Microsoft Opens Up About Privacy In Windows 10 Creators Update

Microsoft offered another peek at the privacy settings you’ll be asked to manage before you install the looming Windows 10 Creators Update. The company said in a blog post that it will collect less information than before, offer more details about what each setting does, and respect the decisions you’ve already made with previous versions of Windows 10 when the Creators Update starts to roll out between April 5 and April 11.

Privacy concerns have plagued Windows 10 for a while. Microsoft previously encouraged you to share information when you got started with the operating system, and when the Anniversary Update debuted in August 2016, it removed the ability to easily disable the Cortana virtual assistant. You could still control what it could access–ranging from your emails and installed apps to your speech and location data–but not turn it off.

That problem remains in the Creators Update. Now, though, Microsoft requires you to set each individual setting before you get started, which means its data collection should come as less of a surprise, and the company has worked to reduce the amount of information it collects. These reductions are particularly noticeable in regard to diagnostic info, as Windows and Devices Group EVP Terry Myerson explained in the blog post:

Aside from sharing new information to inform your choices, our teams have also worked diligently since the Anniversary Update to re-assess what data is strictly necessary at the Basic level to keep Windows 10 devices up to date and secure. We looked closely at how we use this diagnostic data and strengthened our commitment to minimize data collection at the Basic level. As a result, we have reduced the number of events collected and reduced, by about half, the volume of data we collect at the Basic level.

Microsoft doesn’t allow you to opt out of sending diagnostic information from the Settings app. You can choose from only three levels: Basic, Enhanced, and Full. The company recommends the Full setting, but the other two are still options. (The biggest problem with choosing Basic is that it prevents you from submitting comments via the Feedback Hub.) Limiting the amount of data you’re required to share is a welcome change.

The Creators Update will also make it easier to figure out what each setting does. Why does Microsoft want you to provide your location, enable speech recognition, and let it use your data to offer “tailored experiences” and targeted ads? Right now that isn’t clear, but this update will offer more details about each item and provide a “Learn more” link that lets you get even more information about how the settings affect your privacy.

Operating system updates offer companies a good chance to reset user settings. You might prevent Windows 10 from accessing your location or showing relevant advertisements now, but if you weren’t paying attention while setting up the Creators Update, perhaps those settings could have been changed to help Microsoft earn some more ad revenue. Free operating system updates aren’t going to pay for themselves, you know.

Microsoft didn’t go that route. Instead, the company said that each setting will respect the choices you’ve already made. You’ll still have to go through the setup process–the whole point is making sure people are clear on what data Windows 10 shares–but you won’t have to disable each individual setting another time. This is a small decision, to be sure, but it still helps to highlight Microsoft’s renewed commitment to user privacy.

Or at least that’s the idea. We’ll have a better understanding of Microsoft’s approach to user privacy in this new era of Windows-as-a-service after we’ve spent a little time with the Creators Update. For now you can check out Microsoft’s updated Privacy Statement to learn more about what data is collected and how it’s used, and if you have a hankering for the Creators Update, you should be able to install it at some point later today.

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iOS 10.3.1 Fixes WiFi Vulnerability, iCloud Settings Bug

Apple released iOS 10.3.1 on April 3 to address a vulnerability involving the Wi-Fi chip on recent iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch models. The update also fixed a bug that re-enabled some iCloud settings and features that were previously disabled without informing users of the change.

The company said on a support page that an “attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip” of recent iOS devices via stack buffer overflow. This problem was resolved via “improved input authentication” that should prevent attackers from taking advantage of this vulnerability. That’s good news if you like to use your iPad in a coffee shop, for example, or don’t turn off your iPhone’s Wi-Fi when you leave home. Both scenarios would leave you exposed to attacks that rely on your iOS device searching for a Wi-Fi network to which it might be able to connect.

Vulnerabilities like that are why experts recommend using the latest versions of whatever operating system you rely on. Other things help–being cautious with links, avoiding questionable apps, and so on–but installing updates is the easiest way to bolster your device’s security. Problems arise when those updates change important settings, like those affecting data privacy, without any warning. That appeared to happen with iOS 10.3.1 when users reported that certain iCloud settings (backups, sync agenda, and the like) that were previously disabled had been quietly re-enabled.

