Whether it’s for reliving the memories from one of the best Nintendo consoles ever or trying the top-notch games of that system for the first time on your Mac, you would need the Dolphin emulator. But playing these titles created with a controller in mind on a mouse and keyboard setup isn’t ideal and outright impossible in most games.
An easy way of getting past this hurdle is by using a PlayStation 4 controller on your Mac and linking it to the Dolphin emulator.
Step 1: Setting up the emulator:
The first thing you want to do is download the latest stable release of the Dolphin emulator. This guide is written at the time of version 5.0, but it should work the same way for future updates and versions. Once you have the emulator downloaded, install it to the location that you want.
Before you start the emulator, you need a copy of a Wii or GameCube game. The emulator itself has no games on it, and it would be necessary to test whether the controller is working as intended or not. You can get these ROMs by either ripping them from the physical discs that you own or downloading them from the internet.
Step 2: Connecting the controller:
The PS4 controller is natively supported by the Mac operating system, but the implementations aren’t perfect. Trying to use the PS4 controller on an emulator will cause all sorts of issues that need ironing out before you can enjoy some games.
There are two main methods of connecting it to the Mac. The first is via a USB cable. It is extremely simple; you just have to connect the controller and your Mac via a micro-USB to a full-size USB/USB Type-C cable, and it should be detected automatically. But this method limits your range of movement and confines you to a space close to the computer/laptop.
The alternative and arguably better way of connecting your PS4 controller is via a Bluetooth connection. Turn on Bluetooth on your Mac and put your controller in pair mode. This can be done by pressing and holding the home and share buttons on the controller. Once it is in pair mode, the light bar should start blinking rapidly.
Now go to the Bluetooth settings on your Mac and look for the controller. It should be listed and a DualShock 4 controller. Click on it to pair it with your computer. Once the controller is successfully paired, blinking should stop.
Step 3: Configuring the emulator:
The Dolphin emulator sees the PS4 controller as an Xbox one or the Xbox 360 controller. This will cause all of the buttons to behave differently and would make playing with the PS4 controller almost impossible. Luckily, you can change the button mapping, so the buttons on PS4 controllers correspond to an appropriate action on the screen.
You can use the DSX4 Pad tool to reconfigure the controller buttons for the whole system. The following image is how you should map the buttons for optimal usage.
Alternatively, you can use the Dolphin emulator’s built-in controller configurator. Just open the controller management setting in the emulator and click on the controller buttons sections. Then remap the controller according to the following image, and you’re good to go.
You should now have a PS4 controller that is working flawlessly on the Dolphin emulator on Mac. But if you are encountering some issues, here is a brief troubleshooting guide:
- The first thing you should do is restart your Mac and try again.
- If the controller isn’t showing up on the Bluetooth menu, it could be out of battery. Plug it in a charger and let it juice up for about 30 minutes before retrying the pairing process.
- If everything else seems fine, but the controller is still not showing up, you can try to reset it. To do so, locate the small hole close to the L2 button on the back. Press and hold the button in that hole for 5-6 seconds using a small tool like a phone sim extractor. It should now be factory reset and ready to pair.