New Backbone One Controller Brings a Console-Like Gaming Experience to iPhone

Apple's iPhone and iPad have supported gaming controllers for quite some time now, and there are several on the market, but the new Backbone One controller is being praised as one of the best new controllers to use with Apple's iPhones for mobile gaming.


The Backbone One connects to the sides of the ‌iPhone‌ and offers a standard controller layout with clickable thumb sticks, d-pad, analog triggers, action buttons, and more. It's designed to fit all of Apple's iPhones and works with any ‌iPhone‌ that has iOS 13 or later installed. There's a Lightning connector on one side that plugs into the ‌iPhone‌'s Lightning port for connectivity, so Bluetooth is not required and latency remains low.

backbone1
The Backbone One features a dedicated button for recording gameplay or taking screenshots, and games can be recorded at up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. A Backbone app button also launches right into the Backbone app, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack for use with headsets. Since it connects over Lightning, charging is not required.

With the Backbone One app, users can launch games and access game recordings, plus interact with friends through social features. When someone you're friends with also has a Backbone One, when a game is started you receive a push notification and can join in and you can communicate with one another.

backbone2
Any game that supports game controllers is compatible with the Backbone One, including Apple Arcade games. Multiple reviews of the Backbone One have gone live today, and the controller is getting heavy praise. Wired said the controller has the exact layout you'll find on a console controller, and that it's so "immersive and well designed" that it's easy to forget you're playing on a phone.

backbone3
The Verge said that Backbone "makes the ‌iPhone‌ feel like a bona fide gaming platform" and that the app features feel like "a gaming experience that somehow beats Apple to the punch of fleshing out its own gaming ambitions."

The Backbone One is priced at $99 and it must be purchased through the Backbone app. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

robinp Avatar
12 months ago

$100? Who is seriously that into iOS gaming that they would spend $100 bucks on a controller?
I agree it does seem a lot. But on the flip side, this kind of makes your iPhone like a switch hardware wise. Throw in some more involved games and why carry a portable game console as well as a phone when it can just be a single device?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robinp Avatar
12 months ago

Easy 30%. Good job tim
Pretty sure they don’t take 30% from hardware sales. Eg, there’s no way amazon hands over 30% of sales.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BF1M Avatar
12 months ago
$100? Who is seriously that into iOS gaming that they would spend $100 bucks on a controller?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
luvbug Avatar
12 months ago
I don't play games, but this looks like a well thought out piece of engineering (and I am an engineer, retired).
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macfacts Avatar
12 months ago

The Backbone One is priced at $99 and it must be purchased through the Backbone app.
Easy 30%. Good job tim
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
12 months ago
If you want to buy me a console, you're going to have to show me some serious games for it.

Give me Doom Eternal, Metroid Prime 4, and Breath of the Wild 2 and I'll immediately buy it. Other AAA games will be accepted as substitutes. B+ Knock-offs and spin-offs (the best the iOS app store generally has) will not be.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

microsoft xcloud devices

Microsoft xCloud Beta for iPhone and iPad to Launch This Week [Updated]

Monday April 19, 2021 7:46 am PDT by
Microsoft has today announced that it will launch its browser-based Xbox Cloud Gaming service in beta to selected testers on iPhone and iPad tomorrow. Starting tomorrow, Microsoft will begin sending out invites to selected Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to test the Xbox Cloud Gaming limited beta for iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10 PCs using a web browser. Invites will be issued on a continuous ...
apple tv 4k design

New Siri Remote Lacks Accelerometer and Gyroscope for Gaming on Apple TV

Thursday April 22, 2021 3:48 pm PDT by
The new Apple TV 4K unveiled this week ships with a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, new power and mute buttons for a TV, and a repositioned Siri button, but there's another change that has gone less noticed. According to Digital Trends, the new Siri Remote lacks an accelerometer and gyroscope, which allowed the original Siri Remote to function as a gaming controller. Apple...
nintendo switch

