Joy-Cons and How Else to Use Them

Joy-Cons and How Else to Use Them on Blog
Image source - nintendo.com

One of the things that make Nintendo Switch an outstanding console is an input. Joy-Cons are a special sort of gamepad, usable together or one by one, attached to the console or remotely. But, along with using it with Switch the way they are supposed to, there are many other uses for them.

Gamepad for a PC

More and more PC games now support controllers as well as keyboard-and-mouse input. Yes, the default option for a Windows PS is an Xbox controller, but you may use Joy-Cons as well. To do it, you need to:

  •     Ensure your PC is Bluetooth-equipped
  •     Press and hold the Sync button on the Joy-Con to activate the pairing mode
  •     Find the controller on your PC in Settings/Bluetooth & Other Devices (if using Windows)
  •     Pair the devices
  •     Adjust the game settings if anything works incorrectly

Not all Windows games support gamepads in full, especially exotic (for this platform) Joy-Cons. Nevertheless, if you often play Nintendo Switch in TV mode, with Joy-Cons detached from the console body, you may prefer this method simply because it’s familiar to your hands. 

By the way, you can do the same on a Mac. Macs are not considered the best platform for gaming, but with Apple Arcade, it can change. So why not try connecting your Joy-Cons to a Mac and trying at least some game?

Remote Shutter for Android

You may have appreciated how great it is to picture or film yourself, being the actor and the director simultaneously. No one else can picture you as you do. But hand selfies are yesterday's thing. Remote shutters (in your selfie stick, smartwatch, or a standalone one) do the job better, especially with a delayed start.

Connect a Joy-Con to your Android smartphone to use it as a remote shutter! It takes seconds. Just push and hold the Sync button to start pairing, and then find the device from your phone or tablet to connect. What happens next depends on your phone. For example, with Samsung phones, you’ll need to use the B button to take a picture, while X and Y can be used for zooming out and in. On Pixel devices, you’ll need the A button. It may take some experimenting to find out how it works.

Alas, this cannot be done if you use an iPhone. The reason is simple: iOS devices use a specific sort of Bluetooth hardware and software that makes them incompatible with Joy-Cons. Neither can Joy-Cons be used with Apple TV. So, if you want to enjoy Arcade games with Joy-Cons, you’ll need a Mac.

Alarm Sensor

It’s the most unexpected use of a gaming controller, but why not? It exploits the infrared emitter built into your right Joy-Con and its Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, you will need a special Spy Alarm app ($2) for your Nintendo Switch.

The algorithm is simple. Point your Joy-Con to the area you want to monitor. The console itself will react when the infrared beans are interrupted, and someone is detected.

Not that it’s specifically a spy alarm. Rather it’s a doorbell that reacts whenever somebody enters your room. A great thing if you are at work and need to communicate with people. You better put your Switch beside the Joy-Con or even keep it attached, though, because the range of infrared beams is only up to 1 m (about 3 ft), and the Bluetooth range is also rather small. Not a replacement for smart home devices, but quite an alarm when you get busy (not playing Switch) but need to react as someone enters.


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So now, say, if you have purchased a Switch Pro controller and don’t need your Joy-Cons with the Switch, you know what else to do with them. In fact, it’s surprising that there are so few other uses for Joy-Cons, given how popular Switch is. Maybe there’ll be more soon?

If you found it useful, you can share it on your Facebook or Twitter to your friends and possibly add your own experience. Or leave it in a comment down here, which we will appreciate.

Lily Brown
Reader and thinker, Internet enthusiast, wannabe music and meme expert.

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