Xbox One Controller Not Working? 4 Tips on How to Fix It!

Ben Stegner Updated 07-02-2020

Is your Xbox One controller not working? This is an annoying problem that a lot of Xbox owners face. While today’s wireless controllers are more convenient than the wired ones of previous systems, they come with their own set of issues.


In this troubleshooting guide, we’ll show you how to fix your Xbox One controller when it won’t connect, sync, or even turn on properly. By the end of it you should be gaming once again.

1. If Your Xbox One Controller Is Not Connecting

Xbox One Controller and System

If you can’t get your Xbox One controller to connect to your console, you should check for a few common issues.

Do you have eight controllers already connected to your console? While you likely don’t use this many often, the maximum amount of controllers an Xbox One supports is eight.

At this point, you can’t connect any more controllers. Hold the Xbox button on a controller and choose Turn controller off on the resulting menu to do so. Then try connecting the new controller again.


Also, remember that you can only pair a controller with one Xbox One system at a time. If you go to a friend’s house and pair your controller with his Xbox, you’ll have to re-pair it with yours again. This also applies when you connect your Xbox One controller to a PC 3 Ways to Connect an Xbox One Controller to PC Want to connect an Xbox One controller to your PC? Here are three easy methods for how to use an Xbox One controller on PC. Read More and then try to use it on your console again.

Note: See the “Your Xbox One Controller Is Blinking” section below for more on this.

2. If Your Xbox One Controller Keeps Disconnecting

What if your Xbox controller pairs but then keeps disconnecting? This can ruin a great multiplayer gaming session and is extremely frustrating to deal with.

Do remember that it’s a normal battery-saving feature of the Xbox One controller to disconnect if you don’t use it for 15 minutes. This isn’t a problem when playing games, but can come into play if you primarily use your Xbox One as a media center. You’ll need to move a stick or press a button every so often, otherwise you’ll have to reconnect it later by pressing the Xbox button.


Xbox One Elite Controller Overview

However, if you’re having a problem with disconnecting, it probably happens much more frequently than every 15 minutes. If that’s the case, you can try a few troubleshooting steps.

It’s important to confirm that your batteries are charged when you have this issue. Tap the Xbox button to go back to the Home menu, then look for the battery icon in the top-right corner. If they’re low, replace or charge them as necessary.

Frequent disconnects can also have their root in interference. The Xbox One controller has a range of about 19-28 feet, according to Xbox Support. Try moving closer to your console.


You should also remove obstructions between the controller and console, like laptops, metal shelving, and similar. If your Xbox is inside an entertainment center, try moving it outside the unit to get a better connection.

3. If Your Xbox One Controller Is Blinking

Xbox One Controller Xbox Button Blinking

If you press the Xbox button on your controller and it blinks or flashes, this usually indicates that your controller isn’t paired to a console. As mentioned above, this can happen when you pair the controller to another system. But it can also occur due to glitches.

Follow our guide showing how to sync an Xbox One controller to your console How to Sync an Xbox One Controller Need to sync your Xbox One controller to your console? Here's how to connect an Xbox One controller to your Xbox, plus what to do if it doesn't work properly. Read More to get yours connected again.


If your controller won’t pair using the buttons, try using a micro-USB cable to pair it. Simply plug the cable into a USB port on your console and connect the other end to your controller, then hold the Xbox button on your controller for a few seconds.

If this fails to solve the problem, you should restart your console. Press and hold the power button on the front of your system for 10 seconds to fully power it off. Then press it again to turn it back on.

4. If Your Xbox One Controller Won’t Turn On

Your Xbox controller is not turning on? This is another common problem, with similar solutions to the above.

If your Xbox One controller won’t turn on, first, make sure the batteries aren’t dead. If the batteries are low, the controller won’t turn on at all. Pop the back cover off and replace the two AA batteries, then try again. You can also purchase the Xbox One Play & Charge Kit to gain rechargeable batteries.

Xbox One Controller Battery Compartment

If changing the batteries doesn’t work, try this:

  1. Turn off your Xbox One fully by pressing and holding the power button on the front of the system for 10 seconds.
  2. Unplug your console’s power cable for a few minutes.
  3. Use a micro-USB cable you know is good (try others if the first doesn’t work) to connect your controller to the system.
  4. Plug your Xbox back in and turn it on using the power button on the system. Don’t press anything on the controller until the Xbox boots up.
  5. Try pressing the Xbox button at this point and see if it’s working.

General Xbox One Controller Connection Tips

We’ve covered specific problems above. However, if your Xbox controller is still not working, here are some other general solutions to try.

Update the Controller Firmware

Your Xbox One controller actually has firmware that receives updates at times. While it doesn’t get these often, corrupted or outdated firmware could cause disconnection issues.

