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How to connect PS3 controller on Mac OSX, PC

How to connect PS3 controller on Mac OSX, PC, etc.

This is how you connect PS3 controller to Mac OSX, PC, etc. when previously connected to a PS3. You will need a Mini USB cable. Overcome your laziness, get up of your chair, and go get one!

A big misconception is that keep holding PS button will reset the controller's pairing. It DOES NOT! From my testings, the controller keeps paring with the last machine it was CONNECTED VIA A USB CABLE.

Here are the steps:

  1. Turn OFF your PS3 controller by either...
  • (on PS3) hold PS button -> Turn off Controller, OR
  • (on Mac) open Apple menu System Preferences -> Bluetooth -> Click X button on the device list, OR
  • (on the controller itself) insert paperclip into pinhole near L2 button.
  1. Use a USB cable, connect the controller to your new machine you want.
  2. Wait just a second until the red light on the controller flashes, unplug the USB cable. Now the controller's setting is reset.
  3. On your computer, go to System Preferences (OS X) or Control Panel (PC)
  4. Open Bluetooth settings page. Start Scanning.
  5. Turn ON the controller by pressing the PS button. Wait a few seconds.
  6. If it asks for Access Code, enter 0000.
  7. Now connected! (yey)

Tested on:

  • PS3 Console
  • MacBook Pro (Early 2011) with OS X Mavericks (10.9)


  • If you have Steam opened, hitting PS button will switch Steam into full screen mode. Pretty sleek.

Any one had any luck connecting a non Playstation branded PS3 controller via Bluetooth to a macbook Pro with Mavericks OS on it? More specifically a Spartan brand bluetooth PS3 controller, as many others have said on other sites i can get it to appear in the Bt list and asks for a passcode then it just disconnects. If any one has any info on any tutorials that are Not the standard Sony Brand PS3 controller with Mac tutorials. Many thanks in advance if anyone has any ideas or hints on this.


hlung commented Jul 20, 2014

@eddiiepower Have you double checked you did exactly the same as the instruction I described? I believe it should just work the same with non Playstation branded controllers. Can't think of why they would require different procedures imho :/

rstudner commented Nov 4, 2014

I've actually tried this (and other procedures) with 2 different ps3 controllers and neither of them pair. One of them causes the popup (to enter 0000) the other does not.


I found a way to connect it to a PC even with bluetooth

bkbooth commented Dec 18, 2014

Does this still work for you on Yosemite (10.10)? My PS3 Controller worked fine as you've described above on Mavericks, but on Yosemite I can only get it to work when I keep the USB cable connected.


hlung commented Apr 8, 2015

@bkbooth no idea, have you found a way to fix it yet?

Unfortunately this doesn't work for me on 10.10.3.

The controller does connect but the expected access dialog box never comes up.

No joy for me either on 10.10.3. The controller shows in the Bluetooth menu bar dropdown, it's bolded and has a child menu with one option: "Disconnect". That would lead one to think it's paired, but it's not. It's not discoverable through the Bluetooth Settings panel. :/

On 10.10.3, I see the same thing as the last 2 comments, but the controller works perfectly. After step 3, I turn the controller on. No need to manually scan, as the device is already paired. There is no prompt to connect. No access code. The controller works right away in Steam.

Thanks for this gist!

10.10.3 here... Its show as connected in menu bar, but controller red lights never stop to flash and the controller doesn't work.


hlung commented May 20, 2015

Seems like it fails to work since OS X 10.10.3 somehow. I didn't have time to look into it yet (sorry).
If anyone has a solution please share and I'll edit my post!

johnmap commented May 20, 2015

I have the same experience as john-kurkowski - after following these exact instructions the controller is paired automatically with no codes. Doesn't even appear in the Bluetooth list but works in games. (OS X Yosemite 10.10.3)

No luck with me on 10.10.3 either. It never gets detected.

Confirmed that the PS3 controller works both wirelessly via BT (bluetooth) and wired. As reported above for 10.10.3:

  • you will not see the PS3 controller listed in the bluetooth preferences (and so can't pair)
  • pairing with the USB cable & reset method will pair the controller (without pair code 0000)
  • the controller will show as connected from BT menu drop-down as PLAYSTATION(R)3 Controller
  • the lights will continue to blink quickly for as long as the controller is ON and connected via BT
  • it's possible to be connected via bluetooth and wired, resulting in odd behavior (disconnect via BT menu dropdown)
  • to connect the PS3 controller to BT (while not plugged in), just hold power button until it starts blinking quickly (and confirm connectivity via BT menu drop-down).

