Playing mobile games with a gamepad controller can provide a much better gaming experience compared to using touchscreen controls.
Gamepads allow for more precise control in complex games like racing and action titles.
Fortunately, it’s easy to set up a gamepad to work with your Android phone.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to configure a gamepad controller on an Android device.
Steps to Configure a Gamepad on Android
Follow these steps to connect your gamepad controller to an Android phone and configure it to work properly:
1. Connect the Gamepad to Your Android Phone
The first step is physically connecting your gamepad to your Android phone. Most modern Bluetooth gamepads will pair with Android phones without any issues. Turn on your gamepad and put it into pairing mode, then go into your Android phone’s Bluetooth settings and select your gamepad from the list of available devices.
2. Install a Gamepad Mapper App
Once your gamepad is paired via Bluetooth, you’ll likely need a gamepad mapper app so your phone can properly understand the controller’s inputs. Some good options include Tincore Keymapper, Octopus, and Panda Gamepad Pro.
3. Map the Gamepad Buttons
Open your preferred gamepad mapper app. You’ll need to assign each gamepad button to a touchscreen action within Android. For example, you’ll want to map one button to virtual tap on the screen, another to simulate a swipe gesture, another to go back, etc. Map all relevant buttons to cover basic gameplay control.
4. Calibrate the Analog Sticks
Make sure to properly calibrate your gamepad’s analog sticks within the app as well. This allows precise translation of analog stick movement to in-game actions.
5. Launch a Game and Test!
Once mapping is complete, launch a game and test out your gamepad’s controls! Make any needed tweaks within your mapper app to get the controls working just right.
Pros and Cons of Using a Gamepad on Android
- More precise control in complex games
- Tactile physical buttons
- Improved ergonomics over touchscreen
- Long battery life
- Ability to remap controls
- Can be bulky to carry around
- Need to remap controls separately for each game
- Doesn’t work for games not programmed for controller input
- Extra accessory to charge
Do I need a special gamepad for Android?
Most modern Bluetooth gamepads designed for PC, mobile, or consoles will work great with Android phones. Some good options are the Xbox One S controller, DualShock 4, SteelSeries Stratus Duo, and Razer Kishi. Just look for ‘Android compatible’ when shopping for a controller.
What if my gamepad isn’t connecting?
If your controller won’t pair with your Android phone, try resetting it and putting it into pairing mode again. Also make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone and that no other devices are connected. You may need to disconnect other Bluetooth accessories.
Do I need to map the gamepad for every game?
Unfortunately yes, since games handle controller input differently. The good news is that once mapped, the settings should save for each game. So you only need to map controls once per game, not every time you play.