How to Connect an Xbox One Controller to a PC — 2021 Guide
Just get your fabulous Xbox One controller? That’s amazing! I guess you cannot wait trying your new Xbox One controller to play games now! But wait, you don’t know how to connect your Xbox One controller or, you encounter some problems during the installation? Don’t worry!
This article covers three different ways to connect your Xbox One controller with your Windows: via USB cable, wireless adapter, and Bluetooth.
Read along to see how…
Ways to connect the Xbox One controller to your PC:
Note: If you use a wired Xbox One controller, choose the Way 1 please.
- Using a USB cable to connect your Xbox One controller to PC
- Using a wireless adapter to connect your Xbox One controller to PC
- Using Bluetooth to connect your Xbox One controller to PC
- Update your Xbox One controller to gain the best gaming performance
Way 1: Using a USB cable to connect your Xbox One controller to PC
Either a wired or wireless Xbox One controller, You can use a USB cable to connect it to your PC. It’s very easy.
- If your Xbox controller is wired itself, skip this step please; If your Xbox one controller is wireless, plug your USB charging cable into the front of your controller.
- Plug the other end into the correct USB port of your PC.
- Windows will automatically install Xbox One Controller driver for you.
Now you can enjoy video games with your controller.
If your Xbox One controller can’t work properly, or Windows doesn’t install the driver, follow How do I update my Xbox One controller? to troubleshoot the problem.
Way 2: Using a wireless adapter to connect your Xbox One controller to PC
Besides USB connection, if you use a wireless controller, you can connect the controller to your PC with a Xbox wireless adapter.
Follow these steps;
- Plug a Xbox wireless adapter into your PC. Then press the button on the edge. The Windows will install the Xbox One controller driver automatically for you.
- Make sure there are batteries in your controller. Press the Xbox button to turn on your controller.
- Press the controller bind button on the top of your controller. The LED lights on your controller and adapter will blink a few times. Once the lights go solid, your controller is connecting to your Windows.
Now you can enjoy video games with your controller.
If your PC has Xbox wireless built in, such as Microsoft Surface Studio, you can connect your Xbox One controller through Add a device in Settings.
See how you can do it:
- Press the Windows logo key and I (at the same time) to open the Settings window.
- Click Devices.
Click Add Bluetooth or other device.
Click Everything else.
Go on to select your Xbox One controller and click Done.
You now should be able to enjoy games with your Xbox one controller.
If your Xbox One controller can’t work properly, or Windows doesn’t install the driver, follow How do I update my Xbox One controller? to troubleshoot the problem.
Way 3: Using Bluetooth to connect your Xbox One controller to PC
If you’re using a Bluetooth supported Xbox One controller and a Bluetooth supported PC, you can connected them via Bluetooth then.
Note: On a Bluetooth-supported controller, the plastic around the Xbox button is part of the face of the controller, like this:
To connect your controller and PC via Bluetooth:
- Before we go, make sure your Windows is updated and the Bluetooth is turned on.
- Press the Xbox button on your controller to turn on it.
- Press and hold the controller bind button for three seconds, and then release.
- Press the Windows logo key and I (at the same time) to open the Settings window.
- Click Devices.
- Click Add Bluetooth or other device.
- Go on to select your Xbox One controller and click Pair.
- You should be able to enjoy games with your controller now.
How do I update my Xbox One controller?
For best performance, you need to make your Xbox One controller up-to-date. Or if the Windows doesn’t install the controller driver automatically, follow the guide here to update your Xbox One controller.
You can download the Xbox One controller online and install it on your Windows manually. Or if you’re not confident playing around with driver manually, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy to save much more time.
Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the correct drivers for it. You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running, you don’t need to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing.
You can update your drivers automatically with either the FREE or the Pro version of Driver Easy. But with the Pro version it takes just 2 clicks (and you get full support and a 30-day money back guarantee):
- Download and install Driver Easy.
- Run Driver Easy and click the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers. You controller driver is no exception.
- Click the Update button next to a flagged driver to automatically download the correct version of this driver, the you can manually install it (you can do this with the FREE version).
Or click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of all the drivers that are missing or out of date on your system (this requires the Pro version – you’ll be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All).
After updating your controller, restart your Windows and try your controller again.