There was no message informing users of this change. You would’ve had to scroll through your settings, notice something had changed, and wonder how it might have happened to connect the dots between updating iOS and having iCloud behave differently. It turns out that some of those dots weren’t properly connected–Apple said in a statement to Tom’s Hardware that this problem actually affected iOS 10.3 and was fixed in iOS 10.3.1:

We’ve identified an issue in the recent iOS 10.3 software update that impacted a small number of iCloud users. This bug may have inadvertently reenabled some iCloud services that users had previously disabled.  We’re sending an email to all affected customers to make them aware of the issue. We recommend that users who have upgraded to iOS 10.3 check their iCloud settings to manage the services they want to use or contact AppleCare with any questions. This bug has also been fixed in the new 10.3.1 release.

Apple’s spokesperson also said that “it’s worth noting that this did not impact iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Keychain or Find My iPhone.” Those features automatically sync photos, login credentials, and an iOS device’s location, respectively, making them some of the most sensitive iCloud settings. Any information leaving your device and being stored in the cloud with your permission is a problem, but at least the most vulnerable data was unaffected. Apple will email you if you were affected by this bug, but in the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to double check the settings just in case.

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How to face swap in Snapchat

Face-swapping is one of the more entertaining trends for which anyone with a smartphone can join in. Getting to grips with Snapchat can be confusing for new users, however, so follow our helpful guide to get swapping faces with your friends and even pictures.

It’s mega-disturbing, sure, but face swapping is the craze that just won’t go away. Here’s how to join the trend


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Face Swap is the Snapchat phenomenon that is both disturbing and fascinating at the same time. Even if you keep your results to yourself, it’s one experiment you have really got to try – if only for the giggles. Also see: Snapchat phone rumours and What are Snapchat Spectacles?

First things first, if you’re completely new to Snapchat our complete guide to using Snapchat might be more useful, as it takes you through every element of the app. Here, we’re just talking about face swap. If face swap is all you’re after, keep reading!

Get started with Face Swap on Snapchat

• Open Snapchat in Selfie mode

• Tap and hold on your face until a white mesh appears

• Scroll through the options to the side of the capture button to find Face swap

• Line up two faces as shown onscreen

You’ll first need to launch Snapchat (if you don’t already have it you can download it from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store), and make sure you’re on the camera screen. Now, swap the camera so it’s facing you. You should be able to see your lovely face on screen.

Activate Snapchat lenses

Now, tap on your face until you see a sort of mesh form over your face. That’s Snapchat mapping your face, and it’s how the lenses look so realistic (and creepy).

You’ll can now swipe through the lens options that appear at the bottom of the screen. The face swap is a yellow icon with two smiley faces inside. You should see two smiley faces appear on the main portion of the screen now.

Access Face Swap

Access Face Swap

Align your faces

Grab a friend or family member that you want to swap faces with, and align both of your faces with the icons on screen until they are both yellow.

We’ve found that it’s most successful if you remove your glasses, and if you’re facing the camera directly.

Working? Snapchat uses the map of your face to adjust the other persons face to fit yours, and that means that when you talk it’ll be their face that moves on your body… get it? It’s horrifying and bizarre, but totally fascinating and it’ll have you laughing uncontrollably in no time (like Lewis and Christina were below).

Align faces

Align faces

Save a Face Swap

But you’ll want to capture that image to share with your friends. Tap the circle at the bottom with the face swap icon to capture the image, and if you want to save it to your phone’s photo library you’ll need to tap the icon in the bottom left corner that looks like a downwards arrow.

You can also send it to your Snapchat friends as you normally would.

With that image saved in your photo library, you can share it anywhere, whether that’s via email, on Facebook, on Twitter or elsewhere.

Using Snapchat’s Solo Face Swap lens

The popularity of Snapchat’s original face swap lens doesn’t seem to be slowing, so the developers have added an additional face swap option that means you can even join in the fun when you’re on your own.

The solo face swap lens swaps your face with a face from your photo library from your phone instead. Scroll to the purple face swap icon after launching the Snapchat app and tapping and holding on your face to bring up the lens options. If you don’t see the purple face swap icon, you might need to update your Snapchat app.

You’ll see a pop up appear and slowly but surely, Snapchat will pick out faces it finds in your photo library ready for you to swap. You can scroll through them until you find the one you want to try and tap it to see the magical results.

Annoyingly, you can’t manually choose a photo from your photo library – Snapchat cleverly looks for faces itself but that does mean that some don’t show up if it makes a mistake.

