Making PS3 Controller Work on OSX Yosemite

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Spent an hour grappling with this last night. Here’s how to get the PS3 controller working on Yosemite.

Pair the PS3 controller with your mac:

It seems Yosemite’s bluetooth device list is a little buggy and devices can show in the top bar bluetooth drop down but not in the system configuration bluetooth page for some devices. The PS3 controller is one of these devices.

After a while digging around the net I found some working instructions thanks to user DillingerEscapeHam on Reddit:

  • Plug PS3 controller into laptop
  • See Bluetooth device in status bar menu (though just a bt address, not named “Playstation Controller”)
  • Click to Connect device in status bar menu
  • Open System Preferences
  • No device listed
  • Unplug controller
  • Attempt to turn controller on without cable (no response, no flashing lights)
  • Controller was now listed correctly as Playstation controller in status bar menu and was listed as Connected
  • Disconnect controller via menu.
  • Unplug and start controller with PS button. It connects correctly.

After you get the controller paired you’ll need either a game that supports the controller or an app like Joystick Mapper (paid) or Enjoy2 (free) which allows binding of keyboard keys or mouse buttons/swipes to controller events. I recommend forking out the $6 for Joystick Mapper, as I’ve had issues with sensitivity on Enjoy2.

That should be all there is to it. I’m currently playing Hearthstone with a PS3 controller on Yosemite just fine!

  • digorydoo

    awesome, thanks! you saved my day!

  • sgt1108

    everything worked fine except the end when I pushed the PS button. It connected but the controller still blinks all four

    • flynsarmy

      Yep, this is a known issue. The controller itself will work though. Just ignore the blinking. There doesn’t seem to be anything that can be done about it.

      • jr

        did u resolve it ?

        • flynsarmy

          There’s no way as far as I’m aware to resolve the blinking. The controller works as expected though. Just ignore the lights.

  • fernando

    Hey, it doesn’t make sense, unplug is written twice but i have to plug it only once. It is not working for me 🙁

    • Anjospot

      Yes, it doesn’t make sense but I did it twice and it works strangely fine to me. I am playing PS3 controller wireless. 🙂 And I am using Yosemite 10.10.3

  • Jack Taranto

    I’m afriad the turotial above doesn’t do much at all. I’m on 10.10.2 and it looks like Apple (accidentally or on purpose?) removed support for bluetooth pairing for the PS3 controller from it’s IOBluetoothHIDDriver.kext. There are a bunch of system logs which point to this when the controller is trying to connect to Yosemite.

    • Shoone

      Not working for mine either. Sometimes drivers are not installed in updates, per Apple Support rep.

  • Tom

    Worked fine! Tnx

  • Funnily enough, I connected fine but the controller still doesn’t show up in settings! 😛
    Thanks for the tut 😉

  • stormclad

    thank you

  • James Wills

    My PS3 controllers show in my bluetooth icon dropdown in the top right hand corner however when i go into my blue tooth via system preferences it doesn’t show – even if i plug the controllers in they show in sixtyforce but dont actually work….

    • Is it a genuine PS3 controller? I had this problem before with a third party controller.

      • James Wills

        Im beginning to get the feeling it’s not – I asked the seller on ebay this and they their response was ‘your welcome to return it’ – will test with a genuine today – thanks for that!

  • Jose martinez

    I have done all of this and it worked the first time, but when trying to connect a different controller I thought it would be a good idea to press the reset button again on the controller. Now the controller would say its connected on my laptop but the controller would stop flashing.