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Xbox Wireless Controller
Primary game controller for the Xbox platform
‹ The templateInfobox information appliance is being considered for merging. ›
A black Xbox Wireless Controller in the 2013 design
|Type||Video game controller|
|Generation||Eighth and ninth generation|
4.8.1923.0 (third revision)
5.7.2688.0 (fourth revision)
|Dimensions||6.02 in × 4.01 in × 2.4 in|
153 mm × 102 mm × 61 mm
|Predecessor||Xbox 360 controller|
The Xbox Wireless Controller is the primary game controller for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/Shome video game consoles, also commercialized for its use in Windows-based PCs, and compatible with other operating systems such as macOS, Linux, iOS and Android. The controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 controller, but with various tweaks to its design, such as a revised shape, redesigned analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and triggers, along with new rumble motors within the triggers to allow for directional haptic feedback.
It has had three revisions with several changes to the controller's design and functionality. Microsoft also markets the Elite Wireless Controller, a premium version geared towards professional gamers, including interchangeable parts and programmability features. In turn, each of the aforementioned variations has been offered in various color schemes, some featuring special designs tying into specific games. The Xbox Series X and Series S introduced an updated version of the controller, with further refinements to its shape and ergonomics.
The Xbox One controller retains roughly the same layout as the Xbox 360 controller, including four main face buttons, two shoulder bumpers, two analog triggers, two analog sticks and a digital D-pad. The "Start" and "Back" buttons are replaced by "Menu" and "View" buttons, while the Guide button now consists of a white backlit Xbox logo, and does not feature the "ring of light" that served as an indicator for the controller's assigned number (1 to 4).
Microsoft invested over $100 million into refining the controller design for the Xbox One; internal designers had created prototypes with various tweaks and refinements to the design over the Xbox 360 controller, along with those including unorthodox features such as embedded screens and speakers (which were rejected due to their effects on battery life, and redundancy to the main display and sound system), and the ability to emit odors.
The Xbox One controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 controller's design, but with enhancements such as redesigned grips, a smoother build, and the removal of the protruding battery compartment. The controller also contains light emitters that allow it to be tracked and paired using Kinect sensor, and to detect when it is not being held to automatically enter a low-power state. The controller contains a micro USB port, enabling wired use of the controller with the console or on computers running Windows 7 or later with drivers, and firmware updates. For communication, the controller uses a new proprietary protocol with a greater bandwidth than the wireless protocol used by the Xbox 360 controller, reducing latency and allowing for higher quality headset audio.
The analog sticks feature a new textured rim, while the D-pad was changed to use a more traditional 4-way design rather than the circular 8-way design of the 360 controller. This change was made partially due to criticism by players of fighting games who, despite the use of "sweeps" across the D-pad in these games being part of the motivation for the 8-way design, felt that the Xbox 360's D-pad performed poorly in that type of game. The updated 4-way design is also better suited for use as individual keys in games that use them for item selection. The design of the face buttons was revised to improve their legibility, using a three-layer design consisting of a black background, colored letter, and a clear covering intended to make the letter appear to "hover" inside it. The buttons themselves are also spaced slightly closer together.
The bumpers and trigger buttons were overhauled with a new curved shape to improve their ergonomics, as the user's fingers now naturally lie at an angle upon them unlike the straighter design on Xbox 360 controllers. The bumpers were also made flush with the triggers. The triggers themselves now have a smoother feel, and were made more accurate. Each trigger features independent rumble motors called "Impulse Triggers", which allows developers to program directional vibration. One trigger can be made to vibrate when firing a gun, or both can work together to create feedback that indicates the direction of an incoming hit.
Original version (2013)
The original controller launched with the Xbox One console in November 2013 was black, with colored face buttons. A commemorative white variant was issued to Microsoft employees at launch, but was not available to the public until almost a year later, initially bundled with a matching white console and Sunset Overdrive.
First revision (2015)
On June 9, 2015, Microsoft unveiled a revised version of the standard controller, with model 1697. Its shoulder buttons were redesigned for improved responsiveness, a 3.5 mm headphone jack was added near the controller's expansion port, and support for wireless firmware updates was added.
Externally, few changes were made; the main distinguishing feature of the 2015 revision (Model 1697) compared with the original (Model 1537) is the presence of the headphone jack on the bottom of the controller.
Second revision (2016)
A second revision of the controller, model 1708, was introduced alongside the Xbox One S, an updated model of the Xbox One console unveiled in June 2016. It features textured grips, and additionally supports Bluetooth for use with compatible PCs and mobile devices. Users can also custom-order this controller revision via the "Xbox Design Lab" service, with their choice of colors, and an optional inscription of their Xbox Live screen name for an additional fee.
