Can I play Diablo Immortal on my iPhone or iPad?
At long last, Diablo Immortal is here and never has there been so much demon-slaying power packed into such small devices. The big question is how all of the grand, cosmic saga of good and evil will feel when distilled for play on iPhone or iPad.
Since I am an avid player of both Diablo and mobile games, I have a solid background for giving you my assessment about the pros and cons of Diablo Immortal on iOS. I’ve tried out the game on two very different pieces of hardware, and played with touch inputs as well as with a controller. Here’s what I found.
What you need to know about playing Diablo Immortal on iOS
The minimum requirements for Diablo Immortal on an iOS device are pretty lenient. If you own an Apple gadget that still works, odds are pretty high that you can play the title. You need to be running at least iOS 11, which is several years old now. On the hardware front, the oldest supported device is the iPhone 6s.
While those are the baseline requirements for playing Diablo Immortal on iOS, there will be some other possible areas that impact your game. First, you’ll also need 3.3GB of disk space for the initial download, followed by 9.5GB for an additional patch. It’s a beefy experience, especially if you do a lot of mobile gaming.
The other potential issue you may come across with Diablo Immortal, as with any game, is battery life. Heavy-duty apps will always put more strain on battery than the lean and light ones, and DI is a beast. The exact impact will depend on how recent your device is, but it’s something to keep an eye on as you play. You’ll become attuned to how much time you have, or whether you want to play with the charger plugged in, as you spend more time with the game.
The bold and the beautiful elements of Diablo Immortal
Let’s start off with the iPad experience. I used a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with M1 chip. This is one of the newer pieces of mobile hardware released by Apple, and it’s a really slick machine. It’s also a fantastic way to play Diablo Immortal. The performance was unwaveringly excellent, even with the graphical bells and whistles on max. And with such a large screen, all the different interface components felt well-positioned and easy to access.
I was really surprised how well the touch controls worked, even on such a big device. I expected that my wrists or hands would get tired pretty quickly propping up that large screen, but I put in a 20-minute session without issue. Joystick player controls are not my favorite input system for mobile (I’m a tap-to-move gal most of the time), but having the actual wheel move to wherever your thumb touches the screen does make the system feel vastly more comfortable.
The premise of this title is that it would be a full Diablo experience you could enjoy on mobile, and in that regard, Blizzard delivered. It looks and feels just like you want Diablo to.
The old and the not-as-beautiful elements of Diablo Immortal
The story’s pretty different when you try Diablo Immortal on older hardware. I use an iPhone 8 and gameplay was downright rough at times. The first instance where I encountered more than one other player amid a pack of enemies in Ashwold, the game performance dropped to about 5 frames per second. Turning the graphics settings way down did help avoid the problem to that extreme degree, but even with that compromise, I still had moments of stutter even in uncrowded spots. Having the highest possible resolution and the most detailed shadows or environment detail isn’t critical to me, but I know other players who won’t feel that trade-off is worth it. Everyone will have to find their own balance between shininess and performance on older generations of Apple devices.
Another hurdle was that the iPhone 8’s smaller screen, which felt cramped. Normally the petite 4.7-inch screen is fine for my gameplay experiences, but Diablo Immortal has a lot of menus and icons, not to mention the actual game screen. I tend to enjoy fewer buttons onscreen at once, but I understand why that doesn’t work well for this series. This is another area where personal preference has a big impact on how good your experience will feel.
Keep in mind, the iPhone 8 is on its last legs; Apple isn’t expected to support it for more than another year or so. Those of you who, like me, wait to upgrade until your phone literally refuses to function, expect some hurdles with the experience. For comparison, my husband has been playing on an iPhone 13 Pro, which has leaps and bounds better specs than my little device, and he’s lauded both the visuals and performance.
Peripheral power will improve gamplay
Finally, let’s address the controller angle. I synced up a PlayStation 5 controller to the iPad, and that was a solid way to play. The button prompts displayed were for an Xbox rather than a PlayStation device, which surprised me, because the correct hardware shows up for PlayStation controllers on a PC. That was really just a display oddity, because the abilities all worked consistently during fights.
There were a few other moments of wonky behavior. I couldn’t get the cursor to work consistently, so I found myself tapping any time I was using menus. That would get obnoxious if you wanted to have the game cast to a TV or propped on a surface not in easy reach. I could also see some challenges in getting an iPhone properly propped up, whereas iPads have stands designed for just this situation.
My preference is definitely for touch controls, but for Diablo fans who swear by the controller, you should be able to have a great mobile device experience once you have a solid physical setup in place.
Play however feels right
As it comes down to with so many questions about gaming hardware, your mileage may vary for the Diablo Immortal experience on iOS. Those who already enjoy some mobile games will probably have a great time rampaging through Diablo Immortal, as long as they’re working with a phone that isn’t as old as Deckard Cain. If this is your first time in the mobile world, the newer, bigger, and larger your device, the easier time you’ll have. And follow your heart to decide whether or not you use a controller. Happy hunting!
Originally published October 29, 2019, updated June 20, 2021
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