How to use a PlayStation 3 Sixaxis controller with your Android smartphone or tablet

How to use a PlayStation 3 Sixaxis controller with your Android smartphone or tablet
Raise your hand if you have ever been frustrated with a smartphone or a tablet game and its on-screen game controls. All hands up? Good. We are pleased to inform you that there is a way of waving those on-screen buttons goodbye, and it does not involve purchasing an aging Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY. In fact, you won't have to purchase anything other than an Android application,... as long as you have a genuine PlayStation 3 controller lying around.

As you can already guess, this how-to guide is about making the PlayStation 3's wireless Sixaxis gamepad work with your Android device. The magic happens over Bluetooth, and the communication is handled by an app called Sixaxis Controller. Do we have your attention already? Then here is what you need to know before proceeding further:

You need a rooted Android device

Yes. That is so due to the way the controller talks with your smartphone or tablet. Unless access to the necessary protocols is allowed, the app won't work. Also, there is no guarantee that your device will be supported. Many HTC handsets and some newer Samsung devices are known to be incompatible. If you have Cyanogenmod installed, however, the likelihood of making this hack work is higher as the custom ROM supports the required protocols.

Are you still with us? Okay, then get Sixaxis Compatibility Checker from the Google Play store. This application will tell you whether your Android smartphone or tablet is compatible with the app. After all, you don't want to spend $1.99 on an app that does not work, right? If you get a positive response, you can now move on to the next step, which is to...

Pair the controller with your smartphone or tablet

To do this, you need to download and install the SixaxisPairTool application. Mac and Linux users, alternatives to this app are available at that link as well. While the app is downloading, switch on the Bluetooth radio on your Android device, if you have not done that already. Go to Settings>About Phone>Status and find the line that says "Bluetooth address". A number that looks like this - 1A:2B:3C:4D:5E:6F, should be displayed, and if it is not, make sure your Bluetooth radio is really switched on. That alphanumerical code is the MAC address of your Android device's Bluetooth radio. Write it down.

Now that the SixaxisPairTool application is installed on your computer, open it up. You should get a window that says "Current Master: Searching...". Now go ahead and connect the controller to the PC using its miniUSB cable. Once plugged in, the application will display the MAC address of the device, which the controller is currently paired with. Enter your Android device's Bluetooth MAC address, the one you just wrote down, and click the Update button. The "Current Master" should now match the MAC address of your smartphone or tablet.

You can now disconnect the miniUSB cable and press the power button on the controller. If a single line remains on, then pairing has been successful. Now when you open the Compatibility Checker app, you should see a response each time you press a button on the controller. If you want to use the controller with your PS3 again, hook it up to a PS3 USB port using the miniUSB cable.

Download Sixaxis Controller and have fun!

You can download the Sixaxis Controller app from the Google Play store for $1.99. When you open it, you have to tap the "Change input method" button and select "Sixaxis Controller". That should do it! The controller will now work in almost any game that lets you define your own keys, such as console emulators. Have fun, and if you manage to pull this trick off, let us know by dropping a comment below!

This how-to guide is based on instructions available at the Dancing Pixel Studios web page. Action shot photo courtesy of Imgur.



1. Hammerfest

Posts: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012

This has been posted elsewhere ever since before the Sixaxis Controller app went live... That being said, I went on Craigslist and paid $20 for a PS3 Controller so I can play my games with it back when the app was "officially" released (I have always loved the PS controllers, especially over the fat XBOX remotes... bleh...) Great tidbit however, GTA3 is nothing without a mouse and keyboard or the PS3 controller! On a side note, yes, I bought a PS3 controller off craigslist just for gaming on my Android device's. No I will not buy a PS3, when I had the money to, the new revision they had out did not have PS1 OR PS2 FULL Compatibility, my Cash, my choice, I stand firm in my decision unlike others who whine bitch complain moan and groan but go out and gobble up whatever they are fed like good little piggy's.

3. fraydoe

Posts: 57; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

someone's mad lol, if u really have that many ps1 and ps2 games why not just go to gamestop and buy a used one for like 40.00? and on top of that if u have that many games ur obviously a sony fan, go buy a ps3. lol

4. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

Every PS3 can play PS1 games, I haven't heard of any PS3 not being able to play a certain ps1 game. I have the original 60gb PS3, sorry you missed out but if your only reason you won't buy a PS3 because it doesn't play PS2 games then you should just hang yourself. PS2 systems are dirt cheap online if you want to buy one, also Sony just purchased a big cloud company so they will be bringing their whole PS1/2 catalog to Ps3.

5. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Ps3 does not play ps2 or ps1 games unless you buy a downloaded version from the ps store... Only the original 60gb ps3 was backward compatible

7. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Unless you *cough* jailbreak your Ps3 *cough*

10. gk100

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Any PS3 will play PS1 games, buy only the original 20 and 60 GB versions played PS2 games.

12. crankyd00d

Posts: 191; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Also the 80G Metal Gear bundle PS3...that was the last backwards compatible PS3 released

14. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

My brother has a slim PS3 and I JUST let him hold Resident Evil directors cut. He's been playing non stop so sounds like your facts are a lil off.

2. fraydoe

Posts: 57; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

this has actually been out for a while, only really works for emulators

6. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

Why would anyone make up that excuse, its doesn't plays ps1 or ps2 games, not to buy a ps3. It really stupid like saying I won't buy a 3d blue-ray player because it won't play my VHS cassettes. Ps1 and ps2 are history its time to move on.

8. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

This is awesome for playing my favorite old Psone games :) Spyro.. Here I come!

9. zheking

Posts: 28; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I have an Xbox

11. fraydoe

Posts: 57; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

get outta here! lol jp

15. shotine

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

I have had this set up on my thunderblolt running cm7 and on my transformer prime for well over 6 months now. LOVE IT, just wish more games were set up to use it.

16. sherifm118

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

does it need otg support ???

17. sherifm118

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

does it work with alcatel ot-997d???

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