Readers like you help support How-To Geek. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Key Takeaways

  • Get a USB-C to HDMI adapter for your new iPhone 15 Pro to connect it to your TV and enjoy a larger display for gaming.
  • Consider getting a smartphone cooling accessory to prevent overheating and maintain optimal performance.
  • Take advantage of iPhone-compatible controllers, such as the Xbox Series controller, to enhance your gaming experience and have controller support for a wide range of titles.

Apple has billed the iPhone 15 Pro as a "gaming console" thanks to titles like Death Stranding and Resident Evil Village. But touch controls and a tiny screen aren't the console experience, so how can you complete the console transformation?

Charging Dongles With Video Output

The first item on your shopping list should be a USB-C to HDMI adapter, since the new iPhone 15 phones finally have a USB-C port, which will also work for iPad Pros.

Belkin USB C to HDMI Adapter + USBC Charging Port
$24 $35 Save $11

A simple HDMI adapter that also charges your USB-C device while you use an external display. Perfect for iPad Pro extended display.

For older iPhones, you'll need a Lightning to HDMI adapter instead. Keep in mind that unless the app supports external displays, you'll only see a mirroring of what's on your iPhone or iPad on the screen, and the aspect ratio may not be a perfect match. Newer titles are more likely to support full-screen external display support.

Smartphone Cooling Accessories

Now that your iPhone has a way to connect to your TV without running the battery down, the next thing you have to worry about is cooling. iPhones are fanless, and they can only dissipate the heat generated by the CPU and GPU passively through the body of the phone. This means that you may get great performance for the first few minutes of your game, and then the phone starts throttling performance to keep heat in check.

Black Shark Magnetic Cooler
$40 $50 Save $10

The Black Shark Magnetic Cooler takes advantage of MagSafe technology to easily add cooling to your phone for intensive tasks.

By getting an attachable active phone cooler, you can mitigate this issue, although it's not going to be as efficient as traditional active cooling. It's probably also a good idea to take your iPhone out of its case before attaching the cooler.

iPhone-Compatible Controllers

This is by far the easiest part of the setup, since Apple have put a ton of work into making controllers an integrated part of macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. As of this writing, you can use PS4, Xbox One (Bluetooth), PS5, Xbox Series, and even Nintendo Switch controllers with any game that supports controllers. Best of all, newer titles dynamically change the on-screen button prompts to match whatever controller you're using. It's easy to forget that you aren't actually playing on an Xbox or PlayStation.

Xbox controller
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Robot White – Xbox Series X|S
$34 $60 Save $26

The perfect controller for Xbox One, Xbox Series, Android, iOS, and Windows gamers.

That being said, older titles will still only show Xbox-style prompts, so if you don't already own a compatible controller, we'd lean towards getting an Xbox Series controller for that reason alone.

Great iPhone Console Ports To Get Started

As of this writing, the fancy new full-quality console games Apple has announced for the iPhone 15 Pro aren't out yet, but there are plenty of great console ports on the platform that are ready to right now. Some of the top ones I'd recommend are:

There are also plenty of great indie games that have full controller support, and don't forget about cloud-gaming services that will also work with your controller.

A Note About Battery Health

Using your iPhone as a game console is all well and good, but there's one major downside: battery degradation. Lithium batteries don't like heat, and they only have a limited number of charge cycles before they start losing capacity until they eventually die. This makes playing heavy-hitting games while plugged in a risk to battery health.

However, future iPhones might include a bypass charging feature, and we may see new battery preservation features for existing phones through software updates. Apple's flagship phone might not yet be ready to replace your Xbox or Playstation under the TV, but with investments in Apple Silicon and features like AI upscaling, it seems clear that Tim Cook and his team have their sights set on the console gaming market.