Alternatives to Snapchat for Face Swap

While using Snapchat to face swap is fun, not everybody uses the popular messaging app and thus doesn’t have access to the feature. Don’t be disheartened though, as the ability to swap faces with friends and family isn’t a feature unique to Snapchat, and is available on many other apps.

The most popular app that currently offers face swapping abilities is MSQRD, which hit the headlines when it was bought out by Facebook less than three months after launching.

The app, available for free on both iOS and Android devices offers not only face swapping abilities, but other effects similar to those used by Snapchat.

The selection includes one particular effect that’ll make you look like Donald Trump (the horror!), and much like Snapchat, these effects will change from time to time to keep things interesting.

It works in a similar way to Snapchat’s face swap feature, recognising your face and automatically applying the various effects when selected.

If MSQRD isn’t an appealing option to you then, for iOS users at least, Face Swap Live (and it’s free variant) is another good option.

Face Swap Live offers similar functionality to both Snapchat and MSQRD while bringing something slightly different to the table.

In addition to being able to take/record face swap selfies and apply a number of (no doubt hilarious) filters to your face, Face Swap Live also offers the ability to superimpose your face onto a photo.

This means that you could even add your face to a photo of Donald Trump (with worrying results) or pretend to be a baby – your imagination is the limit.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an Android variant available at the time of writing, but it is currently in development and those interested can sign up to be notified when it launches on the Face Swap Live website.

You might also like:

10 Snapchat tips and tricks
How to screenshot on Snapchat without them knowing
How to use Facebook Reactions
11 Facebook Messenger tips

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AMD's Crimson Driver 17.4.1 Smooths Out VR On Rift, Vive For Select Cards

AMD’s new Crimson Software 17.4.1 isn’t a particularly meaty driver release, but the improvements it does come with are quite interesting, including updates for smoother VR projection and new connectivity options, along with a small handful of bug fixes.

On the Rift side of the VR font, this driver adds support for Oculus’ Asynchronous Spacewarp technology on Radeon R9 290 series and R9 390 series cards. In short, Oculus’ ASW is a feature that takes two frames and extrapolates a new frame in between, resulting in a much smoother frame rate – an especially useful feature for users who don’t have the fastest graphics cards but still want to get into VR and have a pleasant experience. For a more detailed explanation on how ASW works you can read our detailed writeup.

Similarly, AMD also added support for SteamVR Asynchronous Projection for Radeon RX 480 and RX 470 graphics cards, just like it promised last month. This feature will smooth out playback on the HTC Vive but, for the time being, it only supports Windows 10.

For connectivity, the driver adds support for DisplayPort 1.4 HBR3, 8K at 30Hz over a single cable, and 8K at a full 60Hz over two cables.

Resolved issues include:

  • Display flickering may be experienced on some AMD FreeSync displays when running applications in windowed borderless fullscreen.
  • Radeon Settings install may become stuck or unresponsive when doing a driver upgrade through Radeon Settings
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands may experience poor Multi GPU scaling on some Multi GPU enabled system configurations.
  • Surprise unplug of an AMD XConnect™ technology system after Radeon Software installation may cause a system hang.

More information on known issues and download links are available in the full release notes on AMD’s website. Let us know in the comments what your experience is with the new driver. Has enabling ASW or SteamVR Asyncronous Projection improved your gaming experience?

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Huawei P10 Plus review

Huawei was one of the main attractions at MWC and its new flagship P10 phones for 2017 are solid options for a new handset. Once again, the phones feature dual-Leica cameras but there’re only a handful of reasons to but the P10 Plus over the regular model and there’s tough competition from the likes of LG, Samsung and Honor. Here’s our full in-depth review. Read next: Best smartphones of 2017.

Price and where to buy

The Huawei P10 Plus release date is set for 31 March and you’ll be able to get it from all major UK phone networks. This is a big win for the Chinese company and its mission to conquer the smartphone market. Read our Huawei P10 review.

As usual contract prices vary but seem to be around £40 with a free handset at launch. We’re more interested in the SIM-free price in terms of placing it in the market and comparing to rivals. Well Carphone Warehouse has it for £679 which is not the most expensive around but is a lot for most to stump up.

For comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus starts at £719, the LG G6 is £649 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is £779.

Considering the Huawei P10 Plus is pretty pricey, it’s worth bearing in mind that the regular P10 is pretty similar and costs £569 and the impressive OnePlus 3T is just £399. There’s also a spanner in the works as the Honor 8 Pro is largely the same phone and costs under £500.

