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 problems.
In this troubleshooting guide, we’ll show you some solutions to try when your Xbox One controller won’t connect, sync, or even turn on properly. By the end of it you should be gaming once again—fingers crossed!
1. Xbox One Controller Won’t Connect
If you can’t even 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 too often, the maximum amount of controllers an Xbox One supports is eight. In this case, 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.
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 if you connect your Xbox One controller to a PC. (See the “Xbox One Controller Is Blinking” section below for more on this.)
2. Xbox One Controller Keeps Disconnecting
What if your controller pairs normally but then keeps disconnecting? This can ruin a great multiplayer match 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 is no problem when you’re 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 if you don’t want to have to reconnect it later by pressing the Xbox button.
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, then look for the battery icon in the bottom-right corner. If they’re low, replace or charge them as necessary.
Frequent disconnects can also have 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 shelves, and similar. If your Xbox is inside an entertainment center, try moving it outside to get a better connection.
3. Xbox One Controller Is Blinking
If you press the Xbox button on your controller and it just blinks or flashes, this usually indicates that your controller isn’t paired to a console. As mentioned above, this happens when you pair the controller to another system. But it can also occur due to glitches.
Follow our guide to pairing an Xbox One controller to your console to get yours connected again.
If your controller won’t pair using the buttons, try using a micro-USB cable to pair it. Should this still fail to work, 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. Xbox One Controller Won’t Turn On
This is another common problem, with similar solutions to the above.
If your Xbox One controller won’t turn on, 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.
If changing the batteries doesn’t work, try this:
- Turn off your Xbox One fully by pressing and holding the power button on the front of the system for 10 seconds.
- Unplug your console for a few minutes.
- Use a micro-USB cable you know is good (try others if the first doesn’t work) to connect your controller to the system.
- 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.
- Try pressing the Xbox button at this point and see if it’s working.
General Xbox One Controller Connection Tips
We’ve covered specific cases above, but you should know of a few other solutions if those didn’t fix your issue.
Update the Controller Firmware
Your Xbox One controller actually has firmware that receives updates at times. It doesn’t get them often, but a 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 > Kinect & devices > Devices & accessories. Select your controller, then choose Ellipsis menu > Firmware version to check for updates.
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 connected to your Xbox, try disconnecting it and trying 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 one. Poorly made or frayed/damaged cables may not work correctly.
Test Another Controller
Like all troubleshooting, you can nail down where the problem lies by trying different devices. Try connecting a different controller (with charged batteries) to your system.
If it works fine, then you have an issue with the original controller. But if both have problems, then you likely have a problem with your console.
Reboot Your Console
We mentioned it above, but it bears repeating: make sure to reboot your console when troubleshooting controller issues. 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 to fix your problem.
Try Using a USB Cable Permanently
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 extra-long micro-USB cable so you don’t have to worry about sitting far away from your system.
If All Else Fails…
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. You may also be able to find a deal on a new controller to replace it instead.
Hopefully, one of these tips cleared up your Xbox One controller problem. Whether your controller won’t connect, keeps disconnecting, or just won’t turn on, something here should get you back in the game.
If the controller works fine, but feels limiting when you’re playing fighting games, you might want to consider getting an arcade stick for more precision. Pick from these top arcade sticks for Xbox One gaming. And try these troubleshooting tips if you have a problem with the Xbox Game Bar.
For more advice on getting the most out of your current games console, check out Xbox One settings every player should know.