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Official Remote Play for iOS is here!

Gamingtodaynews1e - Official Remote Play for iOS is here!
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PS4 Update 6.50 is here, and with it we get official Remote Play for iOS!

I have it up-and-running and wanted to share some thoughts and notes with the community:

The Equipment:

For this test, I'm running an OG PS4, wired into my Gigabit ethernet network. My iOS devices is an 11" 2018 iPad Pro with 256GB storage, connected to an 802.11ac wireless network, and with 4G data service. I have both the Apple Pencil and the Apple Keyboard Smart Folio.

The App:

The app was initially a bit of a challenge to find. I suspect because it's so new, Apple doesn't have it properly indexed in their search, as "PS4 Remote Play" came up with lots of non-relevant apps. However, selecting the official PS4 App, and then the developers name (PlayStation Mobile Inc.) gave me a list of all of the developers apps, and the "PS4 Remote Play" app was right at the top.

The Update:

I'm not certain if the update is required to use the new iOS app, but I decided to install it anyway. Took less than 5 minutes, and I was back up-and-running.

Connecting:

After logging in (and verifying via 2FA), the iOS app spent a very long time searching for my PS4. It didn't find it, and recommended I log into the PS4 and go into Settings -> Remote Play Connection Settings -> Add Device, where it gave me a code to enter into the app. This worked, and I was able to connect.

The default connection parameters are 540p/30fps, but I was able to change this to 720p/60fps (max for an OG PS4). To make any changes, you have to disconnect from the PS4 from the app first. There is also a setting to "Use PS4 Keyboard". There are no settings within the iOS settings app beyond the usual ones for Siri Search and Suggestions and enabling or disabling cellular data.

The Controls:

Controls are via onscreen controls. The various buttons are in static locations, however anywhere you put a finger or thumb onscreen becomes a thumb stick. The screenshot explains this in full.

You can play in either landscape mode (as above), or with fixed controls in portrait mode.

Now for the bad news. First off, the Smart Folio Keyboard only works for entering text into text entry fields. You can't use its cursor keys to move around menus like you can on the PC/Mac versions of Remote Play, nor can you use Space or Enter (the Smart Folio Keyboard doesn't have an Esc key). It works just fine for text entry boxes, but nowhere else — you have to use the on screen controls.

Secondly, I can't find any way to get a DS4 to work directly on it0. As expected, iOS won't see it as a Bluetooth device when the DS4 is put into pairing mode. I was really hopeful that connecting it via USB would work (I have a USB-C to USB-A adaptor), but nada. I even went so far as to connect the official PS4 PC wireless USB adaptor into my iPad Pro and then pair the DS4 to it — the pairing worked, but still no controls (and oddly enough, when I tried this I completely lost sound on the iPad Pro until I disconnected the USB Adaptor). I unfortunately don't have a MFi controller to test — hopefully Apple and Sony can hammer something out so that the DS4 can be used within Remote Play, even if it has to be physically wired in.

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(I do have Move and AIM controllers, but won't bother to test these as the only games I have for them are PSVR games that won't work through Remote Play anyway. I suspect they likewise won't work).

FWIW, you can use the Apple Pencil instead of a finger if you wanted to. I'm not sure why you'd want to do this, but it works as expected.

There doesn't appear to be any accelerometer support in the app. I suspect for 99% of use cases nobody would care, but I found out when I tried to start playing Journey and it expected you to twist the DS4 to look around. Fortunately pressing some of the on-screen buttons got me past this so I could in fact play the game.

Controls seemed to be perfectly responsive for the few tests I ran (menus, some HZD navigation, Journey), but I didn't try anything especially twitchy. Nor did I fire up something like Amplitude — I suspect the on screen controls just wouldn't work for it (less because of timing and more because of how awkward I suspect it would be compared to the real controller due to the lack of physical feedback and how easy it would be to shift and miss the on screen buttons).

Graphics:

Not much to say, other than games and graphics look great on the iPad Pro's 120Hz Liquid Retina display is beautiful. I took this screenshot from HZD, but it doesn't really do it justice — the colours pop better on the iPad Pro (I suspect my MacBook Pro's display isn't calibrated nearly as well). The video is beautifully smooth at 720p/60 — although having a highly optimized/fast local network certainly helps.

Cellular Play:

This doesn't appear to be supported. Disabling WiFi and trying to connect via LTE gives me a "No WiFi" error when attempting to start the connection. As enthusiastic as I am about the new app, it is 0220 local time right now, and I don't have access to another network to test true "remote" play on; hopefully I can test this tomorrow and update this post with some details as to how well it works in practice.

Overall Impressions:

It's a good start. Performance seems to be excellent — the iPad Pro can easily handle the load. It didn't once heat up or stutter or exhibit audio drop-outs (except when I plugged in the USB Wireless adaptor for some reason). Graphics were beautiful on the Liquid Retina Display.

Controls leave a lot to be desired, however. The on screen controls work just fine, but they overlay the game graphics. Really, what we want (and need!) is proper DS4 support. This would make Remote Play on iOS a true winner in my books.

As noted above, I could only test this so far on my personal local network. I'll try to make some time tomorrow to see what performance is like playing from a remote location. I'm especially interested to see if WiFi Assist1 makes any difference. Stay tuned!


— I can use the DS4 controller indirectly by having it connected directly to the PS4 of course, which is fine if I want to play while in my home while someone is watching TV, but not so great for playing remotely.
1 — WiFi Assist is a mode whereby iOS devices can use a cellular network in addition to WiFi when WiFi capacity is low or the connection is somewhat sketchy. This is also known as TCP MultiPath in networking circles.

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