Huawei P10 vs P10 Plus

Huawei P10 vs P10 Plus

Design and build

Despite a screen size jump of 0.4in, the P10 Plus is barely any bigger than the regular P10. It’s still 7mm thick, only a few millimetres wider and taller and just 20g heavier (165g). Overall, this is quite impressive for a 5.5in phone with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. It’s a very similar size and weight to the P9 Plus.

Both the P10 and P10 Plus have essentially the same design are gorgeous, desirable smartphones. It’s hard to do something new when it comes to smartphone design and as such, the P10 Plus reminds us of various other handsets including the iPhone 7, HTC One A9 and the OnePlus 3T.

The phone has a similar build to the P9 but with a smoother and rounder shape. It feels nice in the hand, although slightly slippery. Almost entirely aluminium, the body is only interrupted by a small glass section at the top which houses the cameras as flash.

One of the key changes in design is having the fingerprint sensor on the front rather than the back. We’ll talk more about this later.

Huawei P10 Plus design

Huawei P10 Plus design

Despite almost every rivalling moving to waterproofing, the P10 Plus cannot be freely dunked in water without fear of damage. You’ll need to look elsewhere if this is a high priority for you because it’s only IPX3 rated which is basic splashproof level. The regular P10 doesn’t have this rating, mind.

Huawei spent a decent chunk of the P10 announcement at MWC talking about colour. There are eight different options for the P10 Plus:

• Graphite Black
• Dazzling Blue
• Greenery
• Dazzling Gold
• Rose Gold
• White Ceramic
• Mystic Silver
• Prestige Gold

A lot of people will be interested in the new blue and green options with the former our favourite, but it’s unclear which retailers and networks will have them. So far, it’s the black, gold and silver options that are available.

Hardware and Specs

Huawei might not have pushed the boat out when it comes to the hardware on offer here but the P10 Plus is still has a solid and attractive spec sheet.

Screen

As you would expect, the P10 Plus offers a larger screen compared to the regular model at 5.5in instead of 5.1in. That’s pretty standard although suddenly seems a bit small with the announcement of the huge 6.2in Galaxy S8 – which isn’t actually that big due to tiny bezels.

The P10 Plus doesn’t have fancy rounded corners on the screen or curved edges at the sides. However, it does offer a higher resolution than the P10 – Quad HD rather than Full HD so the pixel density is a decent chunk greater at 540ppi.

It’s worth noting, with new rivals like the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8, that that P10 Plus doesn’t offer things like rounded corners on the display or curved edges.

While the screen is perfectly adequate, we’re not completely impressed by it. When you compare the LCD technology to phones with AMOLED you can notice how the white isn’t up to scratch and viewing angles aren’t as good.

It’s also a shame that no oleophobic coating means the screen is magnet for marks and smudges.

Huawei P10 Plus screen

Huawei P10 Plus screen

Processor

There’s no new processor here but the Kirin 960, as found in the Huawei Mate 9, is something of a beast. It’s a 2.4- and 1.8GHz (four cores of each speed) octa-core processor backed up by a Mali-G71 GPU.

The phone is lightning fast and certainly an improvement on the already impressive P9 Plus. As you can see in the benchmark figures below, the P10 Plus got some of the best results we’ve ever seen – partly thanks to the huge amount of RAM (see below). Note that the screen resolution is the reason behind lower framerates.

Memory and storage

One of the things keeping the P10 Plus so speedy is the whopping 6GB RAM inside which is paired with 128GB of storage. There’s also a Micro-SD card slot for adding even more – up to 256GB.
Not even phones like the G6 and S8 have 6GB of RAM so this is impressive and joins a very limited club with devices such as the OnePlus 3T and Honor 8 Pro.

There’s another model of the P10 Plus with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage – the L09 – but as far as we know, it’s not destined for the UK market.

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How to Sync Google and Outlook Calendars

Here’s how to sync Google and Outlook calendars so that events and all the details are in both calendars.

Keep Google and Outlook calendars in sync


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How to Sync Google and Outlook Calendars How to Sync Google and Outlook Calendars

Google pulled the plug on its Outlook calendar sync utility years ago, so what’s the alternative? We explain how to sync Google and Outlook calendars, and workarounds so you don’t have to.

If you’re primarily a Google user, check out 11 ways to use Google Calendar like a pro.