Follow all the steps, the control is paired in Yosemite. When connected by cable, appears on OpenEmu but no buttons respond. When using Bluetooth, even if connected to the drop-down menu it does not even appear in OpenEmu. Someone went through it and managed to solve?

I can't get this to work with multiple controllers. Has anyone succeeded with that?

Just trying this now on 10.10.5 - the controller won't pick up in the BT control panel - however it will be detected as a BT LE device and so will appear in your BT menu in the OSX menu bar.

Unplug from USB, hit the PS button and it will flash rapidly. At this point make sure you see "PLAYSTATION CONTROLLER" in your BT menu which you'll need to hit "disconnect" if you want to turn it off.

Enjoy using your controller.

These instructions work well for me on 10.11.3.

For folks wondering about how to get the red lights to stop blinking/flashing once the controller is connected, I stumbled upon a quick workaround:

I'm using the controller to play games via OpenEmu. When that app closes, for some reason it stops the lights from blinking. So now whenever I pair the controller, I just open and then close OpenEmu and the blinking lights go away. :)

For this to work, the controller must be powered on and connected (via bluetooth to your Mac) before you open OpenEmu, and the controller must have been previously configured to be used in OpenEmu's control options.

frankandrobot commented Nov 3, 2016

Gents there seems to be a workaround: OpenEmu/OpenEmu#1041
I'm currently waiting for Xcode to download on my El Capitan 10.11.6 and generic ps3 controller.
Will report back if this technique works or not.

Update: Happy to report that that post got it working for me!

  1. Run the script
  2. Before turning BlueTooth back on, I deleted the ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.Bluetooth.BIGOLEGUID.plist file (this is apparently new to El Capitan).
  3. Did the "defaults read /Library/Preferences/" command.
  4. Rebooted entirely.
  5. Then turned on Bluetooth.
  6. Then clicked the P3 button.

I seem to be able to use the PS3 controller wired without needing to do anything on OSx Sierra 10.12.1

Howdy folks. Works right off the bat in Sierra 10.12.1:

  1. Reset controller - (on the controller itself) insert paper clip into pinhole near L2 button.
  2. Use controller USB cable and connect to your Mac.
  3. Turn ON the controller by pressing the PS button. *Controller lights will fast blink
  4. Open Bluetooth preferences on Mac, controller should automatically pair (no msg to enter pair PIN code)
    • controller will be listed under devices as:

screen shot 2016-12-15 at 4 55 41 pm

  1. Controller works with or w/out USB cable. *Lights on controller will constantly fast blink (wired or unwired) while connected to Mac and during game play.

Echoing multiple controller problems, for some strange reason I'm able to have 4 paired in the Bluetooth list but only 2 of them connected at one time. At one point I swear I had 3 connected but I think it was a fluke.

mookeljackson commented Dec 29, 2016

Hey yo. Just thought I'd pop this in here, because I had a lot of trouble with this, but it is now solved. Was originally running a PS3 controller w/ Yosemite, and the issue was a complete lack of connection between the Mac and the controller. Initially thought it was an issue w/ Yosemite not supporting it, so I deleted the directory /Library/Preferences/ - reset SMC/PRAM, everything. Even updated to Sierra. No joy. However, the original control I bought was not an authentic Sony Control, which came with a USB cord, and it was only when I swapped that cord on a whim, is that it worked in but a second. Might be unique to my situation, but I tried everything else. May help. x

InPen commented Mar 17, 2017

Hi everyone,

I was successful syncing my PS3 remote to my mac via Bluetooth and I also configured the buttons in Dolphin but my controller is still not functional :/ am I missing a ps3 software installation or something?

screen shot 2017-03-17 at 1 38 09 pm
screen shot 2017-03-17 at 1 53 42 pm

asahui commented Mar 20, 2017

Hi, everyone

It looks like nobody talks about rumble issue. I can get my PS3 controller used in Sierra 10.12.3 (even though the light flash constantly), but I could not get the rumble working or even have it tested. I tried games on steam that support rumble both on Windows and MacOSX, and it worked on Windows but not MacOSX. Is it a problem just in Sierra?

selimanac commented Jan 15, 2018

not working on High Sierra :( v10.13.2. It is connected easily but no data flow.

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