Use an Xbox 360 Controller on OS X (wired + wireless)

Picture of Use an Xbox 360 Controller on OS X (wired + wireless)
I picked up Borderlands 2 for OS X in the recent Steam sale because friends of mine would NOT shut up about the game. So I fired it up only to find out that I needed to use a keyboard (lots of keys) + a mouse (carpal tunnel = no) to play. That sucks. I was hoping that I could use a borrowed Xbox 360 controller to play through, but Aspyr doesn't support that. Grr.

So after some research I found a way to use both a wireless Xbox 360 controller as well as a wired third-party Xbox 360 controller. This worked for Borderlands 2 and other games I've tried so far. The cost for this is $5 for the wired controller and $20 for the wireless. Here are the two setups that worked for me.
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Step 1: Wireless Xbox 360 controller

Picture of Wireless Xbox 360 controller
To connect the wireless 360 Controller to my Macbook Pro I got this wireless gaming receiver for $15 (incl. tax) on Amazon.

The computer still wasn't recognizing it, so I installed Tattiebogle 0.11 which you can download here. Follow the instructions for installing and then open up the "Xbox 360 Controllers" icon in your System Preferences.

Link up your controller to the receiver and you should now be able to see reactions to you messing around with buttons and analogs on the 360 controller.

This is great, but many games will still not recognize your controller. So now you need to map your buttons to keyboard commands. To do that you will need to get Joystick Mapper in the App Store.

Once you're in Joystick Mapper you can assign all of the buttons and analogs to keyboard and mouse controls. This will take some trial and error to find out what works best for you, but it does work.

Step 2: Wired (third-party) 360 controller

Picture of Wired (third-party) 360 controller
There are many many different 360 controllers out there. Fortunately, there are people out there who can help you out. Once you have Tattiebogle installed you can add support for more controllers.

After installing Tattiebogle like described in the last step for the wireless controller, download this link and run the command script to update Tattiebogle. This comes from Shoryuken forum member EddDeDuck. The forum post I found this is here.

(Note: found out the link for the command script is now broken. File attached to this step)

You will also need the Joystick Mapper app from the App Store to make this work.

OK, that's it. Have fun.

Step 3: FAQ

Why play games on a Mac?

It's what I have. For my work, the Mac works really well. If I was gonna be serious about games, I'd build a desktop machine. Fortunately, the Mac gets a few games thrown its way as well.

Why are you playing on windowed mode?

I'm not. I play on full-screen. It's windowed here to emphasize that it's OS X and not Boot Camp or Parallels.

Why not use keyboard + mouse?

I've had lots of problems with mice in the past with some carpal tunnel issues. They hurt my wrists after using them intensely for 10+ years.
stefwill7 days ago

Thanks for that. Was really easy to follow.

faithaffair12 days ago
It works!

My setup:
Mbp Retina 2014
XBOX 360 wireless controller
PC receiver (3rd party)
Joystick manager (App store)
And the lifesaving unofficial driver

Note, if you're on Yosemite you'll need to install an unofficial version of the driver from

thanks. I figured as such...wasn't working from just the initial download from tattiebogle.

I used the Github unofficial for Yosemite and The Tanglebot Plugin still does not see my 360 controller!! I'm left still using keyboard and trackpad for gaming....any ideas would help...!!

Im not getting any controller vibration! Did everything like you said and the game runs great with the controller.

Only thing is theres no vibration. Im using a wired Afterglow controller by pdp. Any thoughts?

JoshB63 months ago

Is the Joystick Manager app actually Joystick Mapper? Is it free?

Yes, and no. It costs $4.99 at Mac Store.

ViniciusF12 months ago

Try it :

calebr24 months ago

Check out my video on how to use the Xbox One Controller on MAC OS X :) Link:

I looked through all the controllers that are supported (trust me, it's hard to find the specific one you have) and mine is there (PowerA Mini Pro EX Blue) but still isn't recognized by Tattiebogle. any help?

i second this

maloz1 year ago
When the wireless one goes into sleep and you put it back on, some Apps do not recognize it is turned back on and you need to restart the App. Happening e.g. in SNES9X or ZSNES. This sucks...
nice one
rasheednyc1 year ago
Worked perfectly (wired). Now, if I can only remember what I programmed.
donkeyknee1 year ago
jbushman1 year ago
Sadly, it appears that the driver does not work with the newest xbox 360 wired controller. There was $35 well spent. Sigh...
jobergy2 years ago
Hey! do you use Steam for Borderlands 2? If so add me! Jobergy is steam username as well
Fair warning: A lot of the receivers you can find online are counterfeit, some of which don't work quite right and require a bit more fun to get working, your luck may vary; I got an official one when I got mine.
For gamepads on Mac computers, one of the best programs I've used is GamePad Companion, found in the App Store. It will set you back 8$, but it will support almost every controller you throw at it, including PS2 and XBox 360 (which requires a separate driver, but the developer provides the link.)

I'm using a PS2 controller, and it works for all my emulators, as well as a few indie games I play. Haven't tried it with HL2 yet, though.
fungus amungus (author)  AlternateLives2 years ago
I saw that and was going to try it, but Joystick Mapper worked just fine so I stopped there.
Hello. Thank you for the instructable! Do you have a copy of that could be mirrored? That one is giving a 404. :)
fungus amungus (author)  bolsontanker2 years ago
Weird, don't know why that broke. Uploaded the zip to step 2.