Workarounds

First things first: do you really need to sync Google and Outlook calendars? You might think you do, but there are several alternative approaches which might solve your problem.

For example, if you have an iPhone, Android phone or just about any other smartphone, you should be able to add multiple accounts (and therefore multiple calendars) and have Google and Outlook calendars appear together in the same app. This isn’t syncing, but it does mean you can see two or more calendars in the same app and same view. 

If you don’t have a phone, or your problem is on your PC and you’re still using the Outlook application in Windows, it could be time to ditch it and move to the online version, Outlook.com, which supports multiple calendars. 

There are several other advantages of using an online email / calendar service: you can log on from any computer with an internet connection, and you don’t have any syncing issues as everything is stored online. 

Pick just one

Using two calendars services from two different companies can lead to problems and it’s worth considering using only one, if at all possible. We understand that it’s useful to use multiple email providers, but when it comes to your calendar, why not just pick one and use just that?

It simplifies scheduling appointments and events and solves the sync problem instantly. Both Google and Microsoft support multiple calendars, such as work and private, and offer single calendar or combined views. (This applies whether you’re using a mobile device or a PC or laptop, by the way.)

When adding a new event, you can choose which calendar to add it to. This is the only complication, as it’s all too easy to add an event to the wrong calendar. But at least you’ll have no problems with syncing.

Export a Google calendar

To use Google or Outlook, just export one and import it into the other. To export Google Calendar click the drop-down menu next to the relevant calendar in the My Calendars section on the left and choose Calendar Settings. Then scroll down and click Export this calendar. It downloads as a zip, so copy the .ics file out.

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Export Google

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Export Google

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Export Google

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Export Google

To import this into Outlook, go to File, Open and export, Import and export. Select the option to import an iCalendar (.ics) file.

How to sync Google and Outlook calendars

How to sync Google and Outlook calendars

Export an Outlook calendar

To export your Outlook calendar, go to File, Open and export, Import and export. Select Export to a file and save it to a .csv file. To import it into Google Calendar, click the down arrow next to Other calendars and select Import calendar.

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Export Google

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Export Google

Outlook.com users

If you use Outlook.com Calendar, just click Import in the menu and select the Google Calendar .ics file to import it. To export to Google Calendar is more difficult. Click the Share menu, then Get a link. Select the ICS URL with the mouse and press Ctrl+C. Go to Google Calendar, click the down arrow next to Other Calendars and select Add by URL. Press Ctrl+V to paste in the URL you copied, but replace webcals:// at the start with http://.

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Import to Outlook

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Import to Outlook

How to view both calendars

Android

On an Android phone or tablet, install the free Microsoft Outlook app from the Google Play Store. (You can’t simply add a Microsoft or Outlook account in the Android ‘add account’ setting, unfortunately. You can try adding an Exchange account, but it doesn’t work with all Microsoft accounts.)

The Outlook app includes your Outlook.com calendar and merges it with the one on the device. This means that no matter which calendar an appointment or event is added to, it appears in the Android Calendar app. However, this works only if you use an Exchange account and not an Outlook.com account (which includes Hotmail and MSNmail.)

This method does not sync calendars and make them identical, it just looks that way and the Android app can read Outlook.com Calendar, but not write to it.

iPhone & iPad

The Calendar app on an iPhone and iPad can display a combined Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar too. Go to Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap Add Account.

Use the options to add Google and Outlook.com accounts. Accept the offer to sync calendars and that’s it. Events added to Google Calendar, Outlook.com Calendar or Outlook if it’s synced with Outlook.com, automatically appear in the iOS Calendar app.

How to Sync Google and Outlook Calendars

How to Sync Google and Outlook Calendars

Use invitations

One way to make an appointment appear in both Google and Outlook calendars simultaneously is to simply invite yourself by entering your email address when creating a new event. You basically create a meeting with yourself, so in Google Calendar you would invite yourself by adding your Outlook or Outlook.com email address.

Outlook adds a calendar invitation from Google as an unconfirmed event. You can leave it like this or click the Accept button in the email to confirm it. Outlook.com does not automatically add invitations to the calendar and you have to click Accept in the email.

How to sync Google and Outlook calendars

How to sync Google and Outlook calendars

You can manually accept emailed invitations sent from Outlook/Outlook.com to Google Calendar in Gmail, but there is a better way. Click the gear button in Google Calendar and selecting Settings. On the General tab is an option to automatically add invitations to your calendar.

