Having problems connecting PlayStation Move controllers to your OSX 10.7 Mac? In this post, we suggest some handy fixes. For a quick solution, see the video tutorial above.
Note: Chris Figueroa reports that the same tricks seem to work on the OSX 10.8 beta.
Last November, we distributed an early alpha version of Johann Sebastian Joust to several hundred people who had contributed to Brandon Boyer’s Venus Patrol Kickstarter campaign. This was great for us – not only were we able to support our friend Brandon, but we were also able to gather a bunch of useful feedback.
(To be clear: yes, we’re very eager to get the game out to the general public. We’re working on it. Meanwhile, I want to write this blog post for all the Venus Patrol donors, as well as any other developers working with the Move controller on Mac OSX).
I had developed the Venus Patrol alpha version of the game on OSX 10.6. Aside from a few problems here and there, the build seemed to work well on most Macs – even on 10.7.
A few months later, though, Apple released OSX 10.7.3. As far as I understand it, this version (and every version since) features some additional security measures related to connecting Bluetooth devices. Unfortunately for developers like me using Thomas Perl’s PS Move API, connecting Move controllers suddenly became a real headache.
I do hope to eventually “fix” this problem, or at least provide a smoother workaround. In the meanwhile, there are some solutions – some more user-friendly than others.
Basically, the trick is to get your Mac to properly “remember” the Bluetooth address of each controller. Once they’re successfully paired, you should be able to connect those same controllers in the future without all the extra hassle.
The surefire but highly technical solution
The best, most reliable fix is somewhat technical. It involves manually writing each controller’s Bluetooth address into the right plist file. Check out Thomas Perl’s full instructions here (scroll down to the “Pairing on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)” section).
Note: make sure to add the Bluetooth addresses in lowercase.
Also, it seems like you should only add the address entries to the “HIDDevices” array, and not the “PairedDevices” array.
The convoluted but user-friendlier solution
It also seems possible to “outsmart” the new Bluetooth security measures and pair controllers without manually editing any system files. I’ve been forwarding people the directions in this forum post, but one enterprising Joust fan Benedict Fritz put together this even handier video tutorial. Thanks Benedict!
Scott Nicholson (yup, that Scott) recommends the following steps on 10.7.4:
(Note: as I don’t use 10.7 on my laptop, I haven’t verified these directions myself)
- Plug the Controller into the Mac [by mini-USB cable]
- Run the Pairing Utility up to the point of connecting the controller by Bluetooth
- Turn Bluetooth on
- Open Bluetooth Preferences
- Click the ‘+’ sign to start the Bluetooth Assistant. Move the Bluetooth Assistant window over so both it and the Bluetooth Preferences windows are open.
- Press the small [circular] PS button on the controller to activate the Bluetooth connection
- Use “0000″ for the pass code
- Switch over to Bluetooth Preferences (Without closing the Bluetooth Assistant), select the newly discovered controller
- Choose the Options Cog and select “Update Services”
- Select the new controller, choose the Options Cog, and choose “Add to Favorites”
- Turn off Bluetooth
- Turn on Bluetooth [note: seems like you may need to do this somewhat quickly]
- Make sure the Bluetooth Assistant is still open.
- Wait for any blinking to stop on the controller, then press the small PS button (if this doesn’t take the first time, wait for the blinking light to go out, and try this again)
- Switch back to the Bluetooth Preferences.
- Unplug controller
Note that there are a few key differences between Scott’s directions and the video tutorial I linked above. Scott emphasizes: “I found that without the Bluetooth Assistant open, the system couldn’t find the controllers (even after they were found once and remembered). [...] In the future, to get the controllers recognized, open the Bluetooth Preferences and the Bluetooth Assistant, then press the PS button on one controller.”
Scott also reports that the pairing only seemed to work for him when his laptop was plugged in.
The 10.6 non-solution
This “solution” is a bit of a cop-out, but my own recommendation is just to use OSX 10.6 for now (or 10.5 works too). I continue to use OSX 10.6 myself.
That’s about it for now. Let us know if you have anything else to add.
Finally, I should mention: are you a Mac-savvy programmer? Do you want to help develop a workaround for these Bluetooth issues? Thomas Perl’s PS Move library is open source! Get in touch with us and/or Thomas, or join the PSMove API Development mailing list.