How Can We Use the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons With Your Mac – And Why You’d Want To

Martin Wilson

Aug 02, 2022

You read it correctly: the small control nubs on either side of the Switch's screen may be used with Mac games since they link over Bluetooth. In our opinion, it's not worth picking up a Switch only to utilize the Joy-Cons on Mac; but for those who play on various platforms, it's an excellent advantage.

The Switch's beefier Pro Controller is also compatible with Mac OS X and Windows PCs. You'll need a Nintendo controller to play Nintendo games on your Mac. What do you need to know, how does it work, and why you should bother. It's not possible to utilize all four Joy-Cons simultaneously on Mac until a software solution is developed to make this possible.

How it Works

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Sam Williams, a software developer, discovered earlier this week that connecting a Switch controller to a Mac was shockingly straightforward. To link the Joy-Cons, just press and hold the little pairing button on the top of each Joy-Con and open Bluetooth options on your Mac. You now have a Mac controller produced by Nintendo.

It's not possible to utilize all four Joy-Cons simultaneously on Mac until a software solution is developed to make this possible. A significant drawback is that each Joy-Con has only one analogue stick, four top face buttons, and two tiny shoulder buttons.

With it held horizontally, you won't be able to use the other shoulder and trigger buttons on either the bottom left or right side. There are several ways to set up the Switch. You can use both Joy-Con pads simultaneously for single-player games, but they can also be utilized independently for multiplayer ones.

For example, in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, two players can go head-to-head, each clutching a single Joy-Con. On the Mac, you get a Joy-Con held horizontally, with a restricted number of input options.

When it comes to games, you'll have to be more selective. Don't bother with first-person shooters if you want to play a 3D game with a single analogue stick. While browsing through my library on Steam, I came upon Pixel Junk Monsters Ultimate, one of my favourite PlayStation games that has been transferred to the Mac.

After using the in-game bindings, I could drop towers and run about efficiently. It was a joy to be there. The same can be said about 140, a creative side-scrolling platformer with an ultra-minimal aesthetic.

True to their word, the Joy-Con controllers are an excellent fit for mimicking old-school gaming experiences. Emulation's legality is debatable; however, if you own the original game, you have a legal right to a backup ROM copy.

Playing Super Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or Super Mario Kart on OpenEmu was a breeze, and I felt like I was a kid again. The Joy-Con worked well with classic 3D games like Super Mario 64, albeit there weren't enough buttons to allow me to control the camera manually.

Why You’d Bother

Emulation has never been a strong personal interest since I always felt like you missed something in the transition—but playing vintage Nintendo games with genuine Nintendo hardware helped bridge the gap.

It was a flawless experience, and They think it'll be one of the main draws for utilizing the Joy-Con controllers on Mac.

If you don't already have a Mac-compatible controller, then the Joy-Con is undoubtedly better than nothing.

And, if you take your Switch, you'll also have not one Mac gamepad on hand, but two—both Joy-Cons may be attached at the same time and used with appropriate games.

I started up Super Mario Kart in OpenEmu and could throw it down in a two-player split-screen utilizing both gamepads. They may not be robust controllers; however, they'll do the work for straightforward two-player enjoyment.

Go Pro

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Nintendo's usage of Bluetooth for Switch controllers necessitates that the Switch Pro Controller also connects quickly to Macs using the same method.

Even though it costs $70, it's nearly hard to get your hands on since it's a huge benefit to playing Zelda on the big screen. In any case, why not use your Switch Pro Controller on a Mac? It works wonderfully with OpenEmu's highly-customizable control schemes, much like the Joy-Con controllers. It also worked great with Pixel Junk Monsters, and once I made a gamepad profile in Steam, I could use it to play Rocket League, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, and Luftrausers.


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