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Import to Outlook

Sync Google Outlook calendars - Import to Outlook

Third-party apps and services

If you don’t want to use any of our workarounds, there are apps and services that sync Google and Outlook calendars. Here are a few of them you might like to try, some of which are free.

SyncGene can sync contacts, calendars and tasks automatically across iPhone, Android, Outlook, Gmail and apps. There is a free version which is limited to two data sources and does not offer automatic syncing, but a paid-for subscription works out at $4.95 per month.

Sync2 (image below) syncs Outlook with Google Calendar and does a lot more besides for £29.95. It can sync on a schedule or whenever a change in Outlook is detected.

How to sync Google and Outlook calendars

How to sync Google and Outlook calendars

OggSync does a similar job and v8.1 fixes sync problems introduced by changes at Google, but costs $29.95 a year.

gSyncit v4 is a $19.99 Outlook add-in that enables one and two-way syncing between Outlook and Google calendar, but doesn’t appear to have been updated for over a year.

Yet another option is Scand Outlook4Gmail which syncs your Outlook calendar with your Google calendar. It can also sync contacts and a single licence costs $28.98. 

Free options

Calendar Sync appears to be the perfect replacement for the old Google sync tool for Outlook users. It’s a free app that is very easy to use and does exactly what you want. Enter your Google username and password and click Save Settings. Click Sign in to Google at the bottom to authorise it.

Now you can select the Google calendar to sync, if there is more than one, and whether Google or Outlook is the master calendar. A two-way sync by last modified date is possible and you can choose to delete duplicates in Outlook or Google. The Auto Sync tab enables you to sync automatically, but don’t sync too often because Google imposes limits.

Some people like Calendar Sync, while others says it causes problems. 

Another option is Outlook Google Calendar Sync, which is in beta and was last updated in September 2016. It is supported, and can sync events including attendees and reminders. It doesn’t have to be installed and works behind web proxies.

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How to use PS4 DualShock 4 controller on PC

Many gamers have made the switch from console to PC, but console converts can struggle with using a keyboard and mouse for gaming, especially those that have been using controllers for years. Can you use the DualShock 4 controller to play games on PC? Of course, but it’s not as straightforward as you’d imagine.

Is there a way to use a DualShock 4 controller with a PC? Of course there is! It’s just not as straightforward as we hoped


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More and more people are making the move from console to PC for gaming, simply because a powerful gaming PC can provide better graphics and frame rates than can be achieved by either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One – high-end gaming PCs can even outperform the PS4 Pro.

However, console converts can struggle with using a keyboard and mouse for gaming, especially those of us that have been using controllers for years. Could we use the DualShock 4 controller to play games on PC? Technically yes, but it’s not as straight forward as we’d hope. Also see: How to use PS4 Remote Play on PC.

If you don’t own a DualShock 4 yet, or want to grab a second pad specifically for your PC, you can grab one from Amazon for £42.95 at the time of writing, in a range of colours including black, blue, red, and white.

Is my DualShock 4 controller compatible with PC?

Let’s turn back time to the announcement of the DualShock 4 controller in February 2013. The successor to the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3 controller was announced during a Sony press conference to excited fans watching around the world.

The new DualShock 4 added features like a 3.5mm jack for headphone/mic support, redesigned trigger buttons, a lightbar, and of course, the touchpad. It was also a lot better looking than its predecessor, and was a lot more comfortable to use over long periods of time – what wasn’t to like?

As well as all the above features, Sony also announced – much to the delight of gamers around the world – that the DualShock 4 controller would be compatible with Windows. It meant that gamers wouldn’t have to fork out for extra accessories, and gave them the freedom to switch between the two platforms, or so they thought.

Unfortunately, it isn’t quite the plug-and-play solution that we thought it’d be, and using a DualShock 4 controller on a PC takes a bit of work if the game doesn’t specifically have DualShock 4 support.

See also: How to record games using Game DVR in Windows 10

What about Mac?

But what about Mac gamers? Could they use the DualShock 4 controller for Mac gaming? Technically yes, it is possible to connect your DualShock 4 controller to your Mac, both via USB and Bluetooth, and your Mac will recognise it as a gamepad, however it gets a bit more complex from that point on.

You see, Windows has the advantage of having the XInput API built into its OS, which is what makes Xbox controllers compatible with Windows, and is what programmers use to make PS4 controllers work on Windows (we’ll come to that in detail below), but the same can’t be said for Mac.

