How to Use Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons on PC and Mac

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If you own a Nintendo Switch, you already own a pair of miniature PC gaming controllers.

Photo: Shaun Lucas/Tom's GuidePhoto: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

The console's included Joy-Con gamepads can be connected to just about any PC or Mac that supports Bluetooth, making them a great option for retro games or multiplayer titles that you need a few extra controllers for. If you're looking to add a little Nintendo flair to your favorite PC games, here's how to get started.

How to Pair a Joy-Con to PC and Mac

1. Open your PC's settings menu and select "Bluetooth & other devices." On Mac, select System Preferences > Bluetooth.

2. Select "Add Bluetooth or other device" and click on Bluetooth.

3. Hold down your Joy-Con's sync button, which is the tiny black dot located between the SL and SR buttons.

4. Select Joy-Con from the menu. Your controller will now be paired. For some reason, the Joy-Con's syncing lights continue to flash even when the controller is paired, but as long as you follow these steps, you'll be connected.

As you might expect, Joy-Cons aren't a perfect solution for PC gaming. The controller worked instantly with titles like Tekken 7 and Pocket Rumble, while other games, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Rivals of Aether, didn't recognize the gamepad at all. For the titles that did work, I often had to remap the buttons in each game's settings menu -- which makes sense, considering the Joy-Cons have a different button layout than a standard PC controller.

MORE: How to Use Any Controller on PC

Pro Controller and Connected Joy-Cons

If you have Nintendo's more traditional Switch Pro Controller, you can connect it to your computer via Bluetooth by following the same steps as you would to pair a single Joy-Con. Just like with the Joy-Cons themselves, though, not every PC game will work out of the box with a Pro Controller.

There's no easy way to use two Joy-Cons together as a single controller on PC, but you can make it happen with a little bit of technical trickery. As pointed out in this Reddit tutorial, you can use the vJoy application to trick your computer into thinking your Joy-Cons are a regular old PC controller. While you'll have to follow a decent amount of steps and fudge with some settings, you'll be able to use your connected Joy-Cons just like you would with your Switch on your TV.