Sketchy Rumor Claims Apple Developing Nintendo Switch-Style Gaming Console

Tuesday May 11, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple is working on a Nintendo Switch-style handheld games console, according to a sketchy new rumor coming from Asia. According to a post on a Korean forum, shared by Twitter user @FrontTron, Apple is developing a portable hybrid games console, comparable to the Nintendo Switch. While the sourcing of the rumor is suspect, it has gained some visibility in larger news outlets over the past...
steelseries nimbus plus

SteelSeries Offers up to Four Months of Apple Arcade Free With Nimbus+ Controller [Updated]

Tuesday May 18, 2021 7:28 am PDT by
SteelSeries, the makers of popular gaming controllers for Apple devices, has today announced that all purchases of the Nimbus+ Wireless Gamepad Controller will come with up to four free months of Apple Arcade. The SteelSeries Nimbus+ Wireless Gamepad Controller delivers a "console-quality experience" with Apple Arcade's library of games. Iterating on the original Nimbus controller, the...
game control emulation

macOS Big Sur 11.3 Includes Game Controller Emulation for iPhone/iPad Apps on M1 Macs

Monday March 22, 2021 11:24 am PDT by
Over the course of the macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta, Apple has been refining and improving the way that iPad and iPhone apps run on M1 Macs. In the latest beta, Apple has added game controller emulation for M1 devices, allowing a keyboard or a keyboard and mouse combo to function as a game controller. The new game controller feature was discovered by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser. When...
ps5 controller apple online store

Apple Begins Selling PS5 DualSense Controller After Compatibility With iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac Added

Friday May 21, 2021 6:26 am PDT by
Apple recently started selling the white PS5 DualSense wireless game controller through its online store, with pricing consistent with Sony at $69.95. Orders placed today are estimated to be delivered next week in the United States. iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, tvOS 14.5, and macOS 11.3 software updates released last month added support for PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers on the iPhone, iPad,...
controlly app

'Controlly' App Turns a Game Controller Into a Remote Control for Macs

Monday February 8, 2021 2:26 pm PST by
Controlly, a new app available in the Mac App Store, is designed to turn a gaming controller into a full-featured remote control that can be used with a Mac. With the app installed and a gaming controller connected, the different keys on the controller can be mapped to various functions such as displaying the desktop, adjusting screen brightness, tweaking volume, controlling media playback,...
macos flappy bird notfication

Developer Recreates Flappy Bird as Interactive macOS Notification

Sunday April 11, 2021 6:18 am PDT by
The ultra-popular game Flappy Bird, removed from the App Store in 2014, may be making a comeback in the form of an interactive macOS notification. Utilizing the new UserNotificationsUI framework added in macOS Big Sur, designer and developer Neil Sardesai has been able to put a clone of the game created by PlayCanvas creator Will Eastcott into a notification. Showcased on Twitter, Sardesai...
apple arcade march 2021

Apple Arcade March 2021 Roundup: 'SP!NG,' 'Cozy Grove,' 'HitchHiker,' and 'Farm It!'

Friday March 26, 2021 8:03 am PDT by
This month, "SP!NG," "Cozy Grove," "HitchHiker," and "Farm It!" arrived on Apple Arcade, joining the expanding library of 152 games already on Apple's exclusive-based mobile gaming subscription service. Last month, Apple Arcade gained just two games: "Lumen" and "Survival Z." In March, four new games joined the platform in the casual, adventure, and simulation genres. March 5: SP!NG SP!...
apple arcade orange feature

Apple Arcade February 2021 Roundup: 'Lumen' and 'Survival Z'

Friday February 26, 2021 8:13 am PST by
This month, "Lumen" and "Survival Z" arrived on Apple Arcade, joining the expanding library of 146 games already on Apple's exclusive-based mobile gaming subscription service. Last month, Apple Arcade gained three games: "Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon," "NUTS - A Surveillance Mystery," and "Spire Blast." In February, just two new games joined the platform in the puzzle and action genres. Fe...