How to Use a Backbone Controller for Mobile Gaming

The Backbone controller revolutionizes mobile gaming by adding physical buttons and controls to your phone. Simply clip your smartphone into the Backbone to transform it into a powerful handheld gaming device. Here, we are going to show you how to set up and use a Backbone controller to elevate your mobile gaming experience.

Learn these step-by-step instructions to start playing controller-supported titles like Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, and Apple Arcade games. With Backbone’s buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks, you’ll gain precise control for an exceptional mobile gaming experience.

What Is Backbone Controller?

A Backbone controller is a phone clip that adds physical controls like buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks to your mobile device. It connects directly to your phone’s charging port (Lightning or USB-C) to reduce latency and provide pass-through charging.

Backbone controllers are made by Backbone Labs and come in a few editions:

  • Backbone One– For iPhones
  • Backbone One PlayStation Edition– Styled like a DualShock controller
  • Backbone One USB-C– For Android phones and newer iPhones with USB-C

These controllers are designed to work seamlessly with mobile games, remote play apps, and cloud gaming services. They provide a more console-like experience compared to touch controls.

Step 1: Get a Compatible Phone

The first step is ensuring you have a compatible phone model.

The Backbone One controllers work with most Lightning port iPhones running iOS 13 or later. This includes:

  • iPhone 6s and newer
  • iPhone SE 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen

The Backbone One USB-C works with most Android phones and USB-C iPhones such as:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 and newer
  • Google Pixel 2 and newer
  • iPhone 15 series

Visit Backbone’s compatibility page for the full list.

Step 2: Attach and Setup the Controller

Attaching your phone to the Backbone controller is simple. Just line up the Lightning or USB-C port and slide your phone into place.

For first-time setup:

  1. Download the Backbone app from the App Store or Play Store
  2. Launch the app and sign in or create an account
  3. Follow the on-screen pairing and tutorial

The app handles controller updates, captures gameplay video/screenshots, and organizes your gaming library.

Step 3: Start Playing Games

Once connected, the Backbone controller automatically works with controller-supported mobile games. This includes popular titles like:

  • Call of Duty Mobile
  • Minecraft
  • Genshin Impact
  • Apple Arcade games

You can also use remote play apps from Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam to stream games from those platforms. Or tap into cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, GeForce NOW, and more.

The Backbone app recommends games that work with the controller and lets you easily launch them without needing to exit the app.

Tips for Using Your Backbone Controller

Here are some pro tips for getting the most out of your Backbone controller:

  • Use the touchpadby tapping the screen to make it appear in the center, then swipe as you would normally.
  • Charge your phoneby leaving it connected to the controller’s Lightning or USB-C port.
  • Adjust sizingby extending or collapsing the sides of the controller.
  • Capture gameplaywith the dedicated screenshot and recording buttons.
  • Mute yourselfby double-pressing the Backbone button during gameplay.
  • Play on other screenslike iPad, Mac, or PC by enabling the feature in the Backbone app settings (requires Backbone+ membership).

How to Solve Common Backbone Controller Issues

If you run into problems using your Backbone controller, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Ensure your phone is updated to the latest OS versionfor best compatibility.
  • Remove any phone casebefore attaching as it may interfere with the fit.
  • If the controller stops responding, force quit and relaunchthe Backbone app.
  • For connectivity issues, check that the controller is properly seated into the charging port.
  • If games don’t recognize the controller, toggle the Gaming Mode switchin the Backbone app settings.

Reaching out to Backbone support can also help resolve persistent issues not fixed by basic troubleshooting.


The Backbone controller takes mobile gaming to the next level with its console-style controls and seamless phone integration. Following this setup and usage guide will help you get playing controller-based games on your iPhone or Android device as quickly as possible.

With the Backbone controller attached, your phone truly transforms into a powerful handheld gaming system perfect for Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, PS Remote Play, and more. The future of mobile gaming has never looked or felt better.

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