Advertising, and eBay, affiliate programs. All prices are subject to change, and this article only reflects the prices available at time of publication.

Apple rolled out updates for its iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV operating systems this week. And along with all the expected changes, Apple snuck in one update that we hadn’t been expecting: support for using Nintendo’s retro game controllers.

Now you can use a wireless replica of a classic NES, SNES, or N64 game controller with an iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV.

Apple had already added support for Nintendo’s current-gen Joy-Con and Switch Pro controllers. But now you can use some of Nintendo’s retro-style controllers that pair classic designs with modern wireless capabilities.

Nintendo sells the controllers as a way to let Nintendo Switch Online subscribers play classic games on the console using the original controllers those games were made for (or at least the modern equivalent). But if you already have one of those controllers, developer Steve Troughton-Smith has discovered they’ll work with an Apple TV running tvOS 16.1.

MacStories went a step further and confirmed that the controllers work with iPadOS 16.1 as well, and should show up in an iPad’s Bluetooth settings when the controller and tablet are in pairing mode.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,447 other subscribers

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1. I would absolutely love that. I would honestly go out any buy a 4:3 ratio iPad model for that if they announced it.

      1. It’s hard to say, I wonder how many Switch consoles Nintendo thinks are sold on the basis of their Retro game lineup being exclusive to the Switch?

        Maybe Nintendo has an interest in expanding a limited selection of their Retro game lineup to other platforms to draw people into the Switch ecosystem.

        Maybe they’ll release a few select titles on iOS, and the idea would be to draw people to the Switch console for the remaining titles.

        If you’ve already spent money on the retro controller, you’re already somewhat bought-in to their platform.

        OR, maybe Nintendo is thinking about using iOS devices as “companion” devices to play as additional players locally? Like Player 1 uses a Switch, and Player 2 can join on an iPad?

        Or maybe they have no plans at all, and this was all purely Apple’s initiative to add support for these controllers.

      2. Nintendo sucks when it comes to hardware, they’ve been so since 2005. It sort of makes sense if they pivot into a software company, like Activision, Rockstar, or Naughty Dog.

        I could see them making an exclusive deal with Apple and Sony, to release Online-Only Games, which they hold certain privileged rights.

        This could be a win-win situation for all three companies. They each get a peice of the pie, and Nintendo manages to increase their profit margins. Risk factor also increases/decreases, since no dedicated hardware could mean they are more vulnerable BUT a poorly sold hardware means a flop AND losses. So it really boils down to how good their software/games are and the reaction by their audience (top class imho), and it boils down to how good of an arrangement they can come to with those other corporations.