The Xbox Wireless Gamepad might have Xbox in the name, but you aren't limited to pairing it with just a console. The controller pairs to Windows 10, too, letting you use it wirelessly with any compatible PC game. Here's what you need to do to start using your Xbox gamepad with your PC.
Original Xbox One controllers lack wireless connectivity, but the gamepads that shipped with the Xbox One S and later consoles include Xbox wireless communication and Bluetooth.
You can use both controllers wirelessly with your PC, but the process is different; you must get a wireless dongle for the non-Bluetooth gamepads.
The good news is that Bluetooth controllers have been in production for so long that if you picked yours up in the last four years, there's a good chance that it already has Bluetooth.
To determine whether you have a Bluetooth or non-Bluetooth Xbox controller, you need to look at the plastic surrounding the Guide button.
If it's the same plastic as the face of the controller, without any seams, you have a Bluetooth gamepad. If it's the same plastic as the bumper buttons, with a seam between the Guide button and the controller's face, it's a non-Bluetooth gamepad.
If it has a small, rectangular Capture button between the Menu and View buttons, and a USB-C port on the top instead of micro USB, it's an Xbox Series controller and also has Bluetooth.
Connect Your Xbox Controller to PC With a Wired Connection
This is very simple, but you do need a physical cable connecting the controller to your PC. Here's how you do it.
- Plug one end of your USB-to-micro USB or USB-to-USB-C (depending on the version of the controller) cable into the controller.
- Plug the other end into your PC
That's it! It will automatically configure under Windows 10 and work with virtually any game on your PC.
Connect Your Xbox Controller to PC With Bluetooth
Pairing the Xbox controller with your PC over Bluetooth is almost the same as pairing it with your Xbox One or Xbox Series. You activate the controller by holding down the Guide button, then hold the Pairing button for three seconds until the Guide button flashes.
This means it's in pairing mode. If you're connecting the controller to a console, you hold the Pairing button on the system itself.
If you're connecting the controller to a Windows 10 PC, you need to go through some menus. You also need a Bluetooth USB dongle if your PC doesn't have Bluetooth. Here's the full step-by-step process:
- Hold the Guide button to turn on the controller.
- Hold the Pairing button for three seconds until the Guide button flashes.
- Right-click the Bluetooth icon in your system tray.
- Click "Add a Bluetooth Device."
- Click "Add Bluetooth or other Device" and select Bluetooth.
- Click "Xbox Wireless Controller." Wait until the Guide button is solid white, and the Bluetooth menu says the controller is connected.
You can now use the Xbox Wireless Gamepad with your PC, and play the vast majority of modern games that support controllers.
Although you can use a wired gaming headset with a controller and its associated game system, audio isn't sent through the jack when it's connected to a PC via Bluetooth.
Connect Your Xbox Controller to your PC With a USB Adapter
If you have an older Xbox One controller, or you just want to use your newer one with Microsoft's proprietary wireless connection instead of Bluetooth (and get headset connectivity), you need to get the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10.
It's a USB dongle designed to connect directly to your Xbox gamepad without any Bluetooth setup or pairing.
All you need to do is plug in the dongle and pair it to your controller just as if you were pairing your Xbox, pressing the Pairing button on each device.
This $25 adapter has some benefits over Bluetooth. For starters, you can use up to eight gamepads with the adapter, while Microsoft recommends using just one at a time with Bluetooth.
The headset jack is also enabled if you use the adapter, with adjustable settings in the Xbox app for Windows 10.
1. How do I connect multiple controllers?
You can repeat this process for any other controllers that you want to pair with your Xbox console.
2. How do I connect the Xbox controller to other devices?
The process outlined above is also used when pairing an Xbox controller to a device that is not an Xbox console, such as a PC or an iPad for remote play. If you’re trying to connect it to another device, just make sure you find that device’s Bluetooth menu and make sure it’s on, so that the accessory can be found and paired.
So in conclusion, how to connect an Xbox controller to your PC is an extremely simple process to do. It makes life a hell of a lot easier in certain games but it also gives console gamers the ability to switch over to PC without having to get used to a keyboard and mouse.