Forget PlayStation Portal, this mobile PS5 controller is already compatible with iPhone 15’s USB-C

The Backbone One controller using an iPhone and AirPods
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple is officially switching the iPhone 15 to USB-C, which opens up a whole new world of chargers and accessories for people that have been using Lightning for the past decade. And one of those accessories could make the upcoming PlayStation Portal seem a little defunct.

Backbone have confirmed the Android version of the Backbone One controller, which features a USB-C plug, will be compatible with the iPhone 15. That means you can pick up a controller to stream content from your PS5, and not have to worry about it becoming obsolete in a few years time.

Anyone picking up one of the older iPhone compatible models, which are equipped with a Lightning plug, may not be so lucky.

For those that don’t know, Backbone One is a controller grip that fits around your phone, transforming it into something akin to a Nintendo Switch. But instead of playing Mario and Zelda, this version of the grip is specifically designed to play PS5 games. 

That way you can stream games from your console without having to connect to a DualSense controller, which is a big win if you only have one PS5 controller. Trust me, having to disconnect your controller from the console, connect it to your phone and then back again is a massive pain. Slapping a case around the phone is a heck of a lot less fiddly.

The question is whether the $100 Backbone One is a better investment than the $199 PlayStation Portal. PlayStation’s remote streaming doesn’t have the best reputation, and while I’ve never had an issue some of my colleagues at Tom’s Guide do disagree. The Portal is an opportunity for Sony to make PS5 streaming not suck, though how effective it will be won’t be clear until after launch.

The PlayStation Portal only supports PS5 streaming, though. It’s claimed that the Backbone One will work with PS5, Xbox, Steam and native mobile titles. Not to mention the fact that your smartphone supports Bluetooth headphones, which the Portal does not. Right now only you can decide which option will be right for you.

Backbone claims that existing USB-C Backbone One controllers will get iPhone 15 support via a software update on the Android app. Anyone ordering one now will be happy to hear that the controller will be Android and iPhone 15 compatible right out of the box.

iPhone 15 pre-orders open today (September 15) and will be officially released on September 22. PlayStation Portal launches on November 15, while Backbone One can be purchased right now.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.