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Wondering how to connect an Xbox One controller to a PC? While a keyboard and mouse is superior for many genres, other types of games work better with a controller.
And as you’d expect, connecting an Xbox controller to a PC is easy since Microsoft handles both platforms. So, here’s how to use your Xbox controller to play PC games. As it turns out, there are actually three ways to pair an Xbox one controller to your PC. We’ll cover each method in turn.
1. Connect an Xbox Controller to a PC via USB Cable
The most straightforward way to connect your Xbox controller and PC is with a micro-USB cable. Simply plug the slim end into your Xbox One controller and the other end into a USB port on your PC. Hit the Xbox button to turn it on if it doesn’t do so on its own, and unplug it to disconnect.
On Windows 10, your computer should recognize the controller instantly. On earlier versions of Windows, the OS should automatically download drivers and your controller will be ready in a few moments.
Note that even when plugged into a computer, the batteries in your Xbox One controller will drain. We recommend picking up the Xbox One Play and Charge Kit to add rechargeable batteries to your device. This will charge when your controller is connected to your PC, eliminating battery life concerns.
2. Connect an Xbox One Controller to Your PC Using Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a convenient way of connecting your Xbox One controller and PC. However, to use it, you must have the newer model of Xbox One controller, as shown in the image below.
If your controller has the plastic casing around the Xbox button, as shown in the top illustration, then it is not Bluetooth-compatible. You’ll need to use the Xbox Wireless Adapter (as explained below) if you want to connect your Xbox controller to your PC wirelessly. The bottom model, where none of the plastic surrounds the Xbox button, supports Bluetooth.
To use Bluetooth, head to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices in Windows 10. Enable Bluetooth (if it isn’t turned on already), then choose Add Bluetooth or other device. Select Bluetooth from the list.
Next, press the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on. Then press and hold the Bind button on top of the controller (the small button next to LB) for a few seconds, and the Xbox button will start flashing rapidly.
From here, your Xbox controller should show up in the menu on your PC. Select it and complete the steps to pair them. If you have trouble, refer to our guide on setting up Bluetooth in Windows 10.
3. Use the Xbox Wireless Adapter to Pair an Xbox One Controller and PC
Microsoft has a standard called Xbox Wireless that’s built into a few computers, but there’s a good chance it’s not part of yours. So, to sync your Xbox One controller and PC wirelessly without Bluetooth, you’ll need to buy the Xbox Wireless Adapter. This adapter lets you connect your Xbox controller to your PC through the same proprietary method used by your console.
Plug it into a USB port on your PC and let Windows install drivers. Once it’s done, press and hold the button on the adapter and you’ll see a light flash.
Next, hold the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on, then press and hold the Bind button on top of the controller. After a few seconds, the controller and adapter should see each other and connect.
Reconnecting Your Xbox One Controller to Your Console
You can turn off your Xbox One controller by holding the Xbox button for 10+ seconds. Once the light goes out, it’s turned off.
Keep in mind that if your Xbox One controller is already paired to your console, pressing the Xbox button will turn the system on. You should still be able to pair it wirelessly using either of the methods above, but you’ll probably want to turn your console off after you do so (or unplug it before you start).
After you connect your Xbox controller to a PC using any method, you’ll need to re-pair it with your Xbox next time you want to use it there. You can connect the controller to your Xbox using a USB cable and press the Xbox button to pair.
To do this wirelessly, press the Connect button on the system. It’s to the left of the disc tray on the original Xbox One, and at the bottom-right of the front panel on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. After hitting this button, turn on your controller by hitting the Xbox button, then hold the Bind button on the top to pair it.
If you run into trouble, check out how to fix your Xbox One controller when it isn’t working.