I have hated the MFi program for game controllers for a long time now. Cheap and expensive controllers for a handful of games. There was no valid tech reason for Apple to restrict their OS to their own protocol for this! It was a blatant cash grab.
Thankfully, that has changed in iOS 13. Now iPads and iPhones can officially use PS4 and (newer) XBox One controllers, which are MUCH easier to find and of considerably higher quality, especially for the price.
I just discovered yesterday, thanks to this reddit post that there is a way to pair and use my 8bitdo controller with iOS. In short: start the controller in pairing mode, then go to Settings – Accessibility – Switch Control – Switches – Bluetooth devices and add the controller. Then it shows up as a regular Bluetooth device.
I tested it with Minecraft and Crashlands, and it works perfectly.
Note that it works in Xinput and Mac mode so I don’t see any reason you couldn’t pair other Xinput compatible controllers with the same technique.
What a ridiculous place to put what should be a pretty standard HID controller. Still, very glad there is now SOME kind of iOS support for devices the rest of the tech world is willing to support.