So yes, while the DualShock 4 will be recognised as a gamepad, it’ll be a lot harder to find games that have controller support, and they may require some time tweaking settings before it works properly.

See also: Best gaming PCs

Compatible games

While occasional games have enjoyed DualShock 4 support over the last few years, 2016 marked the first time that major developers began consistently adding full support for the controller, making it much easier to play games on the PC using the PS4 pad.

The likes of No Man’s Sky, Watch Dogs 2, NBA 2K17, and Dark Souls III all offered plug-and-play support for the DualShock 4, connected either wirelessly or using the controller’s in-built Bluetooth. These games even included DualShock 4 button overlays, so that in-game prompts would instruct you to hit ‘X’ rather than ‘A’, as on an Xbox pad.

Not every game offers support, but more and more major titles will going forward. If you’re not sure which games support the DualShock 4, check out this fan-maintained list on the PC Gaming Wiki.

Use a PS4 controller with Steam games

2016 also saw Steam add support for the DualShock 4, so that you can now use it to navigate the Steam menu in Big Picture Mode – including on a Steam Link. Be warned though: just because you can use the PS4 controller with Steam, that doesn’t mean you can use it in all your Steam games. Most still won’t work without a little bit of extra work, but luckily there is a way to use your DualShock 4 with almost any PC game.

How to install InputMapper

As mentioned above, although the DualShock 4 has Windows compatibility, game developers have to specifically add support for it, or it won’t work – at all. Alas, there is light at the end of the tunnel as there’s now an application available that will map the DualShock 4 controls directly to Microsoft’s XInput API.

The end result is that games are ‘tricked’ into thinking you’re using an Xbox 360 controller, and you’ll be free to play as many games with your DualShock 4 controller as your heart desires.

So, what is this application and how do you use it? Well…

1) Download and install InputMapper. The first step is to head over to the InputMapper website, download the latest version of the tool and install it on your PC.

2) Connect your DualShock 4 controller. Once you’ve installed InputMapper, the next step is to connect your controller to your PC. You can do this via a USB connection or via Bluetooth, but it’s worth bearing in mind that a Bluetooth connection isn’t as stable as a wired one. However, if you’re adamant on connecting via Bluetooth, just hold the Share button and PlayStation button on the controller until the light flashes to enter pairing mode, then pair with it on your PC.

3) Open InputMapper and get ready to game. Now that you’ve installed InputMapper and connected your DualShock 4 controller, it’s finally time to open the application. Upon opening InputMapper, your DualShock 4 controller should be recognised, and should function identically to an Xbox 360/One controller (in most cases anyway).

It’s worth noting that you may encounter the odd game here and there that has compatibility issues. If this issue arises, head into the Settings menu of InputMapper and toggle the checkbox labelled “Use Exclusive Mode”. If you want to customise your gaming experience and remap your buttons (and create macros), this can be done via the Profiles menu within the application.

While InputMapper is a lifesaver for those of us that have DualShock 4 controllers and a PC, it’s still a work in progress. For one thing, InputMapper has to be open every time you want to play a game. While it may seem like a hassle, there’s an option within the application to allow it to start up minimised whenever Windows boots up. Also, as its designed to mimic Xbox controls, you’ll most likely see A and B button graphics in game, opposed to X and O.

See also: Most anticipated games

What are the alternatives?

So, are there any alternatives to using InputMapper and a DualShock 4 controller? The only simple alternative that we can suggest is to, sadly, buy an Xbox 360/One controller to use for PC gaming. Microsoft’s XInput API makes gaming with an Xbox 360/One controller such a simplistic experience, you sometimes forget you’re playing on a PC and not an Xbox.

Although even with Microsoft’s own controllers, there is a downside – unless you have one of the newer Xbox One S controllers with Bluetooth, if you just use the controller that came with your console, it will only work plugged into a USB work – you won’t be able to connect it straight away to your PC wirelessly.

You can however buy an Xbox One controller with a wireless adapter for PC, or you can simply buy the wireless adapter on its own if you already own a controller. If you still have an Xbox 360 controller, you can still grab a 360 wireless adapter too.

See also: Best budget gaming PCs

There’s also Valve’s Steam Controller, which is designed to support any Steam game – even those without built-in controller support. The best price for it we’ve found is £39.99 from Game – though be warned, it’s a bit different from your average controller, with dual trackpads instead of the second analogue stick and D-pad, for more precise input.

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