The second revision can be distinguished from prior revisions by the color and texture of the plastic surrounding the lighted Xbox/guide button. Prior controller models (1537 and 1697) have a separate piece of black glossy plastic, with the Model 1698 "Elite" also having a separate piece in black, dark red, or white. In the second revision (Model 1708) the front shell of the controller is a single piece, and the part surrounding the Xbox button now matches the texture and color of the controller. It has been made available in white, black, red, and blue colors, as well as other limited edition colors.
Third revision (2020)
A fourth revision of the controller was released in November 2020, bundled with Xbox Series X and Series S, while still backwards compatible with existing Xbox One consoles. It has a refined build with a slightly smaller body, a "Share" button on the center of the controller below the "View" and "Menu" buttons, a circular dished D-pad similar to the Elite Controller, and a USB-C connector instead of USB Micro-B. The controller also supports Bluetooth Low Energy, and can be paired to a Bluetooth device and an Xbox device simultaneously. The controller also includes Dynamic Latency Input, sending controller information to the console more frequency and in time with the current framerate as to reduce the latency between user input and reaction in the game. Starting in September 2021 through the Xbox Insider program, Microsoft started rolling out the improved Bluetooth and latency features from these newer controllers to its official Xbox One controllers, including the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
Microsoft announced in June 2021 that the Xbox Design Lab will continue with the Series X/S controllers, allowing users to create their own custom designs.
All of the controllers in this table are fully compatible with any Xbox One consoles, up to X/S Series.
|Model[a]||Intro.||Disc.||3.5 mm jack||Bluetooth||USB||Thumbnail||Notes|
|1537||2013||2015||No||No||Micro-B||Controllers packed with launch-day systems are marked "DAY ONE 2013" with chrome d-pad.|
|1697||2015||2016||Yes||No||Standard 3.5 mm audio jack added to bottom of controller. Capable of receiving firmware updates wirelessly from Xbox One console.|
|1698 "Elite"||2019||Yes||No||Interchangeable thumbsticks and d-pad; detachable paddles on underside duplicating face buttons; rubberized grip; trigger locks. Standard color scheme is black and silver, but the Elite controller was later available in a predominantly red special edition Gears of War 4-branded theme and a Robot White theme.|
|1708||2016||—||Yes||Yes||Introduced with the Xbox One S. Distinguished from earlier versions by texture and color of plastic surrounding Xbox home button, which now matches the rest of the controller body. Includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity in addition to the prior proprietary wireless protocol.|
|1797[b] "Elite 2"||2019||—||Yes||Yes||USB-C||Compared to the 1698 "Elite", "Elite 2" adds a third trigger lock position, adjustable thumbstick tension, extended rubber grip (wrapping around to the front side), Bluetooth connectivity, and an internal rechargeable battery.|
|1914||2020||—||Yes||Yes||Introduced with the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, featuring a slightly smaller body, a "Share" button, a flat concave D-pad similar to the Elite Controller, and a USB-C connector.|
- ^The model number is printed on the sticker in the battery compartment.
- ^Because the Elite Series 2 has an internal battery, the model number is printed in black ink on the bottom of the controller.
Colors and styles
Main article: List of Xbox Wireless Controller special editions
Besides standard colors, "special" and "limited edition" Xbox Wireless Controllers have also been sold by Microsoft with special color and design schemes, sometimes tying into specific games.
Xbox Design Lab
Custom color combinations are available for the Xbox One S controller (Model 1708) at extra cost through the Xbox Design Lab service. According to Microsoft, there are approximately eight million different combinations. Access to the service began on June 13, 2016, and customized controllers started to ship at the end of August; the initial pricing was $79.95/$99.95 (US/Canada), with an additional $9.99/14.99 (USD/CAD) fee for laser-engraved text up to 16 characters.
Starting in summer 2017, additional color choices were added and the customization service was extended to countries in Europe. Starting price in the UK was GB£69.99, with initial availability limited to the UK, France, and Germany starting in June 2017; the program was expanded to 24 more European countries starting August 21. Xbox partnered with McCann London to launch the "Xbox Design Lab Originals" program in 2017; the program, which McCann called "The Fanchise Model", allows consumers to earn a portion of the sales by creating and marketing their custom designs through Xbox Design Lab. Social media influencers began advertising the service on April 1, 2017, and a feature that allowed consumers to "claim [their] design" was added to the store on May 1, with retail support commencing on May 30. It was credited with increasing controller sales by 350%; the campaign was awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2018 by the Creative eCommerce Lions and Clio Awards in multiple categories, including public relations and games.
