The Short Version: Download and install a program named PS3Controller. Enable Bluetooth. The pairing code for PS3 controllers is “0000”. I had to connect via USB first to make it work. Read the entire post for additional issues. Note that I’ve only gone through this process using OS X Lion.
See an additional update regarding Mountain Lion and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga at the end of this post.
A while back I managed to get the PS2 version of Shadow of the Colossus working in an emulator for Windows. Using a different driver, not referenced to in this post, I was able to use the PS3 controller (at the time I was only able to get it work via USB).
Recently, I decided see if I could get a PS3 controller working in OS X Lion in order to use it with several different console emulators. This turned out to be relatively simple using a piece of software named PS3Contoller.
One benefit to using this driver is that it supports Bluetooth, which is the wireless protocol used by the PS3 controllers. I did have some issues getting it to connect when working in the OS X Bluetooth system preference. When I plugged the controller in the red LEDs flashed continuously but it wasn’t detected as a Bluetooth device. However, if I had the controller connected via USB and then hit the PS button while the Mac was looking for devices, it usually found it (the controller stops flashing once it connects).
The pairing code for PS3 controllers is the standard “0000”.
Note that in my case I had to connect it via USB first. Otherwise, it didn’t seem to detect it. In addition, it seems that each time I wanted to use the controller after shutting down the Mac or putting it into stand-by, I had to reconnect it via the Bluetooth system preference. However, once it was connected it stayed connected throughout that session of use.
If you’re planning to set this up within Bluetooth range of the PS3 then I recommend that you flip the power switch on the back to the OFF position. Otherwise, the PS3 will turn on when you hit the PS button on the controller.
I was able to have two PS3 controllers connected via Bluetooth at the same time. However, I wasn’t able to get Sixtyforce to detect two PS3 controllers at the same time (though I could connect a GameStop USB controller and a PS3 controller and use both for different players). I suspect that the ability to use two PS3 controllers for different players is determined by the program and not the driver.
Updated 09/30/2012: I recently purchased a new 13″ MacBook Pro. It came with a free upgrade to Mountain Lion, which I installed. Since this was a new system it hasn’t had any of the drivers/software installed that I’ve mentioned in this post.
It’s possible that Mountain Lion has built-in support for a PS3 controller, but I haven’t tested it with other software. However, I do know that I don’t need to install any software to use a PS3 controller (wired) with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. The game detects the controller and works with it perfectly.
6 thoughts on “Using a PS3 Bluetooth Controller with a Mac”
This is super awesome! I am going to frys tmrw and picking up a controller. Do you know if the dual shock works in the games, i.e. call of duty ? Great idea! can’t wait to to try it out tomorrow!
I don’t know if the vibration works but I haven’t tried it. So far I’ve only played a handful of older console games using the PS3.
Force feedback does not work.
its asking me for the code but its not 0000 please help
I may not have used this on a more recent Mac yet. I searched in Google and found a forum post that may help you resolve the problem. It may be attributed to newer Bluetooth chipsets in more recent Macs. Try reading through this link, especially near the end: