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Apr 12, 2001
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Over the course of the macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta, Apple has been refining and improving the way that iPad and iPhone apps run on M1 Macs. In the latest beta, Apple has added game controller emulation for M1 devices, allowing a keyboard or a keyboard and mouse combo to function as a game controller.

game-control-emulation.png

The new game controller feature was discovered by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser. When running an iPhone or iPad app, opening up the preferences brings up a Touch Alternatives and Game Control interface that can be used to make touch-based iPhone and iPad apps run better with Mac controls.

With Controller Emulation toggled on, common game controller buttons are mapped to keyboard keys and mouse buttons. X, for example, is mapped to Q, the direction stick is mapped to WASD, and Y is mapped to E. L1 and L2 can be accessed by pressing Tab and Shift, respectively, and the Space Bar is the A button.

Controller Emulation will allow iPhone and iPad games that have controller support built in to be accurately controlled with a keyboard and/or mouse when those games are played on an M1 Mac. This feature is designed for those who don't have a game controller, as those who do can just connect a controller to play.

The macOS 11.3 Big Sur beta also includes the aforementioned Touch Alternatives panel for mapping touch-based features like tap, swipe, drag, and tilt to keyboard keys, and it has a feature for making iPhone and iPad app windows larger.

touch-alternatives-m1-macs.jpg

Controller Emulation and Touch Alternatives work independently of one another, and only one of these features can be enabled at a time.

As for game controller support, many current controllers from Sony and Microsoft are compatible with M1 Macs, and the beta adds support for the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X controllers.

Article Link: macOS Big Sur 11.3 Includes Game Controller Emulation for iPhone/iPad Apps on M1 Macs
 
Last edited:

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
672
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That's a good first step; I hope it will be configurable for those who don't like the default mappings.

Next should be the ability to allow us to create additional key mappings to correspond to touch and/or gesture controls at specific locations within an app. This would be useful for any app, not just controller-based ones.
 
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Freeangel1

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2020
692
966
I hope you put better on board graphics. Going up against Pro graphics cards on an Intel machine the M1 can't cut it. and you cant add an external GPU.

Why cant thy add that capability in 11.3? I might just buy one.
 
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ThaGoochiestMane

macrumors member
Jan 2, 2020
55
110
This is going to be huge in a few years.
For real.

I've been playing around with the new Game Pass touchscreen controls on the Surface Duo and it's completely changed the way I think of game controls/controllers; the idea of the controls being different based on the (type of) game could be transformative.

But just being able to get reliable haptics—something iOS does very well already—on a "regular" controller setup would be great; being able to rest your finger and get feedback on where it is, without pressing the pressing the "button," would be amazing.
 
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ThaGoochiestMane

macrumors member
Jan 2, 2020
55
110
That's awesome! Is it possible to save different configurations for different games?
Some of the games on Game Pass (when played on the Surface Duo) do this. A racing game I was playing just had a left stick for steering and on the right a couple buttons for actions and a big slider for the gas. It was actually really fun to play like that lol.
 
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jayducharme

macrumors 601
Jun 22, 2006
4,031
4,203
The thick of it
...that no one will be using because there are almost no iOS apps in the Mac App Store, and Apple prevents us from sideloading apps :)
I've downloaded quite a few iPad games onto my M1 mini, and they work great. Having standardized keyboard controls would make it even better.
 
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Albright

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2011
125
180
I was excited at first because I thought from the screenshot that Apple was giving us a way to map controller input to key presses instead of the other way around. That would make a lot of Mac games that have shoddy to no controller support more playable - I personally was a fan of SkullGirls, but after getting an M1 system, controller input no longer works for no apparent reason and none of the existing programs for remapping controller input work either from what I can tell.

Darn. So close and yet so far.
 
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Blowback

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2018
937
526
VA


Over the course of the macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta, Apple has been refining and improving the way that iPad and iPhone apps run on M1 Macs. In the latest beta, Apple has added game controller emulation for M1 devices, allowing a keyboard or a keyboard and mouse combo to function as a game controller.

game-control-emulation.png

The new game controller feature was discovered by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser. When running an iPhone or iPad app, opening up the preferences brings up a Touch Alternatives and Game Control interface that can be used to make touch-based iPhone and iPad apps run better with Mac controls.

With Controller Emulation toggled on, common game controller buttons are mapped to keyboard keys and mouse buttons. X, for example, is mapped to Q, the direction stick is mapped to WASD, and Y is mapped to E. L1 and L2 can be accessed by pressing Tab and Shift, respectively, and the Space Bar is the A button.

Controller Emulation will allow iPhone and iPad games that have controller support built in to be accurately controlled with a keyboard and/or mouse when those games are played on an M1 Mac. This feature is designed for those who don't have a game controller, as those who do can just connect a controller to play.

The macOS 11.3 Big Sur beta also includes the aforementioned Touch Alternatives panel for mapping touch-based features like tap, swipe, drag, and tilt to keyboard keys, and it has a feature for making iPhone and iPad app windows larger.

touch-alternatives-m1-macs.jpg

Controller Emulation and Touch Alternatives work independently of one another, and only one of these features can be enabled at a time.

As for game controller support, many current controllers from Sony and Microsoft are compatible with M1 Macs, and the beta adds support for the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X controllers.

Article Link: macOS Big Sur 11.3 Includes Game Controller Emulation for iPhone/iPad Apps on M1 Macs
But....where are the games?????????????????????????????????
 
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