The service was suspended temporarily from October 14, 2020 to June 17, 2021, when it restarted using the newest controller (Model 1914) introduced with the Series X/S; the price of a custom controller was reduced to US$69.95. 14 of the 18 colors now are produced using plastic with 30% post-consumer recycled material, by weight; the exceptions are Robot White, Pulse Red, Zest Orange, and Regal Purple.
Elite on display at Gamescom 2015, with accessories
Underside, with paddles installed and reduced trigger distance
On June 15, 2015, during its E3 2015 press conference, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller, a new controller which Xbox division head Phil Spencer described as being "an elite controller for the elite gamer". It features a steel construction with a soft-touch plastic exterior, along with interchangeable rear paddle buttons (with either short or long forms), analog stick tops (original Xbox one stick, a convex dome, and an extended version for increased accuracy), and directional pad designs (either the traditional four-way design, or a concave disc-like design), and "hair trigger locks" for the triggers that allow users to reduce the amount of distance required to register a press. Through software, users can customize button and paddle mappings and adjust the sensitivity of the triggers and analog sticks. Two button profiles can be assigned to a switch on the controller for quick access. The Elite Controller was released on October 27, 2015.
A special Gears of War 4-themed limited edition variant of the Elite controller was unveiled during Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference. It features a rustic, dark red color scheme with a blood splatter effect and the series emblem on the rear of the controller, and a D-pad disc with weapon symbols corresponding to the in-game weapons bound to these controls.
A White Special Edition of the controller was announced on August 29, 2018. Although a revised Elite controller was leaked early in 2018 incorporating functional changes, the White Special Edition was another cosmetic variant of the original Elite.
Plans for a revised version of the Elite controller were leaked in January 2018, with a number of new features, including USB-C connector, and other hardware improvements such as three-level Hair Trigger Locks, adjustable tension for the thumbsticks, revised rubber grips, three user-defined profile settings, and Bluetooth connectivity, which had been introduced with the revised Xbox One S controller in 2016.
At E3 2019, Microsoft announced they would begin taking pre-orders for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2; the controller would be available starting on November 4, 2019 at a suggested retail price of US$179.99.
Support on other platforms
Drivers were released in June 2014 to allow Xbox One controllers to be used over a USB connection on PCs running Windows 7 or later. The Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows is a USB dongle that allows up to eight controllers to be used at once wirelessly. Upon its release in October 2015, it was supported only by Windows 10. Drivers for Windows 7 and 8.1 were released in December 2015. An updated version of the adapter, with a smaller form factor, was released in August 2017.
Per a partnership between Microsoft and Oculus VR, the Oculus Rift CV1virtual reality headset initially included an Xbox One controller, up until the launch of the Oculus Touchmotion controllers.
On Windows 10, support for the controller is built-in, including support for wireless audio when using the wireless dongle or USB cable (it is not supported over Bluetooth). The controller is also manageable via the Xbox Accessories app, whose features include button remapping (for both the regular and Elite controller), input tests, and firmware update. On Windows 7 or 8.1, drivers are required, and the aforementioned features are not available.
Microsoft also supports Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controllers on Android, specifically listing support for Minecraft: Gear VR Edition on certain Samsung Galaxy devices.
On Linux, Xbox One controllers are supported by the xpad USB driver. There also exists an alternative xpadneo driver, which supports some controller revisions that are not supported by the xpad driver, as well as additional features. Some of these additional features, such as driver support for the trigger rumble motors, aren't even supported on Windows 10.
In June 2019, Apple announced support for Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controllers in iOS 13, macOS Catalina and tvOS 13, which became available in the fall of 2019.
Stereo headset adapter
The Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter allows the use of headsets with 3.5 millimeter headphone jacks with the original Xbox One controller, which does not include a 3.5 mm jack. An adapter for 2.5 mm headphone jacks is also included.
A keyboard chatpad attachment, similar to the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit, was unveiled at Gamescom on August 4, 2015.
Play and Charge Kit
Similarly to the FEET 360 version, the Play and Charge kit is the official rechargeable battery pack for Xbox One controllers. An updated version of the Play and Charge kit was required for the Series X/S controllers, as the regular Xbox One kits do not fit in the X/S controller's battery compartment. The Series X/S kit includes a USB-C cable instead of micro USB.