If your controller is functional, you can update it by tapping the Xbox button to open the guide. Go to System > Settings > Devices & streaming > Accessories. Select your controller, then choose Device info > Firmware version to check for updates.

Xbox One Update Controller

Remove Connected Xbox Accessories

Sometimes Xbox One accessories, attached either to the controller or console, can introduce connection issues. If you have an external hard drive, keyboard, or similar peripheral connected to your Xbox, try disconnecting it and attempt to connect your controller again. Do the same for the Stereo Headset Adapter on your controller if you have it.

If you’re trying to sync your controller using a micro-USB cable, make sure you’re using a high-quality cord. Low-quality or frayed/damaged cables may not work correctly.

Try Connecting Another Controller

Like most troubleshooting, you can help nail down where the problem lies by trying different devices. Try connecting a different controller (with charged batteries) to your Xbox system.

If it works fine, then the original controller is the issue. But if both have problems, then the problem likely lies with your console instead.

Reboot Your Xbox One

We mentioned it above, but it bears repeating: make sure to reboot your console when troubleshooting controller issues. By default, simply tapping the power button on the front of the system only puts it into sleep mode, so make sure you hold it for at least 10 seconds for a full shutdown.

Sometimes a quick reboot is all you need when an Xbox One controller isn’t working.

Try Using a USB Cable Permanently

Xbox One Controller Connected Cable

If you find that your connection issues clear up when using a USB cable, your best bet might be to use your controller as a wired device to prevent future issues. You can buy an 15-foot MATEIN micro-USB cable so you don’t have to worry about sitting far away from your system.

MATEIN 15-foot micro-USB cable MATEIN 15-foot micro-USB cable Buy Now On Amazon $8.09

What If Your Xbox One Controller Is Still Not Working?

If nothing else works, head to Microsoft’s Device Support page. Sign in with your Microsoft account, register your console if you haven’t yet, and you can proceed through the steps to replace your controller. If Microsoft won’t replace it, you should be able to find a deal on a new controller instead.

Hopefully, one of these tips cleared up your Xbox One controller problem. Whether your controller won’t connect, keeps flashing, or won’t turn on, one of these tips should get you back in the game.

And now that you have a working controller, you should check out the best Xbox One exclusives to play today The 12 Best Xbox One Exclusives to Play Today Whether you want high-paced racing, exciting adventures, or a blast into the past, these Xbox One exclusives will hit the spot. Read More .

Related topics: Troubleshooting, Xbox One.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. John
    June 8, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    A button and others stopped working in game but work fine in opening screens. Reset control setting to factory settings and all is well. Kid meltdown averted.

  2. Sanchez
    February 15, 2020 at 2:10 am

    Thankyou so much! Was having a melt down was just my external hardrive that got a knock was making my control bug out ! Fixed it!

  3. John
    December 19, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Thx really helped

  4. Colton Walters
    August 21, 2019 at 2:27 am

    If your having a problem with it turning on, blinking 1 time, then turning off; try this.
    I noticed something and may help. Hopefully xbox reads this. When my battery gets low, i will plug in a micro USB cord to get through my game and turn off the xbox with the cord still plugged in when I'm done. Then I unplug it and pop it on the battery charger. Low and behold the next day...fully charged battery and remote won't come on. I knew it wasn't the battery so I tried something. I plugged the remote back into the cord with a fresh battery and turned it on. Waited for it to fully turn on then unplugged the cord and voila it works. It's like the xbox is stuck thinking it should see that the controller should still be in wired mode and can't clear it. Hope they can fix this. Hope it helps

  5. Oliver
    February 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Until now I already damaged 3 Xbox One controllers by updating them. One of them is completeley dead. The other two controllers can't sync to the console by WLAN anymore - although I still can play with them with a USB cable. I tried everything mentioned in this article and several other sources, but to no avail.

    So my bottomline is: Never ever try to update your XBox One controller!

    • Dill
      December 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Yup - I tried to update my controller and it got fried or something, no longer turns on.

  6. Juan
    February 9, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Thank you so much

  7. Davidson
    August 24, 2018 at 3:29 am

    Hey guys I recently came across a problem with the XB 1 controller where by the A X Y and some other buttons malfunction from time to time as well as the controller itself when you try to connect to the console... through experimenting I solved the problem by taking a piece of paper or insulating tape and placing it on the charging metal that is between the positive and negative connections for the batteries in that compartment hope it works for u....you probably won't be able to use play and charge kit if it works though

  8. Doc
    July 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    ***Whoops, wrong article. Hate the stupid "infinite scroll."

  9. Doc
    July 25, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    "...and most notably, AWZ.

    Indeed, it is the first app here that can read Amazon’s proprietary AWZ ebook format."

    Amazon's format is AZW, not AWZ.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 25, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for the catch; fixed!