The Unexpected Extra Use For Nintendo Switch Controllers

No game console is perfect. As successful as Nintendo Switch has been (129 million units had been sold up to the end of June 2023), certain aspects of the system have been rather controversial since its launch. Primarily, its Joy-Con controllers.

These are the key to the system's ability to perform in both docked and handheld mode, but their small size and the threat of the dreaded drift have caused many users to switch to the more conventional Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (or third-party equivalent). Both control methods, however, have access to Bluetooth technology. This means that they have far more utility than a player may think.

Modders have done wonderful things with Nintendo systems (a portable GameCube, for instance), but using a Switch controller with other devices doesn't tend to require much extra effort at all. The convenience of Bluetooth technology and of Android devices combine to allow Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers to be used to game on other systems.

A lack of physical buttons can be an issue for so many mobile gamers. As a result, more conventional controllers are often sought out. You may not have thought of using either a Switch Pro Controller or a set of Joy-Cons for such a purpose, but it's absolutely possible.

Connecting Switch controllers to other devices

In September 2021, Nintendo Switch received an update that allowed for the use of Bluetooth audio peripherals. By thinking outside the box, players can connect their controllers to other devices and use them to play a variety of games that were never intended for these unique, boldly-colored little controllers.

Those who game on an Android or iPhone can connect their Joy-Con to their device (Apple or otherwise) from its Bluetooth pairing menu. A Switch owner need only hold the Joy-Con or Pro Controller's searching or pairing button, just as they would when enabling the controller to pair with the Switch itself. From there, it will appear on the iPhone/Android menu as any other dedicated Bluetooth peripheral would. PC users can also enjoy this functionality in the same way, though Steam's beta updates will need to be enabled to do so.

Some gamers appreciate the ergonomics of the Nintendo Switch's controllers, but don't like being constrained by its technical shortcomings. Perhaps you're more of a pad player, or you're simply playing a title that isn't a great fit for the classic WASD setup on a computer. There are lots of reasons to pick up a Bluetooth controller, but Switch owners should consider giving these a try before finding something specific for their other devices. Though it's important to be wary of the potential issues surrounding Bluetooth, it can certainly help make gaming more convenient.