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How to use an Xbox One controller on PC
If you want to use a controller on PC, you just can't beat the convenience of the Xbox gamepad. If you want a dead simple plug-and-play experience, the Xbox controller is the obvious choice, and it's definitely among the best PC controllers, anyway—Microsoft revised its controller after the launch of the Xbox One, making its bumpers feel better and adding Bluetooth connectivity.
Thanks to the built-in Windows driver, you won't need any special software for your PC (and most games) to immediately recognize your pad. So what's the point of a guide at all?
Well, there are a couple ways to hook up the Xbox One controller wirelessly, and a few things you should know about the different iterations of the controller and what how exactly they'll work with your PC.
What you need
- Xbox One controller
- Xbox Wireless adapter for Windows (optional, for wireless)
- Bluetooth adapter (optional, for wireless)
- Micro-USB cable (optional, for wired)
- AA batteries
Today's best Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller deals
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- Xbox Accessories app (optional, for software updates)
Using your Xbox One controller
Using a wired Xbox One controller on PC is as simple as it gets, if you don't mind a tether. Plug your micro-USB cable into the controller and into a USB port on your PC. Windows should install the necessary driver, the Xbox Guide button in the center will light up, and you're in business!
Windows version note: On Windows 10, you can connect up to eight Xbox One controllers, while on Windows 7 and Windows 8, you can connect up to four. On Windows 10, you can only have four controllers connected if you also connect an Xbox chat headset to the controller or two with the stereo headset. Audio throughput isn't supported on Windows 7 and 8.
Troubleshooting note: the vast majority of micro-USB cables carry data no problem, but some manufacturers cheap out and produce cables that can only charge. If you're using a random USB cable from a drawer and having trouble, try a different one.
How to connect with the Xbox Wireless adapter for Windows
This process is nearly as simple as connecting with a USB cable, and is basically identical to connecting the controller to an Xbox console.
1. Plug the Xbox Wireless adapter into a USB port.
2. Turn on your Xbox One controller by holding the Guide button in the center. Now press the the small sync button on the top of the controller until the Guide button begins flashing.
3. Press the small sync button located on the side of the Xbox Wireless adapter for a couple seconds. Watch the flashing Guide button on the controller. When it goes solid, you're connected!
How to connect the Xbox One controller via Bluetooth
Here's where things get a little complicated. Certain models of the Xbox One controller can connect to any old PC Bluetooth adapter. Others can't. Here's how to tell if your Xbox One controller has built-in Bluetooth:
The shape of the plastic molding at the top of the controller is your clue. The first iteration of the Xbox One controller does not support Bluetooth and has a few other annoyances. Its bumpers have a narrower click range, making them less comfortable depending on where you position your fingers.
The redesigned controller launched with the Xbox One S console has a smaller plastic molding along the top. It also adds a 3.5mm headphone jack to the bottom of the controller, another easy giveaway. On top of that headphone jack, it also has built-in Bluetooth!
1. Press the Windows key and type "Bluetooth" until search brings up the Bluetooth & other devices settings option. Click it to open that settings page. Here you should see your Bluetooth is set to "On" and is discoverable.
Windows version note: Using the Xbox One controller via Bluetooth only works on Windows 10 with the Anniversary update applied.
2. Turn on the Xbox One controller by holding the Guide button. Press the sync button on top of the controller until the Guide light begins to flash rapidly.
3. In the Bluetooth settings menu, click "Add Bluetooth or other device" and then select Bluetooth from the menu options. After a few seconds of searching, your Xbox controller should show up. Click it to pair. And you're wirelessly connected!
Headset note: Only one Xbox One controller can be paired via Bluetooth. Headsets not supported.
How to update and configure the Xbox One controller
It's not just games that have updates these days. So do controllers! While it's not necessary to update your Xbox controller, if you want to, the process is pretty simple.
1. Open the Windows Store and search for Xbox Accessories. Install the app and open it.
Windows version note: The app only works with Windows 10 with the Anniversary update applied.
2. Plug your Xbox One controller in with a micro-USB cable.
3. Click the "More options" button to check if there's a firmware update for your controller.
Instead of configuring controller options on a game-by-game basis, you can also use the Accessories app to change button mapping, swap and invert sticks and triggers, and enable or disable rumble.
If you have an Xbox One Elite controller, you can also use the Accessories app to configure options like trigger and analog stick sensitivity. You can save different configurations to the two profiles the controller supports.
Not a controller person? Here's a round-up of the best gaming keyboards, and best gaming mouse.
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