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Fortnite is finally back on iPhone and iPad — here's how to play it now

Fortnite
(Image credit: Epic Games)

Epic’s legal battle with Apple over in-app transactions and revenue cuts saw the massively popular battle royale game Fortnite kicked off iOS and the App Store. But now Fortnite is back. 

Does that mean Apple and Epic are now friends? Heck no. But thanks to Microsoft and Xbox Cloud Gaming, you can now play Fortnite on the likes of an iPhone 13 or iPad Air. That’s because Fortnite has just become the first Xbox Game Pass title that's free-to-play for all users, even if you don't subscribe to what's arguably the best deal in gaming

Xbox Game Pass ultimate deal

Now, you won’t be able to play Fortnite natively on an iOS or iPadOS devices, given the App Store ban. Nor will you be able to use the native Xbox Game Pass app, as Apple’s policies don’t let Microsoft provide an app-based game-streaming service via the App Store.

But the way Xbox Cloud Gaming is handled on iPhone and iPad — namely, through the Safari browser — means it’ll feel very much like accessing game streaming through the Android version of the Xbox Game Pass app.

How to access Fortnite via Xbox Game Pass on iPhone and iPad

  • Open the Safari browser and head to xbox.com/play (opens in new tab)
  • Sign into your Microsoft account — if you need to, you can create a new account at this stage.
  • On the Game Pass webpage, hit the "Play for Free" option under the Fortnite panel
  • From there, tap the "Get get ready to play" option, which will prompt you to add an Xbox Cloud Gaming icon to your iPhone or iPad home screen. 
  • To do that, tap the bookmark button in the top right-hand side of Safari; it's the icon that looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it. Next, select "Add to Home Screen" and then tap "Add".  
  • Quit Safari and head to the new Xbox Cloud gaming app-like icon on your home screen (it looks like an app but is actually a bookmark), and launch it.
  • Sign into your Microsoft account again (iOS/iPadOS may have remembered your details). At this point, you may need to create an Xbox profile, which takes a few taps. 
  • Once logged in, simply tap Fortnite's "Play for Free" option again, and then "Play" on the next page, which will then launch the cloud-streamed version of Fortnite. From there you can play with touchscreen controls or a Bluetooth controller.

You’ll need a decently fast and stable internet connection to stream Fortnite, and to accept that it won’t be as responsive as the experience is on, say, the native Android version or on consoles. But, as we found out recently, Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS has been improved and runs rather well on a 5G connection.

So if you’ve been hankering for a Fortnite fix on your iPhone, then Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is well worth considering.

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.